Friday, May 23, 2014

Butterflies in a Bamboo Forest

While walking through a bamboo forest near Sapa, we came upon thousands of butterflies fluttering about. It really felt magical.

Home stay in a remote village

On the second night of our trek, we stayed with a local family. Although it wasn't the most peaceful sleep with the rain coming in through the night and the pigs squealing next door, it was really interesting seeing how the family lived. They made us an excellent dinner over an open fire and shared their homemade rice wine.

Rice Terraces

The design of the rice terraces is sheer genius. In the above photo, you can see the little waterfalls between the terraces that ensure the rice paddy is evenly watered.

Water Buffalo Plowing Rice Terrace

Albino Water Buffalo in Sa Pa, Vietnam

Lost Little Boy

While we stopped to admire the view, we noticed a very young little boy down in a valley, he was crying. We shared our snacks and water with him as he was so hungry and thirsty. Young children are often wandering, collecting berries or firewood for the family - and this little guy was separated from his siblings. Thankfully after 20 mins or so, his sister came and found him to take him home.

Planting Rice Seedlings

‎We saw many families planting rice seedlings, so we stopped to offer a hand. We took off our shoes and got into the deep mud and started planting away. The trick was to push the seedling deep enough into the mud so that it wouldn't float to the top. It was also important to properly space the seedlings for the best crop possible.

Ban, our Guide

Guiding us through our trek and the many villages was Ban, our guide from the H'mong tribe. Although Ban didn't go to school, or have the opportunity to learn to read or write, her English was very strong - all self-taught! We greatly enjoyed learning about the tribe culture and hearing about Ban's family and community.

Trekking around Sapa

‎Over the past couple of days, we trekked about 25kms through some of the most beautiful scenery in Vietnam. We visited several interesting ethnic villages, including Cat Cat, Lao Chai, Ta Van and Giang Ta Chai, which are home to the H'mong and Dzay tribes.

Trekking through the Rice Terraces

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Plowing the Rice Terraces

It was like taking a step back in time watching the local people use traditional methods of plowing using the Water Buffalo.

Rice Planting

‎During our trek through the terraces we saw hard-working families planting rice seedlings by hand.

Sapa Rice Terraces

‎Originally built by the Chinese, these rice terraces are hundreds of years old. The terraces are kept within families for generations, being passed on to the sons in the family. At this time of year (May), families are watering their terrace to prepare for planting or have just started planting. The rice will be harvested in about 6 months.

Beautiful Sapa, Vietnam

We arrived this morning to the remote and mountainous town of Sapa, located in Northern Vietnam, near the border of China. The Sapa region is home to many hill tribes as well as rice terraces, lush vegetation, and incredible mountain scenery.

Midnight Train To Sapa

‎We just boarded the overnight train to Sapa, where will will spend a few days touring the country side. We have a sleeping berth and thankfully there is air conditioning!

Bahn Cafe Buns

While walking down a small street in Hanoi, we suddenly smelt a heavenly aroma - so we followed our noses and came across a tiny bakery that had buns hot out of the oven. Inside these warm buns was a delicious coffee-like syrup, which tasted like nectar from the gods. Incredible! We quickly went back for more!!