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Sa Pa Scenes

Seeing the green hills of Sa Pa differently in black & white

Sa Pa is one of those "must-do" places for tourists. And why wouldn't you go? Around every corner is another National Geographic shot. The green rice terraces, the colourful costumed people, rustic farms, local crafts. Yet some don't think that much beyond the image.

Located in Lao Cai province in the North West of Vietnam, Sa Pa and its surrounding villages are home to numerous hill tribes including the Hmong, Dao, Tay, Xa Pho and Giáy who are often identifiable by their colourful and elaborate traditional costumes. It's a stunning region where cloud shrouded mountains slip into valleys of rice terraces that are sill farmed the same way as they have been for centuries.

The picturesque area with its myriad of villages and diverse ethnic cultures is an understandably popular trekking base for tourists. Particularly during early harvest season, when the rice terraces are a magnificent blanket of green, providing the perfect image. On the other hand, winter, with its low clouds, chilling damp and muddy terraces, is almost invariably passed over.

Visitig an area during particular seasons offers up unique and stunning landscapes and is definitely a reason to add it to your bucket list. However, only visiting a region as culturally diverse and interesting as Sa Pa for the colour of the rice fields seemed absurd to me. After meeting more than one tourist who had cut Sa Pa from their Vietnam travel list solely because it wasn't peak green, I was resolved to shoot it in B&W. It changed the focus, firmly putting it on the subjects, which are far from dull.

Avoiding the guided trekking tours, I travelled to the villages of Ta Van, Ta Phin and Lao Chai as well as the main market town Sa Pa where I was hosted in homestays. Read More about where I went and what I did there in "A Girls Day out in SaPa"


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