remote small town of
Lai Chau (Laichau)
, reached after a high mountain pass and a spectacular descent, is
nested in a deep verdant valley which has the oddity of being one
of the hottest places in
in the summer. Visit Lai Chau while you can, since recurring floods
have prompted a project to transform the valley into a reservoir.
scenery between Muong Lay and Phong Tho is some of the most
spectacular scenery you can see in the Far Northwest of Vietnam. The
mountains are striking with abrupt peaks and on a clear day you
can see many of the even larger peaks rising from the Chinese side
of the border. Around Phong Tho is as close as you will get to the
Chinese frontier in this part of the country.
Being so rarely visited this is a corner of
that has more to offer the adventurous traveller than the regular
backpacker. Its local people carry on much as they always have and
the region is home to many different ethnic minorities. The region
borders on both
however border crossings are not possible here.
If travelling independently you might want to take notice of name
changes. A large dam is being built in this area to power
's increasing demand for electricity. As a result there has been
some name changing amongst
the towns. Note that many of the towns in this province are not
where they once were. It is almost as though as the waters rise
they are heading for higher ground. Towns like Lai Chau have been
relocated further up the river and the small townships that they
replace have swapped names. This is a continuing process so take
note of town names, distances and ask locals before really
ascertaining where you are.
would be a pity if you come to
but not stop off at the Sin Ho market because this is not only the
most colorful market on traditional clothes of
inhabitants but also the wildest ones. on Saturday afternoon,
you can see conveys of horses and people walking from gathering here
with many kinds of farm products as they come from distant
communities so they have to ride on horse all day to the market.
This remote town suddenly turns noisy with laughter and
the stampede of footsteps. The market located at the centre of town,
surrounded by verdant mountain ranges and clouds. The local people
here still use coins of up to hundred years in circulation to
purchase or exchange goods as they often play an important role in
their daily life like wedding and other festivities. When entering
that multicolor world, you will treasure and value of all hardness
to come here.