3 days trek in Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang – final
- on Jan 22, 2020       By: BN
End of the 3-day trek in Hoang Su Phi, Ha Giang
Nothing changed on the weather side. The weather remains foggy with a few rare drops of rain. Last night, I washed and then dried clothes but this morning it is still just as wet and damp... A little difficult to wear as is! The main activity of the family who welcomed me is, in addition to cultivating rice, picking and selling tea directly to wholesalers. I take the time to discover the small workshop for storing and drying leaves and buds. The harvest was excellent and the sales were up to par because everything was sold.
Now we’re back on the route that begins, and this is often the case, with a steep and long climb to reach a narrow ridge road then a small hamlet surrounded by tea plantations on the slopes.
The few houses and rice fields occupy the bottom of the slope, without forgetting the buffaloes in the pasture and a Dao's busy cutting wood... The air saturated with humidity makes the progress painful... Everything is moist. The weather is changing! But the day is not finished... The short path goes down then climbs through rice terraces and some isolated dwellings in the middle of the forest. Large wild bananas, many ferns and huge trees provide a sumptuous and wild setting at the same time.
Here the habitat becomes scarcer, only a few abandoned houses and little visible traces testify to an ancient human occupation. We maintain approximately the same altitude before the lunch break in the heart of a small village and on the edge of rice fields. On the menu, it’s a steaming and fragrant broth with noodles and eggs...
Here also live the Red Dao who cultivate rice and pick tea leaves. Traditional dress is very widely worn by women, including for work in rice fields or in the forest. A few curious geese raise their heads before returning to the muddy water of the pond...
I propose to leave quickly to reach the bottom of the valley, in time to take a seat in the small local bus around 4 p.m. and reach Ha Giang, a city located a little further North of the province... Quickly done and well done! A quick improvised descent through bamboo and muddy terraces, a few involuntary slides and here we are, near the bus stop in front of a workshop, which is a cooperative of producers, producing, packaging and selling tea from Dao's villages located on the slopes.
Some workers seated cross-legged, roll tea leaves on large trays. A tasting respecting the tradition of the tea ceremony, followed by a few exchanges and smiles is enough to convince me... I buy several packages of different qualities. For lack of space in the bag, they will be transported by a later bus and directly delivered to Hanoi.
A last look at the heights now covered by mist
I will leave these mountains of Hoang Su Phi... A last look towards the heights now covered by the mist. It further isolates this high region and retains all its character, beauty, authenticity and mysteries. I remember those families who opened their homes to me with their hearts, their smiles and their kindness. I already know that I will come back.
…Here, each season has its charms, its colours and its atmospheres. The guide confirms that the cold is coming... It's December after all! The day ends with a three-hour journey on small winding roads...! Noisy and "good-natured" atmosphere guaranteed in the middle of cardboard boxes, travellers and stacked bags... You also can’t forget the classic noises of transporting with wide-open windows and plastic pockets at hand. Too bad for pedestrians on the side of the road... The helmet is recommended! Tonight, after the end of a motorcycle trip, I sleep in a beautiful village, among the black Thai people.
Text and photo: Marcel Labretelle