Travel to Muong Lo and Tu Le village in Vietnam
Tour in Vietnam to Muong Lo and Tu Le, remote villages where local people, mostly belonging to Thai, Muong and H'Mong ethnic groups, live mainly on agriculture. This region of Vietnam is little know to tourism industry and foreign visitors are quite rare, so locals are very spontaneous and therefore the place is an excellent destination for who is interested in authentic experiences.
Muong Lo (Nghia Lo) in Yen Bai province in northern Vietnam, is interesting for the local ethnic groups, in particular Thai, who count about one million people throughout Vietnam. The typical village consists of wooden and bamboo houses built on stilts (stitls are not actually needed to negotiate the water, but to take advantage of the lower floor as a shelter for animals).
Having black teeth is a sign of beauty, so dyeing them is a fairly common practice, especially among elders. The glossy black is achieved with special dyes coming from plants and mixed with calcium powder.
Muong Lo is one of the main granaries of Vietnam, where crops are represented mainly by corn and rice.
The quiet countryside of Muong Lo in Vietnam.
The fruit and vegetable markets in Vietnam are always a great opportunity to meet local people and learn more about the uses and costumes.
Worms sold alive and eaten cooked in various ways (not everyone in Vietnam eat them, especially among the younger generation).
Same thing happens to the silkworm, which seems to be more delicious than the other yellow worms.
Some stalls offering sweet water fish, including various types of crustaceans and shells.
On the market there are the stalls of meat, including dog meat (bottom-left picture). In Vietnam it's permitted to eat dog meat, but only if coming from some local wild species that are not considered pets. The imported species of dogs, or at least not wild, are considered friends just like in Western countries.
A woman sells dragon frutis: these are very sweet, flavorful and are produced by a close relative of cactus plant.
The journey in Vietnam continues through the mountains, where there are picturesque terraced rice fields. In this region, at this altitude (approximately 1000 meters) the rice is ripe between the end of september and the beginning of october: some fields have been already harvested and have the brown color of dry land (left picture) while others are yet to be harvested and show a beautiful bright yellow color (right picture). In this region of Vietnam, the ripening of the rice happens 2-3 weeks after Sapa (the most popular place in Vietnam where most tourists go to see terraced rice fields).
Farmers engaged in harvesting rice during a beautiful late summer day, in the mountains of northern Vietnam.
The tour in Vietnam continues by visiting the traditional village of Tu Le, nestled in the countryside.
The village of Tu Le is in the middle of nature, among vast fields of rice almost ripe. In the right picture, the harvested rice is laid out on a plastic sheet to dry before doing the winnowing and storing it.
The local people are very spontaneous and glad to see foreigners, as this place is currently (at 2014) well off the normal tourist routes in Vietnam.
More photos of rice fields in Vietnam. The fields are not flooded, since the rice is mature and ready to be harvested.
A woman of H'mong ethnic group.
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English translation by Lorena Anzani.