Travelling is many things to many people. To some it is a necessity; you've got to go from one place to another. For others it is a luxury; simply living in your part of the globe is not enough. Traveling is easily an art form in itself. Moving from your home to many a location might be a bit cumbersome for some, and for others it is a joy. Whatever purpose the travelling is for, be it on business or pleasure, one can not deny that discovering a new place comes with so much aesthetic value. Every location is a story in itself.
The common mistake of many a traveller is the idea that popular location is the best place to visit. However, there are so many untouched locales on Planet Earth, each with its own allures, and an abundance of these places lie in Asia, particularly Vietnam.
An underrated pearl, Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known mainly for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. The capital, Hanoi has a mausoleum built in tribute to the country's iconic leader, Ho Chi Minh. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is filled with French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers. To the north of Vietnam, jaw dropping destinations like Ha Giang, the Ban Gioc waterfall, Mu Cang Chai exist in flamboyance.
But inside this much ignored beauty is another hidden pearl, and that is Hoang Su Phi. Hoang Su Phi District in Ha Giang is the humble scenic abode of many an ethnic group whose livelihoods are sustained through farming; mainly in rice and other small crops.
WHAT HOANG SU PHI OFFERS
Hoang Su Phi is every budding explorer’s fantasy with a side dish of beauty. Tourists to this utopia will be treated to an amazing array of rice terraced fields, some in the shape of the letter “S” as those in the Nam Ty Commune (considered to be the most beautiful ones in all of Hoang Su Phi. The fields are said to shine like gold in all yellowness during sunny days, and become a mirror of the sky when it rains. Hoang Su Phi has only one crop per year from September to October. It is arguably the district's most beautiful time of year. Tourists can enjoy the aesthetic and calming sensation that comes from walking around the rice paddies, and taking a whiff of the light aroma of newly grown rice blend with the soothing smells from the mountains. In June, when the rains find their way to the northern mountain provinces as they do every year, the terraced fields in Hang Su Phi are filled to the brim with water from the mountain sides and streams bearing semblance to giant mirrors or glaciers. This signals the time for the ethnic people to start planting anew, a whole festival in itself. There are also valleys with such lush carpeting that tempt you to roll down them, rugged mountains, as mentioned before, endless skies and the heartwarming and receptive nature of the locals, not to mention their rich culture. The district is particularly recognised for its diversity in ethnic groups, such as Dao, Nung, H’Mong, La Chi and the many ethnic festivals that arise as a result of this.
PLACES TO VISIT
Hoang Su Phi's fields, arguably the district's biggest exploit, are considered an art piece; a collaboration between nature's craftiness and man's creativeness. The fields are crooked, winding on the mountain sides, and they stretch all the way from the foot of the mountain, painting a beautiful portrait in the backdrop of the vast spaces of the mountains. It is estimated that the terraced fields were created at an altitude of 1,000m above sea level around 300 years ago. They cover 760ha in six communes of Ban Luoc, San Sa Ho, Ban Phung, Ho Thau, Nam Ty and Thong Nguyen.The entire scenery spans more than three thousand hectares so awe inspiring that the terrace fields are officially recognized by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism as as National Relic.
Hoang Su Phi does not have a modern setting, being mostly rural, but that in itself is a plus, as it affords visitors and tourists the chance to get away from the usual hustle and bustle that come with big cities and more common tourist attractions. Tourists can sit back, relax, and breathe in the clean, fresh undisturbed air in the district without a honk blaring in the distance. If you're the active type, however, seeking a new experience, If you want to have more experience, the warm hospitality of the locals affords you the opportunity to join in on the field work, and they would be happy to teach you all you can learn about how to harvest rice.
HUNGRY FOR A BITE?
Besides, the local Vietnamese cuisine to grace your tastebuds, you also have the opportunity to dig in further into the culture by tasting the delicious dishes made from the newly harvested rice or experience the cultural beauty of a bumper harvest of the country. That's not all the fun and adventure you and your taste buds can have though. There is the locally popular and familiar dish of Dong Thap – that is simplly field mouse/bush rat meat. This is the locally famous dish of La Chi people. Mouse/Rat meat is an indispensable food in the lives of the locals.
PACK YOUR BAGS
Hoang Su Phi in indeed filled with a wide range of attractions and sights. Whether the need is to satisfy the need for an outdoor adventure or just to simply follow the locals to their magnificent rice fields, Hoang Su Phi will absolutely match that hunger, quenching any seasoned or emerging tourist's appetite for unique and unusual travel. The people, the cultures, the food, the weather, the festivals, the mountains, the valleys, the rice fields; everything that is Hoang Su Phi, is beauty at its best