Phăng Xi Păng to Sa Pa

Phang Xi Pang peak. Mount Phăng Xi Păng Mount Phăng Xi Păng is the highest mountain on mainland south-east Asia. It stands 3,148m (10,200ft) above sea level, and lies 5 miles (8 km) to the south-west of Sa Pa from where it can be seen when the clouds lift sufficiently. Trips from Sa Pa to the top of the mountain are arranged, this is strictly for the fittest visitors and even for such people takes three days. Mount Păng Xi Păng in its range of hills. Mount Phăng Xi Păng seen as part of its range of hills Mount Păng Xi Păng from Sa Pa road. Mount Phăng Xi Păng from the road outside SaPa, in its most common aspect - head in the clouds Mount Păng Xi Păng. The Phăng Xi Păng range (invisible) from the north The road winds its way down from the pass nearest Phăng Xi Păng towards Sa Pa offering spectacular views all the way. Sa Pa itself is set on a hill with wide valleys extending southwards. Cloud in valley Evening clouds gather in the valley near Sa Pa Road to Sa Pa. The road from Sa Pa to Lai Châu wending its way around the mountains Sa Pa Town. Like the British in India, the French during their occupation of Vietnam wanted a cool retreat from the heat, and so the hill station of Sa Pa was built. It is about 1,500m (5,000 ft) above sea level Sunlight on rice terraces. As the road descends from the higher mountains, where few people live, the hillsides become embroidered with a tracery of paddy terracing. Here it is winter and just the residue stubble of the previous season's growth is visiable Rural view. A view of a valley near Sa Pa Village and terraces. A hilltop village, with its closely clustered houses amongst the terracing, looks out over the valley where the houses are spaced out with fields between them The image above shows many features of rural life in the north west of Vietnam. In the foreground is a fishpond, to the right and at the top of the picture are the terraces so typical of the steep sided hills of the north. These are often extremely extensive and represent hundreds of years of careful construction to guide the water downwards, irrigating every field, on every level, all the way. Below, in the river valley, the fields are flatter and the stubble is being grazed; although often the cattle can be seem high up the hills undeterred by vertiginous slopes. Hill top village. A hamlet perches above the valley among the terraces Steep paddy terraces. The intricate terraces characteristic of northern Vietnam A flat field among terraces. Here a little flat ground forms a field on the steep hillside Evening among the hills. This water wheel being used to pound grain While water wheels are widely used to assist irrigation, there are other uses include pounding. Water is lifted to a bamboo shoot which delivers it into the trough of a grain pounder and so raise a hammer, the water then falls out, and the hammer descends. Evening among the hills. Flatter areas of the terraces give space for wider fields with bamboos; bamboos which provide shade, shelter, food, implements and housing materials Evening among the hills. The setting sun catching the clouds forming between the hills Valley by Sa Pa. Looking up the main valley in the direction of Phăng Xi Păng from Sa Pa The next page takes you to the road's destination, the (maybe a little too much of a) tourist town - Sa Pa . Market on the steps at Sa Pa. line
Saturday 13th August 2016 Murphy

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