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Pictures from Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Northern Vietnam by David Keegan
Pu Luong Picture Diary 2015
What follows is a picture essay from Pu Luong nature reserve in Northern Vietnam. A difficult place to reach (thankfully), it is one of the most serenely beautiful i have ever had the privilege of visiting. In all its probably about a 5 or 6 hour car journey from Hanoi, but as i traveled first to Mai Chau and on from there by car, its about another 5 hours. This trip is hard going along some pretty awful roads.
The nature reserve itself is without road and only accessible either on foot, bicycle, horse, or motorbike. The light is at times misty, at times sunny, tropical, dizzying, changeable, colorful, yet monotone, like nowhere else on earth.The pictures are set out in titled categories. Editing them brought a smile to my face and a sense of longing to return to my heart. We stayed at the Les Bains de Hieu Ecolodge, located in Village de Ban Hieu. I arranged all transfers and accommodation at the lodge with Tonkin Travel ( Tonkin Link) based in Hanoi. I found they offered the best service and price for the trip as we needed, transfers to and from 3 locations starting Mai Chau then Phu Luong and on to Ninh Binh and finally back to Hanoi. I paid a small deposit in advance by credit card and met a representative of Tonkin at my Hotel the night before when i paid the balance. All went without a hitch, although our first driver a man called Son is to be avoided as he is incredibly rude to visitor and local alike. I did all bookings with Tonkin Travel through a Quân (Mr) and found him to be very good to deal with. He always answered my emails promptly and all pick ups were always on time.
In Hanoi we stayed at the (Diamond Elegance Hotel, Hanoi Link) where Chu Van Binh (Mr.) looked after us. I hope to return and see all soon!!
Welcome to Pu Luong Nature Reserve, Northern Vietnam, Paradise Found!
Crystal clear waters cascade and pool from the mountains above.
A forlorn bird in a cage.
A type of Fig
Banana flower and fruits
View of the valley from above.
Our lodging, Les Bains de Hieu Ecolodge
These ingenious water wheels convey water from the river to irrigate the fields above.
Misty Morning Mountain Pu Luong
The next in this series of pictures, taken between 7 to 8 am in the morning. At this time of the year the sun sometimes struggles to break the clouds and mists give way to an eerie magical light. Mornings are cold and damp. The pictures show the men and women of the village hard at work preparing the terraces for rice planting.
People of Pu Luong Nature Reserve.
Whilst life in the hills is tough the people of this quiet paradise express a wonderful sense of warmth and openness.
Old and Young
I challenge Huy to a game of pool. I played many games but didn't win one. These guys are grand masters!! Its a great way of getting to know the locals.
Village elders out for a stroll
Local family pose on Ox trailer harness
Boy poses outside family home
Village elder takes a break
Time for fun, boy on stilts
Mend and make good, the basket weaver.
The barbers shop
Rice plant nursery
Woman and child
Preparing a snack boiled root vegetable similar to sweet potato, very tasty!!
Fishing for worms
A local delicacy fished from the wet rice paddies
The constant gardener
Village home on stilts
Time for tea
Sunday Market Pu Luong Village
The wonderful Sunday market draws pople from villages and communities for miles around. For farmers its a chance to sell their goods and locals a chance to dress up and catch up with friends and gossip. Judging by the reaction to me i don't think there have been too many white visitors to this market. In fact half way down the street i was approached by a tall old man who rushing towards me, caused me some momentary panic, until he quite simply threw his arms around me hugged me, grabbed my hand shook it warmly and firmly and all the while without a word before walking on. A moving and unique experience.
Wrapped up warm. I was in short sleeved top!
Want some sugar. Sugar cane drink is a must for all to quench the thirst
Some call them baby oranges otherwise known as clementines!
The butcher relaxes, so no EU health and safety regulation here.
Even in this remote region mobile is king. Fish monger catches up on texts.
Blacksmiths stall all handmade agricultural tools.