Tuesday , September 21 2021

Journey back in time during northern mountainous watering season

Hanoi-based photographer Vu Ha Nam has visited Bat Xat, a mountainous district in northern Lao Cai Province, five times since 2013 to capture local life during watering season.

Dawn lights a terraced rice field during the rainy season at Sang Ma Sao, a commune in the western part of Bat Xat District.

Nam, 37, obsessed by the annual highland watering season in May-June, has yet to return to Bat Xat this year due to the fresh Covid-19 outbreak. During his previous visits he had accumulated a collection of photos depicting the landscape and people here.

Waterlogged terraced rice fields during summer are a tourist specialty of the northern mountainous region.

Farmers typical flood their fields soon after the first summer rains and start transplanting rice seedlings for the new crop. Watering season lasts from late May to the end of June.

Bat Xat District has more than 3,000 hectares of terraced fields, with 70 percent of the terrain being mountainous

This photo was taken in June 2020, with waterlogged fields appearing in harmony with newly transplanted rice seeds in Sang Ma Sao.

In Muong Hum, a remote commune around five kilometers from Sang Ma Sao, local women flock to their fields to plant new rice.

Bat Xat is home to ethnic minority groups H’mong, Dao and Ha Nhi.

“The image of a little girl who followed her parents to the fields to plant new seedlings in Muong Hum was an impressive moment for me,” said Nam.

It is not unusual to see younger children help their families on the fields.

Rice terraces along a sloping road in Ngai Thau Commune in the early morning.

The road to Ngai Thau is more difficult due to its sloping hills and winding roads, and thus is also more fascinating.

A boy carries his younger brother as their parents work on the rice terraces of Ngai Thau.

“When they meet strangers, they are often shy, but quickly get used to being photographed,” said Nam.

Traditional “trinh tuong” houses with yin-yang tiled roofs are a highlight among rice terraced fields in A Lu Commune. Built by ethnic Tay and Nung minorities, these houses comprise a mixture of clay and mud.

The photo was taken in May 2016.