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ON the beaten track

ON the beaten track
Photo Information
Copyright: Paul VDV (PaulVDV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4287 W: 17 N: 10061] (41382)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2017-04-06
Categories: Nature
Exposure: f/0.1, 1/21 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2017-09-09 23:46
Viewed: 715
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sapa - ON the beaten track

Sapa (also written Sa Pa) is a tourist magnet in the northwest of Vietnam.
There live several ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, Dao (Yao), Giáy, Pho Lu and Tay.
The city itself is not beautiful at all. Large numbers of new hotels are built criss-crossing each other. On arrival the city seems very confusing. But it's not expensive at all to stay there and you will find good restaurants.
The attraction of Sapa lies in the surrounding villages and rice fields built on mountain slopes.

Sapa isn’t big and it’s possible to walk from the center of town to villages like Cat Cat, Sa Seng, Hang Da and Ta Phin. You can also take a car from Sapa along the main road that runs almost on top of the mountain slope, let you drop off somewhere and continue on feet.
You can’t get lost ! Just be aware that the slopes are steep and that you need time (well, an older guy like me needed time).

It’s possible to stay for the night in the villages. There’s plenty of basic but clean accommodation. There are several eating places with simple but good food. After all, this is one of the top tourist destinations in the north of the country.
So one more time, I was shocked by the high number of foreigners that was hiking there. If you don’t want to see other tourists and you’re looking for real adventure, forget about this region.
But it is a beautiful area and not difficult to get there.

I arrived in Sapa early in the morning (with the night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai and from there by bus). That afternoon I went walking by myself. Just without plan from one village to another. In my hotel I arranged a car that dropped me off along the main road and picked me up a few hours later on another spot. For the next two days I signed up for a trek. There are many travel agencies in Sapa and they offer all kind of treks.

The two-day trip began on foot from Sapa, led down various steep slopes along the rice fields and different viewpoints. The guide was a young woman, a resident of one of the villages. In the group we were with eight. Accommodation was together with another group in one very large room. Basic but clean. There were two showers and toilets. Along the way we eat in small eateries. Simple but tasty food.
The advantage is that the local guide can give you some explanation about the life in these villages and that you come to places you just would not find by yourself. Such hiking tours are inexpensive. For the money you should not let them.

The only downside as stated above is that this area is definitely the beaten track!
But since this is a photo site, most of the members just look at the pictures (well, at the main picture).
Yeah, there are some more in the workshop.

Tue, Fis2, holmertz, ikeharel, alvaraalto, jhm, ktanska, PiotrF, ChrisJ, danos, dale54, adramad, cornejo, macjake has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To emka: priorityPaulVDV 2 2017-09-10 01:20
To alvaraalto: nota voor je schoonzusPaulVDV 1 2017-09-10 06:23
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • emka Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10139 W: 144 N: 25364] (123503)
  • [2017-09-09 23:53]
  • [+]

Hello Paul,
There are the rice terraces like this also in China, my dream was to see them, but unfortunately I did not have enough time. Marvelous view. You had mixed feelings but I would be delighted with all this from northern Vietnam. Maybe I should go once more to this part. Your pictures are very inviting. Breath taking view. amazing how the landscape can be made by humans.

Kind regrad s Malgo

  • Great 
  • Nicou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 13818 W: 0 N: 16050] (169358)
  • [2017-09-10 1:28]


avec la rivière en fond quelle vue e tiamge quelle compo fantastique iamge et quelle terrasse de culture quel graphisme tout en rond quel effet mervielleuxe compo et iamg sueprbe.
Bravo et amitié

  • Great 
  • Tue Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9146 W: 57 N: 15351] (56892)
  • [2017-09-10 1:40]

Hallo Paul,
Dit uitzichtpunt gaf een prachtig zicht op de rijstvelden, de gelaagde structuur is hier heel goed te zien. Mooie vertical compositie, waardoor de heuvels zich nog hoger lijken op te stapelen. Mooie WS-foto ook met de dame en de eenden!

  • Great 
  • Fis2 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 9599 W: 157 N: 15505] (124145)
  • [2017-09-10 1:50]

Witaj Paul!
Curious landscape, fields make an impression.
Good POV and composition.
Nice colors.
Nice sunday.

Hello Paul,
All photos show terrific sceneries and they become even more interesting along with the note. Even considering the number of tourists you describe, a trek in this area should be a great experience thanks to the natural beauty. Maybe my personal favorite is (not surprisingly) the woman with the ducks. I was fascinated by the narrow road winding through the scenery, but the woman's posture indicates that she had posed like that many times before.
I find this main photo slightly pale. I am also not fond of too heavily saturated colours, so instead I darken the photos until they look slightly too dark. Then I add some brightness.
Kind regards,

Beautifully carved terraces upon the slopes, Paul, the sight from a high point shows clearly how every piece of available land is employed.
Good afternoon,

Dag Paul
Dit is echt zo’n foto die ik mij van de aardrijkskunde boeken van vroeger herinneren. De prachtige terrassen met de rijstvelden van Zuidoost-Azië.
Het is opvallend hoeveel mensen ik de laatste weken heb horen zeggen hoe toeristisch Vietnam is geworden, zonder dat ik ze jouw ervaring heb verteld. Volgende week gaat mijn schoonzus ook al die kant op.
Groet Rob

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 24413 W: 523 N: 40840] (175730)
  • [2017-09-10 5:37]

Dag Paul,

Dit is werkelijk een heel mooie foto met al de bewerkte tafel cultuur op de berghellingen.
U bracht dit heel mooi in beeld.
Schitterend panorama over dit groot gebied.
Goed gedaan, bedankt.

Groeten uit Oost Vlaanderen,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 11760 W: 126 N: 21153] (108907)
  • [2017-09-10 6:06]

Hi Paul,10 points for your 5 magnificent pics,i agree with you for the choice of the main post,absolutely a great show!! But the others too are great views and the last showing us how the local people is dressed is amazing. Great work! Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano

Hi Paul,
Such terrace fields are so wonderful. Although made for purpose of growing rice they look like huge works of landscape artists. Excellent light and perspective.

Bonjour Paul,

J'aime beaucoup cette composition. La plongée vers la vallée est impressionnante et les cultures à étages sont superbes et de toutes les couleurs.



  • Great 
  • PiotrF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3987 W: 2 N: 6715] (33282)
  • [2017-09-10 14:37]

Hello Paul,
Interesting capture of the rice terraces, unique place.I like nice colours, wonderful composition and good sharpness. Thank you for informative note.
Nice presentation

Hello, Paul!

The terraces remind me of those built by the Incas that we can see in Peru, and the curved lines create a very nice pattern, making the image very attractive! Very good colors and depth! Wonderful view captured from a very nice POV!

  • Great 
  • ChrisJ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 14271 W: 1034 N: 28588] (135918)
  • [2017-09-10 18:34]

Hello Paul,

I saw this from the bus window but didn't bother trying to get a photo. Looks similar to Bali, China or the Philippines. Incredible repetition of patterns and shapes. Tfs!

  • Great 
  • rychem Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3355 W: 0 N: 7688] (56033)
  • [2017-09-10 22:08]

Great view from a high POV and impressive terraces of rice fields, what can I say, simply a great photo
my compliments

  • Great 
  • danos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 13704 W: 295 N: 27294] (109611)
  • [2017-09-10 23:53]

Hello Paul,
this is really an spectacular panoramic view of the cultivated fields in Vietnam,on the slope hills making the whole scenery even more attractive.I wonder the degree of the farmers difficulties as cultivated this ground.Excellent presentation.


  • Great 
  • dale54 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 910 W: 0 N: 1382] (12709)
  • [2017-09-11 10:21]

hello to you paul...i can see for miles & miles...like what you came up with here,plus excellent POV- view! tfs dale

Ciao Paul
questo è un paesaggio che lascia senza fiato, l'opera dell'uomo che si protrae nei secoli cercando un compromesso con la natura.
Bellissime foto, tutte.
Saluti Carlo

Hello Paul.
Impressive panoramic view of these steep slopes, for rice cultivation, is an image of great attraction for the tourist, the work done by the people of this place, for their survival is admirable.
A magnificent color that gives much chromatic richness to the image.
Very good lighting management and very good sharpness.
Well done. I like it.
I wish you a nice week.
Very best regards.

Hello Paul, excellent view of these beautiful rice terraces, very well captured in this good and beautiful photograph. A beautiful image with good sharpness, depth and quality. A great job perfectly done, my congratulations, my friend. Thank you for sharing this beautiful work.

Good night and happy week.
All the best from the south of Spain.

Hi Paul
first of all, I didn't know we could upload 4 WS photos!
I really like the WS #1, that one made me smile :)
as for this type of location, isn't it every photographers dream? I know its one of mine.

Reading your note, you sounds conflicted. There seems to be alot of joy in photographing these rice fields on the slopes, but yet you also feel its something which everyone photographs. Perhaps that takes away some of its charm for you?

in any case, I love the shot, and i'm jealous :)
so that should tell you everything you need to know

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