After driving some 230km on zigzagging roads from Hanoi, I reached the foot of the climb to Ta Xua peak. Gaining more height, it feels like entering another world. A majestic scene unfolds, an ocean of white cloud below. A wind blows strongly and the sun’s rays pierce the cloud, illuminating verdant valleys of green tea. The trek through the heart of the Ta Xua Nature Reserve brings climbers to over 2000 metres above sea level. The ridge line looks like a dinosaur's backbone, with a rough path cutting a route with steep, vertiginous cliffs either side. Wildflowers abound adding to the area’s enticing appeal.
Located in Yen Bai Province, Ta Xua Nature Reserve is not only famed for its tea and ancient pine forests, but also the H'mong ethnic group. In this misty land, the people of this ethnic group especially women, have to work very hard all year round. From working the fields and taking care of livestock to looking after children and weaving, the work for the H’mong is never complete. Despite their poor living standards and this hard work, these women are extremely joyful, friendly and generous to a fault.
By Thai A