A visit to Sa Pa’s Sunday market is an important social occasion for these Red Dao women putting on their Sunday best in Ta Phin village. The market is not only a chance to trade and shop, but also an opportunity to relax after a hard working week.
Vietnam – Photo Tip

You'll be rewarded for escaping the beaten track

Photo by Ton Koene

Vietnam – Photo Tip You'll be rewarded for escaping the beaten track

Sometimes, totally unexpectedly, you find yourself in photographic heaven.

Ton Koene
Ton Koene Travel Photographer

This happened to me when I was making this photo story of the Hmong tribe for TRVL in Northern Vietnam. The area is very touristic – especially Sa Pa town and its immediate surroundings, which are crowded with visitors. A local tourist guide said that there was a market two hours drive away, where no tourists would ever go.

The reason was that the roads were too bad for the luxurious minibuses used to run tours. Pim (the writer) and I went there on our rental scooters and indeed we found a very busy market full of local people who were dressed in the most colorful traditional outfits.

The sun made the entire scene even more shiny and attractive. People were nice and did not mind me taking pictures of them. In fact, they felt very proud to be the center of attention.

How different it is in villages which have been already spoiled by tourists, where people ask for money or tell you to stop taking photos. I almost went crazy because in every direction I pointed my camera, there was a beautiful person with an amazing outfit. I was like a kid in a toy store.

These are rare moments but when it happens and you find yourself in such a situation, it is utter happiness.

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Red Dao woman on her way to the field near Ta Phin village. Photo by Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Ton Koene

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

Aperture
ƒ/11/1
Exposure
1/20
ISO
125
Focal
24/1 mm

Red Dao woman on her way to the field near Ta Phin village.

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