Resilience on the hills of Sa Pa, Vietnam

Home to several ethnic minority groups such as Hmong, portrayed here on these images, Sa Pa is located 380km northwest of Hanoi, Vietnam's capital, close to the border with China. The Hoàng Liên Son range of mountains dominates the district, which is at the eastern extremity of the Himalayas.

The scenery of the Sa Pa region in large part reflects the unique relationship between the diverse minority groups and nature, which shows how Geography and Culture intertwine to determine different and specific ways of living.      

Sa Pa has been attracting an increasing number of local and international visitors each year, who come to this once quiet mountain town in search of remarkable trekking and cultural experiences. Trying to preserve their customs and traditions while adapting to the challenges brought by western development and modernization, some ethnic groups, notably Hmong women, began working as tour/trekking guides and offering homestay experiences at local homes in the mountains.

Their strength and joyful resilience were truly inspiring, and they showed me the amazing capacity we have to adapt to new circumstances - and also to a changing environment. My time in Sa Pa, although shorter than I would have liked, gave me an insight into their relations with their natural environment, and it offer me the possibility to learn a bit about their cultural diversity and how it benefits their resilience strategies.