This series of images was created during a road trip through Vietnam’s northern provinces of Ha Giang and Cao Bang, a region which is sometimes referred to as Vietnam’s ‘final frontier’. It borders China’s Yunnan and Guanxi provinces, and is indeed a bit off the beaten track.
This northern area was the site of the Sino-Vietnamese border war in 1979. Although this war only lasted for little more than three weeks, Western sources estimate that around 26,000 Chinese and 30-35,000 Vietnamese soldiers lost their lives during the conflict. Small armed skirmishes continued until well into the 1980s, ending only in 1989 when Vietnam agreed to fully withdraw its troops from Cambodia.
The area is well-known for the many ethnic minorities that live there. It’s also one of Vietnam’s poorest regions, and its inhabitants live simple lives, working on the fields, spending time at the local markets and caring for their families.
All images and text © Wouter Vanhees
By Wouter Vanhees