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Meo Vac

Meo Vac
Meo Vac Town in Ha Giang, a north-eastern province, lies snugly in a smallish valley surrounded by rocky mountain.

After passing through a mountain pass, getting to the town is a five km walk down a sloping path. Entering the street leading to the town, we see many camellia gardens stretching hundreds of meter along the roadside.

The weather in Meo Vac that summer afternoon was extremely sultry, even when the sun was going down. The setting sun lit up the yellow government offices, the grey black wooden houses of the H'Mong ethnic people, and the occasional houses of the Kinh who do business here.

The town is surrounded by green and yellow corn fields which, in the afternoon sun, make for a typical, idyllic mountain scene. The color contrasts with the dark shadows the massive rocks cast near them. The high samu trees (Cunninghamia lanceolata), a common species in the northern mountains, tower over them. In the middle of the town are a stadium and a large market with plenty of space for cattle trading. Visitors throng the market, which only opens Sundays.

Sunset in the valley took an instant - one minute it was bright and sunny, and the next the valley was in deep shadow as the sun went behind the shortest mountain.

Just an hour later the sky was covered with stars, as the mountains appeared as if they were straining to reach the heavens. Their dark shapes produced a creepy, mysterious feeling, heightening the desire to explore this remote land. Meo Vac, however, has rather comfortable hotels at rates even Vietnamese would consider reasonable - about VND80,000 per night. A must-try in the town are the local specialties like corn wine and Meo chicken.

Despite being mountainous, Meo Vac also has plenty of vegetables. At night, the streets, lit by street lamps and lights from the government offices are quiet. The odors of the mountains waft into town on fresh, cool winds.

After a hard journey, a fabulous meal, and lots of corn wine, visitors are lulled into sleep to dream about the Khau Vai love market and other exotic places in the valley.


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