Vietnam Journey Suggestions and Highlights by photographer Réhahn
French photographer Réhahn is at the moment on a mission to photograph all 54 of Vietnam’s tribes. It’s taken eight years of travelling Vietnam by motorcycle to discover the distant corners of the nation however, with 51 tribes and counting, he’s set to complete his bold Valuable Heritage mission in 2019.
A journey photographer impressed by Steve McCurry and Sebastião Salgado, Réhahn is initially from Bayeux within the French area of Normandy, however he’s lived in Vietnam since 2011.
Often known as the ‘photographer who captures the soul’ of his topics, he’s well-known for his vibrant and intimate portraits from Vietnam, Cuba, Malaysia, India and past.
Right here, he tells Graeme Inexperienced his seven private highlights from his adventures throughout Vietnam.
1: Methods to get off the crushed monitor: TRA SU
Tra Su is a peaceable place within the Mekong Delta with virtually no different vacationers. It’s an unlimited space of mangrove forest and swampland that’s residence to many various sorts of vibrant birds and animals.
It’s round 30 kilometres from the city of Chau Doc, down within the south of Vietnam and near the Cambodian border.
The realm has a specific kind of palm timber you may’t discover anyplace else within the nation.
Vietnam Tribes – Valuable Heritage Challenge
I’ve spent my final eight years in Vietnam travelling all through the nation for my Valuable Heritage Challenge to photograph al 54 of Vietnam’s tribes.
It’s taken me all of that point to seek out 51 of the nation’s 54 tribes.
I found Tra Su by probability once I was on the lookout for the Khmer ethnic group.
I like to spend time there, exploring the native villages and waterways.
2: Coolest Metropolis: HOI AN
Hoi An is a small metropolis on the central coast of the nation, surrounded by rice paddies and the seashore. It’s my favorite metropolis in Vietnam. I’ve lived right here in Hoi An since I moved to Vietnam in 2011 and I’ve my Valuable Heritage Artwork Gallery Museum right here, which incorporates my pictures of Vietnam’s tribes, in addition to tribal costumes and artefacts I’ve been given.
I really like the life-style and optimism of individuals in Hoi An. The solar shines all 12 months and the minimal temperature we get is 20 levels, which is ‘summer season’ in Normandy, the place I’m initially from.
They name Hoi An the ‘Yellow Metropolis’.
Early morning, between 5 am to 7 am, there are not any vacationers round, and I really like strolling, ready for the solar to come back onto each slender alley, catching a younger scholar on her bike or an previous woman getting back from the market.
A river crosses the town and in the course of the flooding season, Hoi An turns into like Venice, which provides distinctive photographic prospects.
3: One in all my favorite tribes: THE CHAM
Most of the tribes I’ve photographed in Vietnam have grow to be buddies and even like household. However I’ve a really particular bond with the household of An Phuoc, a seven 12 months previous woman with unimaginable blue eyes.
She’s from the Cham tribe, who’re specialists in making pottery and silk.
An Phuoc is named the ‘woman with the cat’s eyes’ in her village. Her sister has one eye blue and one hazelnut.
We frequently hear that eyes are home windows to the soul, and it’s true: eyes actually can inform a narrative.
The household is now in my ‘Giving Again’ mission as a result of the picture of An Phuoc is one in every of my bestselling pictures.
Sapa, An Phuoc’s older sister, wished to be a photographer, so I purchased her a digital camera. I purchased a cow for the household and bikes for the women. I consider it’s my accountability to offer one thing again to the folks I photograph.
4: Unbelievable area to discover: DONG VAN
The Valley of Dong Van, in northern Vietnam, is inhabited by 14 totally different ethnic teams. I spent many days there to seek out numerous totally different tribes to photograph.
The realm is far much less identified than Sapa, which is in style with vacationers for mountaineering and assembly native tribes.
Dong Van feels extra like actual rural life. Each 5 kilometres, you expertise totally different structure and totally different clothes, and it seems like crossing into totally different international locations.
You possibly can go to weekend markets and spend time in native villages. Some individuals are harvesting hemp and others are engaged on costumes in entrance of their home, however they at all times invite you to style their rice alcohol.
The Dong Van Karst Plateau Geopark is up right here, which is a scenic mountain space, protected by UNESCO, up on the border with China.
The views on this space are unimaginable.
5: Most fascinating cultural expertise: BATIK
One in all my most memorable experiences from travelling round Vietnam was attending to strive making Batik with the Hmong folks in Pa Co village, up within the north of Vietnam.
Batik is a way that consists of drawing on hemp material with beeswax.
Hmong Conventional Costume
The Hmong embellish their conventional costumes with this historic approach. It’s such an interesting course of and the patterned textiles look stunning.
You possibly can choose up examples at native retailers or markets, but it surely’s additionally doable to have a go your self, which is a very cool expertise.
6: Most spectacular highway journey: MA PI LENG
Dwelling in Vietnam has given me the possibility to work on my longterm mission and to actually discover the nation.
I solely drive motorbikes right here and it provides me a sense of freedom I’ve by no means felt anyplace else, setting out on my bike to go to new locations and meet new folks.
I by no means know what I’m going to seek out.
Ma Pi Leng is likely one of the highest passes in Vietnam. It’s a ‘should do’ for any travellers exploring the northern area of Vietnam.
The highway from Meo Vac to Dong Van is known as the ‘Joyful Highway’ by the locals. I really like using my motorcycle there and stopping on the high to admire the valley beneath.
The surroundings is improbable, with winding roads, inexperienced valleys and towering mountains.
7: Favorite tribal costume: THE RO MAM
As a photographer, I’m very inquisitive about totally different cultures, historic traditions, clothes and textiles. Once I meet tribal folks and photograph them, I’m generally given conventional costumes and different gadgets that I acquire and protect at my museum in Hoi An. Most of the tribes aren’t capable of make their costumes anymore and their traditions are beginning to fade in some areas.
Assembly the Ro Mam was an intense and memorable expertise, particularly as I’d needed to wait three years for authorization.
There at the moment are solely 12 of their conventional costumes left, and I used to be honoured to be given one, in addition to a pipe and a basket, to showcase their tradition at my museum.
The remaining 11 white costumes are saved safely by the Ro Mam as treasures, as they know nobody makes them anymore.
Réhahn is at the moment engaged on a mission to photograph all of Vietnam’s 54 tribes. He has photographed 51 up to now, with plans to satisfy and photograph the ultimate few tribes in 2019.
Réhahn’s books embody Vietnam: Mosaic of Contrasts (Vol 1 and a couple of) and The Assortment: 10 years of pictures.
For extra on his pictures, the Valuable Heritage mission and different tasks, his museums or for prints of his work, go to Photographer Comply with him on Fb and Instagram
Graeme Inexperienced is a UK journalist and photographer. Comply with him on Fb and Instagram
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