At the Lai Chau Market, Vietnam

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On our way from Sapa to Dien Bien Phu, we briefly stopped in this strange town.  The arrival is “grandiose” with a brand new eight-lane boulevards and monumental government buildings, but the reality is somehow more prosaic.

This is a new city, formerly known as Tam Duong, split between the old town, with its market full of hill-tribe people, and the concrete new town a few km away.  But we didn’t see much behind all these new buildings.  Strange impression.

Like most visitors, we only stopped for a quick break on our way to Dien Bien Phu. The drive from Sapa along Hwy 4D, threading through the Fansipan Mountain Range near the Chinese border, was a beautiful stretch of road.

Lai Chau, Vietnam, April 2014

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