Photographer's Note

Two other features of the landscape immediately attract the visitor’s attention: the paddy-fields tumbling down the slopes in vertiginous staircases and the innumerable limestone peaks and crests emerging from the clouds in the morning, a sort of Halong Bay transferred to the mountains.

The terraced paddy-fields are built by the Hmong and Dao on the slopes where the water supply is sufficient to provide irrigation throughout the growing season. It takes a tremendous amount of work to create and maintain the paddy-fields and, in the absence of all instruments, it requires an elaborate ancestral technique, already used by the Chinese peasants before they emigrated during the second half of the 19th century. The surface area of the projected terraces is calculated according to the available water-flow. All the terraces must be perfectly horizontal, so as to maintain a constant water level before they pour into the terrace immediately below.

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Additional Photos by Tuan Le (letuananh) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 189 W: 25 N: 156] (2543)
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