Text: Tran Tan Vinh
Photos: Vu Minh Quan

Peach blossoms add color and joy to Vietnam’s northern highlands

 In Vietnam, pink peach blossoms and golden ochna flowers are symbols of spring. Ochnas bloom in southern Vietnam while peach blossoms brighten up the North. These flowers are symbols of the Lunar New Year.

In Vietnam’s Northern Highlands wild peach blossoms appear like miracles as spring approaches. Tiny buds appear between the rocks in the Dong Van Rock Highlands. Spring is the most beautiful season to visit Ha G iang. The roads from Quan Ba to Yen Minh, especially around Dong Van, Lung Cu and Meo Vac, are lined with pink clouds of peach trees. Known as mountain or Miao peach blossoms, these trees grow on mountain peaks, down the hills, and amidst the rock fences that encircle small hamlets. They loom over tiny houses, spreading the magic of spring.

The mountain peach blossoms in Dong Van have five pointed petals. The flowers are pink rather than red growing from slim and graceful branches. While they look fragile, these peach trees can withstand the stiff mountain winds. Their pink flowers form a wonderful contrast to the surrounding dark stone walls and rocky grey mountains.

Through decades of hard work, the local Hmong people have turned small gullies between spiky rocks into little paddy fields. Muscular oxen and their masters grip the cliffs, plowing the small patches of fertile soil in order to survive. Maize and green mustard are two staple foods here and the main crops of Hmong communities. Corn cobs are grilled to make mèn mén, a delicious staple, and used to brew liquor that is sold in the local markets. In rocky canyons, green mustard plants yield bright golden blossoms in the springtime, further adorning the marvelous landscape.

Nature bestows gifts of spring flowers upon the highland people in the North. In these bleak surroundings, the flowers and little human settlements appear even more lovely. Spring flowers herald the coming of Tet, lift locals’ spirits and welcome visitors to Vietnam’s far flung mountain regions.