As Good As Vietnam Gets
Discover the Wonders of Harvesting Salt in Vietnam
Conjure Vietnam, and rice paddies come immediately to mind. Rice paddies as vast as lakes. Rice paddies stepping up the sides of highland slopes. Rice paddies like jigsaw puzzle pieces squeezed in all over. Photographers can’t get enough of them. But there is a secondary player on the Vietnamese landscape that’s not as visually compelling but incredibly picturesque nevertheless: the salt flats.
Most of these salt flats are found in areas with intense solar heat and high winds. The result? A high concentration of salt in the coastal waters of Thai Binh, Nam Dinh, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, Can Gio, etc.
Salt-making is a traditional Vietnamese cottage industry that locals have practiced from time immemorial. In Thai Binh province, 110km to the Southeast of Hanoi, the salt makers have raised a temple to the Goddess of Salt. Each year, on the 14th day of the 4th lunar month, the locals celebrate a festival to commemorate the Goddess and pray for prosperity and a successful salt season.
As these mini mountains of salt build up, they make for some pretty stunning man-made landscapes. Above, a man works on a salt flat captured by Saigon-based, American photographer, Quinn Mattingly, when he visited Can Gio, just outside Ho Chi Minh City last February. See more of Quinn Mattingly’s images at www.quinnmattingly.com.