We found this market to look at in Thuan Chau, not far from Son La. Mainly Black Thai women in the market where we were made welcome and had quite a laugh. It was here we found out how and why the women have their safety helmets so high on their heads. It is in fact the "chignon" that married Black Thai women wear so making a normal helmet impossible to wear. There is a helmet-maker therefore that makes these with extra long chinstraps. See photos below for examples.
Right next door to the Son La prison is this small museum dedicated to the dress, tools and lives of the ethnic minorities of Son La, mainly H'mong. Quite interesting walk around before entering into the lives of other visitors to Son La, the prisoners of yesteryear, next door. The museum is installed in the old prison administration building.
Entrance for foreigners is 10.000 VND inc. the prison visit.
With nothing much to do in Son La the visit to the prison/museum becomes a must-do!! Built in 1908 and further expanded in 1931 to over 2000 sq.metres. In the 10 years after the expansion the number of prisoners rose to around 1000 in squalid and damp conditions, part of the prison being underground.
Entrance for foreigners is 10.000 VND inc the Museum visit.