The different tribes in North Vietnam

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Date: January 25th 2018
Traveller: Carla Rijnders
Vietnam is known as the land of the “ascending dragon”, crazy traffic, great food and beautiful countryside. But that’s not all there is to this amazing country; just think of the different people that live here. When you go all the way to the north, you’ll find that there is a mixture of ethnic minorities that live in the mountains. The Highland People, as they are called in Vietnam, are divided into 54 (!) ethnic groups which are, in turn, divided into dozens of subgroups. This probably makes Vietnam the richest and most complex ethnic society in Southeast Asia.

Many of the people have heard of the Tay, Muong, Hoa and Khmer. But have you ever heard of the Brau, Ro Mam or O Du? Probably not, as they are the smallest groups, with only a hundred people each, who live in the lush mountains on the borders with China and Lao. These people try very hard to hold on to their heritage, but it becomes more and more difficult for them to do so...

Interested in learning more about the Highland people? There are plenty of ways to do so. You can meet them while cycling around Sapa. On this 2-day trip, you’ll ride along the Muong Goa Valley before you head into the Ban Ho Valley, which is home to Tay, Red Dao minorities. On your way, you’ll get to know these interesting people, stay in a local house and of course enjoy the beautiful landscape.
Another great way to experience Sapa highlands is with Topas Ecolodge. This 4-day stay will bring you to the most colourful markets, trekking in the rice feels and meeting Black H’mong and Red Dao minority people. 

There are plenty of interesting ways to learn more about the different tribes in the North of Vietnam, just check out our tours and trips to find out more!


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