Get closer to locals in Vietnam’s ethnic minority communities

All of the colorful ethnic groups you can encounter – a surprising 54 in all is one of the most stunning things that makes Vietnam such a magical travel destination! Owning very distinct own beliefs, traditions and even clothing, the villagers in the remote mountain villages of Vietnam are globally famous for their hospitability. Often living in much the same way they have for decades and living in very basic homes as well as preserving their century-tradition, these communities are a fascinating window leading you to the past. Indochina tours Vietnam

Mai Chau
Mai Chau – source:

Laden with scenic minority villages, the frontier regions of northern Vietnam are perfect for your exploration. The villages in Sapa, which is accessible with only about four to six hour ride by bus from the capital city of Hanoi is the most popular and amazing launching point for cultural jaunts into minority ethnic villages. The rustic allure of Sapa is still alive and well in the local communities that make it unique as it is home to vibrant bustling valley markets, dozens of the most colorful ethnic minorities in Vietnam and peaceful sleepy hillside towns. Usually in fairly homogeneous communities made up of a particular ethnic group, there are 8 distinct ethnic minority groups living among Sapa’s valleys and mountain villages. The local people of these communities tend to their families, work on their land and gather with their friends all within a stone’s throw of their houses – they usually migrate only to a neighboring community or, for children, to the school near their old school. If you are interested in being deep in adventure and have a bit more time, Ha Giang, a much more remote and lesser-travelled region similar to Sapa is where you should set your pace. Tours in Vietnam

Lovely kids in Ha Giang
Lovely kids in Ha Giang

You can travel about 135 kilometers to southwest of Hanoi to reach another destination well-known for its ethnic minority communities and unique culture – Mai Chau town. Having good infrastructure but not as many tourists as Sapa, Mai Chau has an attractive alternative.

During your tour of the Mekong Delta, you can go farther south to head to Cham Village in Chau Doc, where you can catch a unique insight into the only substantial population of practicing Muslims in Vietnam – people who have regarded the coastal areas of the Mekong Delta as their home for many centuries.

Spring, when things have become warmer and the clouds have lifted is considered as the best time to visit the minority villages of northern Vietnam. Springtime has the added benefit of having romantic flower blooms if you get your timing right! If you want a refreshing repose from Vietnam’s sweltering summer heat, these same areas can also offer you. The drier climate can make for more amazing trekking to some of the more distant villages.

Local people in Sapa
Local people in Sapa – source:

Visitors to minority villages should know that these well-meaning gifts such as candy or money they give to the locals kids do not contribute to the sustainable growth of education, and even can contribute to poorer health although they often feel compelled to do so. You can bring along with you some useful items like pens that can directly benefit the children – or choose responsible touring selections supporting the local business initiatives, instead.

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