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An update from Evaneos
Vietnam

Meeting the Hmong, Dao, and other Lolo ethnic groups

Everyone certainly recalls the episode "Go to unknown lands", where Frédéric Michalak and Frédéric Lopez sympathised with the Black Lolo. It is also possible for you to pass a little bit of time immersing yourself in these remote villages in Northern Vietnam in order to try living a simple day-to-day existence consisting of work, solidarity, and honest pieces of fun and excitement. The main thing is to appear humble and respectful in your approach.

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Introduction to the ethnic diversity of Vietnam

54 different ethnic groups and hundreds of local groups with various customs and dialects: such is the ethnic landscape of Vietnam, which was formed nearly 1,000 years ago. In Northern Vietnam, which is the region that we are discussing here, the White Thais, the Dao and the Hmong are originally from China and make a living by growing rice and raising cattle. Because living alongside the Thais is difficult, these ethnic minorities mostly live away from the cities, deep in the highlands. This isolation allows their ancestral traditions to survive although they have been considerably damaged.

Immersion in the villages

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Sustainable tourism is one of the means by which the ethnic minorities of Vietnam can continue to fervently live out and practise their traditions. We must meet them with respect and humility, without shaking up their beliefs with our Western customs.

To fully experience your trip and gently immerse yourself in the culture, it is better to call on local associations or agencies that work in those areas and are familiar with the reality of the situation. Thanks to them, you can be welcomed as friends to the villages, accompanied by a guide who will translate for you and your hosts and let you know the set of rules and customs currently in force in the community. Do not neglect this; it will make all the difference between you and any other tourist! Listen to your hosts, respect their differences, become a part of their daily life, and adopt their way of life without imposing: this is the true journey and adventure. By doing this, you will experience the most intense moments of your trip.

Leaving the villages, you will go hiking through this superb region. Sapa, the front door to the mountains; Bac Ha and its multicoloured market where you can unearth fine artisanal work; and, to gently conclude, we want to entrust you with this address at which you can stay: Pan Hou Village, a house that is a trailblazer when it comes to ecotourism. There are wooden bungalows at the heart of lavish nature, and baths of tea and medicinal plants that are characteristic to the Mien ethnic group and prepared with their assistance.

Laetitia Santos
34 contributions
Updated 26 March 2018
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