When we talk about ethnic groups in Vietnam, it is Sapa and its surroundings that immediately come to mind. Yet among the 53 minorities present in the territory, some live in the valleys of the Upper Tonkin. In the north of Vietnam, near the Chinese border, it is a region of enigmatic beauty abounding in natural riches. The ethnic people are welcoming and happy to talk about their culture and traditions.
After the visit to the splendid falls of Ban Gioc (the biggest waterfalls in Vietnam marking the border with China) it is essential to go and meet the ethnic group of the Black Lolos.
This minority from the Yunnan region of China, is among the smallest in Vietnam and they are only a few thousand. Their traditional dress is a black tunic with pink, yellow and green stripes on the sleeves, and a long, wide skirt. They live in hamlets, in houses on stilts overlooking the valley. Their houses are built of wood and often give the impression of being a real museum, as they are interesting to discover. Although they live apart from the world, in order to preserve their way of life and customs, the Black Lolos are extremely hospitable and always willing to share their knowledge with the travellers.
To discover the impressive landscapes and enjoy an extraordinary viewpoint, the Happiness Road, which winds through the mountains between Bao Lac and Dong Van, is the best option. This route will take the travellers to several small villages, where they will have the opportunity to meet the H'Mong ethnic group, notably in the village of Lung Tam, where an ancestral method of weaving and embroidery is still practiced.
To continue the adventure and discover other minority ethnic groups, we strongly recommend continuing the road to the mountains in Sapa!