The Ethnic Diversity of Northern Vietnam

Ha Nhi Ethnic Group Vietnam
Discovering the Ethnic Cultures of Northern Vietnam

In the Sum­mer of 2019 Trinh and I set out by motor­bike to explore the eth­nic cul­tures in the moun­tains of Cen­tral Viet­nam. Our planned trip of 2 weeks end­ed 2 months lat­er in the rice ter­races of North­ern Viet­nam. Even after 2 months liv­ing out of a suit­case, strapped to my motor­cy­cle, I still want­ed to keep explor­ing the region. But alas, we had duties back home in Hoi An that need­ed attend­ing to.

The rugged, moun­tain­ous land­scape of North­ern Viet­nam is of course a huge draw to the region, but it was the peo­ple there that cap­tured my heart. The myr­i­ad of eth­nic groups, their unique and fas­ci­nat­ing cul­tures, and the warm and friend­ly nature of the peo­ple, who were more than hap­py to share their cul­ture with us.

For a rel­a­tive­ly small area, there is an enor­mous amount of cul­tur­al diver­si­ty. Two vil­lages that we vis­it­ed along a wind­ing moun­tain road, just 10 min­utes from each oth­er, had dis­tinct­ly dif­fer­ent eth­nic groups. Two groups, each with their own unique lan­guages cul­tures, and customs.

Meet­ing and talk­ing to these peo­ple was an end­less source of fas­ci­na­tion and dis­cov­ery. And so, 2 months into a planned 2‑week trip, I didn’t want to leave

Pre­sent­ed here is a series of pho­tographs of the peo­ple we met and got to know. Behind each pho­to is a sto­ry from the person.

12 pho­tos from this series won the grand prize in the annu­al Her­itage pho­tog­ra­phy com­pe­ti­tion by Viet­nam air­lines and were pub­lished in the Her­itage in-flight mag­a­zine by Viet­nam Air­lines in Jan­u­ary 2020.

To read the sto­ries from the peo­ple and a sum­ma­ry of their eth­nic group, click on the blue text links.