The Ethnic Diversity of Northern 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.