Sapa Black H’Mong Ladies

Posted on October 16, 2010


Vietnam has 54 distict ethnic groups, although the Kinh make up the majority of the nation’s 86 million people. The ethnic minority groups usually live in poverty in the country’s most remote and barren regions.

However, in Sapa, in Vietnam’s mountainous north-west, the tail end of the grand Himalaya mountain range, the ethnic groups have seized on a lucrative business opportunity – tourism. Women of the Black H’mong, Red Dzao and Tay minorities — and a few stray Flower H’mong — wander the streets in their traditional dress, selling local handicrafts. For the most part, these astute businesswomen — some with babies slung over their backs – don’t demand payment for photographs, instead they pose happily for the gobsmacked camera-clicking tourists.

I cannot wait to go back. Darling man promised me our small family will conquer Mount Fansipan, Vietnam’s highest mountain,  in 2010. The year is running out fast, so the plan is postponed to next year. I just cannot wait to tell people that I’ve climbed Mount Fancypants in a pair of fancy pants with a fancypants baby on my back. I’m sure darling man will be soberly dressed, though.

Posted in: Travel, Vietnam