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Southeast Asia Travel News

The Southeast Asia Travel Specialists Since 1999

Although certain purists may turn their noses up, some of the Flower Hmong gear to be seen on show these days at local markets such as Vietnam’s Bac Ha Sunday Market is quite remarkable. (The colourful Flower Hmong of Bac Ha are a subgroup of the Hmong ethnic group – in Vietnam often spelt H’Mong – who inhabit the area…

An opportunity to post a few pretty photos from our recent visit to the fascinating, highly colourful and still very traditional hill-tribe market at Bac Ha. Every Sunday this otherwise quiet and somewhat remote little town in the mountains of northern Vietnam bursts into life as vendors from outlying villages flock into town to sell their wares; farm produce, household…

A selection of Bac Ha photos from the famous hill-tribe market – Vietnam, taken on a recent visit during our Vietnam and China tour – South of the Clouds, Yunnan Province as well as some from an earlier Mountains and Hill-tribes – Lao and Vietnam tour led by Wi. The very colourful local market is relatively easily accessed from either…

Hill-tribes in Southeast Asia. You’ll have me across the term ‘hill-tribe’ in many of our Southeast Asia tour pages, or indeed those of most other operators running tours in the region, or for that matter in most of the relevant guide books you’ll find, and refers to the minority ethnic groups inhabiting the mountainous areas of northern Thailand,  Laos, Vietnam,…

One of our very favourite spots in Vietnam, the picturesque town of Sapa lies amongst the high ranges of the ‘Tonkinese Alps’ in the far northwest of the country, close to the border with China. This small, mountain-top settlement became popular during the French era as a cool retreat for colonists from the rigours of the Hanoi climate.   Now…

The term Tai describes the broad ethnic group (the Tai-Kadai linguistic family) which includes the Thai (Siamese), Lao, Shan, Northern Thai, Thai Lu, Red Tai, White Tai etc who occupy a wide band of Asia from the Assam region of India, through southern China, Burma’s Shan States, Laos, Northern Vietnam and of course Thailand itself. We touched on the migration…

Whilst Tai groups had probably been gradually infiltrating southwards into what is now northern Vietnam, Laos and Thailand for several centuries from their homeland in Southern China the migration of Tai groups into Southeast Asia was hastened during the late 12th- and 13th-centuries as the Mongol armies under Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan extended their empire southwards. Ethnic Tai clans…

According to this article, the word for blue and green is the same in Hmong, though I reckon that probably depends on which Hmong dialect one is referring to and our White Hmong mate says that’s nonsense! There is certainly some confusion between Green and Blue Hmong though, and indeed the aforementioned article also categorizes the Black Hmong of Sapa…

Although the ambulant Akha street vendors of Khao San, Tha Pae Gate and other tourist hot spots are very successful and the Lisus in Pai night market do well in the high season, across Southeast Asia it’s the enterprising and commercially minded Hmong that dominate the hill-tribe handicraft market. Their bright colours and bold patterns can be and have been,…

Continuing westwards from the Flower Hmong of Ha Giang and Black Hmong of Lao Cai we reach Lai Chau Province and its colourful Red Hmong sub-group. Their villages are quite widely spread across the northern and central parts of the province, being replaced to the south and west by Tai and Lao sub groups.  Occasional White Hmong villages can be…

The Black Hmong sub group of Northern Vietnam are particularly well known due to Sapa’s place on the well-trodden tourist trail. Although the town itself is actually inhabited by Vietnamese traders and cafe and hotel staff Sapa is totally swamped on most days by Hmong from the surrounding villages. You’ll also come across the distinctively dressed Red Dzao, the more…

Below, a photo fo a  Flower Hmong girl taken at Bac Ha’s Sunday Market. Don’t intend to be patronising – these guys have as much right to a cellphone as anyone – but it does look incongruous next to their centuries-old traditional costumes! The ‘Flower Hmong’ or ‘Variegated Hmong’ is one of the numerous sub groups of the Hmong ethnic…