Meet the minorities..

On these pages you can learn more about the ethnic minority groups residing in the area from Sapa to Nam Cang. Guests staying in Nam Cang will have the chance to meet people from some of the different minority groups, with the number of villages visited dependent on your personal tour package.

Overview

Vietnam is a culturally complex and diverse land, with 54 different ethnic groups living within the country’s borders. Approximately 87 per cent of the population belong to the Kinh (Viet), the predominant ethnic group, with the remaining 13 per cent, or 8.5 million people, living throughout the midland, upland and highland areas, though mainly concentrated in the western part of the country where they inhabit two-thirds of the border areas. Groups vary in size, ranging from over 1 million to less than 200 people, with the ten main groups accounting for close to 85 per cent of the ethnic population. Most of Vietnam’s minority groups also inhabit neighbouring countries, with equal or greater numbers living in southern China, Laos, Cambodia, Northern Thailand and Myanmar.
Each ethnic group has its own unique culture and history. Western knowledge and understanding  regarding the origin, distribution, subdivisions and cultural character of the minority groups is limited. The classification of ethnic groups varies, with Vietnamese, Chinese, French and British referring to the same people by different names. The distinction between ethnic groups is based largely on linguistic criteria, whereby the minority groups are divided into three major language families: Austro-Asiatic, Austronesian and Sino-Tibetan. However, within these ethnic groups are many local groups with a multitude of dialects. Minority groups who share the same language often have distinct beliefs and customs, thus, classification based on language alone is imprecise. Groups may be subdivided according to differences in dialect, relationships, geographical position, altitude of settlement, socio-political structure and traditional dress.