In August 2015 I set off on my own self initiated tribal textiles tour of Ha Giang Province in North Vietnam. Known as home to 70% of Vietnams 54 registered ethnic minority groups, Ha Giang promised to be a eyeopening and electic adventure for any textiles ethuasist.
The majority of people touring this province are either free-spirited motorbikers or nature loving tourist groups. I was on a mission to make contact, see and try and learn about traditional dress and textiles of the enigmatic people living in these remote areas.
Tinh Tuc is the last leg of my journey which began with meeting the weavers in Lung Tam Ha Giang – Glitter Girls of Dong Van – Applique lessons with Flower Lolo in Meo Vac – Red ceremonial dress in Lolo Lung Cu – Black Lolo Village of Bao Lac, before returning 2 1/2 weeks laters to modern civilisation in the city of Cao Bang.
Ha Giang is just under 8000 sq Km of measureless mountains. Although I did thorough research in advance, much what that I saw and learnt on the road was not photographed or recorded in the ethnographic history of this area (not in English anyway). I was told by a local guide that there are 100s of different hill tribe hamlets and indiginous people living high in the mountains over a days walk away from the nearest road.
The most surprising encouter for me was meeting the Dao people of Tinh Tuc. The streets were peppered with women wearing yellow and turquoises shirts accessorised with floral flannels. Women sat by the side of the street hand stitching collars, and carried the most beautiful and distinctive handbags.
Have you been to Ha Giang? What Hill Tribes did you see along the way? I would love to hear from you, please share your experiences about Ha Giang travel in the comments box below.
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How To Get There
Tinh Tuc is a 4-8hr drive from Meo Vac, depending on if you are in a car, riding a motorbike or (in James case a bicycle). The road is hard and dangerous as a solo biker, there are seldom people on the road and many obstacles.
Where to stay
If you are in a car I suggest you keep going another 20km as there is another bigger town which is not shown on google maps. There is only one house to stay in at Tinh Tuc town, as you are leaving the own on the left hand side is a hanging sign outside a house next door to a rice resturant. The locals are very friendly so just ask around and signal that you want to sleep. The ladies accommodation is little more than a outhouse with 1 bed and mosquito net and outdoor wash room for about 60.000 vnd.