The Hill Tribes

Bahnar - Dzao - Ede - H'mong - Jarai - Muong - Nung - Sedang - Tay - Thai

Where To Visit The Hill Tribes


Pop: 200,000+
Dac Lac, Gia Lai Khanh Hoa, Phu Yen
rice, corn
Belief system:
Cultural characteristics:
The Jarai are the most populous minority in the central highlands, many living around Pleiku , as well as northeast Cambodia and southern Laos. Villages are often named for a nearby river, stream or tribal chief, and a nha-rong (communal house) is usually found in the centre. Jarai women typically propose marriage to men through a matchmaker, who delivers the prospective groom a copper bracelet. Animistic beliefs and rituals still abound, and the Jarai pay respect to their ancestors and nature through a host or yang (genie). Popular spirits include the King of Fire (Po Teo Pui) and the King of Water (Po TeoLa) who are summoned to bring forth the rain.
The Jarai construct elaborate cemeteries for their dead, which include carved effigies of the deceased, these totems can be found in the forests around villages, but sadly many are being snapped up by culturally insensitive collectors.
Perhaps more than any of Vietnam's other hill tribes, the Jarai are renowned for their indigenous musical instruments, from bronze gongs to bamboo tubes, which act as wind flutes and percussion. Jarai women typically wear sleeveless indigo blouses and long skirts.