The Hill Tribes

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

Where To Visit The Hill Tribes


Pop: 95.000
Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Quang Ngam
rice, corn
Belief system:
Cultural characteristics:
Native to the central highlands, the Sedang extend as far west as Cambodia. Like many of their neighbours, the Sedang have been adversely affected by centuries of war and outside invasion and may have been raided by both the Cham and the Khmer to become slaves. They do not carry family names, and there is said to be complete equality between the sexes. The children of one's siblings are also given the same treatment as one's own, creating a strong fraternal tradition. The Sedang practise unique customs, such as grave abandonment (unlike the other hill-tribe groups who return to graves annually for ceremonies), sharing of property with the deceased and giving birth at the forest's edge. Sedang women traditionally wear long skirts and a sarong-like top wrap.
For the world's indigenous people, tourism is both a blessing and a curse.
Studies show indigenous cultures are a major drawcard for travellers and attract substantial revenue. However, little of it directly benefits these minority groups, who are often among their country's poorest and most disadvantaged. Hill-tribe communities in Vietnam aren't usually involved in initiating tourist activities, often they aren't the major economic beneficiaries from these activities, are powerless to stop the tide and have little say in its development. Tourism can bring many benefits to highland communities. These include cross-cultural understanding; improved infrastructure, such as roads; cheaper market goods; and tourist dollars supporting handicraft Industries and providing employment opportunities.
However, there are also negative side-effects. Tourism creates or contributes to overtaxing of natural resources; increased titter and pollutants; dependency on tourist dollars; proliferation of drug use and prostitution; and erosion of local values and practices. If you travel to these regions, the good news is that you can make a positive contribution and ensure that the benefits of your stay outweigh the costs.
Be polite and respectful.
Dress modestly.
Minimise litter.
Do not urinate or defecate near villagers' households; bury faeces.
Do not take drugs - young children tend to imitate tourists' behaviour.
Do not engage in sexual relationships with local people, including prostitutes.
Try to learn something about the community's culture and language and teach something good about your
Do not give children sweets or money; it encourages begging and paves the way for prostitution for 'gifts' and money. Sweets also contribute to tooth decay.
Do not give clothes - communities are self-sufficient.