Around six million minority people inhabit the northern provinces of Vietnam, bordering Laos and China. The most numerous are the Muong and Tai in the northwest, the Tay and Nung in the northeast, and the H’mong and Dao, who are scattered across the region. Originally migrants from southern China, the groups are distinguishable by their varied and colourful forms of traditional dress. Sunday markets in the towns of Sapa and Bac Ha attract large numbers of minority people, including the most vibrantly dressed of all, the Flower H’mong. With more time, you can also drive to the extreme north to the area around Ha Giang, where the landscape is wilder and visitors fewer in number. Whichever route you opt for, experienced guides are essential. Apart from translating and advising on etiquette, they’ll also help you to learn a few phrases in the local dialects, which serve to break the ice with your hosts. Guides employed by TransIndus are chosen for their expertise on the region and its people.