Vietnam has 54 distict ethnic groups, although the Kinh make up the majority of the nation’s 86 million people. The ethnic minority groups usually live in poverty in the country’s most remote and barren regions.
However, in Sapa, in Vietnam’s mountainous north-west, the tail end of the grand Himalaya mountain range, the ethnic groups have seized on a lucrative business opportunity – tourism. Women of the Black H’mong, Red Dzao and Tay minorities — and a few stray Flower H’mong — wander the streets in their traditional dress, selling local handicrafts. For the most part, these astute businesswomen — some with babies slung over their backs – don’t demand payment for photographs, instead they pose happily for the gobsmacked camera-clicking tourists.
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