10 Reasons Why I Love Visiting The Mountains In Vietnam (And So Will You)

07 Feb, 2023 | Secrets Untold

"The fishes live in the water. The birds live in the sky. The Hmong live in the mountains."

A third quarter of Vietnam’s topography is mountainous areas so mountains play an important role in the country. Besides providing huge natural sources, the mountains are also home to the most spectacular landscapes and diverse cultures of ethnic groups. More than that, the mountains also offer calm, joy, happiness, and other reasons that convinced me to put the mountains into my Vietnam trip.

Here are 10 reasons why I love a trip to the mountains in Vietnam

1. Ethnic Groups Have Diverse Cultures

The mountain is home to many ethnic minority groups in Vietnam who own the richest and the most colorful cultures in the country. 

Most ethnic groups choose mountains and highlands to settle in. The Tay has been set in mountainous areas for millions of years. They are the earliest known ethnic group in Vietnam, migrated from the islands of South Asia in 500 BC with their old-age traditions. 

Hmong people, the most well-known group for their beautiful dresses and batik art, have been in Vietnam for more than 300 years. Dong Van plateau in Ha Giang is their ancestral homeland. The Hmong mainly live in the northern mountains at altitudes from 700 m to 1,500 m which are considered the most remote destinations and the most difficult terrains. There are still the Dzao, La Chi, Man, Zay, Lo Lo and so many more who call the mountain their home. 

The remote location and poor living conditions can’t stop ethnic people from living a beautiful life. They have the most beautiful songs, weave the most beautiful fabrics, tell the most attractive stories, own the strangest rituals, and preserve their diverse cultures from generation to generation. 

2. The Landscapes Are Just Amazing

When talking about Vietnam’s beautiful natural landscapes, most people think of its mountains which are just marvelous, especially mountains in the northern Vietnam. Mountain ranges are located in different parts of the country and each of them exudes its own beauty but the mountains in the northern part are considered the most spectacular with arduous but striking mountain roads and poetic streams winding the foothills. Waterfalls, meadows, and rice fields dotted with ethnic villages are here and there waiting to surprise you at every turn. 

3. Vietnamese Mountains Have Some Of The Most Beautiful Rice Terraces In The World

Terraced rice fields are layers of paddy fields on sloping mountains that resemble a series of steps that climb up the hillside from the foot to the mountain peak, creating a magnificent image that is only seen in Southeast Asia where rice agriculture is still dominant in many countries.

Ethnic groups who live in the mountain such as the Hmong, Zao, and La Chi have cultivated the terraced rice fields for more than 300 years. There are two times in the year, the rice fields are at their best: in early summer and late autumn when the fields change from emerald green to brilliant yellow when the rice ripens.

In northern Vietnam, Sapa and Hoang Su Phi have the most beautiful rice terraces

4. Life In The Mountain Teaches You To Appreciate Small Things

We somehow always try to make our life happy with good new things. We buy fashionable clothes, we order the latest smartphones, we go to the restaurant a few times a month, we buy new cars, and we still feel lacking in something. 

Then we go to the mountain and we see different people living a different life. They don’t need earbuds to listen to the melodies of the rivers. They don’t need a heater on a winter day because they have hot tea on their palms to warm up their soul while huddling together around the fireplace after dinner. People are happy on sunny days as they can work in the field. They are also happy on rainy days as rain waters their crops. They feel sorry for urban dwellers living on blocks while they are free as the wind in the mountain. 

Going to the mountain and you will learn to slow down to notice small things and appreciate life more.

5. The Trekking Trails Are Stunning

Vietnamese mountains have something for everyone who likes to trek. There are different trails that are suitable for almost everyone to immerse themselves in pristine nature. Those who like soft trekking can visit the villages to witness the distinctive cultures and lifestyles of ethnic people. Those who like a real mountain adventure can trek further where they will be in awe of the incredible scenery of mighty mountains. 

6. Food Is Homemade And Ingredients Are Natural

Vietnamese cuisine is famous worldwide but its mountain cuisine is something unique and different. Due to their location which is far from the cities, ethnic people learn to use natural ingredients in cooking. They use mountain leaves to spice up their dishes. They stuff chicken into bamboo tubes to have grilled bamboo chicken. They use baby jackfruit, ginger leaves, turmeric, and a mixture of ash and lime water to dye the food to red, green, yellow, and black color. They hang slices of pork meat on bamboo sticks over the fireplace where they cook every day to make smoky bacon. The culinary journey in the Vietnamese mountains is always delightful and filled with exotic flavors.

7. It's Easy To Connect With People

Mountain people are one of the kindest people in the world. People share a smile and children wave at you when you stroll along the dirt roads. If you don’t mind stepping into a small, old, sharky house, you will have wonderful conversations where people are willing to share their hundred-year-old traditions and rituals with you. Even if this is the first time you meet them, they will invite you to have lunch with the family and they will serve you the best food they have.

8. Mountains Offer Tranquility And Inner Peace

Whenever I feel want some peace, I drive to the mountains. Most mountains in northern Vietnam are remotely located where I can never find crowds, pollution, honks, and traffic jams as I see many in the city. The population in Ha Giang is only 112 people per sq. kilometer, and so are many other mountainous areas. Here, time seems to stand still and life seems so easy. I sleep to the soundtrack of nature and wake up with the birds singing. I find many places to recharge my batteries, next to a waterfall, on the bank of a stream, or in the forest on a hike. There is a world of peace and tranquility.

9. Everyone Is A Talented Craftsman 

Ethnic people are craftsmen in nature. While the Muong and Thai women are skillful in brocade weaving and the Black Thai are masters in bamboo kitting, the Hmong are well-known for their handmade hemp fabric, indigo dye, batik painting, and brocading. Visit a local market in the mountain, you can see locals displaying their crafts on the ground. A beautiful souvenir that you can buy at a very reasonable price. 

10. Your Visit Contributes To The Development Of The Community

Ethnic people’s lives in many parts of the mountains in Vietnam depend on nature. So when natural resources are narrowed due to economic development, their lives become more difficult. Tourism represents a source of income for locals and economic opportunities for rural mountain communities. It also encourages ethnic people to be proud of their ancient heritages and cultures to preserve them. 

Share on


Countless travel tips, Asian worth-seeing destinations unveiling are coming to your mailbox every week!

Related post

10 Vietnamese Noodle Dishes That Will Make You Entirely Forget Pho

10 Vietnamese Noodle Dishes That Will Make You Entirely Forget Pho

| 19 Mar, 2023

A few visitors know that Vietnam has many kinds of noodles tasting as good as Pho that local loves to have them every ......

Dos and Don’ts When Visiting a Buddhist Temple in Thailand

Dos and Don’ts When Visiting a Buddhist Temple in Thailand

| 24 Feb, 2023

Learning about Buddhism and temple etiquette is quite important as Buddhism is deeply integrated into Thailand’s ......

Vietnamese Coffee: 10 Most Unique Cafes in Hanoi

Vietnamese Coffee: 10 Most Unique Cafes in Hanoi

| 20 Feb, 2023

There are stories hidden behind the addictive scent of coffee in the heart of Hanoi. ...