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Top community-based tourism destinations in Vietnam’s northwest

The northwestern region encompasses six provinces: Hoa Binh, Son La, Dien Bien, Lai Chau, Lao Cai, and Yen Bai. The top destinations include Fanxipan, the highest peak in Indochina; Sapa, a cloudy paradise of a town; O Quy Ho, a daunting mountain pass; Mu Cang Chai, where terraced fields stretch like stairs to the sky; beautiful giant Pa Khoang lake, endowed with profuse flora and a mild climate; Muong Phang forest; and the peaceful, picturesque Mai Chau valley and Moc Chau plateau. These gems offer a delightful getaway.

Tran Thu Ha, a tourist from Hanoi, said, “Though people struggle to survive here, they are persistent and are trying to improve things. I see their determination to thrive on this land when I visit this eco-tourism village. I feel relaxed here. I love the clean air and great scenery. I will definitely come back.”

Top community-based tourism destinations in Vietnam’s northwest
Tourists explore Thai ethnic culture in Dien Bien province. (Photo:

The northwestern region is populated by many ethnic minority groups: Tay, Nung, Thai, Muong, Mong, Dao, and others. They adhere to their traditional culture and festivals, which include Long Tong, a farming festival; the Khau Vai love market; dances with bamboo tubes; “then” singing, and panpipes.

When it comes to food, the region has a lot to offer: grilled chicken and stream fish, buffalo skin salad, smoked meat, and “thang co” made of horse meat and internal organs.

Dieu Van Vinh, a member of the Bon village community-based tourism cooperative in Son La province, said his family welcomed 200 Vietnamese and foreign tourists in 2019.

“I have provided tourism services for three years. We serve tourists food to order. They love Thai ethnic food the most. Dishes might contain chicken, stream fish, wild vegetables, bamboo, and moss,” said Vinh.

Homestay Ngoc Nhien in Hoa Binh province (Photo: VNA)

Community-based tourism is a trademark of the northwestern region. Tourists are taken to ethnic villages to cook, eat, sleep, go to the field, and make cloth with local people. Plan your trip to this region in the peach and plum blossom season, the buckwheat flower season, or the harvest season of rice, tangerines, and persimmons to enjoy the scenery at its best.

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