This is a short visual journey in one of the most remote places of Vietnam, discovering untouched civilization and wild nature while experiencing the diverse culture of the hill tribes living in the Phong Nha Khe Bang National Park region near Laos border.
Vietnam has 53 ethnic minority groups, each having their own language, culture and way of life. I have been fortunate to visit the Bru Van Kieu (Ma-coong) and Chut (Arem) tribes and experience their peaceful and relaxing way of life, living in areas untamed and untouched by tourism and in harmony with nature. I visited 3 villages within the region each accessible though short beautiful treks around mountains, streams and waterfalls.
There were no verbal ways of communicating with the people here but they all had welcoming yet shy smiles on their faces. They were as curious looking at me as I was to see them and learn more about their way of life. They seemed excited but would run away and hide out of shyness and unfamiliarity of outsiders; with a tinge of fear as an innocent animal gets when they see a human encroach their land.
Seeing cattle roaming around the houses, people collecting and transforming the rice in traditional ways, fishing with artisanal traps, children playing outdoors, families bonding and spending time together with joy and laughter, drinking home-made rice wine; I’ve seen the simpler ways of life without its usual complexities.
I’m also grateful to Nguyen Shack without whose help, being an outsider, my visit here would not have been possible.