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  • Community-based tourism in Vietnam

A report by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) and shows 69% of travellers want sustainable travel in 2023. 

Why? Sustainable travel ensures that our recreation doesn’t negatively impact local communities or the environment. One model of sustainable travel that can truly benefit locals, and the places they live in, is community-based travel (CBT). 

What is CBT? The Vietnam Community Based Tourism Handbook states: “CBT provides visitors with an experience of local life, in which local communities are directly involved in tourism, and get socio- economic benefits and take responsibility for protecting the natural resources, environment and local culture”.

green mountains morning villages

As a home to many ethnic minorities, Vietnam holds a huge potential to develop the CBT. CBT can help Vietnamese ethnic minorities to earn an income, preserve their culture, and protect the nature that surrounds them. Money also goes into a fund to help the community further, by improving infrastructure, healthcare, education, etc. 

Community-based projects are popping up across provinces to offer tourists authentic cultural experiences. Consider these... 


WHERE: Lai Chau Province

A leading community-based tourism village is Sin Suoi Ho, a H’mong village, about 30km to the north from Lai Chau city center. Visitors can admire yellow orchids, learn about H’mong crafts, or get involved in subsistence activities. 

Then there’s the Si Thau Chai Hamlet, with its stunning scenery and fascinating Dao ethnic culture. Local households have welcomed guests since 2016 in houses made with rammed earth and thatched roofs. Crafts include weaving and blacksmithing. Get active among the peach trees with off-road biking, climbing, or paragliding. 

terraces in Lai Chau

Source: Internet


WHERE: Hoa Binh Province

Sung Village, located in Cao Son Commune Da Bac District, is famous for its majestic Bieu mountain range, immense rice terraces and its rustic, unspoiled look. Visitors can be able to explore the local culture, learn of traditional customs, and admire houses with unique architecture of minority people. One of the most exciting parts of CBT is to live life as a local, enjoy ethnic minority cuisine such as mountainous chicken, stream fish, young bamboo, and Can wine. If lucky enough to travel during the planting season, visitors can join local people in rice transplanting, forest planting, animal husbandry,… When visiting here, don’t forget to grab some Green Shan Tuyet tea – a specialty of Hoa Binh Province, as a memory to cherish.

Sung Villages in Hoa Binh

Source: Internet


WHERE: Ha Giang Province

Under the Quan Ba’s Twin Mountains, seen on the Ha Giang Loop, lies Nam Dam. Nam Dam is an ethnic minority village about 45 km from Ha Giang city, and also a village rich in CBT potential. That’s one of the reasons why Nam Dam becomes the tourism icon of Ha Giang. One of the cultural rituals guests could experience is the coming-of-age ceremony ("Le cap sac") for boys of Dao people. 

In Dong Van Town, farming villagers have been trained by the Government in tourism skills, basic English, and marketing. Explore the Old Town’s architecture and appreciate traditional performances. 

Quan Ba's Twin Mountains in Ha Giang and Dong Van Town


WHERE: Son La Province

Hosts from the Thai, H’Mong, and La Ha ethnic minority groups are ready to host you in the Ngoc Chien Commune. The region is so beautiful, it’s been called ‘a fairyland’. The hot springs are a must. Come and enjoy the soft breezes, murmuring springs and spinning water wheels. Visitors are warmly welcome to experience daily work, enjoy local specialties and learn about traditional occupations of people in Ngoc Chien Village.

Ngoc Chien Village in Son La

Source: Internet


WHERE: Thai Nguyen Province

The Thai Hai Reserve Area of Ecological Houses-on-Stilts Village, a UNESCO cultural heritage site, was named among the “best tourism villages of 2022” by UNWTO. Four generations of Tay people are happy to share their way of life with visitors, giving insight into their customs, crafts and cuisine.

Thai Hai Reserve Area in Thai Nguyen




WHERE: Quang Nam Province

In Ta Lang, stay in a “Guoi” stilt house among the Co Tu ethnic community, and learn all about their food and culture. Expect nightly performances of “Rum cay” folk music, or the worshipping dance, “Tung tung da da”. Dishes include “za za”, in which various meats are mixed with chilli and asparagus, stuffed into bamboo and roasted. Pair with the “ta vat” wine.

Ta Lang, Co Tu ethnic community dancing Tung tung da da in Quang Nam

Source: Internet


WHERE: Thua Thien Hue Province

About 70km from Hue lies A Luoi mountainous district, mainly inhabited by ethnic groups Pa Co, Ta Oi, Co Tu, Van Kieu,... festivals represent local culture including: A Rieu (for worshipping); A Rieu A Da (a celebration of rice); and A Rieu Ping (when they rebury the dead). Visitors to the village can experience a traditional beautifying ritual, a combo service of bathing in a waterfall, hair washing with water infused with forest honey locust (“bo ket”), and dental steaming.

WHERE: Nghe An Province

The main offerings of the Thai community in Mon Son Commune, Con Cuong District are their vibrant festivals and beautiful woven brocade in Xieng Village. Live as a Thai people, enjoy ethnic dishes and experience activities in the stilt houses. When the night falls, try folk dances or some weaving, transplanting contests…

WHERE: Dak Lak and Kon Tum Provinces (Central Highlands)

In Kon Tum, communes with CBT include Dak Ro Wa, where there’s an annual brocade festival. In Dak Lak, there’s Ako Dhong Village with its unique long houses, which are part of the architecture of the E De people. Come and learn about their local gong culture and listen to songs about wild mountains and thick forests. 

E De's architecture in Kon Tum

Source: Internet



WHERE: Ca Mau Province

In the Mekong Delta, community-tourism ventures include the Dat Mui Cultural and Tourism Village. Take one of their tours of the region’s rich mangrove and freshwater ecosystems. Alternatively, learn how to catch shrimp at night.

WHERE: Ninh Thuan Province

In this province, you can take pictures of marine-themed murals at the Hon Thien Mural Village. Or visit the Nui Chua Community Eco-tourism Area to learn about the Cham and Raglai cultures. 

WHERE: Dong Nai Province

The Cat Tien National Park is a natural haven. The Ta Lai Longhouse, a joint initiative between WWF and the Vietnam Administration of Forestry, was the region’s first community-based tourism project. 

Ta Lai Longhouse in Cat Tien National Park - Dong Nai

Source: Internet


WHERE: An Giang Province

Farmers formed the An Giang Farmers’ Union (AGFU) to develop agrotourism. Learn about local farming and stay with farming families who’ll benefit. 

Morning with sunshine on the fields in An Giang