The never-ending adventures of a travel writer in Vietnam, Cambodia, New Zealand and throughout the Asia-Pacific region.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Tay People of Binh Thuan Province

During a joy ride through a remote area of Binh Thuan Province I came across on a minority group that was entirely new to me--the Thay people.

Two Tay men looking across a new government irrigation project.

Tay people who live between the canal and the mountain must use a barge to come and go from their house.

The Tay people were relocated to Binh Thuan Province by the government about 30 years ago. They originally came from Cao Ban near the Chinese border. They were isolated here in Binh Thuan for almost the entire time, until roads to the village began to be built 2 years ago.

The folks here told me that I was the first foreigner that they had ever seen, and were very friendly and kind. Due to their isolation, many still maintain a very traditional lifestyle (or as much as one can in an alien environment) and live in traditional stilt houses.

Water buffalos resting.

A mud brick home in a nearby Tay village. Nowhere in Vietnam have I ever seen mud brick homes before--not even at the ethnology museum in Hanoi.

Binh Thuan has been a very active volcanic region. The nearby area pictured here was pummeled by volcanic boulders at some point in the past. This family cleared their field of volcanic rocks in order to plant rice. They used the boulders to create a terraced mount to build their house. Other families use the black rocks to build tall walls.


DL said...

Very interesting about the Tay people. Just the name "Tay" itself sound like "Tai". Could this "Tay" people be related to the Tai which the Lao, Thai, Shan, and the people known as the Dai in China belong to?
Their stilt house is like the type one you would see in the Laos countryside.

Adam Bray said...

Not sure how they relate to the other groups, though their ethnic group name is pretty consistently spelled Tay within Vietnam. I think they do have subgroups of Tay with other names. The Thai, at least on the lower-levels, are a separate ethnic group in Vietnam. Not sure if or how the Tai/Dai might be related to either group.

Post a Comment