There's no disputing that the Flower H'mong themselves constitute the main attraction in a visit to the region.
Each girl or woman makes her own outfit herself, and it takes about two weeks to make every 20 centimetres of brocade.
The Flower H'mong garb has a practical purpose, at least nowadays; the Flower H'mong inhabit both sides of the Chinese and Vietnamese border and are largely undocumented. They are permitted to circulate freely in their traditional stomping grounds and their distinctive attire says, “I am a Flower H'mong. I was here before you put up your silly border. Don't tell me where I can and can't go."
As a result, in addition to the goods they craft themselves, the Flower H'mong do a steady business in Chinese goods brought over (tax free) from the other side, and even residents of Sapa will make a trip to Bac Ha just to pick up at little special something unavailable elsewhere, and at a good price.
By Sarah Turner
Last updated on 15th October, 2013.