There are more than one million members of the H’Mông ethnic group in Vietnam, 231,464 of whom live in Hà Giang, making up 32% of the total population of the province. Two main subgroups live in Hà Giang: the White H’Mông and the Flower H’Mông (a.k.a. Variegated H’Mông). The H’Mông that many travelers are exposed to are the Black H’Mông around Sa Pa, Lào Cai province, but they do not live in Hà Giang.
White H’Mông women grow flax, and use it to weave textiles, such as their white skirts. A good place to see traditional White H’Mông flax textile manufacturing is at Lùng Tám commune in Quản Bạ district. In Đồng Văn, White H’Mông women wear dresses covered in sequins, especially on market day.
The Flower H’Mông are famous for their colorful fabrics, including pa ndau (“flower cloth”) needlework. This art is passed down from mother to daughter, and used to decorated many common and ceremonial fabric items with geometric patterns. The Flower H’Mông women typically wear silver jewelry and dark blue clothing dyed with indigo, which is decorated with brightly colored pa ndau embroidery. They are the most colorfully dressed of all of the hill tribes in Vietnam, and often wear beaded headdresses to social events.
The H’Mông are also famous for their other crafts, such as plows and furniture. In the 1960s, a writing system was developed for the H’Mông languages using the Roman alphabet, but it is not widely used today.