To what level are ethnic minority farmers aware of climate change and the importance of their adaptive capacity? This study was conducted in two mountainous districts of Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam, with the involvement of 246 ethnic households, 15 key informants and a group of provincial and district agricultural representatives. A research framework linking climate awareness and adaptive capacity was adopted for this study. The results highlighted that ethnic minority farmers in the mountainous areas of Thua Thien Hue had relative low awareness of climate change and relative low adaptive capacity. Results also showed that awareness of climate change is an important element for households’ adaptive capacity, where farmers who are more aware of climate change have a better adaptive capacity. Strengthening existing formal information channels (from extension and agricultural departments) on climate change with strong interlinkages with local social networks and creating socio-economic incentives to promote individuals’ adoption of adaptation measures were key to the building up farmers’ adaptive capacity.