Few data are available on the quality of Red river water that is used for multi-purposes, including for domestic water demand in some rural areas. This paper presents the observation results of the Red River water quality in two years 2012 and 2013. The monitoring results showed that the average concentrations of nutrients (N, P) were still far lower than the allowed value of the Vietnamese standard limits for surface water quality (QCVN 08:2008/BTNMT, column A2). Due to the impoundment of two big dams in the Da tributary, the suspended solids contents in river water decreased remarkably. The dissolved heavy metal (DHM) concentrations varied in a high range: Cu: 10 – 80 mg.l-1; Zn: 2 – 88 mg.l-1; Cr: 0.2 – 5.1 mg.l-1; Pb: 2 – 107 mg.l-1; Cd: 2 – 12 mg.l-1; Mn: 2 – 35 mg.l-1; and Fe: 160 – 2370 mg.l-1. Most of the mean values of DHM were lower than the allowed values of the QCVN 08:2008/BTNMT, but at several points of time, several DHM (e.g. Fe, Cd, Pb) contents exceeded the allowed values. The Total Coliform (TC) and Fecal Coliform (FC) densities varied in a high range: TC: 23 to 13,000MPN.100ml-1 and FC: 0 to 1,600MPN.100ml-1 and they exceeded the allowed values QCVN 08:2008/BTNMT at several points observed. The dissolved organic carbon (DOC) contents were in low level and the particulate organic carbon (POC) content mainly derived from soil organic leaching and erosion in the basin. The results underlined the need for regularly monitoring the river water quality, and there should be some effective solutions to manage and treat the waste sources in order to provide safe water for different actual purposes use in the Red River basin.