Homestay in the most beautiful Sapa tribal villages
Sapa is located in Lao Cai province and is 1600 meters above sea level. It has mild and subtropical climate with weather being cool all year round. Particularly, visitors travelling to Sapa can feel the climate of four seasons in one day. In the morning, it is like the weather of spring. At noon, it is as sunny as the weather of summer and in the afternoon, it is cloudy like autumn and at night, you can feel the bitter cold of winter.
Sapa is a charming and romantic destination at any time of the year.
Sapa has many travelling spots such as Ham Rong Moutain, Silver Waterfall, Rattan Bridge, Muong Hoa Valley and so on. However, it is ethnic minorities that leave tourists unforgettable experience. They live in tribal villages and have their own and unique cultural identities.
Take H’Mong, Dao Do, Tay, Giay tribe for example. It is advised that tourists come to visit tribal village to learn about their culture.
When is the best time to visit Sapa?
The most suitable time to visit Sapa is between September and November or between March and May as the weather is dry during the day and is not too cold at night.
For those who want to get the view of snow in Vietnam, the best time is from December to February. It is very cold at this time. Especially, it is also blossom season.
Transportation from Hochiminh city to Sapa
Setting off from Hochiminh city, you can choose to travel to Hanoi by train or by air .
Sapa town is 38 kilometers far from Lao Cai city and 376 kilometers from Hanoi capital. From Hanoi, you can get on a train or a coach to visit Sapa.
By coach: It takes you 8-9 hours to reach Sapa from My Dinh, Luong Yen or Gia Lam coach station. One of advantage of going by coach is that it is time saving. However, it may be a bumpy ride as there are a lot of steep passes.
By travelling coach: If you travel in groups, it is wise to hire a coach to save money. Besides, you can ask the driver to take you to any places you want to visit.
By train: You can book a berth or an air-conditioned seat. The train leaves at 9 or 10 pm and reaches Sapa in early morning. You can book a ticket at 120 Le Duan street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi capital and the phone number is 0439423697. When you have reached Lao Cai station, you can take a taxi to head for Sapa town. Alternatively, If you want to save money you can take a bus at the cost of 10 thousand dong but you are supposed to walk a distance to get to the bus station.
Transportation in Sapa
You can hire a motorbike at the cost odd 120 thousand dong per one and you will have to pay for fuel. A motorbike can be for use from 6am to 6pm.
Accomodation in Sapa
There are a number of hotels in the town center or along Cau May street with cost of 150 thousand for cheap hotels and 2-3 million for luxurious ones.
Hometay at local people’s homes in Ta Phin or Ta Van village may be an option. This type of tourism is being developed in Sapa so you don’t have to be worried about its quality or hygiene standards. More improtantly, it is not too expensive and the cost includes accomodation and 3 meals a day.
Tribal villages to visit in Sapa
Cat Cat village
Cat Cat village is formed in the middle of 19th century. Local people build their homes near hillside with homes not being to far from one another.
It is 2 kilometers far from Sapa town. Visiting Cat Cat village, visitors have chance to go to Catsat waterfall which is also called Tien Sa. It was discovered by French and served as a resort for them.
Standing on the metal bridge over Muong Hoa stream, you can observe white flows of water pulling downwards. In the event of rain, you can head for a tent near the waterfal and try grilled corn or grilled meat with a glass of apple wine.
Mong people earn their livings by growing rice in terraced fields or other traditional jobs such as weaving or foundry. Nowadays, Sapa is showing a lot of improvements and has become a famous destination. As a result, there is a labour shift from agriculture to tourism. A number of people especially the young can speak foreign languges such as English or French and become tour guides. Older people mainly stick to their traditionaly jobs.
Local people still preserve a lot of traditions and customs. Among them is “wife stealing”. When a man falls in love with a girl, he will organise a party to invite his friends and draw a plan to steal the girl from her parents and keep her inside his house for 3 days. If the girl agrees to become his wife, an official wedding will be held.
Besides, tourists can explore and learn about Mong’s cuisine such as corn wine, corn cake horse meat, frog meat with young bamboo and so on
Ho village is 30 kilometers far from Sapa. Situated near Hoang Lien Son moutain and Muong Hoa stream, it has a romantic landscape. Visiting Ho village, tourists will be impressed with a giant green terraced fields surrounded by hills and homes of ethnic people
Besides Muong Hoa and La Ve stream, Ho village also has other streams and waterfall such as Ca Nhay, Seo Trung Ho. Seo Trung Ho waterfall is 100 meters high and is like a beautiful ribbon crossing the mountain
Tourisits will be able to experience traditional lifestyle of local people. In the morning, a tour guide will take tourists to visit Hoang Lien national park. At noon, they can go bathing in Lave stream.
Local people grow cotton plants and weaving to make money. They are very famous for sophisticated brocade.
They always welcome tourists warmly and friendly and offer tourists local specialites such as grilled fish, sticky rice.
Homestay is one of the factors that make Ho village more attractive. There are 29 families who are willing to offer homstay service for tourists. With low cost, nice dishes and hospitality, homestay is becoming increasingly favored by tourists.
Ta Phin village
Ta Phin village is 12 kilometers from Sapa and comprised of Dao and H’mong people.
You can visit Ta Phin monastery. Although it is a historical site, it represents French architecture and shows cultural values.
There are 2-3 generations living together in Dao people’s families. Each house has 2 dinning rooms and a garret to store corns.
Besides growing corn and rice, Dao women also make brocade or get medical leaves to sell to tourists. Medical leaves are said to be beneficial to health and can be used to treat aching bones
Visitors can visit Ta Phin cave which is very large. The cave entrance is 5 meters high and 3 meters large. Coming inside, tourists will enjoy the magnificent and mysterious beauty of the cave. There are still French words carved on the rocks a long time ago but they are still readable.
Ta Phin village is also reputable for brocade products with a variety of forms and eye-catching colors. They are sold to tourists or brocade shops in market. They are also displayed at market fair and exported overseas to America, France or Denmark
After visiting travelling spots, tourist can stay at local people’s homes. It is interesting to gather around fireplace and sip glass of wine with buffalo meat while hearing traditional stories of local people
Ta Van village
Ta Van village is 10 kilometers far from Sapa. On way to Ta Va, you can catch the view of romantic Muong Hoa valley.
Along the road streches green terraced fields. The more you go, the more supprised you will be at the picturesque lanscape.
Ta Van village is mainly inhabited by Giay people. Their culture is subject to that of Tay, Thai and Nung people.
Giay people earn their livings by growing rice and silver carving. Nowadays, more families are shifting to homestay tourism. They invest money to mend and upgrade their house and buy more funiture to serve tourists. They always try to preserve their traditional lifestyle as a way to attract tourists. There are about 40 families who offer homestay tourists. They offer tourists their daily dishes such as poultry meat, fish and vegetables. Such dishes are simple but help tourists to learn more about their simple and artless lifestyle.
The local specialies are grilled chiken, grilled pork and a variety of cakes. Particularly, tourists will have opportunity to try a lot of local wines such as corn wine, apple wine especially plum wine which is available in Ta Van only. Additionally, tourists can join local people to climb the mountains and get young bamboo or catch fish in the streams. All consitute memorial experiences to tourists.
It is typical of Giay people to show preference for music. During the day, they are industrious farmer busy with their farming work. However, at night they are musical performers. They are skillful in Then dance and charming in love songs.
Sin Chai village
Sin Chai village is 4 kilometers from Sapa and is considered peaceful and quiet. Overall, tourism is not developed here which gives the village primitive beauty.
About 1400 Mong peple live here. Apart from growing corn and rice, local people grow medical trees in hills to increase their income.
Thanks to fresh air, pure water and clean vegetables and fruits, the avarage life expectancy of Sin Chai people is quite long. Women tend to live longer than men and the oldest person in the village is 112 years old.
The average life expectacy of men is 50 years old. This is due to the fact that men are responsible for heavy jobs such as making terraced fields while women just have to do chores. Besides, Sin Chai men drink a lot which contributes to their short life expectancy.
Each tribal village in Sapa has its own attractions which impress tourists. Local people live in harmony with nature and are always nice to each other. It is simplicity and kindness that attract tourists to come and experience daily life of local people. Sapa is simply a diamond of Northwest of Vietnam.