Sapa is one of the most attractive tourist destinations in Vietnam. Located in the northwest, Sapa has a large number of traditional villages which completely preserve the cultural values of ethnic minority groups. Here are the five tips to visit Sapa villages for your next Sapa tours:
On the way to villages
On the way to the village of Ha Nhi people, if you see a temporary gate on which some wooden knives, wooden swords, chicken heads, and wings are hung, it is exactly at the ceremonial time to exorcize the phantoms. Similarly, the annual ceremonies of Tay, Thai, Giay, Lao, Bo Y and Xa Pho people in Sapa are usually held in February, June or July according to the lunar calendar. They usually have a taboo signal to ban strangers from entering their villages. In your Sapa Vietnam tours, if you accidentally wear a hat, hold an umbrella or wear a backpack, you will be fined by paying an adequate amount of money to redeem the offerings. Therefore, you should be careful when visiting Sapa villages.
In Sapa, each ethnic village has a forbidden forest used for worshiping supernatural power. The place of worship may be the stump of a big tree or stone in the forest. The forbidden forest is the common forest of the whole village. Each member of the village will volunteer to protect the forest. Especially, no one is allowed to cut down the trees and couples are not permitted to go there.
When visiting ethnic houses
Before visiting the houses of ethnic people, you have to observe carefully. Usually, in front of the door or at the top of the stairs, you will see a branch of green leaves or thorn or a lattice wattle. These are the signs of forbiddance to show that this family does not want strangers to enter their house.
The house of Black Ha Nhi people has two doors but you can only be allowed to enter through the first door. If you want to go through the second door, you have to ask the host family for permission. Furthermore, Thai people have a staircase in their houses and women can only go upstairs on the left. In Sapa ethnic houses, the most important and sacred position is the place of worship. You are absolutely not allowed to place hat, backpack and other personal belongings here as well as touch the ceremonial objects. When sitting, try to avoid turning your back to that place.
Read more: Five most famous ethnic villages in Sapa
On the way to visit Sapa villages, you need to take the initiative to greet local people with a sincere attitude and genuine smile. When ending your Sapa tours, you should shake hands and smile instead of saying goodbye. More importantly, you are not allowed to rub the head of Mong or Dao children. According to their belief, the soul of a person is in the head. If the stranger touches it, the soul will be terrified thus making children sick.
When having meals
Each ethnicity has appointed a different position to sit so it is important to avoid sitting in some special places. Before eating, you will see the owner organize a ceremony to invite their ancestors. Especially, you should not pour wine or pick up food before the host starts. After the meals, you mustn’t face cup or bowl down.
In Sapa, each house of ethnic people has a bedroom for tourists. If you have a chance to stay overnight, it is necessary that you should respect the original room layout of the owners. In some areas of Mong, Dao, Thai, La Ha, Khang people, you are not allowed to use the white mosquito net when sleeping.