Besides its stunning sceneries, Sapa is also a perfect destination for ones who love discovering new things. That explains why most of travellers prefer taking a homestay in a local house that they can discover the culture and the life of ethnic minority people, from the Red Dao, Tay, Mong, Giay, Ha Nhi, and other groups completely.
And here are some pieces of advice that can help you fit right in with your gracious hosts when you visit these mountain villages and stilt houses in your Sapa tour in Vietnam.
1. When entering villages:
Many villages in Lao Cai have a ‘forbid forest’ on their land for spirit worship. A large tree or rock used for ceremonies will hold various sacred items. Villages carefully preserve these forests and any disrespectful acts in the area are strictly prohibited. Otherwise, many villages will set up a special gate at the entrance of village when they conduct traditional ceremonies of spirit worship or cleansing. For example, Ha Nhi villages put up a gate adorned with chicken heads and wings, wooden knives and swords, and other groups like the Tay, Thai, Giay, Lao, Bo Y and Xa Pho also set up village gates, sometimes holding a cow’s jawbone, indicating that a ceremony is in progress. During these times, strangers are not typically allowed into the villages. The tour guide, of course, can interpret all this for you to avoid any misunderstanding.
Ha Nhi village
When meeting someone, exhibit sincerity with a smile and a slight bow, easy gestures to get past the language barrier. When bidding farewell, a handshake and a firm smile are always understood. Avoid touching the head, particularly with children, because the soul residing in the head may flee and weaken the kids if frightened by a stranger.
Names such as Meo or Man to refer to Mong and Dao people are considered slurs and should never be used. Aggressive behavior or argument, particularly with the elderly, women and children, is never acceptable.
Seating position when eating is important. The Giay and Dao people reserve seats nearest the altar for the oldest person or most distinguished guest. Mong people dedicate that seat to the spirit of parents who have passed away. Thai, Tay and Muong place two small cups next to the window for the ancestors. Visitors should avoid sitting in the prominent seats or next to local elders unless specifically invited by the host. Never sit with your back to the altar or directly in front of it.
A meal of Sapa’s ethnic minority people
Before beginning a meal, travelers should wait for the host to complete the ceremonious invitation to the ancestors and everyone present.
Well, these advices above are just a half of my tips that I got from my experience in many trips to Sapa before. To get to know what it has in the other half, continue your reading by approaching this link: !