Sapa is a well-liked tourist destination in the northwest of Viet Nam. Not only is it famous for its beautiful landscapes, the area is home to 8 ethnic minorities who together weave one of the richest webs of culture in Vietnam. In your Sapa tours, you will have a chance to discover their unique life through their costumes and habits in daily life.
Sapa ethnic culture
Learning about local culture is a great way to start your time in Sapa. Among 8 ethnic minorities, H’Mong, Red Dao and Tay are the three most dominant ones in Sapa. Many minorities in this region still wear their ethnic dress, live in simple villages, and embrace ancient customs.
You can get to know the ethnic groups through their unique handmade costumes. Spend some time learning about the styles of the different tribes through sewing, embroidery, weaving or batik workshops. Each costume may take months to make.
Sapa ethnic minority market
The morning markets are the perfect place to witness the vibrant culture of the ethnic groups. Set aside time for Muong Hum, a small but charming Sunday morning market, or go to Bac Ha Market to see locals trading all types of colourful wares and produce.
In the markets, you will find a range of local produce, handicrafts sold by the hill-tribes people that live in the villages around Sapa.
Sapa is not only a wonderful destination in Vietnam for unique culture, cuisine, local minority people groups, but also unique architecture buildings. Its speciality is divided into two main types: local minority groups with stilt houses and French architecture buildings.
The traditional style of Sapa expresses through houses of local ethnic people clearly. Each stilt house in each ethnic nation designs differently, however, all ethnic stilt houses are made in wood in general. You can visit ethnic villages and see their stilt houses in Cat Cat, Lao Chai, Ta Van, Ta Phin, Giang Ta Chai, Y Linh Ho villages, etc. While French constructions you can see mainly in Sapa town center or surrounding such as Stone Church, villa, ect.
Due to the high level of ethnic diversity in the district, there are many cultural festivals held throughout the year in Sapa. The majority of the ethnic groups in Vietnam subscribe to ancestor worship as well as the worship of spirits said to control different aspects of life such as weather or the harvest. So there are many colourful and exciting festivals that serve as a way to worship and give thanks to these spirits.
Like the rest of Vietnam, in Sapa you’ll find just-picked produce to be the highlight of the table. Ethnic families dine mainly on herbs and vegetables, river fish, and smoked buffalo meat. There are some unusual ethnic dishes for adventurous travellers, but even picky eaters will love the region’s fresh handmade tofu and chayote leaves sauteed with garlic. Be sure to try Sapa’s famous rainbow trout, served in a warming soup, or grilled with spices and rolled in rice paper with cucumber, greens and herbs.
Sapa herbal baths
You can’t leave Sapa without trying its famous herbal baths. The Red Dzao women have perfected the recipe for a healing soak, using bark and leaves harvested in the forests. The leaves are chopped and left to dry in the sun, then boiled in huge pots of water to create an aromatic, steamy blend used to soothe tired muscles, stave off sickness, and help women recover after childbirth.