You can visit several ethnic small and large villages in Sapa area.
Area in Sapa where you can move around on foot or with a bike is big and beautiful. For example the Muong Hoa valley is about 30 km long and there are countless villages with ethnic people. The Black Hmong, Red Dao and Tay ethnic minority prevail in these villages. The whole area around Sapa is suitable for trekking and homestay with ethnic residents. I recommend to ask the local ethnic residents for homestay, I think you will not have problem in below-mentioned villages to find something.
Villages closer to Sapa are visited large numbers of foreign tourists.
The whole area is much frequented foreign tourists, who does not like this so do not go here. However, Sapa still holds a certain authenticity of ethnic villages, hotels for tourists you will find only in Sapa town. Sapa is among the three most visited places in northern Vietnam. Still, there are places or routes where many tourists do not go. The rule is the farther from the center – the better, and the concentration of tourists is decreasing. For most visited villages can be considered Cat Cat, Tavan, Lao Chai.
icon-exclamation-circle Important: The farther away from Sapa – the better.
Tavan village is a very popular place in the Muong Hoa valley, located about 10 km from the town of Sapa. Officially, it is necessary to come here with a guide and a purchased ticket in price of about 2 USD. The ticket can be purchased in the center of Sapa, in the tourist information center. However, this village can be accessed without a guide and without a ticket. It’s up to each of you what you prefer. Just go eg. with some of the ethnic residents from the nearby villages by motorbike and just have a ticket. Or you can go with an ethnic girl „unofficial“ way around the mountain Ham Rong and you do not have to buy any tickets. Around the mountain Ham Rong on the eastern part is very nice light trek, much better than going by road from the town of Sapa, „off beaten path“.
- Ethnic minorities: Hmong, Red Dao, Giay
- population in this village is approx 1000
- the possibility of homestay (beware of prepared tourist imitation)
- treks with local people in Hoang Lien National Park or to Seo My Ty tank (7 km)
- tourist and largest village, all who come to Sapa go here
- a few shops, a small restaurants, Daisy Lucky Bamboo bar (delicious)
2. Lao Chai
Lao Chai village is also very easily accessible location, only 5 km from the town of Sapa. Even in this small village, you have to buy a ticket, at the entrance to the village on the main road there is ticket control. However, you can come e.g. from another direction. From this village you can also continue to Tavan village. There are approximately 100 families of Black Hmong, some houses are only in Hoang Lien National Park. Ask local people in the village for homestay.
- Ethnic minorities: Hmong, Red Dao
- the possibility of authentic homestay of Hmong residents
- you can go on treks from Lao Chai with local people in Hoang Lien National Park
- you can go through this village and continue to Tavan village
- refreshments and souvenirs
3. Sin Chai
Sin Chai village is not as frequented as Cat Cat even if this place is just 6 km from the town of Sapa. There is „nothing“ in this village, but nothing is in the tourist area mean „more“. It’s village mainly of Black Hmong ethnic group. The village has a school, in which you can peek and at the school there is a small local shop, where you will be served as well as some Pho noodles. The path from this village leads to the highest mountain in Vietnam – Fansipan.
- Ethnic minorities: Black Hmong
- ask local people for authentic homestay
- the possibility of buying snacks
- less visited place than a village Cat Cat
- you can go to the highest mountain in Vietnam – Fansipan from this village
4. Hau Thao
Hau Thao village is a small village, about 10 km from the town of Sapa. It is approximately 2 km from the village of Tavan, lies in the hills and and is a bit neglected by tourists. If someone search for a place without tourists, with authenticity and good reach into Sapa, I recommend this place. Definitely this place is better than Tavan village and without imitation of homestay. If you go the route that begins outside the city of Sapa, you do not need to buy a ticket. Go with someone who is from the village, the route is not marked.
- Ethnic minorities: Hmong
- ask local residents for authentic homestay
- much less visited place than Tavan village
- small village, ideal for knowledge of life of local residents
- it is not possible to buy something in the village
There is a mobile signal in the mountains around Sapa icon-arrow-down
5. Ta Phin
Ta Phin village is home mainly of Red Dao ethnic group. This small village is 12 km from the town of Sapa. It is possible that you’ll have to buy a ticket before the come to the village, depending from where you come. Residents in this village offer original herbal bath, if you want to try, try it here, do not to try herbal bath in Sapa. There is also a cave in this village, you can come here with local resident.
- Ethnic minorities: Red Dao
- ask local residents for authentic homestay
- the opportunity to purchase some refreshments
- ideal for understanding the life of ethnic Dao
- Cave in the village, rice paddies, herbal baths
6. Cat Cat
Cat Cat village is about 2 km from the town of Sapa, it is frequented by lots of tourist. You need to buy a ticket when you want to go in to the village. The village has a few „attractions“ such insight into accommodation of Hmong or small exhibition of textiles. There is a nice and small waterfall in the village. The way through this village continues to the highest mountain of Vietnam – Fansipan.
- Ethnic minorities: Hmong
- I dont know when homestay is possible here, but I do not recommend it in this place
- a tourist village, possibility to buy souvenirs…
- the possibility of snacks
7. Thanh Kim
Thanh Kim village is home mainly of Red Dao ethnic minority. Thanh Kim is located about 25 km from the town of Sapa, and you can come here on a motorcycle. This village is quite far from Sapa, not so much frequented. There are in fact no „attractions“ and the village lives its typical ethnic life. For authentic homestay you need to ask local people in the village.
Nearby are huge rice terraces and hilly valley and view to the mountains. About 2 km from the village is located Topas Ecolodge. This Ecolodge has small guest houses in a beautiful environment for affluent tourists. The resort does not interfere with the surrounding nature and it’s built in accordance with the surrounding.
- Ethnic minority: Red Dao, Hmong
- authentic homestay, ask local residents for homestay
- less visited place
- it is not possible to buy something here
- you can come here on a motorcycle
8. Ban Ho
Ban Ho Village is home mainly Tay ethnic minority. However, in nearby villages live the Hmong and Red Dao ethnic minorities. Ban Ho village is located about 20 km from town of Sapa. It is possible you’ll have to buy a ticket at the village. This village is quite far from Sapa, but some tourists come here. There is a opportunity for homestay in the village and there is also possible to buy some food and refreshments. Not far from the village is a waterfall, you can do a light walk and even swim.
- Ethnic minority: Tay, Red Dao
- authentic homestay but also prepared accommodation for tourists
- less visited place in Muong Hoa valley
- opportunity to purchase food, snacks in the village
THE RULES TO FOLLOW IN A VILLAGE WITH ETHNIC INHABITANTS:
• do not use drugs – the use or sale of drugs in Vietnam is illegal
• do not touch the sacred objects
• dress appropriately (long pants, dresses…)
• do not drink alcohol in the village and do not be noisy (you can drink the rice wine in their presence)
• it is not recommended to kiss in the village
• be careful when taking pictures (especially the older people and children, ask for permission and then show the finished photo)
• to the house you can go in only when you are invited (you can also bring a small gift – for example fruit and balloons for children)
• do not put your money and sweets to young children (give only small items, toys for the children)
• like appreciation of hospitality you can buy a handmade object
• if you are invited for lunch or a homestay accomodation – of course pay your money