Guidebook Another kind of world


Another kind of world

Sapa is “all about walks through beautiful rice terraced countryside dotted with ethnic minority villages,” says Rusty Compass. It’s the “tourist capital of Vietnam’s mountainous north,” explains Rough Guides, “perched dramatically on the western edge of a high plateau, facing the hazy blue peak of Fan Si Pan, and is surrounded by villages of ethnic minorities, particularly the Red Dao and Black Hmong.” Sapa is “particularly rich in opportunities for treks, homestays and (on clear days) the kinds of panoramic views that leave travel writers searching for fresh adjectives and a larger camera memory card,” writes Travelfish.  

There’s a “peculiar traditional remedy” used when a Black Hmong person falls ill, explains Christopher Agathangelou at The Culture Trip -- “the base of a cow or ox horn is heated to a high temperature and is then used to burn the skin on the patient’s forehead.” This unusual practice is said to “divert all thoughts away from the illness by redirecting them to the more apparent and searing pain in the head.”

Children in Sapa become adults early in life, notes Wikitravel. “Girls and boys get married young (around 15-18) and often have two children by the time they are 20.” Poverty forces many girls to leave their villages each day to sell trinkets in Sapa town. Schools in Sapa's villages “lack essential learning tools like books, pens or pencils,” so Wikitravel recommends tourists “give those to the teachers if you'd like.”

  • Guidebook