Saturday, April 23, 2011

Homestay in the mountainous village

There are places of interest to see in Sapa like Hàm Rồng mountain, Cát Cát, Lao Chải, Tả Van villages of Mông ethnic groups or Tả Phìn of Dao ethnic minority or Thác Bạc (silver waterfall), Cầu Mây (bridge of cloud). There’s one more, that is must to try: homestay in Hồ village. No foreigners left village without being greatly impressed by the locally natural beauties, by the people’s traditional customs and habits and their hospitality and friendliness.
Photo: TV
Before your departure to Hồ village (20km from Sapa town in the East and on height of 435m above the sea level), you should drop in at the town-market to buy food. It’s said that there’s only vegetables available in the village.

Hồ village has 3 hamlets: Tả Trung Hồ, Xéo Trung Hồ and Hoàng Liên, and these hamlets are home to 3 ethnic minority groups: Mông, Dao, Tày and Tày is the majority. The village’s vice-chairman Hoàng Văn Minh was quoted as saying “firstly, these are only two households as vanguard homestay in late 2000, but in year 2001, there were ten households and now 50 ones officially get certified to welcome 500 arrivals each day, and if necessary all households can be good homestay”.
Visitors to Hồ village will live in a family atmosphere, hospitable and friendly. In the morning, you will go sightseeing to National Park Hoàng Liên rich in fauna and flora. The climate here is warmer than it’s in Sapa (averagely from 180 – 250C), and it’s interesting to have a swim in stream Lave at noon time while looking at white waterfall Đá Nhảy.
Your hosts will bring you to the village of Dao Đỏ (red Dao) ethnic minority to take a bath with herbal medicine. Don’t miss the chance even if you have to walk 3km-long distance. Bath water is cooked up by 18 herbal species taken from deep in the forest, put to dry, then roasted to get yellow. The water is held in a wooden container, it might be hot or warm depending on people who bathe, but it’s said to be better hot than not.

You get submerged in at least one an hour, then every 15 minutes, used water is pumped out only to be poured in with fresh one. After a bath you might feel as if you get drunk, but after just 30 minutes, you will feel quite well and relaxed. It’s the secret, only known and owned by Dao ethnic people and it’s now under research by national institute for traditional medicines.
You can also go shopping from house to house for brocades that costs you only about 20,000 VNĐ.
At weekends, visitors will take part in the local people’s cultural activities like singing, dancing and each minority group has its own customs, games and sports and even specialty.

                                                                        Kiều Trinh

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