Must-know taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa

Must-know taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa

Trips to Sapa offers us a nice journey to enjoy breathtaking sceneries, to know cultural aspects as well as specific taboos of local ethnic groups to avoid for an unforgetable vacation in Sapa.

Sapa's must-know taboos of local ethnic villages when doing trip to Sapa

Sapa is one of the best highlight in your Vietnam tours when exploring the north of Vietnam. Trips to Sapa are memorable with impressive landscapes of majestic mountains, immense valleys of terraced fields & lush vegetation, lovely waterfalls; with interesting insights of local ethnic culture & customs;and with the local’s friendliness & hospitability.However, it is necessary for you to learn about the taboo behavior when visiting this landscape in order not to get into unexpected trouble.In this article, we would like to reveal you typical taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa so that you can avoid in your Sapa exploration to tribal villages

Taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa1

Trekking to Lao Chai village of Black H'mong

The taboos when visiting local ethnic villages in Sapa region.

Trekking to villages is an interesting & popular tour activity in Sapa - an great way to understand local unique cultures, but you should know some taboos to have right behaviors when visiting their villages.Most of villages have their own rules which are supposed to be followed by villagers as well as strangers to the villages. Many villages normally have a“forbidden forest” (with luxuriant old trees or rocks as sacred items) on their land where they worship the spirit or commit the village’s religious ceremonies.Villagers carefully protect these forests and strangers are not allowed to enter or any of their disrespectful acts in the area are strictly prohibited.At the time when they conduct traditional rituals of spirit worship or dispelling evil spirits, many villages set up a special gate at the village's entrance.For instance, 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 or a bunch of green leaves, indicating that a ritual is in progress.Those are the signals to recommend you not to go into the village during these times.If any tourist commits the taboos or break rules, he or she has to submit everything to worship gods of village again.

Taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa

Tourists & local ethnics in Lao Chai village

When you travel to the village, you should avoid making noises to break down the peaceful & quiet atmosphere of the villages. Doing whistle while walking in the village is also considered as a taboo because locals thinks that it is the signal to call devils to the village.Also during your trekking to village, some local children may follow you, touching on their heads is not a right way to express your affection, to locals, the souls residing in the head may flee and weaken the childen with sickness & diseases.

Rules when visiting someone’s house

Homestaying or visiting the local ethnic’s house is a nice way to get to know their cultures & house styles.However, do not enter the house if there is a bunch of leaves or woven greenery or white cloths hanging in front of a door of stairway.That is generally a signal of recent funeral,banning strangers from coming inside.

Taboos of local ethnic village in Sapa

The entrance to Lao Chai- Ta Van villages

When coming into the local house of ethnic village,it is better to follow the guidance of the host. For example, Black Ha Nhi’s houses have two entrances.Once the host agrees,you are only allowed pass through the first door. Thai people’s houses have separate stairways, one for women and the other one for men. Each house has an altar centeredly located to worship their ancestors as well as gods.People need to respect the ancestor altar, note not to put any personal belongings on the altar, even touch it or sit with the back face to the altar.
In H’Mong’s house, there is often one highest pillar. It is said that there is a ghost living in the pillar, tourists are not allowed to hang clothes on it or lean against that “soul” pillar.

Taboos of local ethnic village in Sapa meals

Homestay & local food in village

In your visit to villages,some of you may do homestaying and having meals with in local ethnics.Please take a notice that when eating, seats are meaningfully arranged. The Giay and Dzao people reserve seats next to the altar for the oldest person or the most honorable guest. H’Mong people leave those seats blank for the spirit of parents who have passed away.You should avoid sitting in the prominent seats or next to local elders unless specifically invited by the host. Never sit with your back facing to the altar or directly in front of it. Before starting a meal, you need to patiently listen to the host’s rituals of inviting ancestors and blessings. You should not take the food or drink first.

A warm-hearted attitude is a good communication to break down language barrier.

Whenever strolling around the village or visiting someone’s house, you are best to actively greet the local people with a kind-hearted attitude,exhibit sincerity with a smile and a slight bow to eliminate the differences in language. Saying goodbye by handshaking or firmly smiling is widely accepted.
While traveling to H’Mong & Dzao villages,such names as Meo or Man to refer to H’Mong & Dzao people are considered as slurs and should never be used.Aggressive behavior or argument, particularly with the elderly, women and children, is never acceptable.

Taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa5

Meeting locals with nice experiences

    Those are must-know taboos of local ethnic villages in Sapa you can get reference of and arm with you to avoid taboo actions when doing a trip to Sapa for an enjoyable vacation. If you are planning a trip to Sapa, Vietnam, you may be in need of Sapa Tour service, overnght train ticket Hanoi –Sapa, tourguide or private car rental to Sapa with driver from Hanoi, don’t hesitate to drop us an email to or viber us to +84.988451530 ( Mr Ban). As a local travel company in Hanoi, Vietnam, we will support you with useful consultancy and customize you with sapa tours of lifeftime experiences. We wish you a memorable holiday in Sapa.

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