Sapa travel guide and taboos that you definitely should know

Sapa travel guide and taboos that you definitely should know

13-02-2017 11:26 Posted by: Thao Tran
Some necessary Sapa tips that tourists had better know to prepare your trip well and avoid awkward situations of taboos there.

sapa travel guide-group

Sapa travel guide (flynow)

Sapa is a famous destination, attracting a lot of Vietnamese tourists and foreigners to visit. This is also the convergence of culture with unique, diverse characteristics of Vietnam’s national identity. Here are some tips for Sapa travel to gain an exciting journey:


The first Sapa travel guide is about how to travel to Sapa. Overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai will cost you about 250.000-800.000 VND (~11.4-36.4 USD) per ticket depending on ticket types of bedrooms or hard seats.

If you choose to travel by train to Lao Cai station, you can then catch buses to Sa Pa with the cost of around 40.000-50.000 VND/person (~1.8-2.3 USD).

According to travel news Vietnam, ticket prices for the high-quality night buses of Hung Thanh, Ha Son, Sao Viet Company from Hanoi to Sapa are about 250.000 to 280.000 VND/ person (~11.4-12.7 USD).

Taboos in Sapa

The center compartment in every house of villagers in Sapa is a place used for worship, visitors are not allowed to sit there.

One of important Sapa tips for tourists arriving in the local residents’ house is that they should follow the instructions of houses’ owners. According to Hmong ethnic people’s customs, the front chairs are dedicated for parents. Even though their parents passed away, guests are not allowed on these sacred chairs.

sapa travel guide-home of ethnic people

You should follow the instructions of houses’ owners in Sapa (dulichsapalaocai)

During the time when people of Black Hmong ethnic or Dao Do ethnic groups  in Cat Cat, Ta Phin, Ta Van village are in worship procedures, they don’t welcome strangers to attend. At that time, there is a green leaf bunch hung on a tall pillar at the entry of the village as a warning signal of preventing strange guests from entering to the village.

When you are in the village, try not to be noisy and pay enough respects to the quiet areas there. As a significant Sapa travel guide, you should never rub local children's heads although they are very lovely. Local residents believe that rubbing the children’s head will make them scared and vulnerable to sickness.

sapa travel guide-kids

 You should never rub local children's heads (flynow)

In the village, there is often a very sacred worship place: a forbidden forest, a large ancient tree of thousands of years long, a magnificent stone dedicated for gods. The place is usually clean, neat and cool, but as a Sapa travel tip, tourists shouldn’t sit there for resting, eating, or throwing rubbish.

The holiest taboo is not to whistle during your sightseeing journey. Local residents believe that whistling will attract devils to arrive in the village.

sapa travel guide-village

Don't whistle during your sightseeing journey in Sapa (instagram/adventure0awaits)

In every Hmong’s house, there is a long pillar buried under the ground and as high as the rooftop, other pillars are smaller without being buried. The highest pillar is called “mother pillar” where ghosts reside. Tourists shouldn’t hang clothes, or sit leaning against the “spirit” pillar.

When drinking wine and talking with homeowners, tourists shouldn’t point fingers forward. According to Hmong customs, this gesture is seen as dissatisfied or disrespect behaviors to people you talk to.

sapa travel guide-ethnic people

Tourists shouldn’t point fingers forward (goldenholidaytravel)

Also, when the owner invites you to drink, if you don’t want to drink, try to reject politely. You should never put the wine bowl upside down. Only wizards are allowed to do so in order to drive away ghost.

Tourist shouldn’t dress white linen in Sapa’s villages because according to local customs, the white linen is only used in the funeral.

A healthy Sapa tip is that tourists should try to take a bath in the stream which is mixed of a variety of herbs made by Dao Do residents. The herbs help you to have a good health. Tourists can also enjoy Thang co dish (mixed internal organ hot soup), drink corn wine or eat delicious grilled wild animal meats.

Read more: Sapa weather: Best time to visit Sapa, Vietnam?