Village hopping is a great way to understand more about the cultures in and around Sapa as the diversity is so incredible. Sapa is inhabited by the major ethnic group, the Kinh, otherwise known as the Vietnamese, but the villages surrounding it are made up of many different ethnic groups and subgroups.
Some you can walk to in less than an hour, but most villages are far enough from Sapa that you can only get there by hiking and biking (see above) or by private car. Many are picturesque pockets of simple wooden structures, trickling streams, and friendly locals. The villages are also great places to get some souvenirs right from the source.
Ta Phin Village – Ta Phin is a Red Dzao village famous for its homestay service as well as the production of salts most commonly found in the Dzao traditional herbal baths. About 10 km north of Sapa, Ta Phin Village is also known as “the brocade village” due to its distinctively handmade bags, scarves, purses, skirts, backpacks, and coats on sale. This village is the main supplier of brocades for shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well.
Lao Chai Village – Lao Chai Is a Black H’mong village with small houses placed between terraced rice fields along the Hoang Lien Son Mountain Range. Even though it is only 16 km south of Sapa, it takes about an hour to reach this village by car due to the windy roads through the mountains. The views totally make up for it once you arrive though.
Ta Van Village – Home to the Giay and Dzao ethnic communities, Ta Van Village is situated within Muong Ha Valley, about 7-11 km away from Sapa. This is another great village to stay overnight in as there are quite a lot of homestays to choose from as well as local restaurants.
Sin Chai Village – This Black H’mong village is quite near to Sapa, about 5 km away from the city center. It can easily be combined with a hike through Cat Cat Village on the way to or from Sapa. The terraced rice fields are not as steep as in other H’mong communities, but they are still picturesque.
Ho Village – Ho Village can be found in the same direction as Lao Chai and Ta Van villages. Approximately 30 km from the center of Sapa, Ho Village is where the Tay minority live, a small population compared to the Dzao or H’mong. Tay houses are usually built along rivers on stilts, which prove for some beautiful picture-taking moments.