Travelling to Sapa and explore Ta Phin's cultural specificity

Travelling to Sapa and explore Ta Phin's cultural specificity

24/01/2019 /

Sapa is mostly inhabited by H' Mong, Red Dao and Giay people who live in their own unique culture. Specially, Ta Phin village is worth visiting to explore Dzao's people traditional custom. Lets discover Ta Phin's cultural specificity.

Explore Ta phin's cultural specificity

From the center of Sapa, you can rent a motorbike to ride to Ta Phin which is about 12km far to the East. There are so many winding and rough roads on the way to Ta Phin so be careful when riding.

The first destination is Ta Phin ancient monastery where 12 nuns led a religious life in Lao Cai after being expelled from Japan.

Although what remain are ruins, the ancient monastery is still attractive with French architecture of the stone walls behind the time dust layer.

Go inside the village, you should stop at a local people’s house to leave your motorbike and walk into the village because of small road.


They often build house in 3 kinds: ground house, stilt house and half-stilt house but the most favorite is ground house with three or five spaces. Dao ethnic people usually live with two or three generations in a house with two kitchens, the main one for cooking and the other one to keep warm.

They use the middle space to store vegetable and upstairs to store corns. Dao people also make Vietnamese traditional medicine from medicical herbs which are picked in the forests not only for treat diseases but also for bath.

Bathing with Vietnamese traditional medicine has a lot of benefits, it can treat muscle, bone diseases, flu and good for women’s health.

Following Dao Do women, you will have the chance to know about the traditional culture of naming the last name. The most popular last names of Dao Do people are Ly, Tan, Phan, Lo… and the way to name the middle name also complies with the rule.

The Red Dao's names

In every family, the girls’ middle name must be in order. For an example, the first girl is Ta, the second girl will be Lo, and the next ones are San, Su, Man.

With boys it is a little different. The name order is the same as the girls’: Ta, Lo, San, Su, Man… but what makes it different is these names are the boys’ first names. For an example, a family which has 3 brothers will be: Lo Lao Ta, Lo Lao Lo, Lo Lao San…


Besides, the clothes are also the symbol of Dao Do’s traditional culture. All the clothes are made by women here.

According to Dao Do’s folk conception, a full costume includes head-scarf, shirt, pants, bell, foot wrappings and sandals. To make a beautiful costume, it must have 5 colors with red is the main color.

The head-scarf of Dao Do is decorated with tiger tracks, kaleidoscopic tree… with the main color is red and white border.

With clothes, the main color is dark blue, the bell must be rolled 3-4 rounds and tied tightly at the back. The decorations on pants are made more carefully. The patterns on the shirt border and the low half of the pants are square, rectangle patterns with red – yellow – white color… When they wear, the shirts and pants mixed with each other in harmony.

The Red Dao's wedding

Marriage consists of a series of rituals: Couple’s age matching, betrothal, wedding, the return gift… alternating several original traditional shows. Before the wedding the matching couple’s age is the most important, which decides that couples can get married or not.

Wedding ceremony often lasts for 3 days and 3 nights. According to tradition, the groom and his family should not go to the bride’s home, just pick the bride up on the way to express gratitude to the family of this girl. When returning to the groom’s, bridal procession groups respectively make through these rituals. The tea invitation, the naming for the 0groom, the making up for the bride, the two families combination, the chasing evils away, the receiving the bride at the groom’s door and before the ancestral altar, the inviting the first alcohol to the guests from both sides, the wedding ceremony exchange, the wishing the couple happiness and fortune, the giving advices to the bride, the saying goodbye, the returing gilf… The Red Dao wedding ceremony is a cultural space with many art performances such as: Oratorio, music, decorations, gastronomy… and becomes a great ceremony for the whole community.