Some Advices When Visiting The Minorities In Lao Cai

Lao Cai is a land of concentration of many unique cultural quintessence of ethnic minorities in the Northern mountainous region such as: Mong, Red Dao, Nung, Xa Pho, Ha Nhi… However, do visitors really understand about the customs and what should not be done here? Or let’s find out together.
About means of transport:
Visitors can choose to go by car, motorbike or walk, but motorbikes and walking are often more options.
Besides, in the village, there are mainly small roads, so large vehicles will also be difficult to move.
Rent a motorbike in the town center with prices ranging from 120,000-150,000 VND/vehicle/day depending on the type.

Young people go on a trip by motorbike to visit the village
About costumes:
Because the climate in the village is quite cool, the terrain is difficult and you have to move a lot, you should prioritize discreet, comfortable, easy-to-move clothing, especially windbreakers and flat sports shoes.
In terms of color, you should not wear undyed white linen because ethnic people consider it the color of the funeral.
Visit local people’s house
Visiting the ethnic villages, when you see a bunch of leaves with jaw bones of pigs, cattles… are forced on the lattice woven pieces which are hanging the front gate of the village or in front of the house, visitors are not allowed to get in because it is time the village is praying God of the village.

Signs of taboo, prohibiting strangers from ethnic minorities
For some ethnic people like the Ha Nhi, there are usually two layers of doors in the house. You can only enter the first door, the owner agrees to go through the second door.

Trinh Tuong house – the pride of Ha Nhi people
Visiting the house of ethnic minorities people, visitor are noticed not to place hats and utensils or touch into the worship items, do not sit with your back on the altar.
The stove is both a cooking place and a place to receive guests of the ethnic people, and at the same time a sacred place to worship the king of the kitchen and the god of fire.
You do not set foot on or move the millet stone as a tripod, because according to the concept of some peoples, these stones are the abode of the fire god.

The sacred kitchen of the Red Dao people
Do not touch on the children’s head because of their conceptions the soul resides in the head, if strangers touch on the head, the soul will be frightened and run away, that usually makes children sick.
Before eating, visitor need to hear the landiord processing the rituals to invite ancestors, praises for good thong.
Visitor do not pour the wine and get food first. An absolutely don’t is to turn cups and bowls upside – down on the eating table when you are finished.
Sleeping: Every house of ethnic minority people has a place to sleep for guest, you should follow the host’s arrangement, do not sleep with your foot toward the altar.
In the tribes house, the doors and the main pillars are the sacred place where King of door and Ghost of main pillar are wordshipped.
So it is taboo sitting on the doorsills and hanging hats on the main pillars.
Whistling is taboo in the tribe’s houses because that is signal calling on the devil.
Remember to carefully study the information, as well as the notes when coming to each ethnic minority village. Wish you have interesting experiences in the villages in Lao Cai.

Bich Ngoc

About the Author Sapa Tourism Office

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