Sapa’s May Village Keeps the Traditional Culture Alive

When tourists venture to May Village, a serene haven tucked away beneath the majestic Fansipan Mountain, they are granted the boundless opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of culture woven by the five ethnic communities, namely the H'Mong, Tay, Giay, Xa Pho, and Red Dao, residing in Sa Pa.

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On the 10th Anniversary of building the Fansipan cable car, Sun World Fansipan Legend officially opened May Village (Ban May), featuring 11 ancient houses from different villages. This destination brings together all 5 ethnic minorities in Sa Pa to preserve and promote highland cultural values in tourism.

Traditional houses of ethnic groups in May Village, Sa Pa, Lao Cai. Photo: Laodong

When entering the rustic gate with a thatched roof on the mountainside of the Hoang Lien Son range, visitors will feel like they are lost in a cozy Northwest village. They can see Red Dao women sitting on the porch embroidering dresses, H’mong people cooking meals, and hear the sound of a mother singing a lullaby from the house of the Xa Pho people. The scene is as tranquil as daily life in the villages of Sa Pa people.

First-time visitors are amazed by the fact that May Village captures the spirit of ethnic minority culture in Sa Pa, and it’s only a 10-minute drive from the town center. Since it is not easy for tourists to encounter ethnic minorities, this place provides a wonderful way to experience the traditional activities of the groups, their festive atmosphere, and delicious foods.

When entering the rustic gate with a thatched roof on the mountainside of the Hoang Lien Son range, visitors will feel like they are lost in a cozy Northwest village. Photo: Laodong

Chris, a German tourist, was taken aback by the local culture. “I was impressed to see the traditional dances and music of the ethnic groups here. I feel like I really learned something new in the village. This is the most exhilarating thing we can do on vacation.”

The village recreates the most authentic living space imbued with Northwest traditions and stilt houses from different remote villages in Sapa, forming a poetic stop at the foot of Fansipan mountain. The main residents of the village are the young generation, indigenous artisans from the 5 ethnic minorities H’Mong, Tay, Giay, Xa Pho, and Red Dao, who maintain their simple daily lifestyles.

Ly Man May, a Red Dao girl, is spellbound by the architecture of May Village, where she introduces travelers to the culture, spirituality, and identity of her people. This resembles the new home of ethnic minorities, where they proudly showcase daily activities, Northwest cuisine, spiritual culture, and traditional festivals.

Foreign tourists enjoy their time visiting May Village. Photo: Laodong

It brings together all the essence so that visitors can meet 5 ethnic minorities and have the most unique experience in just one day. The village becomes even more lively during weekends or Tet holiday. Visitors can witness the traditional wedding of the Red Dao people, enjoy the Tay people dancing and singing, and the H’mong people playing the flute.

In the midst of tourism development in Sapa, May Village adds a unique highlight to the highland, bringing colors to the Sun World Fansipan Legend tourist area. Tran Xuan Binh – Deputy Director of the Lao Cai Department of Tourism, assessed that May Village not only plays a role in preserving and conserving but also creates a world for storing tangible and intangible cultural heritage.

Each gift and souvenir also takes indigenous cultural values as the core. Photo: Laodong

Each gift and souvenir also highlights indigenous cultural values. For example, brocade patterns contribute to spreading and promoting traditional crafts and weaving of ethnic minorities.

Charlotte Pho