The Mystical Village of Xa Phin: A Ha Giang Enclave Veiled in Moss

Perched atop a lofty elevation of 1,000 meters above the sea, the Dao people's stilt houses in Xa Phin Village, Ha Giang, boast roofs adorned with verdant moss, crafting a surreal and enchanting tableau that captivates the hearts of all who venture here.


Nestled amidst the majestic Tay Con Linh Mountain Range, Xa Phin is a picturesque village inhabited by the Dao people, an ethnic group native to the region. This charming settlement lies approximately 20 kilometers from the bustling heart of Ha Giang City, the provincial capital of the eponymous Ha Giang Province.

Perched at an elevation of over 1,000 meters above sea level, Xa Phin enjoys a pleasant climate year-round. The combination of mist and high humidity fosters the growth of lush green moss, which gracefully adorns the roofs of the village’s stilt houses, creating a captivating and unique aesthetic.

The intricate roofs of Xa Phin’s stilt houses, adorned with thousands of palm leaves and a layer of lush green moss. Photo: VNA

The mist-shrouded stilt houses, with their moss-covered roofs, evoke a sense of mystery and enchantment. According to locals, the moss thrives due to the high humidity in the air, particularly during the winter months when thick fog and cold temperatures prevail.

“It takes over a decade to cultivate a moss roof like this,” shares Dang Van Hiep, a resident of Xa Phin. “The thicker the moss layer, the older the house. Some houses in our village were built over 30 years ago, and their roofs are now covered in a lush green carpet.”

The moss-covered roofs of Xa Phin’s stilt houses take on a golden hue during the summer months. Photo: VNA

During the summer, the moss turns yellow and dry, while it flourishes and becomes a vibrant green in the winter. Hiep adds, “For roofs that are less than 10 years old, the moss hasn’t had enough time to fully cover the entire surface.”

Each stilt house in the village boasts a roof adorned with a stunning display of up to 10,000 intricately arranged palm leaves. These roofs, constructed with such attention to detail and craftsmanship, contribute to the unique charm of Xa Phin.

The lush green moss that graces the roofs of Xa Phin’s stilt houses adds to the village’s enchanting beauty. Photo: VNA

As tourists wind their way along the narrow roads that meander through the vast mountains and forests, they are greeted by the fairy-tale-like scenery of Xa Phin. The palm leaf roofs, now adorned with a verdant layer of moss, stand out against the lush green backdrop.

Both the young and the elderly in the village take pride in preserving these unique roofs, recognizing their potential to attract visitors seeking an authentic and enchanting experience.

In addition to its captivating roofs, Xa Phin offers a glimpse into a traditional way of life. The villagers primarily depend on farming, and their self-sufficient lifestyle ensures they have all they need to sustain their daily lives.

Tourists visiting Xa Phin are treated to a unique experience all year round. They can admire the beauty of the moss-covered roofs, pick Shan Tuyet tea leaves, immerse themselves in cool spring waters, and even try their hand at fishing. The village offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

The dreamy and enchanting scenery of Xa Phin Village, with its moss-covered roofs and lush green surroundings. Photo: VNA

Recognizing the potential for tourism, some households in the village have begun offering homestay services. “Our homestay is always full on weekends,” shares Tuong Van Thanh, owner of a homestay in Xa Phin. “Many tourists are drawn to the village during the rice harvest season, eager to immerse themselves in the unique culture and explore the surrounding area.”

Xa Phin is home to 70 households, all belonging to the Dao ethnic group. The villagers proudly preserve their rich traditions, which are reflected in their customs, rituals, folk songs, dances, costumes, games, and festivals. One notable tradition is the Le Cap Sac, a maturity ritual that marks the coming-of-age of Dao men.

Ha Giang, located in Vietnam’s northern region, is a province that beckons adventurers and nature enthusiasts alike. Its awe-inspiring landscapes, including challenging mountain trails and vibrant ethnic villages, offer a captivating escape from everyday life.

The villagers of Xa Phin primarily depend on farming, cultivating the land to sustain their daily lives. Photo: VNA

Nestled in Vietnam’s northern highlands, approximately 318 kilometers from Hanoi, Ha Giang presents a breathtaking tableau of majestic peaks, lush rivers, and vibrant flora. Elevations in the province range from 800 to 1,200 meters above sea level, contributing to its diverse and captivating landscape.

With 19 ethnic groups calling Ha Giang home, the province boasts a rich cultural tapestry. Despite the simplicity of their way of life, the local people’s deep connection to their land and traditions leaves a lasting impression on all who visit.

The winding road through the terraced fields of Xa Phin Village, offering a glimpse into the beauty of Ha Giang’s landscapes. Photo: VNA

The best time to visit Ha Giang is from September to March, when the province is at its most vibrant with ripe rice fields and blooming flowers. This period also coincides with lively spring festivals, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions.

Charlotte Pho