People who travel to Sapa come here for the beautiful rice paddies and small buds of ethnic minorities. Ta Phin is such a hamlet not too far from the main town. It is a great place staying overnight in a homestay and making a trekking through the beautiful rice fields of Sapa.
About Ta Phin village
Ta Phin is one of the best places for a Sapa trekking. It is village of local minorities, mainly the Hmong and Red Dao that have lived here for generation after generation. There are 13 hamlets and more than 20 smaller communes scattered throughout these hamlets. The houses are often simple wooden structures or traditional stilt houses. It is beautifully located between rice fields and mountains and there is a stream running along the village.
The great thing is that the village is not yet influenced by mass tourism so the local lifestyles is authentic and is a unique experience to visit. Walking between the hamlets give you a change to see both the stunning rice fields as well as learning more from this interesting culture. Most locals work in the rice fields, but the locals here are also known for their hand-made brocades. You can find things like a bag, purse, scarf, skirt and even a backpack or a coat. It can be a great Vietnam souvenir to bring back home and also to support the local community.
Things to do in Ta Phin village
The best thing to do around Ta Phin village is making a beautiful trekking. You can walk by yourself between the smaller hamlets and rice fields. For further distances to other villages and overnight stays it is recommended to go by guide. Along the way you learn more about the other minority cultures that live around Sapa and the mountains of north Vietnam.
2. Staying in a homestay
Combine a trekking with an overnight stay in a local homestay, hosted by the ethnic people. Some homestays can be very basic, but it will give you an amazing look in their life and culture.
3. French monastery
Besides the rice fields and villages you can visit a small cave in the area. Close to the village there is also an old ruin of a French monastery / church. It was built in 1942 as a home for 12 nuns. It had 3 floors and an underground basement, but most of that collapsed.
4. Minority culture
Visiting Ta Phin village gives you a great opportunity to learn more about the local culture of the minorities. Some of them learned a few words of English, but it easier to communicate with them if you are with a guide. You could even be invited in their house to drink locally made rice wine. You can see at several houses the woman making brocades. Some of these things they make even get exported to Hanoi.
5. Herbal bath
What is better then enjoying a herbal bath after a long day of trekking? The village is well known for its medicinal herbs. They make traditional herbal baths to treat illnesses, but they also make them for travelers that stay overnight after a long trekking day.
Accommodation in Ta Phin village
There are enough homestays in Ta Phin village, but most of them are pretty basic. Below two recommended homestays:
- Ta Phin Homestay – Cozy house located on the edge of the touristic part of the village which makes it very quiet and authentic.
- Sapa Homestay Ta May – Friendly family, nice homestay and option to take a herbal bath
How to get there?
If you start in Hanoi, you first need to travel to Sapa. You can either do this by night train from Hanoi to Lao Cai and from there a taxi directly to Ta Phin. Another way is to take a night bus or limousine mini bus to Sapa. Ta Phin is located around 12 km from Sapa. A taxi or renting a car with driver is the most comfortable and fastest way. You can also rent a motorbike in Sapa from 100,000 VND and drive there yourself, as long as you are experienced and confident enough.
The last way is the most fun way and that is by foot. Make a trekking starting from Sapa or another neighboring village and stay overnight in Ta Phin village. Best is to go with a local guide who can show the best and most scenic paths to the village.
Best time to visit
Ta Phin village is a great village to visit all year round, but if you want to see the rice fields on it’s best to come here around September. It is the same best time to visit in Sapa. During this month it is harvest time and the fields are yellow. In the months before you can see the rice in different stages. In May they are watering the fields to make them ready. During this time the fields turn into giant mirrors.