A popular hilltribe village, about six miles north of Sapa, Ta Phin village regularly welcomes trekkers to experience a more traditional way of life in mountainous northwest Vietnam. Here groups of Red Dao, Black Hmong and Kinh ethnic groups live side by side and continue to adhere to their distinct cultures, making a visit a unique opportunity to learn about their differences and spend time interacting with members of each ethnic group.
A suite of activities can be arranged with tour guides and include experiencing an herbal bath, making and drinking rice wine, taking an embroidery lesson, offering your skills to teach English or helping to prepare a meal. The trek to the village via a nine-mile countryside loop passes terraced rice fields, streams and other smaller villages. Other popular area attractions include a visit to the cave on the outskirts of the village, and a stop at a former French monastery ruined in the 1940s.
Most visitors arrive on foot from a drop-off point just outside of Sapa, though with Ta Phin’s popularization and the smoothing of local roads, it is now also possible to shorten the travel time and arrive by xe om (motor taxi). Same-day trek-in and trek-out tours are popular, but the village also offers the opportunity to spend more time and stay the night in the home of one of the Red Dao families. Ta Phin charges a 40,000VND (around $1.80) per person entry, a fee that is often incorporated in pre-arranged treks and that is funneled back into community infrastructure. Handicrafts, for sale by the village women, are another way visitors can help to support the community during a visit.