An exquisite valley close to the Chinese border, Sapa sits with towering mountains on all sides. Although it holds such beauty, Sapa would draw considerably less of travellers attention if it were not for the H’mong and Dzao ethnic groups in the region.
Their distinguished clothing and headdresses can be spotted all over the town and they are keen to make their presence known to you.
The most rewarding part of visiting Sapa is if you are able to trek through the mountains and villages. Ladies of the tribes will more than likely hound you as you set off on your walk, but as I discovered, you might be lucky enough to gain the company of a few who can take you through the villages and tell you some very interesting facts and stories about the history and the surroundings. Of course they will expect you to buy a little something from them at the end, but I found it was a small price to pay for such an experience, and came away with a beautiful piece of H’mong textile and H’mong silver jewellery.
If you are not feeling up to trekking through the mountains and villages, H’mong and Dazo groups gather in the square daily, selling items displaying their world renown embroidery skills. The market stalls down the streets also sell a variety of souvenirs and traditional Vietnamese items.
All images Gemma Lofthouse ©
I am a textile print designer/maker, with a strong passion for striking prints. textiles, design, colour, texture, interiors, fashion, travel & different cultures.