May is a lovely girl from a tiny H'mong village near Sapa. I happened to read stories about her hosting tourists in her house, with her family, just for the sake of talking with strangers, learning some English and get some good meal in return. I eventually contacted her and decided to go and spend a night in her village. That happened to be an out-of-the-world experience.

our friend May, H'mong tribe, Sapa

Unfortunately the weather is not with us today, the main road is quite muddy and when we leave for the small path leading May's village things get worse. The usual 3-4 hours trekking eventually becomes more than 5 hours plunged into the fog or hit by the rain.

main road to H'mong village, Sapa
trekking in Sapa
muddy path to H'mong village, Sapa
muddy road to H'mong village, Sapa
path to H'mong village, Sapa

Sapa is famous for its nature, its crops and mainly for the rice field. We can barely get the idea of how beautiful must be look this place on a sunny day. Anyway, the trek is extremely pleasant and the foggy day returns us a kind of mystical scenery.

path to H'mong village, Sapa
path to H'mong village, Sapa
Rice fields, Sapa
Rice fields, Sapa
Rice fields, Sapa

There are a lot of minorities here in Sapa, tons of villages are spread around the region. Each minority has its own habits and they wear different clothes.

H'mong family, Sapa
Black H'mong girl, Sapa
Giay girl, Sapa
H'mong girl, Sapa
Red Dzaogirl, Sapa

Their native tongue is not Vietnamese, every tribe has a different language (actually H'mong one is closer to Chinese), they only learn official national language at school. Luckily there is at least a primary school in every village.

Children going out of school, Sapa
Children going back home, Sapa
Those tribes seem to mainly rely on women. They walk all day from their villages to Sapa to the market, to accomodate tourists, to work as trek guides or to sell handy-crafts. Men usually stay at home to watch the kids and prepare the meals. People get married very young - around 15-18 - and have their first child by 20. All the family own a field of rice - always present in any combination of food - yet strangely most of them do not sell it, just take care of the harvest and get feed by it.
Woman working on rice field, Sapa
Man working on rice field, Sapa
Dinner in H'mong house, Sapa
Spending 24 hours with a real family outside the touristic area is worth. Even though the rain, even if we got wet and we didn't sleep comfortably on May's wooden bed, even if we didn't catch a word of their H'mong discussion (yet we managed to count till 10) it is still a night we won't never forget. Thank you May, see you next time.
May and her children, Sapa info

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