The remote, rustic beauty of Sín Chải Village
Sín Chải is a beautiful village in Sa Pa Town, Lào Cai Province, that still retains the rustic simplicity of a mountainous village.
The village belongs to Hoàng Liên Commune, located about 4km from the centre of Sa Pa. Although located right next to Cát Cát, a famous community-based cultural tourism village of the town, Sín Chải is still pristine and quiet compared to the neighbouring village.
It lies at the foot of the Hoàng Liên Sơn mountain range, surrounded by vast hills. It has been the home of the Mông ethnic minority for generations.
For Hanoian Ngô Thanh Mai, who loves to visit Sa Pa, Sín Chải is special because of its tranquillity, charming terraced fields and friendliness of locals.
“I always see friendly smiles when I walk into the village. There are many beautiful terraced fields here. I like the peaceful life of the people. This place has not been commercialised like other villages in Sa Pa,” Mai said.
Located next to Cát Cát tourism village, Sín Chải hasn’t changed much since Sa Pa developed into a tourism centre. The road to Sín Chải is still the same, people’s lives are peaceful every day.
Like many people in other villages in Sa Pa, Sín Chải villagers mainly live on crop farming and animal husbandry.
Mai visited Sín Chải in the season when the terraced fields were submerged in water. The water is taken from the streams, so it is very clear, reflecting the sunlight and making a large area shimmering and sparkling beautifully.
September and October is the time when Sín Chải enters the rice harvest season. Local farmers only plant one crop a year.
The village is home to about 1,600 ethnic Mông people, so when coming here, Mai feels the Mông culture which has a significant impact on life, architecture as well as many other factors in the village.
Along the way to the village are small, low houses that are covered with pơ mu wood, pieces of linen drying in front of the porch and farm tools that have not yet been stored. And that journey brings a feeling of peace to the lives of villagers here.
In addition to growing rice and maize, locals also grow thảo quả (a plant used in traditional medicine and as a spice) on the mountain slopes. The good harvest of thảo quả also brings people a significant source of income.
The life of the Mông is simple. They grow rice and thảo quả, and at the end of these seasons, they only go to the forest to collect firewood and raise buffaloes and horses.
Mông women sew all year round. They often have their own flax growing fields to get yarn to weave clothes for their family and to make beautiful dresses on their wedding day for themselves. The handicrafts of the Mông in Sín Chải are never sold outside.
When visiting the village, you should not miss delicious specialities such as maize cakes, smoked buffalo meat and home-brew Sán Lùng wine.
Currently, trekking is a type of tourism that is very popular with tourists when visiting Sín Chải Village. You can walk while admiring the poetic beauty of the scenery on both sides of the road while learning about the customs, lifestyle and cuisine of the people here.
If you want to learn more clearly about the life of the Mông people, you can have a homestay in the village with the price of about VNĐ50,000 per person per night.
You can choose the form of sightseeing that best suits you such as buying a tour from a travel company or renting a motorbike to experience the village for VNĐ120,000-150,000 a day.
To trek to Sín Chải, you must have strength and endurance. You should also not forget to bring drinks and a little snack because there will be almost no shops along the way. You should also wear clothes that are easy to move in and soft sports shoes for the mountainous terrain here.
Without noise and bustle, Sín Chải is now really the soul of the northwest mountains, where everything is still as simple and intact as in the past. VNS
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