Ta Van is a village that belongs to Ta Van commune, Sapa district, Lao Cai province, Vietnam. It is located about 8 to 12 kilometers from the center of Sapa town, depending on the route you choose. It is a popular destination for travelers who want to experience the authentic and rustic life of the ethnic minorities in the mountainous area. Ta Van is home to mainly the Hmong, the Giay, and the Red Dao ethnic groups, with about 1000 people living there1. In this blog post, we will tell you everything you need to know about Ta Van, including its history, its best time to visit, its attractions, its activities, and its tips. Let’s get started!
The History of Ta Van
Ta Van has a long history that dates back to more than 300 years ago. According to the elders, the first family that settled in this village was San family, followed by Vang family, Lu family, and others. The residents in Lao Cai called this village “Muong Va”, which means “arm span”, because of its shape that resembles an arm span2. According to another source, Ta Van means “a big arc” in the local language3.
Ta Van was originally inhabited by only the Giay ethnic group, who migrated from other provinces such as Ha Giang, Tuyen Quang, and Lai Chau. They lived mainly on rice cultivation and animal husbandry. They also had a rich culture with folktales, poetry, proverbs, and riddles. They lived in stilted houses or ordinary houses with a solemn central part that served as a place for ancestor worship and guest reception2.
Later on, other ethnic groups such as the Hmong and the Red Dao also moved to Ta Van and coexisted peacefully with the Giay. They brought their own customs, traditions, and festivals to enrich the diversity of Ta Van. Nowadays, Ta Van is a harmonious and friendly community that welcomes visitors from all over the world.
The Best Time to Visit Ta Van
The best time to visit Ta Van is from April to August. This is when the weather is pleasant and sunny, and the rice fields are green and lush. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature and take amazing photos. You can also witness some festivals and events of the ethnic minorities during this time, such as the Gau Tao festival of the Hmong in January or February, or the Nao Cong festival of the Giay in March or April2.
Another good time to visit Ta Van is from November to January. This is when the weather is cold and foggy, and the rice fields are yellow and dry. You can experience a different side of Ta Van and see how the locals prepare for the harvest season. You can also enjoy some specialties of Ta Van such as roast fish of Muong Hum, horse meat of Muong Khuong, sticky rice of Van Ban2.
The Attractions of Ta Van
Ta Van has many attractions that will make your visit worthwhile and memorable. Here are some of the main attractions of Ta Van:
- Terraced Fields: Ta Van is famous for its terraced fields that cover the hillsides and valleys. The terraced fields are a result of centuries of hard work and creativity of the local people who adapted to the harsh terrain and climate. The terraced fields change their colors according to the seasons, from green in spring and summer, to yellow in autumn, to brown in winter. They create a stunning landscape that attracts many photographers and tourists.
- Houses of Ethnic Minorities: Ta Van is a place where you can see and learn about the different types of houses of the ethnic minorities. You can see stilted houses made of wood and bamboo, ordinary houses made of clay and straw, or stone houses made of rocks and cement. You can also see how they decorate their houses with colorful fabrics, carved patterns, and animal horns. You can also visit their houses and interact with them if they invite you.
- Take Photos in Nice Homestays: Ta Van has many nice homestays that offer cozy accommodation and beautiful views. You can stay overnight in one of these homestays and enjoy their hospitality and services. You can also take photos in their lovely gardens, balconies, or terraces that overlook the mountains and the fields. Some of the popular homestays in Ta Van are Ta Van Ecologic Homestay, Luckydaisy’s Bamboo and Buffalo Homestay, and Ta Van Family Homestay.
- Try on the Ethnic Costumes: Ta Van is a place where you can try on the ethnic costumes of the Hmong, the Giay, and the Red Dao. You can rent or buy these costumes from the local shops or vendors and wear them for fun or for photos. You can also learn about the meanings and symbols of these costumes and how they reflect their culture and identity.
- Discover May Bridge & Muong Hoa Stream: Ta Van is a place where you can discover May Bridge and Muong Hoa Stream. May Bridge is a wooden bridge that crosses Muong Hoa Stream and connects Ta Van village with Lao Chai village. It is a simple but charming bridge that offers a nice view of the stream and the fields. Muong Hoa Stream is a stream that flows through Ta Van and other villages in Sapa. It is a clear and cool stream that provides water for irrigation and daily use. You can walk along the stream or cross it by stepping on the stones or using a bamboo raft.
- Enjoy Specialties: Ta Van is a place where you can enjoy some specialties of the ethnic minorities such as roast fish of Muong Hum, horse meat of Muong Khuong, sticky rice of Van Ban, and corn wine. You can also try some dishes that are made from local ingredients such as bamboo shoots, mushrooms, wild vegetables, and herbs. You can find these dishes in the homestays or the restaurants in Ta Van or nearby villages.
How to Get to Ta Van
There are different ways to get to Ta Van from Sapa town or other places. Here are some of the common ways to get to Ta Van:
- By motorbike: This is the most convenient and flexible way to get to Ta Van. You can rent a motorbike from Sapa town or other places and drive to Ta Van by yourself or with a guide. You can choose from different routes that offer different views and experiences. The most popular route is from Sapa town to Lao Chai village and then to Ta Van village. The distance is about 12 kilometers and the road is paved and easy to drive. You can also choose other routes that go through Ban Ho village, Su Pan village, or Giang Ta Chai village. The distance is longer and the road is more challenging but more scenic and adventurous.
- By car: This is the most comfortable and safe way to get to Ta Van. You can book a car with a driver from Sapa town or other places and drive to Ta Van without any hassle. You can choose from different types of cars such as sedans, SUVs, or vans depending on your group size and budget. The price varies depending on the distance, the duration, and the type of car. You can also book a car with a guide who will explain to you about the places you pass by and visit.
- By bus: This is the most economical and convenient way to get to Ta Van if you don’t want to drive or hire a car. You can take a bus from Sapa town or other places that goes to Lao Chai village and then walk or take a motorbike taxi to Ta Van village. The bus ticket costs about 20,000 VND (about 0.9 USD) per person and the motorbike taxi costs about 10,000 VND (about 0.4 USD) per person. The bus runs every 30 minutes from 6:30 am to 5:30 pm.
Tips for Visiting Ta Van
To make the most of your visit to Ta Van, here are some tips that you should follow:
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothes as you will have to walk a lot and climb some slopes. The weather in Sapa can be cold and foggy, so bring a jacket or a sweater with you.
- Bring water and snacks with you as there are not many shops or restaurants in Ta Van. You can also buy some local specialties such as dried fruits, honey, or wine from the vendors along the way.
- Bring your camera or phone with you as there are many beautiful spots for taking photos in Ta Van. You can also ask the locals or guides to take photos for you or with you.
- Be respectful and friendly to the locals and the environment. Do not litter or damage anything in Ta Van. Do not touch or pick any flowers or plants without permission. Do not make loud noises or disturb the animals.
Ta Van is a peaceful village on the side of Sapa, Vietnam that will give you a wonderful experience of nature and culture. It has a long history that relates to its name and its inhabitants. It has a convenient location and an affordable entrance fee that make it easy to access. It has many attractions that will make your visit enjoyable and memorable. It also offers different activities that will make your visit fun and meaningful. It also requires some tips that will make your visit smooth and safe.
We hope that this blog post has given you some useful information and tips about Ta Van. We wish you a happy and memorable trip!