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Ban Pho Village

Bac Ha District, Lao Cai, Vietnam

Ban Pho Village is an upland commune of Bac Ha district, Lao Cai. Setting foot in the village, tourists will have a chance to admire the stunning beauty, immerse in the nature, and enjoy mountainous specialties, especially Ban Pho corn wine.

From Bac Ha Town, traveling on winding roads clinging to the slopes of Hoang Lien Son mountain range about 4km with the verdant valley of corn and tender rice colored beneath and immense plum forest in both sides, tourists will meet Ban Pho Village. It is home to Mong ethnic minority, who use "Quan Hoa" language - a kind of language in ethnic minority alongside the northern frontier - in their daily life. Thanks to the charming natural scenery and friendly people, Ban Pho Village today becomes one of the new tourist attractions in Sapa.

 

Road to Ban Pho Village

 

As one of the most well-known villages in Sapa, Ban Pho Village converges more than 500 households with over 3,000 inhabitants. According to "Quan Hoa" language, "Pho" refers to the place gathering the great number of population and restaurants accompanying. From afar, Ban Pho Village appears as a beautiful and vivid picture. Mingling into the vast blue of the endlessly stretching mountains is houses of Mong people which look like a bird's nest sticking to the mountainside. Their houses are built close to the ridge; the floor is often lower and airtight with mostly wooden materials. There is always a fireplace inside, dried meat serving all year round and famous "thang co" dish - a traditional dish with the combination of soup with grilled horse meat.

 

Houses at Ban Pho Village

 

One of the traditional crafts in Ban Pho Village is weaving with cotton and linen. The locals also dress clothing woven by them. Girls usually wear wide skirts with many brilliant and eye-catching vignettes; meanwhile boys have on clothing woven black fabric. Ethnic people in Ban Pho Village live mainly on rice cultivation, weaving, and cultivation of medicinal plants. In particular, Mong people here also own a typical handicraft product which is now well-known in the country and attracts the large number of international tourists. That is Ban Pho corn wine product. If having a chance to visit any family in the village in cooking time, tourists will be certainly surprised at strings of buffalo, cow, goat or meat... which are hung on the kitchen ceiling. That is how to make unique bacon of the locals in Ban Pho Village. In particular, the hosts are really kind to invite tourists to enjoy a glass of freshly distilled wine which is still warm with a delicious bacon dish. The friendliness also contributes to bring Sapa travel closer to tourists.

 

A kitchen at Ban Pho Village

 

Stepping into any houses of Mong ethnic people in Ban Pho Village, tourists find easy to catch a unique kitchen inside. That is the place for making wine. The flavor of corn and wine appears throughout the upland space, especially on the occasion of the fair in Bac Ha, Can Cau and days of Tet holiday. Regarding methods, Ban Pho wine does not require any fancy and complicated elements; however, to create the distinctive flavor of Ban Pho corn wine, the makers have their own traditional secret. According to the locals, to get the delicious Ban Pho corn wine, the corn must be grown and cared right at the land and the climate here. Utensil used for making wine is a large cast iron pan which is covered with a wooden bucket and put on stove 3m² wide. The fire has to burn continually to ensure the quality of the wine. On the average, 3 kg of corn produces 1 liter of wine about 40-45º. Each family will usually make about 20 liters of wine in the fair. Ban Pho corn wine is one of the indispensable products in the upland fairs in any Sapa tours.

 

Panoramic view of Ban Pho Village

 

In particular, Hmong ethnic people in Ban Pho Village also love using many instruments, the most characteristic of which is the panpipe and "dan moi" (lip lute). On the day of Tet holiday or fairs, Hmong young boys and girls usually use their panpipe to call their lovers and immerse in love singing. Along with plums, pears, peaches, Ban Pho corn wine, the wafting sounds of music, Ban Pho vilaage in particular and Sapa tourism in general always leave a special impression to tourists in mind about the pristine land and the friendly hospitable local people.

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