Learn How To Behave In Sapa.
Each race of people has its own culture and when one visits any culture, one needs to understand a little bit about that culture. As a famous proverb “when in Rome, do as Romans do” is always efficient to behave in a new culture. The following can help one realize some differences from his/her culture and match one’s to minoritie’s culture in Sapa.
How You Behave Will Impact Your Experience.
If you come to Sapa with a bad attitude you will find yourself very lonely. The people of Sapa are very community driven and close, when outsiders come with bad attitude it is a sign of disrespect to the land and its people. The message board has a bit of local advice on it in thick red pen it reads “come here and enjoy, but please behave in Sapa” as a warning to travellers unaware of local customs.
A message on behaviour from your host
“We feel honoured by your visit and hope that it will be an opportunity for you to better understand our way of life, habits and culture.
Hopefully, if the language barrier and lack of time are not too much of an obstacle, we will be happy to answer your questions, welcome you to our modest homes and exchange cultural information with you. You wish to get to know us, but we too have a lot to learn about your way of life and habits, that sometimes seems just as strange to us as some of ours to you
We ask you to come see our culture and to bring respect and behave in Sapa on your stay”.
Sapa is NOT a party town filled with nightclubs, strip bars and bottle shops. You will be suprised at the simplicity of the community. Take a moment to read this and remember to behave when in Sapa. Come to Sapa to hike mountains or get your sweat on walking the hillsides.
The residents carry on with everyday life and you can get a glimpse of what the lifestyle is like here in Sapa. Be your best and behave in Sapa so you can enjoy your travels and see a slice of life not many people can say they have seen.
Your Behaviour Is a Reflection of Your Respect
However, the sudden influx of tourists may have negative effects on our villages because many of our foreign guests are not aware of our sometimes complex customs. Certain attitudes or behaviours considered normal by you, may be considered shocking here and create problems and misunderstandings on both sides. This is why we would like to let you know a few basic rules.
You sometimes talk about “ethic tourism”, we prefer to talk about mutual respect.
Here are some basic guidelines to help you behave in Sapa:
– Drug consumption is forbidden here, we want to protect our youth from this terrible habit.
– Touching sacred objects, walking through sacred places is forbidden and offends us. Please, seek information.
– Being badly dressed, dirty or partly undressed is considered aggressive and disrespectful.
– Drinking in excess, speaking in a loud voice or shouting is considered aggressive.
– Public display of affection and kissing are considered immodest and offending behaviour.
– Ask permission before taking pictures of people, we will be happy to grant it. Do not give money if money is not asked.
– Do not buy antiques or ancient jewellery from local families: you would rob them of their heritage and history.
– Do not give to children, this would encourage begging. Prefer presents to parents or elders and thank them for their hospitality.
– The best way to thank us is to buy recently made handicrafts: although cheap for you they represent a lot of money for us.
– Always offer to pay if a villager provides a meal or accommodation.
– Always announce yourself before entering a house or a property, we will be happy to let you in.
– Do not encourage prostitution.
– If you make a mess you clean it up.
While you may be on holiday and away from your home countries rules and regulations, you must obey some behaviour guidelines for Sapa. The local residents are happy to assit you if you are respectful and present yourself as someone that pays the land respect. Many party boys and girls have been turned away for showing a complete disrespect to local business owners and residents while traveling throughout Sapa.
I hope this guide gives you some idea of the basic behaviour in Sapa. You can learn a lot from talking to local people and by being a decent traveller while visiting this amazing place.