Tourists to Sa Pa town in the northern province of Lao Cai are increasingly experiencing the traditional customs of locals, including making the unique herbal bath remedy of the Red Dao ethnic minority people in Ta Phin commune.

Taking part in the “One day as Sa Pa farmers” programme, which opened on May 3 as part of the 2014 Sa Pa Culture-Tourism Week, tourists are able to spend a day with local people, trying their hand at the typical practices of mountainous residents.

The small Ta Phin commune nestles in a stunning and untouched valley located 12 km northeast of Sa Pa.

According to experts, the bath remedy of the Red Dao people contains more kinds of medicinal plants than other Dao groups, varying from 10 to a hundred depending on the purpose of the remedy.

Following Ly Ta May, one of only a few locals in Ta Phin offering a medical bathing service, a group of visitors can travel into the forest to pick up plants. They are taught about the use of each kind.

The remedy is said to help treat many diseases, especially arthritis and skin ailments, and has become part of cultural identity of Dao people.

Returning from the forests, visitors can learn how to weave and dye fabric, and make brocade in a traditional Dao way.

Mai Thi Ngoc, a tourist from Ho Chi Minh City , said she could not imagine that it takes so many stages and so much time to make a product that she often sees in the hand-made shops.

“Trying to make a complete product such as a handbag, a hat or a shirt, is a fascinating experience for me”, she revealed.

Apart from making herbal bath remedy and brocade, tourists can also explore the traditional houses of Red Dao people and practice farming by controlling buffaloes and tilling terraced fields. Traditional dishes in Ta Phin are also an attractive part of the programme.

“I will definitely return here, as the activities of the programme bring me closer to the nature and let me enjoy the diverse culture of locals”, said one visitor from California in the United States .

With the unique features that it offers, the “One day as Sa Pa farmers” programme is expected to attract more tourists to the town.-VNA