Soaking In The Hot Herbal Bath In Ta Phin, Sa Pa

We are here, in Sa Pa, to discover not only the winding mountainous trails but also the culture of ethnic tribes in Sapa. Thus, an herbal bath is definitely listed in our schedule.

After trekking on mountain paths through villages to villages of ethnic tribes in Sa Pa town, our shirt started to sweat, and we felt a little tired yet excited about taken excellent photos of the locals’life. As suggested by Motorbike Tours Vietnam guide, we decided to continue our journey by trying medicine bath in the evening.

On the way to Ta Phin Village

About 2 pm, we got on our bikes to depart from Sa Pa, the romantic mountainous town covered in clouds and fog, drove 12 km on trails heading to Ta Phin village. It is the village where the Red Dzao ethnic live and keep their secrets about traditional medicine treatments. We passed by many plateaus with lush terraced fields and thatched roof houses.

As we arrived in the parking lot, a bunch of people in colorful traditional outfits welcomed us. We still had to walk few km until getting to the village. I walked together with our guide and listened to his introduction about the medicine bath that we would try later. The locals here also joined in our conversation as they can speak both Vietnamese and English. Thus,we don’t have to worry to get lost in here. 

After about one hour, finally, we reached the village of the Red Dzao ethnic, which was spread over a long road on low hills and lined with trees. The traditional herbal bath here was the most famous herbal therapy due to its health restoration and arthritic pain relief.

Medicine Bath Houses

There are plenty places offering the bath service; however, we preferred bathing in ethnic houses to experience as true locals. An ethnic woman named May, who provided us the bath said, “Only a few people here can choose the proper herbs for the medicinal bath, as the secret is kept among members in each family.”

The ingredients in herbal bath water vary from ten to a hundred types depending on therapy’s effects desired and the experience of each maker. It is also not easy to collect these plants and leaves; the ethnic people have to go further in the forest for some special ones, while some can be planned in the garden.

After collecting a full basket of herbal planes, the woman cut them into pieces then poured into a huge pot containing boiled water. The aroma spread out in the air immediately, and the water turned a red wine color. Especially, the bathtubs here are always made of Fokienia or Po Mu wood (in local language), since this type of wood will extract the aromatic essential oil when being wet by hot water, the wonderful scent can last for days.

First Exciting Experience with Traditional Herbal Bath

I dipped one of my feet into the water first, and it was extremely hot that made me felt like I would be boiled like a shrimp in an autoclave. By slowly soaking my legs and then my body, I gradually got used to the heat. It felt like hundreds of needles poking into my skin, maybe, because of the hot water’s effect. The steam mixing with herbal scent started to sneak into my nose, surrounding all my face. I just closed my eyes, emptied my mind and totallyenjoyed the water. It was trulyeffective when I got out of the bath tub, all my muscles relaxed and I felt surprisingly lightweight. All the fatigue after long trekking was disappeared.

If you have the chance to travel to Sapa, the herbal bath is totally a must-try experience. Thank you ADV Vietnam Motorcycle Tour and Dirtbike Travel for giving me the suggestion for trying this enjoyable and healthy treatment.

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