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"The Nature Way" of the indigenous Black Hmong people: Explore Vietnam's rice terraces

Want to travel to the lush rice fields of northern Vietnam and stay with a host family of the indigenous hill tribe like the Black Hmong Tribe? Then follow me on my sustainable world trip to wild and romantic Sapa to stay with Mama Zuzu and daughter Cat. By staying with a host family like this, you'll get an authentic experience of their way of life - away from mass tourism. Let's travel together in an environmentally conscious way and leave a positive IMPACKT. 

Trekking Paradise in Sapa 


After a bus ride from Hanoi, my friend Silvia and I arrive in the provincial town of Sapa district of the same name. Our guide Cat picks us up personally at the bus station. From there we are allowed to walk on small paths through the hills into the mountain villages, as no motor vehicles can pass through. 


Insight into the culture and women power of the Black Hmong Tribe 


During the three-hour hike, Cat leads us through numerous villages and tells us more about the history and culture of the Black Hmong Tribe - much more exciting than reading about it in a dry travel guide. For example, Cat tells us that she was trained as a tourist guide by her mother named Mama Zuzu. As women of the Black Hmong Tribe, they earn a living by guiding tourists, while their husbands take care of the children in the village and cook for everyone. Among these matriarchally led Hmong in northern Vietnam, the women call the shots and are true business women. They also own the land, by the way. Real woman power.


Adventurous encounters on the road 


Besides the Black Hmong Tribe there are other ethnic groups belonging to the Hmong, e.g. the Red Hmong or Green Hmong. As the names suggest, they correspond to the dominant color on their costumes. Halfway we already meet Red and Black Hmong and are accompanied by several of these ladies. Although they don't speak much English, they are very friendly. This is an opportunity to share my Vietnamese skills with the people and get some hands-on practice in pantomime. I call them the "Gentlewomen" because they give us a handhold during steep sections and are always gallant. 


The Nature Way: Hiking through the hills 


After a good hour of marching, we have a fantastic view over the hills. That's when Cat asks us, "Do you want to take the normal, longer route on the "road" or venture down the short nature trail?" Adventurous as we are, we decide to take the winding shortcut called the "nature way". Reminds me of the alpine hikes with my family. My dad always knew such a so-called shortcut. Fortunately, Cat knows every path like the back of her hand and leads us safely through the area. Every now and then she points out a plant that they need for tea or to dye their clothes. So we learn something of flora and fauna by the way. I am especially fascinated by water buffaloes grazing in the fields between the clouds of fog. Not even my Franconian homeland is so idyllic. 


Arrival in the mountain village: warm hospitality from Mama Zuzu's family 


We reach our destination just in time for sunset, where we are warmly welcomed by our host mother Mama Zuzu. We immediately take her to our hearts and feel at home in the mountain village full of self-built wooden houses. The low-hanging clouds give the whole thing a mystical touch. For refreshment we get green tea on the terrace overlooking their small garden and tall bamboo trees. Besides a friendly American family we get to know other visitors. They are an Estonian couple who are spending their second time in the village with Mama Zuzu's sister-in-law Hmu. "We still had Hmu's number and wrote to her directly to ask if she could host us for two weeks. She immediately said yes. It's a special friendship that we've been able to develop here," the couple says gratefully. 


Feasting together like a family with "happy water" 


One of the highlights is the fantastic dinner that Mama Zuzu's son and her husband prepare for us. They prepare a local feast of rice, vegetables and a chicken that they slaughter for us. Like a real family, we wait for everyone to gather around the long table. Only then do we start feasting. Home-made tastes the best. After a few bites, we are offered "Happy Water". This is a homemade rice schnapps, which our merry circle tastes, of course. When Mama Zuzu's family is off, they drink the happy water and dance all night. Almost like today. Many hours later Silvia and I fall into our beds in a 9 m² small room of the wooden hut. Small and cozy. 


The handicraft of the Hmong: making hemp clothing 


The next day we are awakened by cock cries and children's laughter. Immediately after breakfast of pancakes and homegrown fruits, we set off with Mama Zuzu to a waterfall through the rice terraces. There is just something magical about these green mountains that frame the fields. But it is not only the beauty of nature that impresses me. On the way through the Hmong villages, I discover their amazing craft: making hemp clothing. It is fascinating to see how the long strands of fiber are spun into a continuous thread that is woven into fabric. Mama Zuzu does it in passing. Literally. Because she spins this thread while walking, without stumbling. 

The artistry of hemp thread making: 


"How do you do it exactly?", I inquire curiously. Before I know it, I too am twisting a cord of hemp. The two ends of the grasses are placed on top of each other and twisted into each other so that they interlock and become a string. Mama Zuzu patiently helps me until I get the hang of it. I realize how much work and artistry goes into each piece of embroidered Black Hmong fabric. The Hmong wear their costumes with pride not only on special occasions, but also in everyday life like Mama Zuzu. I should also walk around in my dirndl more often. It was a true privilege to spend a weekend immersed in the culture of this ethnic group. 

You also want to get to know Mama Zuzu and the life of the Black Hmong? Then book yourself this experience for only €70. Feel free to search other places in the world for indigenous tribes who would like to share their daily life with you and welcome you into their host family. This is how to build a sustainable tourism industry with real IMPACKT. 

Best regards, 
Your Franzi

"The Nature Way" of the indigenous Black Hmong people: Explore Vietnam's rice terraces

Want to travel to the lush rice fields of northern Vietnam and stay with a host family of the indigenous hill tribe like the Black Hmong Tribe? Then follow me on my sustainable world trip to wild and romantic Sapa to stay with Mama Zuzu and daughter Cat. By staying with a host family like this, you'll get an authentic experience of their way of life - away from mass tourism. Let's travel together in an environmentally conscious way and leave a positive IMPACKT. 

Trekking Paradise in Sapa 


After a bus ride from Hanoi, my friend Silvia and I arrive in the provincial town of Sapa district of the same name. Our guide Cat picks us up personally at the bus station. From there we are allowed to walk on small paths through the hills into the mountain villages, as no motor vehicles can pass through. 


Insight into the culture and women power of the Black Hmong Tribe 


During the three-hour hike, Cat leads us through numerous villages and tells us more about the history and culture of the Black Hmong Tribe - much more exciting than reading about it in a dry travel guide. For example, Cat tells us that she was trained as a tourist guide by her mother named Mama Zuzu. As women of the Black Hmong Tribe, they earn a living by guiding tourists, while their husbands take care of the children in the village and cook for everyone. Among these matriarchally led Hmong in northern Vietnam, the women call the shots and are true business women. They also own the land, by the way. Real woman power.


Adventurous encounters on the road 


Besides the Black Hmong Tribe there are other ethnic groups belonging to the Hmong, e.g. the Red Hmong or Green Hmong. As the names suggest, they correspond to the dominant color on their costumes. Halfway we already meet Red and Black Hmong and are accompanied by several of these ladies. Although they don't speak much English, they are very friendly. This is an opportunity to share my Vietnamese skills with the people and get some hands-on practice in pantomime. I call them the "Gentlewomen" because they give us a handhold during steep sections and are always gallant. 


The Nature Way: Hiking through the hills 


After a good hour of marching, we have a fantastic view over the hills. That's when Cat asks us, "Do you want to take the normal, longer route on the "road" or venture down the short nature trail?" Adventurous as we are, we decide to take the winding shortcut called the "nature way". Reminds me of the alpine hikes with my family. My dad always knew such a so-called shortcut. Fortunately, Cat knows every path like the back of her hand and leads us safely through the area. Every now and then she points out a plant that they need for tea or to dye their clothes. So we learn something of flora and fauna by the way. I am especially fascinated by water buffaloes grazing in the fields between the clouds of fog. Not even my Franconian homeland is so idyllic. 


Arrival in the mountain village: warm hospitality from Mama Zuzu's family 


We reach our destination just in time for sunset, where we are warmly welcomed by our host mother Mama Zuzu. We immediately take her to our hearts and feel at home in the mountain village full of self-built wooden houses. The low-hanging clouds give the whole thing a mystical touch. For refreshment we get green tea on the terrace overlooking their small garden and tall bamboo trees. Besides a friendly American family we get to know other visitors. They are an Estonian couple who are spending their second time in the village with Mama Zuzu's sister-in-law Hmu. "We still had Hmu's number and wrote to her directly to ask if she could host us for two weeks. She immediately said yes. It's a special friendship that we've been able to develop here," the couple says gratefully. 


Feasting together like a family with "happy water" 


One of the highlights is the fantastic dinner that Mama Zuzu's son and her husband prepare for us. They prepare a local feast of rice, vegetables and a chicken that they slaughter for us. Like a real family, we wait for everyone to gather around the long table. Only then do we start feasting. Home-made tastes the best. After a few bites, we are offered "Happy Water". This is a homemade rice schnapps, which our merry circle tastes, of course. When Mama Zuzu's family is off, they drink the happy water and dance all night. Almost like today. Many hours later Silvia and I fall into our beds in a 9 m² small room of the wooden hut. Small and cozy. 


The handicraft of the Hmong: making hemp clothing 


The next day we are awakened by cock cries and children's laughter. Immediately after breakfast of pancakes and homegrown fruits, we set off with Mama Zuzu to a waterfall through the rice terraces. There is just something magical about these green mountains that frame the fields. But it is not only the beauty of nature that impresses me. On the way through the Hmong villages, I discover their amazing craft: making hemp clothing. It is fascinating to see how the long strands of fiber are spun into a continuous thread that is woven into fabric. Mama Zuzu does it in passing. Literally. Because she spins this thread while walking, without stumbling. 

The artistry of hemp thread making: 


"How do you do it exactly?", I inquire curiously. Before I know it, I too am twisting a cord of hemp. The two ends of the grasses are placed on top of each other and twisted into each other so that they interlock and become a string. Mama Zuzu patiently helps me until I get the hang of it. I realize how much work and artistry goes into each piece of embroidered Black Hmong fabric. The Hmong wear their costumes with pride not only on special occasions, but also in everyday life like Mama Zuzu. I should also walk around in my dirndl more often. It was a true privilege to spend a weekend immersed in the culture of this ethnic group. 

You also want to get to know Mama Zuzu and the life of the Black Hmong? Then book yourself this experience for only €70. Feel free to search other places in the world for indigenous tribes who would like to share their daily life with you and welcome you into their host family. This is how to build a sustainable tourism industry with real IMPACKT. 

Best regards, 
Your Franzi

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Colour: polar white

€39.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: lava black

€39.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

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Colour: Garden Apricot

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IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Garden Apricot

Size: L

€159.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: Spring Green

€39.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: Garden Apricot

€39.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: Spring Green

€69.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: Garden Apricot

€69.95*
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Colour: deep sea green

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€129.95*
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Colour: flora pink

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€129.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: polar white

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: glacier blue

Size: M

€149.95*
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Colour: polar white

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€129.95*
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Colour: polar white

Size: L

€159.95*
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Colour: sunset yellow

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€149.95*
Wheel set

Colour: deep sea green

€19.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: flora pink

Size: L

€159.95*
Wheel set

Colour: polar white

€19.95*
Wheel set

Colour: glacier blue

€19.95*