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Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Nestled in Ha Giang, Sao Ha Village reflects the eerie atmosphere seen in a Vietnamese Netflix horror series. Deprived of electricity, water, and phone signals, it echoes with emptiness and sorrow.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Located within Kho Cho Village, Van Chai Commune, Dong Van District, Ha Giang Province, Sao Ha Village is inhabited by the Hmong people and surrounded by the ancient Van Chai Forest.

The village serves as a backdrop for the Netflix’s Vietnamese horror television series "Hellbound Village" released in October, and its sequel, "A Soul Reaper" soon to be released in December.

After visiting the village on Nov. 9, Giang A Phon, the Director of a travel company in Ha Giang, shared that since the Sao Ha Village lacks of basic amenities such as electricity, water, and phone signal, it creates an atmosphere of emptiness and sadness that aligns with the desolate portrayal in the horror series.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

To reach Sao Ha Village, nestled deep in the forest, visitors can either navigate a two-kilometer stretch by motorbike, facing perilous turns, or embark on a 30-minute to an hour-long walk, depending on their pace.

A Phon’s journey commenced from Yen Minh District and faced a challenging 17-kilometer pass with winding bends and steep slopes. After reaching the base of Tham Ma Slope, he continued for about 4 kilometers to reach Van Chai Commune.

To access Sao Ha Village, which is situated deep in the forest, visitors have two options: they can either navigate a two-kilometer stretch by motorbike, encountering dangerous turns, or they can choose to walk for 30 minutes to an hour, depending on their pace.

According to Phon, the path to Sao Ha is a dirt road with rugged rocks and uphill sections, requiring steady navigation. The route passes through a forest and a temple. Additionally, village elders advise against calling each other names in the forest to avoid attracting bad luck or negative outcomes.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

In the Hmong language, Sao Ha translates to "high valley." The village is situated at an altitude of around 1,500 meters above sea level. The road to the village is often shrouded in fog, especially during winter.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

One distinctive feature of Sao Ha Village is its 1.5-meter-high stone fences. These moss-covered fences have stood for decades, creating an enduring charm.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

The village, home to 22 Hmong households with the surname Vang, features trinh tuong houses, also known as houses with walls made of soil. These houses also have roofs with yin-yang tiles, with some facing up and others facing down. The houses find themselves enveloped by a pristine ancient forest spanning approximately 500 hectares.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Because the terrain in the village is rough and challenging, residents have adopted a self-sufficient lifestyle. People rely on their own resources and skills to meet their needs. Around the village, residents cultivate flax, which serves as the raw material for handloom weaving.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Corn cultivation is a traditional occupation for the residents of Sao Ha Village, a practice prevalent all over the surrounding Dong Van karst plateau. Their staple dish, men men (corn rice), reflects this tradition.

With adults working far from home during the day, the village takes on a quiet atmosphere, occasionally interrupted by children playing along the road.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Visitors to Kho Cho Village will encounter tales of Phi Cave. Around 1957-1958, Vang Van Ly led a notorious bandit group opposing the government, and when their resistance failed, Vang Van Ly and his members sought refuge in a mountain cave located in Van Chai Commune.

Subsequently, Vang Van Ly was compelled to surrender, leading to a restoration of peace in the lives of the local people. The present-day Phi Cave is believed to be the specific location where Vang Van Ly hid during this period.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Apart from the ancient forest and Phi Cave, Sao Ha boasts a bamboo forest, ancient houses, and Sao Ha Temple, providing tourists with diverse attractions. At the moment, the village lacks official tourism services.

As a result, some daring or adventurous travelers choose to set up camps in the bamboo forest. These individuals enjoy the peaceful and natural environment of the area without the amenities and conveniences typically provided by formal tourism services.

Sao Ha reaches its pinnacle of beauty in spring when peach blossom trees bloom, transforming the village's cold and quiet demeanor.

Sao Ha Village: discovering isolation in Ha Giang's mystical locale

Several travel companies have conducted survey trips with plans to establish experiential tours connecting Van Chai with neighboring communes. However, the narrow, one-meter-wide road from the commune center to the village poses a significant bottleneck. The village's high altitude, coupled with periodic water shortages, also limits tourism development.

In the face of modernization, traditional cultural elements like stone fences, yin-yang tiled roofs, and trinh tuong houses face the risk of fading away, to be replaced by modern structures.

In response to this challenge, the government of Dong Van District is taking proactive measures. Specifically, they plan to include Kho Cho village, particularly the Sao Ha household group, on a list of villages earmarked for the preservation of traditional values. Simultaneously, the government aims to manage tourism resources in a way that balances development with the preservation of these cultural elements.

By: e.vnexpress.net


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