As part of our hike in the mountains around Sapa, we were also offered a herbal bath experience. We had no idea what to expect and it was fascinating enough to write a few words about it.
Herbal Bath Experience in Sapa’s Mountains
After a beautiful day of hiking through stunning mountains and amazing rice terraces, we arrived at our guides homestay in a remote village.
The homestay has electricity and running, but cold spring water. Yet, there was no Spa or hot spring to be seen anywhere. Was the herbal bath experience going to be a freezing adventure? After a tea and some minutes to relax, our host and guide asked us, if we were still interested in the herbal bath and if we would also like to help collect the herbs. Of course we were! So we got back into our boots and our guide lead us into the woods behind the house.
Our host started chopping some herbs, explained a bit about them and after the bucket with the herbs was full, also gathered some fire wood. All this seemed like daily routine for her.
Back at the house, all the herbs went into a huge wok-like pan with a lot of water right in the middle of the kitchen. The pan was placed directly over open fire and still contained some herbs from last time.
We were assured, that we did not have to sit in this pan; naked; in the middle of the kitchen; over open fire. What a relief… 🙂
But still… Where was the spa? We had no idea and somehow didn’t manage to ask. So we just waited while the herbs boiled in fresh spring water for a about an hour. We relaxed with an amazing view and enjoyed the afternoon with a well deserved beer.
After a while, our host approached us: “Our herbal bath is ready.” She showed us the way to the family bathroom, where we were a bit surprised to find… a huge bucket.
The bucket was filled by hand with multiple smaller buckets carried over from the huge frying pan by the whole family.
We were informed that towels were already in the bathroom, ready for us to use. Enjoy! We were pushed in and the door was closed behind us. And to be honest, after the first, initial shock, we really did enjoy our hot herbal bath in a huge bucket – highly recommended!
And after we were finished, the bucket was refilled with hot water from the pan and the family enjoyed the bath as well. We were told, that they enjoy the herbal bath themselves nearly daily. Kind of makes you a bit jealous…