Most foreign tourists come to Vietnam to experience the bustling vibes of big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Danang. Nonetheless, a few might be in search of a tranquil experience in picturesque traditional villages of Vietnam. If you’re among the latter, this article is surely a must-read for you. These are selectively the 10 most charming Vietnamese villages, each of which reflects the unique charms of different regions of the country. All the information about locations and transportations will also be found below.
1. Duong Lam Ancient Village (Hanoi)
Duong Lam Village, one of the oldest villages in Vietnam, is renowned by its beautiful, traditional architecture with old alleyways, fishbone brick roads and awe-inspiring banyan trees. A visit to Duong Lam is often compared to a journey back in time, as most relics are well-preserved under the heritage conservation regulation of Vietnamese government. In no other place can you see a more vivid image of the traditional Red River Delta village than here in Duong Lam.
In addition to the picturesque beauty, Duong Lam is also known as home to many historical events. Two mighty kings of Vietnam, Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen were born here, leaving historical relics of the great defeats against Chinese invasion. Temples and tombs are erected in the village to honor their contribution to the country.
The best thing to do in Duong Lam is probably strolling around and taking photos. It’s strongly recommended that you arrive in Duong Lam during daytime, to make the most of the daylight for your photos. There are a number of communal houses, residential houses and a worship house to check out. Just take all the time you need for an escape from the bustling city vibe.
2. Bat Trang Village (Hanoi)
With a history dating back 7 centuries, Bat Trang is famous for its traditional porcelain and pottery making. Located in the heart of the Red River Delta, Bat Trang had trades with Japan, China and even the Western countries.
Based on a rich clay area, Bat Trang possessed an advantage to produce high-quality ceramics, serving various demands including housewares, fine-art ceramics and worshipping items. The secret technique is conserved and passed through multiple generations, leaving Bat Trang one of the leading exporters of ceramics in Vietnam.
A visit to a handicraft village usually means a hands-on experience, and there’s no difference in Bat Trang. After strolling around the market and gazing at meticulous artworks, you will have a chance to try making them yourself. Pottery making is not as easy as it looks, we guarantee! Also, be careful, or else you will get addicted and spend a whole day just to play with pots and clays, like many other tourists.
3. Pom Coong Village (Mai Chau)
If you’re looking to immerse yourself in an indigenous culture, Pom Coong is a destination you should not miss. “Pom Coong” in Thai language means “hill”. Pom Coong Village is a hilly village mostly inhabited by the Thai ethnic people, widely known for their sophisticated embroidery techniques.
Home to nearly 70 households with more than 300 people, Pom Coong is a lively village of traditional architecture and cultural activities. Thai people mostly live in stilt houses, which are built with bamboo stalks, wooden pillars and rattan leaves. The distance between the ground and the floor is 2 meters and there is a staircase connecting them at the side of the house.
In Pom Coong you will find a number of exquisite handmade items such as bags, scarves and purses on sale, along with other special cuisines. The most recommended dishes include sticky rice cooked in bamboo cylinders, “man” pig and “can” liquor. Also, don’t miss the chance to experience the homestay service, join a traditional performance and pick up some mesmerizing dances from the sweet Thai girls.
4. Vung Vieng Fishing Village (Ha Long Bay)
If you have been to the exotic Floating Market of Can Tho, you will also find Vung Vieng fishing village worth an experience. Observing life on floating houses, you will get a better grasp into the history of the fishing industry in Vietnam. Vung Vieng is in the center of Bai Tu Long Bay and not quite developed as a tourist attraction, so you’re advised to pay a visit on a cruise in which a visit to the village is included.
Featured with charming scenery, the village preserves the typical characteristics of the fishermen’s lifestyle. The daily activities of fishermen take place on small boats and rafts of bamboo and styrofoam, including catching, processing and selling fish.
Coming to Vung Vieng, tourists will certainly enjoy a fishing experience with locals, enjoying the freshly caught seafood or simply just lying on the beach to chill. Another unique feature which must not be missed is the thousands of limestone karsts forming the backdrop of the village. This is also the distinctive characteristic of Ha Long Bay islands.
5. Cat Cat Village (Sapa)
Cat Cat village is one of the biggest villages in Sapa, inhabited by the Mong ethnic people. Formed in the middle of the 19th century, the indigenous culture is well preserved by its habitants. Every corner of the village is filled with bits of cultural beauty and traditional crafts.
Mong people are keen on farming and weaving brocades in different sizes, colors and patterns. Agriculture plays an important role in Mong people’s life: a number of picturesque terraced fields will be found scattered across the village, where people grow rice and corn for a living. Mong women preserve the traditions of making their own clothing, on which lively patterns of trees, leaves, flowers and animals are weaved.
The traditional architecture in the Cat Cat Village is a three story house with po-mu wooden roofing. The main door stays closed during the year and only opened for special occasions like weddings, funerals and New Year. Inside the house, there is a worshipping space, a storage floor, a sleeping area, a kitchen and a space for guest welcoming.
- Coming to Cat Cat, make sure you are able to capture awesome photographs with the handicraft stores, the rustic Gem Valley homestay & cafe, the waterfall, traditional houses and most noticeably the green terrace fields. Buying some brocades as souvenirs is also a good idea and a way to support the locals