Peaceful, ancient and unbelievably beautiful is the impression of many tourists when they first visit the ancient villages in Hanoi. Visiting the villages of several hundred years old, you will enjoy the peaceful space and discover the traditional architecture of Vietnamese people dating back to the 1900s.

Duong Lam old village

Duong Lam ancient village is located 44 km west of the center of Hanoi, in Son Tay town, Hanoi. This place is also known as “the land of two kings” because it was the birthplace of Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen. Coming here, you might get surprised to know there are houses in the village that are over 300 years old.

Nowhere else can you enjoy the ancient, serene space that is almost entirely preserved, with the moss-covered house lines and old roads.

Duong Lam has a long history of 9 villages belonging to Cam Gia Thinh district, Phuc Tho district and Son Tay town, in which 5 villages of Mong Phu, Dong Sang, Cam Thinh, Doai Giap and Cam Lam are adjacent. These villages have been united together in a unified way with the customs, practices, and beliefs that have not changed for thousands of years.

hanoi Duong Lam ancient village (2)

Duong Lam village’s gate

Visitors can go to Duong Lam ancient village at any time of the year, but if you come here in the September, which is supposed to be rice-harvesting season, you will see more straw-covered village roads with gorgeously golden yellow colour that might catch your eyes immediately, allowing you to take pictures and enjoy the fragrant smell of the rice.

Sceneries

– Mrs. Dien’s old house

This traditional house is 200 years old, with 3 rooms in the style of the old Northern architecture, where you might still discover the altar is placed in the middle facing the door, the yard is the area to place the flowers  or the old wine jars. This is a very typical structure of Northern Vietnam houses.

– Communal house in Mong Phu village

The communal house was built 380 years ago, 1800 square metres wide, imbued with Vietnamese  and the Muong architecture, simulating the architecture of stilt houses with wooden floors on the ground. Inside the communal house, there are many outstanding diaphragm hanging, all of which represent many unique architectural and cultural values, attracting tourists.

I guess when you look at the communal house, the first thing you feel is the sense of something both steady but fragile at the same time, because it’s still stand here after that long time but it looks pretty old that you might worry that someday it can be broken down. That’s honestly how I felt first time coming here.

hanoi Duong Lam ancient village

– Mr. Hung’s house

This is considered to be the oldest house in Mong Phu village, which was built since 1649. The house is structured in the style of 5 compartments, the 3 compartments in the middle are the place to worship ancestors and next to the decoration is the settee used to serve the guests and the next 2 rooms are used as rooms for sleeping. 

 Up to now, the house has been preserved almost intact the quintessence of Vietnamese architectural art. And you are absolutely allowed to get inside and discovered almost every detail of the house, and on the outside the yard are gardens, flowers, and jars of wine which create a very peaceful setting.

Duong Lam specialties

Coming to Duong Lam, you can find “che lam” homemakers almost everywhere. It is a popular specialty that you can enjoy any houses you visit. 

“Che lam” has the combination of soft taste of glutinous rice, the fleshy taste of peanuts, the spiciness of ginger, the sweetness of molasses. Piece of blue tea is light brown, there are white flowers created by peanuts There are also famous peanuts, sesame candies, or traditional dumplings. The taste is very fragrant and typical.

And mentioning Duong Lam, we can’t help but mention “tuong gao” (or rice sauce). This sauce is used to dip tofu to, fish, spinach, sweet potato or to stew meat. The specialties here have made a very unique feature for this ancient village

Cu Da village

Cu Da village is located 20 kilometers in the west of Hanoi and belongs to Cu Khe commune, Thanh Oai district, Hanoi.

Cu Da ancient village is a destination for those who love to learn about architecture, or want to learn about Vietnamese history, traditional craft villages, or simply come here to have time of relaxation. This might be a perfect place for the soul to enter a peaceful setting, feeling like time is standing still with attractively old walls faded by time passing by.

The whole village is located on the banks of the Nhue River, which is a testament to the views of the ancients. The convenient location for trade has brought prosperity and wealth to the village, therefore, it is easy to understand that the most developed period of the village was the late 19th century and early 20th century when the wet rice industry still grew strongly.

lang cu da

Not only does it have the three-compartment or five-compartment houses like other villages,  the ancient village of Cu Da also has French-style houses built hundreds of years ago. The village still has old trees, communal houses, pagodas, village gates, old houses, all of which make visitors feel like going back in time.

The structure of the village is planned in the shape of fish bones. From the big village road radiated dozens of small alleys and led into the villages. In the village, most of the houses are Western style, or a combination of Eastern and Western styles, so you cannot get lost easily. 

Specialty

Mien Cu Da ( Cu Da’s bean thread noodle)

Cu Da’s bean thread noodle is famous for its delicious, chewy and characteristic aroma of arrowroot powder that is hard to get anywhere. If you come here in the morning, visitors will see the bustling scenery of the people here. They carry the vermicelli spreaders on the side of the road with wooden vermicelli, and brought the vermicelli to the sun.

lang cu da

Tuong Cu Da (Cu Da’s rice sauce)

Tuong Cu Da is made from four main ingredients: soybean, sticky rice, water and white salt. The craft of making soy sauce in Cu Da has been around for a long time, something that has a unique and attractive scent.

Uoc Le village

Uoc Le Village is located in Tan Uoc Commune, Thanh Oai District, which is about 30 km southwest of Hanoi. This place is extremely famous for making pork sausage (“giò chả” in Vietnamese) that has entered the culinary life of many Vietnam people, not only in the village but also in Hanoi and many other provinces.

uoc le village gate

Uoc Le village’s gate. Photo: wikipedia

Mr. Dang Dinh Dau, 75 years old, who takes care of the village’s house every day, said that the communal house was built from the Mac dynasty and is still preserved carefully in terms of architecture and landscape. Inside, there are many diaphragm, sentences, crossbar, and rafters are meticulously carved.

Every year, on the 12th of the 8th month of the lunar calendar is a village holiday or on the full moon day of January, the people of Uoc Le gather for village’s celebration, pagoda ceremony, communal house ceremony. On these occasions, the elderly in the village again revisited the ancient history, told stories about the communal house for hundreds of years and the changes of time, affecting the communal house.

uoc le village

The Uoc Le Gate of the village contains the soul of Vietnamese souls built during the Mac Dynasty, one of the most beautiful village gates remaining to this day.

Coming here, you can enjoy the peaceful and quiet village with lush green bamboos, straight areca trees and variegated walls of time. Traces of the past are on each stone, each mossy wall in the roof of the house, the well and the dome of the market. Visitors visiting Uoc Le will also be introduced to learn about the profession of making pork sausage here.

Luckily, in the strong development nowadays, Uoc Le village has not been much impacted. The delegations here are integrated in the activities of the village. Therefore, the ancient village with traditional craft gradually becomes an interesting address in the traditional village tourist attractions.

Cuu village

The Cuu Village is located in Van Tu commune, Phu Xuyen district, Hanoi.

This humble old village is located on the banks of the Nhue River, witnessing changes in geography and time. The story goes that the village land used to be just a pile of dykes on the banks of the Nhue River, after which the displaced people came and gradually settled down. That time is at least 500 years ago, according to the village’s old guard.

cuu village1

Nowadays, the village still keeps a few small and diverse architectural heritage lying mixed with modern houses. Over time, moss-covered mansions are gradually degraded due to no care and restoration. Only a few conservation works remain intact.

The special thing of the houses in the village is in the mix of ancient Vietnamese architecture (curved roof tiles, pillars) and France (arch design). The influence of Western architecture is not difficult to understand, when the most beautiful houses in Hanoi’s Old Quarter also inherited this style. The process of building these works took place in the years from 1920 to 1945.

In addition to visiting the Old Village, you can stroll around the banks of the Nhue River nearby. The dyke banks have beautiful grass, where you can have a small picnic there

In the 2000s, many old villas in the former village of Hanoi were rebuilt due to deterioration. In the near future, the same risk will come to existing houses because the conservation plan seems to be a bit too much for the commune authorities. So, come to the the village as soon as possible, to feel the Vietnamese spirit before it’s too late!

Dong Ngac Village

This village is located near the center of Hanoi capital, right next to the Hong River, and this is a traditional village of the delta region dating back over 400 years but still in its original form.

As a land that had many talents, or people worked in the important positions of the national system in the Le, Mac, Nguyen dynasties (from the 15th century on), the houses here were built quite sophisticatedly, including many valuable wooden columns such as ironwood, chrysanthemum.

According to Le Van Don, Head of relics committee of Dong Ngac ward, Ke Ve village now has nearly 100 old houses with many different ages. In particular, there are houses built in 1605, over 400 years ago.

In addition to the architecture imprinted by the feudal dynasties, Dong Ngac village has a mixture of ancient French schools. Typically the primary school near the communal house with small pavilions, painted in yellow. However, the European style when introduced here has also been adjusted to suit the tastes of the people. On the walls, the roof of this school is still carved with more dragon shapes, flying lotus flowers and slightly curved in the traditional style.

Dong Ngac village today is true to the saying “old village in the city”. The modern and the old are intertwined. There are many houses built in the style of a big beautiful villa but still keep the short old house next door. Even in the new houses, there are still stone lions and ancient wells with nostalgic directions.

In addition to the communal house, the village also has a very beautiful Tu Khanh pagoda and up to 59 spaces, not to mention the garden area, rivers and water.

People here still keep a very rustic lifestyle. You can visit any house and ask people to introduce meticulously about each antique in the house. If the meal comes, they are ready to invite you to stay, eat a piece of spring rolls – the famous delicacy of Dong Ngac land, and drink a cup of tea.

Small tips

Walking or cycling are the best ways to explore these villages because you can go to every corner of the village without breaking the tranquility of the old streets here. In addition, riding a motorbike to each attraction you will have to  pay for a lot of parking.

If you want to use services such as ordering lunch, homestay, you should find the contact first because these families onl prepare meals for you when you order.

The most favorite  feeling is strolling on the streets of those villages in the afternoon before preparing to leave, when you can admire the kites or enjoy the full sunset. I myself was not born from the town, too familiar with the banyan tree, the scene of a farmer hoeing on land or a young boy taking a cow back after a long day, but really the village of each place has its own unique characteristics

I believe that these place will be an ideal residence for those who want to leave the noisy urban area, find peace, nostalgia and explore folk architecture.

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