Duong Lam Ancient Village. Located in Son Tay Town, 40 km to the west of Hanoi, Duong Lam Ancient Village is a very popular tourist destination at the weekends. The village attracts visitors because of its ancient houses and the architectural features of a typical old Vietnamese village with banyan trees and a wharf on the river.
Duong Lam Ancient Village.
It takes just over an hour to get to Duong Lam village. On the road leading up to the village, tourists can feel the peaceful atmosphere. The rice fields these days are in their prime while lotus ponds will soon be in bloom signaling the coming of the summer.
Daily tour from Hanoi to Duong Lam Ancient Village.
Passing through the village gate to Mong Phu village, visitors should not miss taking photo of the gate, which is in the typical architectural style of an old Vietnamese village. Nguyen Trong An is Deputy Head of the village’s Management Board: “Of the 5 hamlets in
Duong Lam village, Mông Phụ is seen as the center, as it has many historical sites including communal houses, old houses, and the clan’s worshipping house. Of course, the 4 remaining hamlets also have important relics, a regular must-see for tourists.”
Duong Lam village has a history dating back about 1,200 years with many houses in Dong Sang, Mong Phu and Cam Co Hamlets built in the 17th century. Visitors to the village often visit the houses in Mong Phu, which are said to be the most beautiful and more specifically, their owners will spend time showing people around their beloved houses.
Nguyen Thi Thu Hoài is a tour guide for the village’s Management Board: “The architecture of all the houses there is the same, with rows of columns and spans. In the past, only wealthy people or landlords could build such big houses. The big wooden house often has 5 or 7 spans with 2 wings. The houses of civilian and military mandarins are often different to each other.
In a civilian mandarin’s house, there are many horizontal lacquered boards and parallel sentences while in a military mandarin’s house, either dragon-shaped patterns or contemporary designs dominate.”
Each ancient house in Duong Lam Village is worth a look. The house owned by Ms. Vu Thi Am in Dong Sang hamlet with a special worshipping space is a good example. This special place is carved in a dragon-head pattern. Meanwhile, the house of Mr. Kieu Anh Ban was built in 750 under the reign of King Le Hien Tong, with everything intact, even the wooden doors.
Ban said the worshipping space is the house’s specialty adding, “We still keep the worshipping space intact to worship our ancestors. A perfect compartment is divided into 4 levels of worshipping. The farthest level is used to show photos. It’s followed by an ancestral tablet, a worshipping plank bed to display offerings and an incense table. After praying, the offerings put on the plank bed will be taken down for family members to enjoy. For years, we have maintained this ritual.”
Apart from its ancient houses, tourists going to Đường Lâm village can visit Mía Pagoda and Mong Phu Communal House or tour a traditional craft village. Le Thi Kim Nhung is a villager: “We have many traditional craft villages and well-known products.
Our cakes include glutinous rice doughnuts, Chung cakes, and rice cakes filled with brown onions. Widely loved are our peanuts and sesame sweets as well s our carpentry and forging skills. We want to develop our the age-old traditions, so that visitors to Duong Lam will buy our products instead of only visiting traditional craft villages.”
Duong Lam is also famous for its soybean sauce which is second only to Ban soybean sauce in Hung Yen province. Aiko, a Japanese volunteer, shows her keen interest in the local dishes and says, “The first time I visited Đường Lâm, I was impressed by the scenery but the local people didn’t know how to give guided tours.
It has changed now. There are many old and traditional houses there and more importantly, the villagers know their own culture and customs very well, so they guide any visitors. Besides, I’m very interested in locally-made dishes.
I like the local confectionary such as the peanut and sesame sweets, the ‘Che lam’ made of roasted sticky rice powder, ginger, peanuts, and malt and the soft green lentil cakes.” If you want to visit Đường Lâm, you can take a bus from Hanoi to Son Tay town, then go by bicycle or motorbike to explore the area, visit the old houses and other sites then return to Hanoi the same day.