Regarded as an age-old town of Kinh Ky, Duong Lam’s ancient village is a humble village in Son Tay district and located approximately 44km away from Hanoi’s center. This village is also known as the laterite village due to how often you can find houses built from this material. Having existed for hundreds of years, Duong Lam ancient village is still able to preserve old architectural works and unique cultural traits. From the banyan trees, river wharves, communal houses to the culinary culture and people, everything bears the image of the previous century.
Coming back to Vietnam is not only an opportunity to enjoy good food but also a chance for Vietnamese expatriates to rediscover their roots through cultural beauties.
For foreigners, this will be a journey to broaden your knowledge of cultures around the world. To understand Vietnamese culture, we must once be engrossed in its structures and learn more about its history through scenic features and landmarks. It can be said that Duong Lam ancient village is one of the ancient relics to carry the mission of preserving history and promoting Vietnamese culture internationally.
What is there to sightsee in Duong Lam ancient village?
Mong Phu village gate
At the start of the trip to Duong Lam, you will find the gate to Mong Phu village. The gate was built in 1833 with a dome-like architecture unlike traditional ones next to an over 300 years old banyan tree along with a river wharf and a lotus pond. Everything creates a distinct scenery of the old Northern countryside. The Mong Phu village gate is the only ancient gate to remain to this day in Duong Lam.
Mong Phu communal house
In the center of the village stands the Mong Phu Communal House with the age of nearly 400 years. This ancient communal house consists of two buildings, Dai Ba and Hau Cung. The house is very large and carries the marks of Vietnamese-Muong architecture, simulating the structure of Vietnamese stilt houses via wooden floors that are above ground. Inside the house hangs many unique and intricate sculptures.
Mong Phu parish church
Once in Duong Lam, one cannot miss the Mong Phu parish church. The narrow path leading to the church with multiple turns is quite hard to find thus ask the locals about it if you ever come here. Viewing from above, the church stands out among hundreds of old-fashioned roofs.
Temple of Confucian scholar Giang Van Minh
The temple of Confucian scholar Giang Van Minh lies in the heart of the village. The building was built around 1573 to worship and remember the deeds of Confucian scholar Giang Van Minh – a revered ambassador during the reign of King Le Than Tong. Today, the temple has become a tourist attraction for people who want to learn about history and culture.
Once in Duong Lam ancient village, one cannot miss the chance to visit the ancient houses here. The village has a total of 956 ancient houses, many of which possess the “longevity” of up to over 370 years. These houses were all built from traditional materials such as laterite, white cedarwood, bamboo, baked bricks, tiles, etc. with five or seven chambers layout. Each house has its own interesting stories of historical value for tourists to study and explore.
Tourists can visit Ba Dien ancient house to listen to stories about the historical values of it, or visit Ong Hung ancient house which has existed for nearly 400 years with 12 generations under its roof, or come by Ong The ancient house to hear the story of the sauce-making family business and enjoy the fragrant rice sauce…
Phung Hung temple and Ngo Quyen temple
Duong Lam ancient village is well-known as “the land of two kings” because it is the homeland of the two national heroes Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung. Therefore, you should not miss these two temples if you ever come to Duong Lam. There are temples of Phung Hung in many places but the one in Duong Lam village is the biggest with a unique layout of Ta-Huu Mac, Dai Bai and Hau Cung. Located 500m away from Phung Hung temple is the complex of Ngo Quyen temple and tomb, which were built on Cam hill and facing a large rice field and Hum basin which flows into the Tich river.
Duong Lam ancient village cuisine
Walking around the village, tourists will easily come across roadside drink vendors. Che lam and lid eugenia tea are two fundamental items here. Moreover, there are also tasty gai cakes, te cakes, candied roasted nuts, and sesame candies. Not only are visitors able to enjoy the specialties of Duong Lam, but they can also chat with vendor owners about this famous che lam.
On their way to visit ancient houses here, tourists can also learn about rice sauce – a common dish of everyone and every family in Doai land. The sauce is very delicious to use with raw and fried tofu, water spinach, sweet potato leaves, or to stew fish and meat. At the rear of the village and on the side of the road stands a humble and pretty Cafe Lang cafe. The cafe carries archaic features such as rustic wooden chairs which give a very intimate and familiar feeling. If possible, sip a hot aromatic cup of coffee at the end of the day before concluding your journey to visit Duong Lam ancient village.
This post is also available in: Tiếng Việt