There is no doubt that Vietnam is brimming with beautiful and charming places. Large cities like Hanoi or Saigon offer a great deal to any person who want to experience modern Vietnam. For those in pursuit of authentic experiences in rural areas, read this article to see 5 charming villages in Vietnam.
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If you want to strip away the cars and scooters, high building, or fast food corners and experience something more authentic, exit these major cities and visit one of many picturesque Vietnamese villages that are filled with old-world charm and tranquil beauty. Is this some travelers are searching for?
We have made a list of some of 5 favorite small villages in Vietnam that you should plan to spend time in to visit. Away from the bustle of big city life, each has a unique charm and atmosphere.
Entrance gate of Duong Lam Village
Located 45 km west from the center of Hanoi, Duong Lam is the finest example of a typical northern ancient Vietnamese village. You can get there by renting a car with a driver from your hotel (around US$ 80 or so for one day). Undertaking thousands of years of history, the village still maintains its original structure with banyan tree, well, communal house, endless rice fields... Duong Lam is a good place to learn about Vietnamese history and culture. This is the birthplace of two national heroes: King Ngo Quyen and King Phung Hung. It's a very atmospheric place to walk around, and villagers (many of whom appear to be octogenarians) are particularly friendly.
Join our Duong Lam Tour here
Pom Coong Village surrounded by mountains and rice fields
Ban Pom Coong (Pom Coong Village) is a small village in Mai Chau district (4-hour driving from Hanoi). The village is tucked away among mountains in the north of Vietnam and is inhabited mostly by Thai people. The village is an ideal haven from the pressure of life with its lush landscape and relaxing atmosphere. The community still lives in a ‘pure Thai’ space. Recently, many villagers open their homes for homestays and sell handicrafts as souvenirs, gorgeous embroidered bags, and brocade products in bright colors while others help entertain tourists by traditional music performances or serving regional specialties like sticky rice cooked in bamboo cylinders, "man" pig (a small breed that we can carry in our arm), can liquor (wine drunk out of a jar through pipes).
Traditional house-on-stilts of Thai people
Visiting Pom Coong Village, tourists also have a chance to stay on stilt houses with local host families, enjoy homemade meals with them and immerse in traditional culture by joining traditional song and dance performances with friendly ethnic people. Here, artisan booths offer chock full of handicraft items for sale: handmade scarves, purses, coin pouches, and other textile goods... You can buy a lovely one without bargaining the price. Purchasing souvenirs is a good way to support the local community, you know.
Join our Mai Chau Tour here
Cam Thanh village
Hoi An is a beguiling place to spend a few days, with the lazy Thu Bon River lined with distinctive yellow wall houses. Halfway between the town and Cua Dai Beach lies the eco-village of Cam Thanh where you can truly relax with nature. Like any other rural village in the countryside of Vietnam, this is a great place to enjoy fresh air, ride a bike or watch the daily life of locals. The highlight here is the Bay Mau forest - a vast space of endless green nipa palms (here, locals call it 'water coconut'). In wartime, this area was used as a haven for Vietnamese soldiers. Nowadays, travelers can discover the tranquil palm flanked waterways by boat. Does it sound like the same with a trip to Mekong Delta? It's not a normal boat but a unique traditional fishing boat: the basket boat.
Read more at Boat types for tourists in Vietnam
Discover the world of nipa palm by bamboo basket boat
You will be amazed by how talented the local fishermen are when they show their skills to keep the boat balanced, perform with their boat, and even dance on the boat. Along the way, you can learn how to paddle the basket boat, see demonstrations of fishing techniques while admiring landscapes. What's more interesting? They will show you how to make lovely accessories from palm leaves: glasses, ring, watch or headband, etc.
Vung Vieng Village in the core zone of Halong Bay
While staying in Vietnam you can see many different kinds of lifestyles. One of these impressive lifestyles is living in a floating house. There are some floating villages in Halong Bay where the communities of fishermen live, not staying near the bay or on an island but on their boats and rafts of bamboo and styrofoam to float. Among them, Vung Vieng belongs to Bai Tu Long Bay in a less touristy area. To get to the village, you can book one of numerous Halong Bay cruise tours that allow you sailing through the magical bay.
Halong Bay is famous for its thousands of limestone karsts and these form the backdrop for the village. Between the imposing and steep limestone mountains, you’ll find clusters of floating houses that become a floating village. Traditionally, villagers earn their living from the ocean. They catch fishes and sell it. Living in the middle of the ocean, if they need anything, they have to go to Cat Ba island or the mainland. Touring the village, you have an opportunity to meet locals and see their daily life. When you look at the floating village with their small houses, big enough for a family to sleep in, you will wonder how they can survive. Imagine, you don’t have running water, no electricity, only have a generator and well... you’re living on the water.
Only 2km trekking from Sapa Town Center, Cat Cat is the most popular village in Northern Vietnam. This village is also one of the biggest villages in Sapa; therefore, if you are not good at walking, just hire a motorbike or book a tour with car transportation. The reason for the popularity of Cat Cat is that it can cover all of the typical things of the locals. H’mong people – one of the 54 ethnic minorities in Vietnam are the owners of Cat Cat village and they preserve its beauty really well. You will need a map when come to visit Cat Cat as the village is big, every corner here is attractive enough to slow your steps and only a map can show you clearly the main areas you should visit in this village or else you may be lost in the beauty of Cat Cat.
Some places that you must see in Cat Cat village are handicraft stores with many unique brocade products, the rustic Gem Valley homestay & café with an impressive art gallery, a lovely small waterfall inside the village, and there are also many nice photoshoot and selfie corners here with the small rocky roads, wooden houses in local architecture, hand-made wooden or bamboo swings, green terrace fields, etc.
People in Cat Cat earn their living by farming and providing tourism services (selling souvenirs, making brocade products or being tour guides) so they are really friendly, especially the kids here who are so adorable with innocent smiles following tourists to persuade them to buy some souvenirs but always say “thank you” and leave happily when getting some candies from strangers.
The rustic Cat Cat Village in Sapa
Sometimes it's worth going far off the beaten track, so rather than sticking to the big-name attractions, head out and discover an adorable little village. Being home to tranquility you won't often find in large cities, small villages where local residents still running cottage industries like rice wine brewing, rice paper production or hand weaving of sleeping mats offer a completely different experience and another insight into a culture. Of course, this is only a very small selection of villages that you will find scattered across Vietnam. They may be tiny, but have plenty of character. That said, each can be fit into a day, so don’t doubt taking our Vietnam package tours to visit one of these beautiful villages in Vietnam!
(Images source: Internet)