Instruction and tips for a wonderful day trip day in Duong Lam ancient village of Hanoi
Retaining the basic characteristics of Vietnamese ancient villages, Duong Lam ancient village, which is the oldest village in Vietnam, having its unique architecture covered by banyan trees, has welcomed a considerable number of tourists from all over the world when they visit Hanoi over the last few years. Whatsup Vietnam is happy to guide you to this amazing place.
I. How to get to Duong Lam ancient village
Located in Son Tay commune, which is 50 kilometers far away from Hanoi capital, it will just take you more than 2 hours to get there. There are numerous ways to get to Duong Lam ancient village and you can ride your personal motorbike or take a taxi.
If you choose bus as your means of transportation, you should take bus 32 or 29 (7,000 VND/ticket) to get to Nhon Bus Transfer and take Bus number 92 to Duong Lam village with 9.000 VND/ticket. This is the most suitable and economical way for your trip.
Another suggestion is to hire a motorbike with 100.000 VND/day rental fee to facilitate your commuting. You shouls go straight on Thang Long Boulevard and turn right at Hoa Lac fork, then keep going to highway 21, and finally follow the road signs on the street and you will arrive at Duong Lam village. For new incomers to Hanoi, it’s hard to get used to the streets of Vietnam, thus make sure you’re ready for this and remember to use Google Map.
And if you want to have the most convenient trip for the first time in Hanoi, taxi would be the best selection. It takes 30 minutes, which is much less time than the other ways to get there, but the price will be much higher, about 500.000 VND
II. Must-visit spots in Duong Lam
1.Duong Lam’s gates
The most ancient features of Duong Lam village are its gates and the Mong Phu gate is the oldest one among them. The village gates are built of laterite, a very popular material of this area, and has a curved arch. Duong Lam once had five gates, a main gate and four secondary gates facing four directions. However, there is only Mong Phu gate which is still pristinely reserved since it was built in 1933. A sentence was carved on top of the gate whose meaning is the village has always nutured talented and gifted people in order for the country's sack in any dynasty throughout the course of history.
2. Ancient houses at Duong Lam village
Duong Lam ancient village is well-known for its ancient houses system with the history of a thousand-year development. The main building material of these houses here is laterite. The laterite was digged from underground and hewed into different types of shapes, normally rectangular blocks, to construct and decorate the houses.
Nowadays, Duong Lam ancient village still conserves about 800 ancient houses from the very beginning. The structure of a normal ancient house includes the main gate, the garden, the yard, the main house, outbuilding, kitchen, well and livestock barn. The main house is the most important part where the whole family do daily activities and worshiped their ancestor. Each family has from three to five generations live together. Around the ancient houses are the paths, green gardens with betel and areca trees. Around the village are banyan trees, village's gate, rice fields, temple, and wells. All of them was in hamornious combination and makes it an unique ancient village with Vietnamese ancient features, a peaceful place that you might hardly find in the modern stucture of the cities.
3. Giang Van Minh Shrine
Situated in the center of the complex relics in Duong Lam, Giang Van Minh Shrine is becoming the favorite destination of many domestic as well foreign tourists to visit and explore. The relic was built in the reign of Tu Duc to commemorate Giang Van Minh (1573 – 1637), who was sent by Emperor Le Than Tong to China. He bravely responded to China's challenge, which helped protect the honor of the nation against the insults of the Minh Emperor. The Shrine was made of bricks mimicking the word “two” in ancient text, facing the south. At present, the 13th generation descendant of the Giang family – Mr. Giang Van Ke, is responsible for taking care of the shrine.
4. The old village roads
Another specific trait to look out for are the old village roads, which made from the red laterite bricks arranged in attractive fishbone patterns. Most of the main roads and pathways are now concrete, but you can see the bricks in some of the smaller alleyways. Every now and then you’ll spot a banyan tree, which might even be more antique than the village itself. According to Vietnamese tradition, ancestral spirits dwell in big trees and bring about the bad luck. That’s why you’ll often see roads and shops built to accommodate trees in village. Along Duong Lam roads, there is also a few historically valuable wells. They used to be used by villagers regularly for public activities. Previously, they were built mainly of laterite and mortar materials; however. these days, the well has been remodeled with cement and brick.
5. Temple of King Ngo Quyen
Ngo Quyen temple was built in 1848 on a high hill or Cam hill according to how the local call it. In front of the mausoleum is a wide field between two hillsides; a source of water called the Lobster Pond flows into the Tich River. There is a hill called Tiger Hill next to that. Ancient legend said that this was the place where Ngo Quyen and his friends used to be herding buffaloes, mowing grass and practicing martial arts when he was a child. This is probably the most beautiful location in the Duong Lam ancient village.
On the 14th of August of the lunar calendar every year (the anniversary of the death of King Ngo Quyen), people in this region come here to commemorate his dedication for the country as the first king who expelled the invaders and ended more than 1,000 years of colonial invasion of China, opening a brand new era of total independence and autonomy for Vietnamese national history.
III. What to eat in Duong Lam ancient village?
1. Roast Meat
The reason why Duong Lam ancient village has become one of the most interesting destinations near Hanoi is partly due to its ancient cuisine with traditional and special food here. Duong Lam is famous for its roasted meat with its unique aroma and flavor. The ingredients of this dish are bacon with thick skin, pepper, fish sauce and especially, the finely chopped guava leaves. The meat is sufficiently marinated, wrapped on bamboo rods and turned in the charcoal oven for 6 hours. The finished product is a golden piece of meat with a crispy cover and an unforgettable fragrance, with its fine and hamornious sweetness, making the diners want to enjoy it forever.
2. Mia Chicken
When coming to Duong Lam village, you cannot miss the delicious and attractive Mia chicken. This is not only a precious dish but also a specialty that was only served for Kings. This type of chicken is raised by corn, paddy and cassava. The chicken has a small body, red skin which will turn yellow when weighing about 2 kilograms. Until now it still acts as a symbol of the sufficiency and prosperity, and often respectfully offered to ancestors when Tet comes in spring or during festivals or village festivals. Although these days, this kind of chicken is not as rare as it used to be, this nutritious dish is still favored by diners thanks to its spacial and scrummy taste.
3. Lam Sweet Gruel
It is a traditional dish that is suitable for cold weather. Cooks have their own secrets from mixing ginger water, sugar to mixing ratio of ingredients to create an appealing sweet gruel that you should definitely try when dropping in the ancient village. It is molded in a lettering pattern with pink paper wrapped outside and is often serve at weddings or village festivals.
IV. Kindly note something for your trip
- Having consciousness and responsibility for individuals with the monuments.
- For more convenient to get around Duong lam, you should walk or rent a bicycle, so you can go to every corner of the village. If you ride a motorbike to every attraction, you have to park and it will cost you parking cost, in fact, there are some free parking but some people still take money from you.
- At some historical spots, there will be people of the management board guiding you. You could give them some tips if you feel they are helpful.
- If you want to use the lunch service, you should contact with the homestay first because they only cook dishes anvancedly booked.
- When visiting old houses in the village, you should ask for people's permission politely.
- If you want to buy gifts, you can buy them right at your homestay.
Written by: Hieu La