Your trip to Vietnam cannot be fully completed without a visit to a peaceful village that still retains its authentic lifestyle. And with only short drive from Halong Bay and Hanoi, you can trace back to Vietnamese traditional culture in Yen Duc village. Yen Duc village was recognized as a national heritage in 1993.
Location of Yen Duc Village
The village is located on the highway connecting Hanoi and Halong Bay. To be exact, the village is in Dong Trieu town of Quang Ninh province, about 60 km to the west of Hạ Long Bay and 100km from Hanoi. This is a typical Vietnamese agricultural village in terms of culture and traditions. Yen Duc is surrounded by mountains which are mirrored poetically in the Kinh Thầy River. Also, during the harvest time, Yen Duc offers stunning views over golden rice fields. It also has many lakes and ponds and colorful gardens, especially the ranges of areca trees in the sunshine.
Local Life and Culture
The first image of Vietnam coming to your mind might be big cities filled with buildings and motorbikes. However, Vietnam is in fact an agricultural country with 70% population working in agriculture fields. Your trip to Vietnam cannot be an authentic travel experience unless you pay a visit to a typical traditional village. Only by doing so, you can get a glimpse of their village life and trace back to Vietnamese traditional culture.
For your information, Yen Duc is one of the few villages in the Red River Delta that still retains traditional agricultural features and sincere beauty of rural life. This village boasts a great countryside image with splendid rice paddy fields, lush gardens and small fishponds. The local people also keep their life in closer with rice cultivation and farming activities. Just like other rustic countryside, the locals here are really diligent, gentle and optimistic. In this village, you can spend your day working as a local farmer on the rice fields, in their organic vegetable gardens or fishing in the small ponds.
Things You Must Try in Yen Duc Village
If you always wish to experience the village life and explore more about the Vietnamese culture, Yen Duc is where you should head to. The village offers many attractions for you to visit and activities to check out.
Top Attractions in Yen Duc
In Vietnamese culture, family is the most important aspect of life. In order to fully experience the country’s culture, you should definitely pay a visit to a local house. To Vietnamese people, building a house is one of life’s three big important things, along with buffalo purchase and marriage. A typical house’s rural architecture is always synonymous with the village culture. It includes the main house, the side (the horizontal, kitchen), barn, yard, garden, pond and fence, wall surround, gates. As these houses retain their features for thousands of years, you can let your imagination run wild to trace back to the ancient Vietnam. Every country has its own traditions and you won’t be able to experience that feeling anywhere else in this world.
If you are a history buff, you might be interested in visiting the village’s historical sites. One of the most popular sites is “73” cave. The cave dates back to the heroic struggle of 73 guerrillas, who sacrificed all to protect their hometown. Besides, some other historical relics are related to Ly and Tran dynasty. Yen Duc was recognized as a national relic in 1993.
Another great way to experience the village’s culture is visiting their ancient pagoda named Canh Huong in the center of village. This historical pagoda is a sacred place that every local villager comes to pray for the good health, good weather and safety and bumper crops.
If you are lucky enough to visit Yen Duc during the festivals, holiday or celebration day of village, you can enjoy some Quan Ho performances. Through the cultural activity, they can retain traditional culture and give lessons to children about love. It is love towards the country, ancestor and family respecting that any villager must have.
The activities are the biggest highlight of the trip. If you are not coming from countries with wet rice civilization, this will be a mind-blowing experience for you!
Firstly, you can start your journey with learning how to cook Vietnamese food. Traditional Vietnamese cuisine has been highly recognized all over the world and what can be better than cooking it by yourself? A visit to Yen Duc will help you experience the best original Vietnamese food of the Northern Vietnam and surely enrich your Asian taste.
One of the factors that make the food so good is its fresh ingredients. Most villagers have organic vegetable gardens around their houses, and fish ponds to provide healthy food. You can cook your meal from scratch by picking up vegetables grown organically in the garden and fishing by your own. But don’t bring out your fishing rod just yet. Here the locals will teach you how to use fishing-tackle, a common tool used to catch fish.
Beside the basket of fish, you need herbs and vegetables to prepare your meal. Simply go to the garden and if you do not know which plant to use, the locals will explain them all and guide you to do gardening as a true farmer.
After your lunch, do not forget to cycle around enjoying the peacefulness of the village and watch the interesting water puppet shows. Lively wooden figures will appear from behind the curtain to tell history’s tales, folklore legends or any story close to people’s lives. Talented artists have to soak in cold water for hours to dedicate to audience such incredible works of art.
A sure way to learn more about the village’s rich culture is paying visit to their hundred-year-old house. By doing so, you are also able to know the changes in country life of Vietnam now.
Market is one of the biggest symbols of the village life. You can basically know whether a village is wealthy or not based on its centre market size. Also, it is the meeting place of villagers for information exchange. People come there to share information, talk about daily life or just mention news about family, people, etc… As a result, the market has become not only a commercial business activity but also a custom of local life.
Last but not least, do not forget to cycle to their pagoda. A visit to Canh Huong pagoda will help you feel the quietness of peace in your soul. Here you will be able to recall your memory of life, all the things which have passed by, forget the bad stories and look forward to good things in the future.
Best Time to Visit Yen Duc Village
To get the best view of this village, you should visit it during the harvesting time. There are two main rice harvest seasons in the North of Vietnam: May and September. For best timing, you should come from early to mid – May & September for endless golden rice paddy fields.