If you are first-time visitors to Duong Lam ancient village, this article is everything you need to know about things to do in Duong Lam village for first-time travelers. I wrote this article from my personal experience with 10 years of experience working as a local guide in Hanoi, Vietnam who founded Hanoi Eco Tour and have been traveled to Duong Lam village tons of time.
Top things to do in Duong Lam village , only locals know
Having lunch in an ancient house with Vietnamese food
It isn’t all about eating, what you can learn about insightful stories from the owners in terms of history, culture, local living, and the house’s architecture. My ideal is to choose a family which isn’t well-known among travel companies and visitors. So you’ll have more time to talk to the owners
There are two families that I would like to recommend Hai Loi’s house and Mrs Ha Thi Dien’s house.
Hai Loi’s ancient house
His house is just on the right-hand side of the old gate of Mong Phu village, cross a small well. There is a small pathway to enter his house. Honestly, I was really impressed by his passion of art by collecting lots of valuable objects about Vietnamese culture. If you love AUTHENTIC and SIMPLE Vietnamese food, then his house is a good choice to have lunch.
Mrs Ha Thi Dien house
What I like about this house are a great atmosphere of local life, warm hospitality, and nice food. The owner’s name is Ha Thi Dien, a 94 years old lady who is always at home and welcome green tea and Che Lam (Vietnamese nutty ginger sticky rice bars).
There are a few other families with ancient houses offers food services in Duong Lam
Mr Nguyen Van Hung’s ancient house
This is the most commonplace for lunch for guided tours and Vietnamese visitors, and also the most ancient house in Duong Lam village, almost 400 years old. Mr Hung is also a kind, hospitable man, which makes me like him.
Mrs Ha Nguyen Huyen’s ancient house
Mr Huyen is a journalist and his wife is a former secondary teacher. What I like the most about his house is a great design with lots of trees, beautiful flowers, great architecture of the house. This is also the most common place for wedding photography. Honestly, his wife is also a good cook. I can say a great combination of Vietnamese and Western tastes which may satisfy lots of visitors from different regions. There are only travelers from guided tours having lunch here but not really busy.
Read more : Ancient house in Duong Lam village
Sample set menu lunch at the ancient house
+ Pumpkin soup
+ Deep fried spring roll
+ Fried chicken with baking powder and sesame seed
+ Stir-fried bean sprout with spring onion
+ Steamed rice
+ Fruits for desserts
+ Vietnamese rice liquor
Taking a bike ride from Duong Lam village to Ngo Quyen temple
It is a short but scenic bike ride only 2.5 kilometers each way but worth it. You are going to see lots of farms such as corn, vegetables and many more and the rice fields too. The ride is through the small alleyway of the villages and sees backstreets. Honestly, if you are a DIY traveler, suggest taking the route to the temple because I have found that independent travelers only ride a bike around Duong Lam only which is a short ride. Going on a guided tour, you’ll see lots of hidden alleyways and things that you can’t do it on your own.
Having a cup of green tea and chat with the old man who takes care of Chapel Giang Van Minh temple
There is an old man who takes care of Chapel Giang Van Minh whose name is written in a stele stone in Hanoi Temple of Literature as a Ph.D. title in the 18th century. It is great to have a small talk with him who witness changes in Duong Lam village over the past 30 years. He will show you how to add an incense into the incense burner and bow your hand for showing respect to the chapel. If you go with a guided tour, there’s a lot more to learn about the village with insightful stories from a local like him.
Visit Mong Phu Communal house
Built in 15th century under the reign of King Le Than Tong, dedicated to the God Tan Vien (The God of the Mountain ) who is one of the four Immortals in traditional Vietnamese mythology. So far, Mong Phu communal house is a gathering place of the villagers for cultural activities.
The communal house was made carefully with sophisticated decoration details. It is considered as a flower of unique sculptural architecture. You’ll also see two wells on both sides which represents dragon eyes according to locals. There are also nice flowers in the back of the communal house which is good for photo shooting
Taking a Duong Lam food tour
You properly say that there’s lots of foodie tours in Hanoi. Why don’t I take a food tour in Duong Lam village? The answer is you’ll never find any similar foods with authentic taste in Hanoi.
Some of them are made occasionally so only locals like us know how to arrange the experience only. There are 5 yummy food awaits. You’ll learn more about food culture in the village and an in-depth history from a local guide.
Learn about Mia Buddist temple
The pagoda is built in the 15th century and admire 287 statues of all sizes, among with are famous sculpture such as the statue of Buddha in the Himalayas and the statues of the Eight Vajra Deities.
A highlight of the pagoda is Mia Tong Quan Âm Tu (0.76 m high), often called the Ba ocular. This subject described a woman modest, with grace, of boring but at very lenient. Road features engraved soft, machine sliding.
This is a highlight of Duong Lam village that you must see when visiting the village. Please note that the pagoda will closes at 11.00 am for a lunch break and open at 1.30 pm so make sure that you’ll be there around 10.30 am. During weekends or holidays, it could be open a little bit later too.
Note : Don’t wear shorts when visiting the pagoda
Checking out temples of two kings : Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen
Both temples are the great pride of locals, worship two national heroes who were born in Duong Lam. Phung Hung is known as “Great father king” and Ngo Quyen is famous for his battlefield on Bach Dang river against Southern Han invaders and put an end of 1000 years under Chinese nomination.
If you have any changes, please leave in the donation box inside. There are also old man taking care of the temple. Please ask for permission before entering the temple. Make sure that you don’t enter the main hall of ceremony in King Ngo Quyen temple.
Visit Mong Phu Church
It isn’t a tourist attraction. You need to be there before noon time and be able to get inside the church. You can ask to go up to bell tower and ring the bell. It is a cool experience I have to say. Don’t forget to give some money to donate to the church from 30.000VND to 50.000VND.
The church was built in 1953 with great support from local villagers. There are now 50 families believers in the village and the services will be held every Wednesday.
Learn about Breastmilk well
There is a holy well in Duong Lam village that locals call Breastmilk well, which provides fresh water all year round. People believe that after drinks water here and hold a ritual ceremony, they will have enough milk for their kids.
Honestly, even Vietnamese tourists don’t know about this place. If you are independent travelers, ask the local the way to get there. It is somewhere near a military camp from Duong Lam to King Phung Hung temple. Next to the well, it is a small temple which was built in the same time with King Ngo Quyen‘s tomb.
Stay overnight in a local homestay in Duong Lam village
Most of the travelers only take day trip to Duong Lam village because of a short drive only 1.5 hour from Hanoi. It is a new experience and perfect for those who like tranquil setting with a premier location in the heart of Duong Lam village. If you are looking for a comfortable stay then I don’t recommend to stay
+ Authentic experience
+ Lovely local food
+ Lovely host family
+ Good for short stay
+ Small room
+ Futon bed low to the ground
+ There might have ants in the room
There are 3 homestays : Chicken House, Duong Lam homestay and Elephant house. The rate ranges from $20 to $25 per room per night
Duong Lam homestay is the first one in Duong Lam and stay in authentic condition
Chicken house homestay is clean with Western standard.
Elephant house is a new one to Duong Lam with nice rooms and beautiful garden.
Read more : Duong Lam travel guide
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