Duong Lam Ancient Village is one of the most recommended options for a day trip from Hanoi Vietnam.
For travelers who only have a couple of days in Hanoi, the question of whether Duong Lam Ancient Village is worth a visit might be a little tricky, given so many options to choose from. To make it easier for you to decide, I’ve written below a short review of my day trip to Duong Lam, including photos of what to do and see in Duong Lam plus tips and recommendations. Hope this helps!
About Duong Lam Ancient Village
With the government’s strict regulation on renovation, Duong Lam is considered one of the most well-preserved ancient villages in Hanoi.
Duong Lam comprises of 9 villages, all of which feature typical elements of a traditional north-Vietnam village such as the central well, banyan trees, temple yards, rice paddy fields and lotus lakes. There are more than 900 aged-old resident and communal houses here, some of which are dated back to 400 years.
How to get to Duong Lam Ancient Village
Located 45 km from Hanoi city center, Duong Lam is easily accessible by motorbike and public transportations. You can take bus no.71 from My Dinh Coach Station to Son Tay station, and then take a xe-om or taxi to get to the village. Driving there from Hanoi is also quite easy thanks to well-maintained roads throughout.
What to see and do in Duong Lam Ancient Village
- Walk through traditional alleys and say hi to the locals (most of whom don’t speak English btw, so your experience will be much better with a local guide)
- Visit ancient houses, some of which also offer homemade lunch and homestay service for tourists. My boyfriend and I tried a homemade lunch with boiled chicken and vegetables, sitting in the garden of a 300-year-old house. It was an authentic experience but the food quality was not that good considering the price we paid (150,000 VND).
- Observe how locals make soy sauce and store them in big jars at the front yard of their houses. Making soy sauce is the traditional profession of many households here.
- Visit the town square where the locals, young and old, often gather during special occasions
Is Duong Lam Ancient Village worth a visit?
My answer is both yes and no. Duong Lam can make a good day trip from Hanoi due to its proximity to the capital. The village is also ideal for those with an interest in the traditions and ways of living of people in northern Vietnam.
However, there are some downsides of Duong Lam Ancient Village that put me off coming back.
- The village is getting more and more commercialized, making the visiting experience less genuine than before. It is understandable though that when the number of tourists increases, staged authenticity also becomes more common to show tourists what they want to see rather than how the locals really are.
- Services such as lunch for tourists or homestays are not guaranteed for quality. Our hosts at Duong Lam gave us a warm welcome, but their uninspired lunch with dry rice and tough chicken meat somehow destroyed our mood.
One tip to enjoy your trip to Duong Lam Ancient Village
If you’re still determined to visit Duong Lam Ancient Village, keep in mind this one tip to make the trip most pleasant.
During my trip to Duong Lam, I discovered that the most interesting part was neither taking photos of the old houses nor entering sacred temple sites, but rather talking to the locals. I learned a lot about how life was like in northern Vietnam hundreds of years ago, as well as how people there nowadays still tried to preserve their traditions and commemorate their ancestors in different ways.
For tourists who don’t understand Vietnamese, the visit can become dull. You only see houses and rice paddy fields and that’s it! Therefore, don’t forget to find a tour guide who can accompany you to Duong Lam and explain to you everything about this special village 🙂
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