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Duong Lam Ancient Village adds flavor to tourists
Jenna Duong 11:37, 2023/12/15
With an approach to developing community-based tourism through creative space models, Duong Lam is attracting more and more domestic and foreign visitors.
Located about 40 km from the center of Hanoi, Duong Lam Ancient Village in Son Tay Town has been likened to a precious gem or gold mine for tourism in Vietnam's capital city.

An array of creative spaces

A foreign traveler took a photo at artist Tan Phat's larquer studio in Duong Lam Ancient Village, Son Tay Town, Hanoi. Photo courtesy of the artist 

According to Le Dai Thang, deputy chairman of Son Tay Town People's Committee, the town has fostered tourism development in recent years with various new models and destinations such as Son Tay Ancient Citadel Pedestrian Zone, Khai Nguyen Pagoda, Mang Son Temple in Son Dong Commune, Son Tay Temple of Literature in Duong Lam Commune, Doai Creative and Phat Studio in Duong Lam Ancient Village, as well as luxury resorts such as Tomodachi Retreat - Lang Mit or Glory Resort.

But Duong Lam hasn't lost any of its profound ancient characteristics. Many Duong Lam locals choose to stay in their hometown and build creative spaces to develop community-based tourism.
Nguyen Tan Phat, who made a name for himself as a painter before receiving the title of artisan, enthusiastically supports the management of Duong Lam Ancient Village and his fellow townsfolk by implementing a creative space model from March 2023. The experience of experimenting with the stages of traditional crafts has increased the number of visitors by 30% compared to last year. So far this year, the village has welcomed around 120 thousand tourists.

"Through these traditional crafts, we want to preserve and promote the cultural values of this country. As I understand that one of the strengths of Duong Lam and Son Tay is tourism, this is also a way for me to enrich the local offer," said painter-craftsman Phat about his passion.

Visitors to Duong Lam Village also love to experience the village's delicacies. Photo: Hong Thuy

Konrad Bauer from France said he likes the creative space here. "It's lively and I want to stay longer in the village." Meanwhile, Le Hoang Tra My, a Vietnamese student from Mainz, Germany, said after personally experiencing lacquer making at artist Nguyen Tan Phat's studio, "I like this activity. It's very exciting and creative. My friends who came with me had the same fun".

"By designing creative spaces and experiential farming activities here, they hope to create spaces for visitors to personalize and experience creative activities. This is one of our new development directions for the near future. On this basis, we expect that people will love Duong Lam Ancient Village even more and continue to return, preserve and promote its values," said Nguyen Dang Thao, Head of Duong Lam Ancient Village Management Board.

 The creative space of Dori Studio in Duong Lam Village by Thai architect Oopatham Ratanasupa. Photo courtesy of the artist 

He said Duong Lam's historic rural culture has captured the hearts and minds of many international visitors, inspiring them to preserve it. A Thai artist has been painting pictures of the ancient village for the past 10 years.
Conservationists and Duong Lam people are proud of this land. This is the basis for the belief that the owners of Duong Lam will preserve and promote the culture and tourism of the ancient village even better.

Experience community cultural activities

After walking around the ancient village, admiring the village gate with its shady old banyan trees, tile-roofed houses and contemplative communal houses, tourists often stop at the rural market right at the gate of Mong Phu Village to learn about the activities and enjoy rustic snacks. Che lam, peanut candy, banh gai, banh te and banh nep all attract visitors, while the vendors are always open and friendly, inviting visitors to taste the snacks with a gentle smile.

 The old house of Ha Huu The's family in Duong Lam village is more than 300 years old. Photo: Thanh Quyen

Recently, the locals have taken advantage of the village's ingredients to create appealing and elegant dishes that make up the Lotus Festival. All of these dishes use the lotus plant either as an ingredient or as a wrapping. As more and more tourists come to Duong Lam, the demand for the village's ancient cuisine is growing. Taking advantage of their ancient houses and beautiful large gardens, many households have organized culinary experience services right at home, attracting many tourists.

In particular, Duong Lam Ancient Village boasts a large number of ancient houses that have existed for centuries. Among them is the over 300-year-old house owned by Ha Huu The's family, which still preserves the ancient architecture typical of Vietnamese villages.

According to The, this house was built during the Later Le Dynasty with bronze drum carvings. The house consists of seven rooms and two lean-tos under a dragon-shaped roof. In the past, most ancient houses had an odd number of compartments, with seven being the largest. In addition, the roofs were built relatively low to prevent rain and wind from entering the house and damaging the wooden parts, while visitors were expected to bow slightly to greet the homeowner or deceased family members.

The nostalgic scenery of Duong Lam Village. Photo: Cap Thu Ha 

"Thirteen generations have been born and raised here, living together in the same house handed down by our ancestors. Living habits and family customs are passed down from generation to generation. Myself and many other owners of old houses in Duong Lam would never think of handing them over to other owners," The said.

According to Thang, in addition to developing and improving the quality of available tourism products, Son Tay Town has been working with the Hanoi Tourism Department and tourism units to launch new and attractive products. These include an electric car service for tourists in the city, Duong Lam tourism during the ripening rice season, a flower cultivation model for tourists to take pictures of, old village cafes, and several projects to preserve and restore the Sugarcane Chicken breed, Cam Lam tea, fermented soybean paste, and traditional sweets.

In the coming period, the management of Duong Lam Ancient Village will implement more experiential models, such as cloth weaving, traditional costume sewing, rattan weaving, or night culinary spaces, so that the destinations will bring more joy and smiles to tourists.

As a suburban town of Hanoi, Son Tay has 244 relics and hundreds of ancient houses, accompanied by many famous tourist destinations such as Va Temple, Son Tay Ancient Citadel, Duong Lam Ancient Village, or Viet Nam National Village for Ethnic Culture and Tourism.

The locality has two destinations recognized by the Hanoi People's Committee as tourist attractions: the Ancient Village in Duong Lam and the Long Ho Village Tourist Attraction in Kim Son Commune.

For 2025-2030, the city aims to become one of the most important tourist destinations in the capital.

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