Wondering where you can escape to the rural areas of Vietnam? Looking for a great day trip from Hanoi, visit Duong Lam ancient village is the right choice for you. It is only an hour and a half drive from Hanoi, and it is easy to get there by bus, private car or taxi.
Here are some useful information and money saving tips, travel guide for Duong Lam village travelers, which helps you get more pleasure during the trip to Duong Lam Vietnam on what to do in Duong Lam, where to eat in Duong Lam, how to get to Duong Lam and so on.
Get to Duong Lam village from Hanoi
By bus: a bus is available at the bus station. It costs about 25,000 VND per person.
My Dinh – Trung Ha bus station (number 70A). Ask the crew who corrects the fare to get off at the ancient village of Duong Lam. In my opinion, this is the best option so far.
Ha Dong – Son Tay bus station (number 77)
My Dinh – Son Tay bus station (number 71)
On arrival at Son Tay, you need to take a taxi from Son Tay (024 3362 6262) to the village, it costs about 3.5 USD.
A private car costs about 65USD/ per car, including fuel, parking fees and an English speaking driver. Bonus: free travel advisor in Duong Lam, one bottle of water per person.
By public bus
From My Dinh bus station, you can take the My Dinh – Phu Pho bus and get off at the new entrance gate to Duong Lam village. The cost is about VND 40,000 per person.
By private car
This is the best option so far, with an affordable cost of only $65 per day for a 4-seater car, with a 1.5-2 hour drive from Hanoi. At the time of rice planting season, in February or July, ask the driver to stop on the side of the road to take photos of local rice farmers planting in their fields.
By Grab taxi or regular taxi
Ask the receptionist at your hotel to take a taxi to Duong Lam village. Ask him to arrange for the taxi driver to stay and wait for you for a few hours. Because of the round trip transfer, you get a 60% discount. This offer applies to an ordinary taxi and not to a Grab taxi.
For Grab taxis, the driver prefers to be paid in cash rather than booking via the app.
For a one-way trip, the price is about 28 USD, for a round trip about 45 USD.
Restaurants & Specialties of Duong Lam village
There are two other small restaurants on the side of the Mong Phu common house which is on the way to the Mia Pagoda from Mong Phu.
I forget the names but they are suitable for families, solo travellers, small groups who just want a small portion of lunch.
You can order either Bun Cha (grilled pork with vermicelli and fresh vegetables), or a real meal of rice alacarte with pork skewers, chicken Mia (local specialties with half of them), freshwater crab soup with vegetables, fried spring rolls. Please note that this is a normal house and not an old house.
The people of this village do agricultural work and make “tương” soy sauce to sell as their main income.
The sauce is made of water, rice, soybeans and corn and is cooked with fish or eaten with tofu and rice cake (bánh đúc). Apart from that, there are some other local specialties in Duong Lam, such as chicken Mia, peanut candy, sesame candy……
Visit Duong Lam ancient village – What to do and see?
Enjoy hands-on experiences such as walking tour, cycling, talking with locals living in ancient houses, tasting local food in an ancient house, visiting the pagoda and rural market, cycling in the village, visiting Ngo Quyen and Phung Hung temples for a 5-kilometer round trip bicycle ride.
You will see their daily routine surrounded by breathtaking scenery in a peaceful area.
It is a good idea to go with a tour guide. They are able to help you understand what you are seeing as the locals are not able to speak English.
Mong Phu Church
Until now, the Mong Phu communal house is a place for villagers to gather for cultural activities. The communal house was built with care, with sophisticated decoration details.
There is a church inside the hamlet of Mong Phu, like many seen in many parts of Vietnam. A Vietnamese priest designed and hired carpenters from other villages to build this church in 1953.
Most of the Christians in the village contributed time and effort to the construction of this church. During the French colonial period, there were about 100 households of believers.
Today, many worshippers still come to the church every Wednesday to attend the service. The flamboyant bell tower serves as a landmark in the village.
Mia Pagoda, a great Buddhist temple to discover in the ancient village of Duong Lam.
The pagoda was built in the 15th century and has 287 statues of all sizes, including famous sculptures such as the Buddha statue in the Himalayas and the statues of the eight Vajra deities.
The highlight of the pagoda is Mia Tong Quan Âm Tu (0.76m high), often referred to as the Ba Ocular. This subject depicts a modest woman, with grace, boredom but very forgiving. The road has soft engraved features, slippery to the machine.
Temple and Tomb of King Ngo Quyen
Ngo Quyen’s tomb is located 500 meters from Phung Hung Temple, on the left. It is a large tomb and there is an endless rice field in front of it. Built in 1874 during the reign of King Tu Duc and maintained in 1871 during the reign of King Minh Mang.
The honour of Ngo Quyen Temple in Duong Lam was erected long ago and has been improved many times. The major repair was done in 1858.
Nowadays, the remarkable archaeological objects excavated in this locality as well as a wooden stake brought from the Bach Dang River are displayed.
King Phung Hung Temple
The shrine that worships Phung Hung is located on a small hill. The front yard of the shrine is flanked by two side buildings.
At the heart of the front worship hall is flanked by two rear worship halls. The front worship hall is used to worship Phung Hung’s high-ranking madarins and the back worship hall was built in 1882. According to locals, the temple was built on the house where King Phung Hung lived as a child.
Giang Van Minh Temple
Located in the heart of the Duong Lam ancient village complex, the temple is becoming a well-known destination for domestic and foreign travellers.
Built during the reign of King Tu Duc to worship Giang Van Minh. The temple consists of 5 small compartments, the platform being used for the annual celebration of Giang Van Minh’s death anniversary. The courtyard is narrow and paved with bricks. The bonsai tree has been placed on the edge.
Old houses in Duong Lam village
The old house of Mr Hung
His house has been recognized as a level 1 ancient house. It is the old house of a rice farmer. You will be amazed by the front door modeled in the style of ancient architecture by a mixture of earth, stone, rice husk and mud and by the shade of the Cuscuta tree at the entrance.
Built in 1649 mainly with jackfruit wood and ironwood, but the quintessential woodcarving has been preserved since the Le Dynasty. It consists of 3 main compartments for ancestor worship and guest reception and 2 small auxiliary compartments for bedrooms.
The old house of Mr. Huyen
The house makes a great impression on visitors with its green colour. Due to his great experience in making bean paste, he devoted almost his entire yard to processing bean paste. A number of pots of brown sauce beans are arranged evenly on the brick playground.
Mr. Huyen has a great passion for ancient Chinese scriptures, so parallel phrases have been carved on the columns. Small domestic objects such as ceramic bowl-shaped tobacco pipes, ceramic cups and teapots, oil lamps…. reinforce the owner’s nostalgic character.
The former house of Mrs Ha Thi Dien
Located in Dinh hamlet, Mong Phu village, Duong Lam, it is known as the first class old house for the people’s livelihood.
The main material is jackfruit and Chinese berry wood, which are available in the village. The house is five bays wide and three bays deep. There is a living room in the heart of the house to worship the ancestors and to welcome guests. The bedroom is on two sides. The front yard is made of brick. Its wall is a mixture of mud, ash from rice plants and dry rice straw.
The old house of Mr Ha Huu The
The ancient house of Mr. Ha located in Mong Phu village, Duong Lam commune, is classified as a type I ancient house in Duong Lam and remains as its origins among the ancient houses of Mong Phu village.
There are 13 human lives living in this house. In terms of architecture, the present house is the art of the mid-19th century. There are seven bays in the main room and 02 bays, each of them on both sides.
Its tile roof is made of “yin-gang brick roof”, its floor is made of laterite bricks. Its veranda is made of 8 wooden pillars (about 1.7 metres high) that run horizontally from the beginning to the end of the house. At the bottom of the wooden pillars are square stones which represent the harmony between the sky (circular shape) and the earth (square shape) or ying-yang.
The interior of the house is divided into separate areas, 3 bays in the main room for the worship of their ancestors, Jesus because his family is Catholic and to accommodate guests. Two side bays for sleeping.
The old house of Mrs Duong Thi Lan
Built in 1780, it is almost 300 years old. Her family is the 8th generation to live here. She will be a volunteer guide during the visit of her house. Despite many difficulties in life, she has always wanted to preserve the old houses built by her husband’s ancestors. Her husband’s great-great-grandfather was awarded the title of “PHD” and was engraved in the stele of the Temple of Literature in Hanoi, which is a great honour for the family. There are some valuable items such as “eight Taoist fairies flying over the ocean”, a statue of Bodhisattva dating back to the 1st century.
If you are looking for homemade lunch in Duong Lam village, you can order it by calling in advance for better preparation.
Stay overnight at a local hostel
Most travellers only take a day trip to Duong Lam village, which is only a 1.5 hour drive from Hanoi. This is a new experience, perfect for those who like peace and quiet and a prime location in the heart of Duong Lam village. If you are looking for a comfortable stay, I do not recommend staying here.
Homestay: Its facilities are basic: air conditioning, western toilet and hot shower. Private rooms are available on request. It is available at Mr. Kieu Anh Ban, Mr. Giang Van Luu, Ms. Duong Thi Lan, Mr. Ta Quang Tam. Homestays start at about $15.
In my opinion, the best homestay in Duong Lam is located in He village, Duong Lam commune. The room rate is about $25/per room/per night.
+ Authentic experience
+ Delicious local food
+ Friendly host family
+ Good for a short stay
+ Small room
+ Low futon on the floor
+ There may be ants in the room
There are 3 homestays: Chicken House, Duong Lam homestay and Elephant house. The price varies from $20 to $25 per room per night.
Things to know before visiting Duong Lam village
- Park in the right place
- Buy tickets before visiting the village
- Don’t litter in the wrong place
- Do not sit or lie down in the central part of the guesthouse.
- Do not wear shorts or sleeves when visiting sarcis places like temples, pagodas…
- Ask permission before taking photographs inside the old house.
- Most host family owners have a basic level of English but are able to understand you. Local villagers do not speak English at all, so it is difficult to communicate with them.
- Before visiting an old house, you should ask the owner’s permission and say “hello” as a sign of respect. You have to give some money on the altars (VND 30,000-50,000, about US$1.5-3). Small gifts from foreign visitors are also welcome. You should not face the family altar. If you want to take pictures, please ask the locals before taking them.
- Entrance tickets and other fees
+ Bike rental from VND 30,000 to 50,000 per bike.
+ Lunch with fixed menu from 8
+ A small donation of 30,000VND to 50,000VND for the visit of an old house.
Is Duong Lam village worth a visit?
It is an ideal place for those who want to learn more about the history, culture and local life of a typical rural village, as well as to see unique ancient houses made of mud and laterite, only an hour and a half drive from Hanoi. It’s a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of Hanoi’s old quarter.
If you want to learn more, I recommend booking a private guided tour of Duong Lam village. Because the local guide is able to show you the secret alleys, take you to someone’s house, eat local specialties that you can’t make yourself.
Suggested itinerary for a day trip to Duong Lam village from Hanoi
Here is a suggested itinerary for a day trip to Duong Lam Village. Depending on your interests, duration and budget, you can design your own itinerary.
8:00 am: Take a private car from Hanoi to Duong Lam village passing through some towns, see bonsai gardens, vegetable plantations, rice fields and more.
9:30 am: Arrive at the village. Walking tour of the village which includes: Mrs. Ha Thi Dien’s old house, Mia Pagoda, Mong Phu communal house, Hien Bao workshop to try peanut candy, sausage candy….
12.00pm : Visit Duong Lam church when it is open to ring the bell.
12.30pm: Lunch in an old house in Duong Lam village.
13.30pm: Take a short drive to see two temples of Phung Hung’s king, Ngo Quyen.
14.30pm: Get in the car and drive back to Hanoi.
16.00pm: Arrive in Hanoi. End of the trip
Things to do near Duong Lam ancient Village
Once you have visited Duong Lam village, there are many places nearby that are worth visiting.
+ Ba Vi National Park: a place famous for its natural beauty. You can hike to its peak at 1227 meters and see Uncle Ho’s temple.
+ Vietnamese Ethnic Culture and Tourism Village: a larger version of the Hanoi Ethnology Museum, but with many real houses of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups.
Note: It is advised not to go from January to March, which is the high season for Vietnamese tourists.
+ Tay Phuong Pagoda: A picturesque Buddhist temple, located on a mountain overlooking the rice field. One of the oldest pagodas in Hanoi, built in the 8th century.
+ The old fortress of Son Tay is located about 4 kilometres from Duong Lam village. Built in 1832 during the reign of King Ming Mang, it is the only ancient capital made of laterite bricks and features a preserved banyan tree gate and a flag tower. From the road, the fortress looks like a green utopia surrounded by a wide moat.
Duong Lam village is safe for travellers. The only real danger in this part of the world is your own misfortune. Be careful when cycling through the narrow streets. It’s best to check the brakes and types before you ride.
These are useful Duong Lam ancient village travel tips, travel guides and advice for a wonderful day trip from Hanoi. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave me a comment.
For more information on other tourist destinations in Vietnam, please see the other posts in this blog. I also offer tours throughout Vietnam at direct price. Please contact me for more details.