Introduction to Duong Lam Ancient Village 

Duong Lam is a commune of Son Tay town, Hanoi, Vietnam. Amongst tens of thousands of Vietnamese villages, Duong Lam is the first to be recognized as a national-level artistic side of architecture.

Located in Son Tay town of the same name district just 44km away from Hanoi’s center, the village has the typical features of a rural village with a giant banyan tree, fresh water, and a communal house, along with 956 antique houses dating back 100 to 400 years. In 2006, Duong Lam became the first village that had been recognized as a national historical and cultural relic. 

Duong Lam residents, similar to those in any rural areas in north Vietnam, attach great importance to the gate and the communal house of their village, which are long considered symbols of prosperity. Surrounding the village is a system of ponds creating charming scenery, which helps to reduce the heat of summer during extremely hot days in the North. A large number of ancient houses built with laterite and ironwood pillars give the village a very special ancient beauty. Most ancient houses maintained fences, gates, courtyards, gardens, the main house, outbuildings, kitchens, and ranches… which are familiar specifically to the image of Thang Long – Hanoi.

  • ???ng Lâm Village Cathedral, ???ng Lâm, Hanoi, 154300, Vietnam


Transport to  Duong Lam Ancient Village

From Hanoi, it takes one hour by bus, coach or motorbike to reach Duong Lam. Though there are many entrances to the village, Mong Phu Gate remains a popular starting point for tourists. This is reportedly the only ancient village gate left intact in northern Vietnam.

There are 2 ways for the visitors to go:

Follow Thang Long Avenue and turn right at the Hoa Lac intersection. Next, follow Road 21 through Son Loc to the intersection of Road 32 and follow the signboard to Duong Lam village
Follow Route 32 to Son Tay town. Go along Road 21 and find the intersection on the left-hand side to go to the village gate.


What’s good to eat in  Duong Lam Ancient Village

Apart from its historic sites and classic silhouettes, Duong Lam is also a culinary melting pot, with many of its ancient houses home to eateries. Must-try Duong Lam specialties include but are not limited to roast pork, local chicken, steamed rice cake (banh te), nut candy (keo doi), and “che lam”. Coming to Duong Lam, you can see “Che Lam” candy makers everywhere. "Che Lam" candy is sold everywhere in the village, it is a folk specialty that you can enjoy when you go anywhere. There also have many specialties such as peanut candies, sesame candies, ramie leaf rice cake, or rice cakes, whose taste is very delicious and characteristic.

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    Information about accommodation in  Duong Lam Ancient Village

    The total area of Duong Lam village is 800.25ha wide. The complex of the ancient village has 9 small villages, which are Mong Phu, Dong Sang, Doai Giap, Cam Thinh, Cam Lam, Phu Khang, Ha Tan, Hung Thinh, and Van Mieu in Son Tay city. The village now has 956 old houses, many of which were built in the years 1649, 1703, 1850, etc. These old houses are all built from traditional materials such as laterite, wood, bamboo, terracotta brick, tile, etc. with 5 or 7 compartments.

    In the past, since there were not many overnight accommodations available in the village, visitors often opted for short day trips. However, these days many local families have opened their doors to strangers for a homestay experience.

    An overnight stay is exactly what people need to enjoy what the village has to offer fully. They can spend the day working with farmers or listen to traditional musical performances by the village’s artisans.

    Tips for your stay in Duong Lam Ancient Village 

    Walking and cycling are the most suitable ways to visit because you can go to every corner of the village without breaking the tranquility and peaceful atmosphere of the old houses.


    Best Things to do in  Duong Lam Ancient Village

    Duong Lam commune is home to a series of ranked relic sites, including the Phung Hung and Ngo Quyen Temples, Giang Van Minh Temple, Mong Phu communal house,  Mia pagoda, and Duong Lam ancient houses complex. 

    • There were several entrances to Duong Lam Village, but only one ancient gate is left to this day. In ancient Vietnamese architecture, the village gate is considered a sign marking the inside and outside of the village space and is a ritual in the indispensable structure of a village. Mong Phu village gate was built in 1553, during the reign of King Le Thanh Tong. Visitors may be impressed by its distinguished architecture rather than a traditional village gate.
    • In villages in the Red River Delta, the communal house serves both as the administrative center and the place of worship for the guardian spirit, whose sacred powers, sanctioned by a royal certificate, were believed to secure the village’s prosperity. In addition, it’s also the public gathering space for ceremonies and festivals in the village. Located in the center of Duong Lam, Mong Phu communal house represents the traditional architecture of the northern delta region in the past. According to historians, Mong Phu communal house was built in the Late Le period (14th century), under King Le Than Tong. It was built in the center as well as the highest land of the Duong Lam village about 1800m2 wide, which was considered as the land of the dragon shape by locals. The communal house’s design simulated the Vietnamese – Muong architecture as the stilted house with wooden floors on the ground. The large yard in front of the house was paved by Bat Trang bricks – the most famous pottery village in the Red River Delta. The communal house is surrounded by a system of laterite fences – a very popular material used to build houses in this area.
    • Having arrived at Duong Lam village, people cannot help but mention the Mong Phu Catholic Church. Mong Phu Catholic Church was built in 1954 and is a unique feature in the overall Vietnamese architecture here. Today, the church still has people coming to pray in the church. On special occasions, masses are held with the participation of many villagers and tourists.
    • There are many statues in Mia Pagoda with 287 big and small statues, including 6 bronze statues, 106 wooden statues, and 174 statues of terracotta and painted with gold paint. The delicacy of these statues shows high artistic expression through the ingenuity and talent of the ancient makers, many of them are considered fine artworks in Vietnam. 
    • Ngo Quyen temple and tomb were built on a high hill, called Cam hill, facing to the east. The temple was built above, about 100 meters from the tomb. The tomb of King Ngo Quyen was built in the 27th Tu Duc year (1874) and restored in the 2nd Minh Menh year (1821). The tomb is built in the style of a gravestone house, about 1.5m high.
    • Near Ngo Quyen Temple stands a 1,000-year-old row of 18 elm trees where, it is told, Ngo Quyen had roped several elephants. The ancient elm tree range has been recognized by the Vietnam Association for Conversation of Nature and Environment as a Vietnamese heritage tree. 
    • There are many Phung Hung temples in Vietnam, but the one in Duong Lam village has the largest scale, the most unique architecture, and contains the most historical and cultural values. In the temple, there is a stele “Phung Tu Bi ky” at Doai Giap communal house carved in the 4th year of Hong Duc (1473), which has recorded a lot of information about Phung Hung’s life and merits. On January 8th of the lunar calendar every year, Duong Lam’s villagers and Phung's descendants, tourists come here to pay homage to Phung Hung.


    Best time to visit Duong Lam Ancient Village

    Traveling to Duong Lam ancient village at any time of the year is exemplary. However, if you want to see all the beauty of the Vietnamese countryside in ancient times, you should go during the harvest season around May, June, or the festive season in January of the lunar calendar every year. If you come during the harvest season, you will not only see the ancient and rustic beauty of Vietnamese villages but also see the peaceful and poetic countryside. The golden fields, straw heaps, etc. will create an image of tranquil countryside.

    If you come in the festival season (January in the lunar calendar) you can experience and admire the unique folk culture beauty of an ancient northern village. Folk games such as chess, blindfolded duck, cockfighting, the tug-of-war contest, etc. with a joyful and cheerful atmosphere, and the tingling gable drumming will make you feel the bustling atmosphere of the festivals.