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Experience a day as a Tay ethnic minority member in Vietnam

Friday, October 23, 2020, 18:17 GMT+7
Experience a day as a Tay ethnic minority member in Vietnam
A stilt house in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A day with Tay people, the second-largest ethnic group in Vietnam, is filled with introductions into an obscure lifestyle and unique traditions. 

Vietnam is home to 54 ethnic groups, each of which has its own unique cultural identity.

With roughly 1.85 million members according to the 2019 census, the Tay are the second-largest ethnic group in Vietnam after the Kinh.

Locals also refer to Tay people by other names including Pa Di, Tho, Ngan, Phen, and Thu Lao.

Yen Bai has the largest population of Tay people in Vietnam. 

Visitors to the region can choose to stay with a Tay family in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, where they can immerse themselves in the pristine lifestyle and culture of this ethnic group.

A mountain road leads to Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A mountain road leads to Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

About 300 kilometers from Hanoi, the journey to Tong Pang Village takes nearly half a day.

After traversing the winding roads that snake through Vietnam’s northwest mountainous region, tourists leave behind the luxuries of suburban and urban lifestyles and are welcomed by a peaceful atmosphere, breathtaking landscapes, and friendly locals.

Luc Yen District is located at the midpoint between Sa Pa and Ha Giang, two famous tourist magnets in northern Vietnam.

Homestays here are typically stilt houses belonging to ethnic minority families who live in the middle of Lam Thuong Valley.

It is easy to recognize local people's hospitality by their unique accent and the gentle smile they seem to always wear.

A visitor rides a bicycle on a dirt road next to the cornfields in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cam Tien / Tuoi Tre

A visitor rides a bicycle on a dirt road next to the cornfields in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cam Tien / Tuoi Tre

The Tay primarily earn their livelihoods through gardening, fish farming, and harvesting bamboo shoots.

“I went to study in the city and found that city people love going to the countryside, raising fish, and planting trees," Xoi, 26, a homestay owner in the area, told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

"That’s how I came up with the idea to open a homestay in my own house and welcome visitors from cities to come and experience our way of life.

“At first, the guests were mostly my college friends.

"I have since learned about community-based tourism and now work to ensure that the visitors who come here are both able to relax and experience the daily life of local people and our unique culture.

“I hope this place remains peaceful for those who want to slow down, be with nature, and find their inner calling."

Local people fish in a stream in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Local people fish in a stream in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Lam Thuong Commune has not been exploited for tourism so it still retains its wonderful and unspoiled landscape and people.

In this pristine village, tourists can cycle through the streets and admire the scenery, go fishing for lunch, garden, and go to the mountains to pick bamboo buds with local people.

These experiences allow all visitors to take in the true culture of the region. 

Eel freshly caught by the Tay people in Tong Pang Village sit in a bucket in Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Eel freshly caught by the Tay in Tong Pang Village sit in a bucket in Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A local kid rides a bike around Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A local kid rides a bike around Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A bridge built by local people to travel during the flood season across a stream in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A bridge built by local people to travel during the flood season across a stream in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Tourists and local people gather around a fireplace to prepare a meal in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cam Tien / Tuoi Tre

Tourists and local people gather around a fireplace to prepare a meal in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cam Tien / Tuoi Tre

A tourist pose for photos among a vegetable garden owned by local people in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cam Tien / Tuoi Tre

A tourist poses for photos amid a vegetable garden owned by local people in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Cam Tien / Tuoi Tre

Harvested corn dries in the sun in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

Harvested corn dries in the sun in Tong Pang Village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A close-up photo of the vegetation in Tong Pang village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

A close-up photo of the vegetation in Tong Pang village, Lam Thuong Commune, Luc Yen District, Yen Bai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre

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Mai Thuong / Tuoi Tre News

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