Đồng Tháp is not only blessed with biodiversity, but also the home of renowned traditional villages where you will find unique handicrafts and items and even fabulous sights. An excursion to Đồng Tháp Province never ceases to amaze any visitor since plenty of spectacular delights and knowledge about the local culture are totally new and intriguing to you. Take time to pay a visit to Lai Vung fermented pork roll village, Tân Quy Đông flower village, Định Yên mat-making village, Bà Đài boat-making village, and Định An Chopping Board Village.
Tân Quy Đông Flower Village
Tân Quy Đông Flower Village deserves to be ranked number one in the list of top traditional villages in Đồng Tháp Province. Situated in Sa Đéc City, one of two large centers of Đồng Tháp, this village appears to rise out of the wet water because of a wealth of flower species and their colors. More impressively, the way to have a sightseeing tour is fairly special; you will be rowed by boat along flower beds as they are grown above water, especially during the floating season. It’s also taken to be the biggest flower village in the Mekong Delta.
At the end of the year is believed to be the best time for tourists and travelers to experience the atmosphere of Tết Holiday – the biggest holiday of Vietnam. One of the best choices during that time is Tân Quy Đông Flower Village; people come to admire the stunning scenery of hundreds of species of flower in bloom everywhere. Several common species of flower there are hardy garden mum, sunset bells, scarlet sage flower, and rondeletia leucophylla. It’s possible to claim that the most breathtaking image of Tân Quy Đông is surely found during Tết Holiday. Having said that, the village can be visited all year round as the flowers there are in bloom all the time. Locals often say that it is a place of four springs. Flowers of Tân Quy Đông Village are provided throughout the Mekong Delta and the South, the Central Vietnam, and even the North.
Định Yên Mat-Making Village
If you have ever traveled to many Asian countries before, you will find it easy to realize that mat is a common thing for people there. Different from Western countries where mattresses are preferred, mats are popularly used and become an integral item for Asian people to sleep. That’s why you will be stunned by Định Yên mat-making village in the Mekong Delta when on a tour to explore Vietnam. There are many intriguing things to explore at the village, ranging from materials to make mats to how locals decorate the mats so that they look eye-catching. With this exploration, it’s sure that you will find exciting differences between Western and Asian cultures.
Located in Lấp Vò District, Định Yên mat-making village is depicted as a traditional village which is quite famous among Đồng Tháp, the Mekong Delta. Established about 100 years ago, the village is inhabited by households mainly making mats for a living. Mats they craft vary according to sizes and patterns on the mats. You will be captivated by images on the mats that may be countryside landscapes, shapes of snails, rivers, canals, trees, or mountains. If you wish to have something as a memento of your trip to Định Yên mat-making village, those handicrafts with beautiful patterns on them are what you should consider.
Định Yên mat market is also a cultural feature of the locals. The market just opens for 2 hours at night, so it’s called “a ghost market”. The most fascinating thing about the market is that mat sellers will walk around to seek buyers instead of sitting in only one place. While going on a trip to Định Yên mat-making village, it’s highly recommended that you should wait to visit the market as it’s actually a plus point and leave you a memorable experience.
Lai Vung fermented pork roll village
Lai Vung fermented pork roll is a delicious specialty of Đồng Tháp Province. It’s not only well-known in the province, but also loved by people throughout the Mekong Delta. Plus, the village of making fermented pork roll has been established and developed for over 60 years; hence, it’s one of the specialties famous among travelers and tourists all over the country. Being an international friend, you definitely expect to enjoy exotic things in this remote region. Thus, fermented pork roll will never fail to please you as its taste is quite special yet extremely mount-watering.
To make this food, the ingredients are considered as the most important things, and the step of choosing those ingredients is not simple at all. What the locals care first is pork; they need to pick out the fresh pork and pork skin. After that, the pork and pork skin will be carefully ground and mixed well with seasoning. The mixture is wrapped in banana leaves so that it looks like an eye-catching roll.
The roll of this ground pork is fermented within 3-4 days before it’s served. It’s slightly sour and not too sweet, so it’s ideal to be eaten with fish sauce. However, the best combination is of wet price paper, fermented pork roll, bean sprouts, vegetables, and sweet fish sauce, which is also fairly common in big cities, e.g. Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi Capital, or Đà Nẵng City. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t keep fermented pork rolls off your fridge too long as it will get more sour and it’s not nice enough to eat anymore.
Định An Chopping Board Village
Định An Chopping Board Village is another traditional village deserving to be visited in Đồng Tháp Province. The village is famous for chopping boards of a high quality. The wood used to make the boards at the village is from tamanu or oil-nut or mastwood, mango trees, and coconut trees. The good wood types are always selected for making the boards, and this step is extremely important to create the best products.
In more detail, to craft a high-quality chopping board, the locals must apply a strict process, ranging from selecting wood, drying wood until it runs out of sap, hanging it out under the sun to dry, cutting, chipping & polishing it carefully. Chopping boards from Định An Village are transported to most provinces of the Mekong Delta, and this village is also one of the largest providers of chopping boards throughout the country. For a trip to discover the charm of the traditional village, it’s certain that you can get insights into the local culture and genuine lifestyle, learn how to make the best chopping board, and even buy some as gifts for yourself, your family or your friends.
Bà Đài Boat-Making Village
Bà Đài boat-making village lies at Long Hậu Commune, Lai Vung District, Đồng Tháp Province. Founded 100 years ago and the home of high-quality wooden boats and mini boats served as decorations and souvenirs, this village has been recognized as a national intangible cultural heritage. Apart from wooden boats made with the aim of meeting transport demands of locals in the Mekong Delta, mini boats have started to be created as a part of the hospitality there. They preserve important values of the traditional village as their identity and they make those handicrafts as a great way to attract visitors.
Although the handicrafts are mini counterparts of boats and just 30-100 cm long, the process of making those products is fairly complicated and delicate. To create a complete mini boat, what needs to be carried includes cutting wood into necessary pieces, shaving and polishing those pieces, and assembling them carefully. Carrying out this process takes more than two days and requires an experienced and skillful artisan.
When you pay a visit to Bà Đài boat-making village, you will wonder why the locals must figure out crafting mini boats instead of producing more wooden boats served for life on the water. In fact, undergoing changes in the modern society, this village is not an essential part of the local life anymore as it was many decades ago. There are too many boat manufacturers everywhere, specializing in producing boats by the latest technology, and gradually occupying the whole boat market. Meanwhile artisans in the village need to retain their skill and experience, and traditional values need to be preserved. Therefore, promoting local tourism is the best way to conserve the traditional village.
Traditional villages in Đồng Tháp Province are where the hidden beauty of traditional cultures, customs and authentic lifestyle of the Mekong Delta still remain intact. Experiencing an excursion to explore the villages, you are also entitled to get yourself involved in captivating activities there, e.g. learning how to make a couple of handicrafts and gaining insights into the local life as well. Hence, it’s believed that you will never find better values elsewhere. For those who prefer a full experience of the Mekong Delta, the traditional villages should be set in any combination of other activities, including visiting orchards, kayaking, discovering night markets, tasting delicious special food, taking a boat trip along canals, and many other things.