At Yen duc we were accompanied by our guide Na who is a local and has great knowledge with respect to history and culture of her people. She was brimming with positive energy and our trip would have been incomplete without her. She took us to an ancient pagoda on our bicycles and explained how Vietnamese Buddhism is an amalgamation of Chinese Buddhism and Hinduism.
We learnt about traditional ways of rice production and tried our hand at it. We caught fish with traditional bamboo baskets and made floating donuts for dessert at night. We visited the oldest house in the village which has seen 13 generations of a family. Their family tree took up an entire wall of the house! Talking to the lady of the house was delightful as she looked radiant while talking about her family and their contributions in the war. We visited another family who make brooms for a living and helped them in making a broom while chatting.
The food at the village deserves a special mention. Made from locally grown and fresh ingredients, it was the most amazing food I have ever had. It was truly the highlight for me. Also, the clam and pork pho was my favourite pho on the entire trip.
We were treated to a water puppet show by the villagers which was very entertaining. The puppet show originated as a means of entertainment in north Vietnam in the 11th century and it was a delight to see them rooted to their traditions. We were very sad to leave and that’s the impact that Yen duc has on you in less than 24 hours. We are glad Indochina junk introduced us to this experience.
We were dropped back to our hotel in the luxury van. We spent the evening strolling around Hoan Kiem lake and then to Hanoi opera house which is a posh area. We had egg coffee at the same place, shopped at the night market (open on Fri, Sat and Sun) and had dinner again at the same place.
Hanoi is cold during December with temperatures as low at 12 degrees. Halong Bay is colder at 10 degrees. Loved the weather as it was a good change from the year-round 30 degrees in Singapore. All in all a very merry Christmas and new year !!
This post was originally published on 'My Travel Treasures'.