Nam Dam community-based cultural village in Quản Bạ ​​District, Hà Giang Province is a fairly untouched spot and has only been developed for tourism in the last few years to take advantage of its beautiful natural landscape and the traditional cultural features of the ethnic Dao people.

The village is located on top of a mountain and covered with pristine forests and picturesque terraced fields. The people there known for their rich cultural characteristics like traditional clothes, festivals, brocade weaving, cuisines, herbal baths, and rammed earth houses.

It is about 45km from Hà Giang City and 8km from Quản Bạ ​​Heaven Gate. 

In Nam Dam village, the friendly smiles of local people abound. They often invite strangers into their homes and let them learn about their culture. These small things make for an interesting village.

Community-based tourism in Nam Dam village involves eating with the hosts, sleeping in the same house as them, participating in traditional cultural activities, and experiencing their daily work.

Hanoian Nguyễn Hoàng Anh Minh spent a week in this village of the Dao after she graduated from university. Every day, she went to the fields with the locals and took part in farm work such as harvesting maize, pumpkins, and cucumbers.

"The field is very large and is full of rice and maize. My legs were tired but I went to the field every day. The first day after working, I met the children there so I played with them all afternoon. The children were very nice, they chatted and then took me around the village, they loved taking pictures very much,” said Minh.

According to Minh, in the village, she lived a peaceful and slow life.

"The Dao people in Nam Dam village still retain their unique cultural identity. I had the time to sit and talk with homeowners and neighbors to hear their stories about living, weddings, and funerals. It was very interesting,” Minh said.

"Hà Giang never lets me down. Whenever the trip, winter or summer, rice season or flower season, the feeling of traveling by motorbike on the winding roads of Hà Giang is always wonderful,” she added.

A rammed earth houses in Nam Dam village
A rammed earth houses in Nam Dam village. — Photo

Promoting potential

The village has more than 50 households of the Dao, most of whom live in houses with traditional roofs covered by double tiles.

The locals still retain their folk songs as well as typical traditions such as maturity rituals, new rice ceremonies, and festivals to pray for good weather, good crops, and give thanks to the gods.

The clothes of the Dao women with embroidered patterns and silver jewelry including earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and headbands are so brilliant that anyone who comes here wants to try them on.

From the first days of launching the movement to build a typical culture, a new countryside, and a tourist village, the term “community-based tourism" was new for local residents. However, they eagerly got stuck into community tourism and now their houses have been repaired and are fully equipped to offer homestays.

“Our family has been doing homestay services since 2013 and has welcomed many foreign tourists from England, the US, and Canada. Foreign tourists often like to work with people in the fields, experience and enjoy the fresh air here,” said Lý Quốc Thắng, owner of a homestay in Nam Dam village.

Thắng said that meals are ordered by customers and the most popular dishes were vegetables, fish, chicken, and pigs raised by the hosts.

In the village, every house is decorated and displays traditional handmade crafts, medicinal herbs, or traditional musical instruments so guests can see, learn or buy them as souvenirs.

The interior of the community house, at the same time a homestay in Nam Dam village
The interior of the community house, at the same time a homestay in Nam Dam village. — Photo

At the end of Nam Dam village, there is Nai waterfall -- a destination for young people to explore nature. Many people choose to walk through the jungle to reach the waterfall. 

The fresh air, the aroma of new rice, and breakfast prepared on the table greet you when you wake up in the morning. The peacefulness that combines with the natural beauty and unique culture helps Nam Dam village win visitors' hearts.