Indochina Junk offers an optional side-trip to Yen Duc Village on the way back to Hanoi. Although it made for a long day we decided that this would be a good opportunity to see a rural community. Of course it was a bit staged, but it was easier than trying to find a similar experience on our own.
As staged as our tour may have seemed, Yen Duc is still a small village with people going about their everyday lives. It is beautifully surrounded by ride paddies and small farms.
We saw rice drying in the courtyard, on the road, really in any space large enough to spread it out.
And watched a demonstration on extracting the rice from the husks.
We went for tea in the home of one of the village elders. This was Calais’ favourite part!
We had an enjoyable time visiting their temple and wandering around the village. As with everywhere Calais enjoyed being the centre of attention, especially when she got to visit with a “tiny little baby”!
Our tour ended with a traditional music performance put on but some of the villagers. We also got to try a betel chew – responsible for making many of the woman’s teeth a dark brown colour! Kaisa had just popped her first tooth the day before while in Ha Long Bay, and she immensely enjoyed having something to chew on!! Good thing she just had one tiny little stub of a tooth so we didn’t need to worry about discolouring her teeth.
The girls were pretty much stolen as soon as we walked into the building, and were honorary members of the performance! They were passed around from person to person. They loved it and just settled in with whoever happened to be holding them at the time. We had to pry them away when it was time to leave.
The tour was a great add-on to our few days in Ha Long and Bai Tu Long Bay. I definitely felt like we learned something about how the rural Vietnamese live. And I have a much greater appreciation for husked rice!