Giang Mo village is located at the foot of Mo Mountain, surrounded by green valleys and terraced rice fields. More than 100 Muong ethnic minority families live there. Visitors come to explore the customs and the daily life of the local people.
In his newly restored house, Nguyen Van Hau is preparing a meal for a group of European tourists. Hau says the village is attractive because of its authentic culture and peacefulness.
He said, "Giang Mo village has 120 families, 46 of them offer tourism services. We opened our village to tourists a long time ago. During the construction of the Hoa Binh hydroelectric power station in the 1980s, the Russian experts who were helping to build the plant came here on the weekends. My family has hosted tourists since 1997, but it was not until 2001 that we decided to offer them meals too. During the peak season, the village can accommodate between 300 and 400 foreign visitors a day. "
Tourists can explore the traditional Muong culture and enjoy Muong specialties like colorful glutinous rice, buffalo meat with bamboo leaves, chicken, bamboo shoots, stream fish, and the local rice wine. Meals are usually served on huge green banana leaves, a typical feature of the Muong culture.
Nguyen Van Hau said, "Tourists love spring rolls and minced meat wrapped in the lolot leaves. We also offer traditional dance and song performances and 12-gong concerts. "
The tall stilt houses of the Muong are quite rudimentary. Built of wood and bamboo without windows, the consist of three parts: the attic is used to store food and family utensils, the middle floor accommodates the family and the ground floor is for production tools and cattle.
Many of the Muong’s production tools, arch, and farming tools are made of bamboo such as weaving frames. They still practice slash and burn agriculture and grow maize and cassava. Muong women excel at weaving rattan and brocade products.
Jaelle, a French tourist, said, "This is the first time we have visited Vietnam. We are delighted with the hospitable and warm reception of the Vietnamese people. Giang Mo village is very different from anywhere else. I’m very impressed."
Muong locals are famous for their hospitality. Visitors are always welcomed into their homes and invited to drink a cup of tea or sip of some alcohol with the hosts.
Patrick Buat Thenard, another French tourist, said, "I’m very impressed with the local residents’ hospitality. Giang Mo is very different from villages in France, its landscape and houses are very different. I read and watched films about Vietnam before coming here. Some of my friends and relatives participated in the Dien Bien Phu campaign and I have thoroughly researched Vietnam’s customs, ethnicity, and landscapes.”
Far from the hustle and bustle in the city, Giang Mo village offers tourists an experience of simplicity of an endearing Vietnam. The Muong Culture Museum, the Hoa Binh Lake Tourist Complex and the orange gardens in Cao Phong township should be included in the tour itinerary.