Vang Pheo Hamlet located in Muong So Commune, Phong Tho District, Lai Chau Province is the home of the White Thai ethnic group. With dreamlike scenery of high mountains and wild forests together with hospitable people, the place attracts many tourists both from home and abroad.
The hamlet is 30km from the centre of Lai Chau Town. It is next to Phu Nho Kho Mountain considered to be like a beautiful girl and is the meeting point of the two streams, Nam So and Nam Lum. In the hamlet, there are many ancient houses on stilts scattered near green fields.
We drove on the sandy road that led us to the house of culture in Vang Pheo. Here, we met some ethnic children who impressed us with their innocent faces spattered with mud and their lovely smiles. Along the road to the houses on stilts, we also met some White Thai ethnic women in their traditional outfits.
Their skirts are black and ankle length while their shirts with a seamless neck are belt length. The White Thai ethnic women are very skillful in weaving and embroidering products with beautiful patterns of birds and dragons. Their products are sold in markets in the hamlets.
A suspension bridge over the river to Vang Pheo Hamlet.
A small river runs through the hamlet.
Traditional brocaded products in Vang Pheo Hamlet.
Foreign tourists buy souvenirs made by local people.
At night, under the light of the moon and stars, the girls in graceful dresses perform traditional dances to drums and other musical instruments. The White Thai ethnic people in the hamlet are very hospitable. The children are courteous and the elders are gentle. They are always willing to invite visitors to share a meal with traditional food like braised goby, grilled fish, bamboo sprouts, buffalo meat, pork and sticky rice wine.
The hamlet also boasts many cultural activities and festivals, namely Nang Han Festival (February 15 of the lunar calendar), Then Kin Pang Festival (March 10 of the lunar calendar) and Kin Lau Khau Mau Festival (September 15 of the lunar calendar). Each festival has its own cultural features and consists of several unique folk games like Con (coloured fabric ball) throwing, pushing sticks and humming-tops.
On holidays or at weekends, visitors flock to the hamlet to discover the beauty of a peaceful place and the simple life of the ethnic people. Here they also have a chance to enjoy wonderful songs and dances performed by local ethnic people.
Story: Bich Van – Photos: Trinh Van Bo