Recently departed friends from Hanoi invited me on a trip to Tho Ha Village, Bac Giang province. It was a really nice experience to discover another new place that I've never been. It's about 40 kms aways from Hanoi and it took us about 1.5 hours by car. It was a pleasant trip even though the weather wasn't the best and I was concerned about my motion sickness background but we had great conversations during the journey.
I had heard lots about the traditional culture in this village, a famous place for making Gốm Sành (pottery without glaze fired with dry grass and then firewood and coal) and producing rice paper and raising pigs.
When we arrived our tour guide directed us for a few minutes along a lane of very interesting and beautiful old houses before taking us on a ferry over the Cau River. What I found amazing was the fact that many families maintain their traditional trade and they are actually making rice paper for a living.
Strangely, our first stop was at the home of Mr Viet, a local man who can play four different musical instruments. He played a song for us then he helped us to practice the instrument as well and it was rather funny. I don't have much talent so I let my friend Viv and her family make fools of themselves while I sat down enjoying the music. After the music lesson, we moved onto the entrance of the house and Mr Viet's wife was ready to instruct us on the finer points of making steamed rice pancakes. It wasn't that easy but we managed it very well.
Next up we visited the amazing old Doan Minh pagoda and a very nice communal house. I loved the Doan Minh pagoda with its many statues. I thought it looked a bit similar to the Defence Pagoda in Hanoi(Chua Tran Quoc). We spent about 40 minutes wandering around the pagoda before walking back to the banks of the Cau River for lunch. During our walk through the market, I saw people grilling pig's feet and lots of children playing around. They were very friendly and happy which is a great thing to see when you visit a place.
We had lunch at a cafe on the third floor overlooking the Cau River. They served way too much food including deep-fried spring rolls, omelette, tofu with tomatoes sauce, chips, deep fried fish and a broth. I love eating in the countryside as people cook with their own authentic recipes. I felt a bit exhausted so I took a ferry back to the car while my friends keot walking through the village.
It was a great day. I had a fabulous time and I would definitely go back there again for a day. Thanks so much Viv, Sue and Michael for a brilliant day.