Lung Van, just 40 kilometers from the center of Hoa Binh city, is one of the four cradles of Muong culture in Hoa Binh.
At an altitude of 1,200 meters, Lung Van is submerged in a sea of clouds all year round, which explains its nickname - Thung May, or a valley of clouds.
The Muong creation story says that once upon a time, a cataclysm swept away all the houses, cattle, humans, and even the forest. One couple was able to cling to a raft, which was tossed on the waves until an ancient, giant “Bi” tree snagged the raft. Its roots clung to “nine rivers and ten mountains” so firmly that even the cataclysm couldn’t dislodge it. When the waters receded, the couple had nowhere to go, so they settled down beneath the Bi tree, had children, reclaimed the bare land, grew crops, and domesticated some animals. That’s how the land of the Muong Bi came to be.
“Lung Van impresses me with its unspoiled scenery, which is so different from other places.”
“There are numerous waterfalls in Lung Van. We climb to the top of the mountain and have picnics there. We really enjoy getting close to nature. It’s absolutely heaven.”
“My friends recommended visiting Lung Van. Life in this valley is completely different from the hustle and bustle of city life. The air is pure and very refreshing.
“The terraced rice fields are stunning. Lung Van is so peaceful.”
These are some comments of visitors to Lung Van valley.
Zigzag trails take visitors up the steep mountains to Lung Van, the highest village of the Muong region. It captivates visitors with its well-preserved stilt houses with turtle-shaped roofs, which are sometimes visible, sometimes not, through the heavy cloud coverage.
Ha Van Minh, a Lung Van resident, said, “Visitors who want to stay overnight in Lung Van valley can sleep in one of the local houses. I have upgraded my house a little bit to accommodate visitors, but kept all the typical features. Once the cultural character of our stilt houses disappears, our Muong culture will, too.”
The Muong culture is manifested by community rituals associated with praying for newborns, burning fire, going to the fields, washing rice leaves, and thanking deities for a bumper crop.
Dinh Thi Ngoan, a member of the Lung Van art troupe, told VOV, “We are working to preserve our traditions and culture. Visitors are taken on a tour of the village to contemplate the mountainscape and watch the local women weave brocade.”
Cool mountain region. Echoing gongs. A peaceful vibe. A colorful culture. Hospitality. Those are just a few of the things Lung Van has to offer.
Nguyen Thi Lam, a Lung Van elder, said, “Gong players are invited to celebrate the birth of a baby, wedding ceremonies, and also to funerals. Gongs are an indispensable part of Muong life.”
In the morning, when it’s breezy and slightly sunny, fluffy white clouds float over picturesque green mountains. At noon when the sun is high, sunlight breaks through the clouds to illuminate the dreamy valley. Lung Van’s natural beauty is irresistible.