25 Jan 2016

Tho Ha Village, Vietnam

“Tho” means land, and “Ha” means river. Tho Ha is on a narrow peninsula that is located in the middle of the Cau River, so the village is surrounded by water on three sides. The only way to get there is to take the local ferry to the center of the village. (Indochina Charm).  

It took us about 2 hours to get to Tho Ha Village from Hanoi, partially because our taxi driver had never been there, and had to make many stops to ask for direction. Before deciding to visit Tho Ha, I googled the village and discovered that in the 14th century it was a village well known for its production of terracotta products. However in the 1990's the village turned to making rice paper when pottery was no longer a lucrative business. However, the remnants of terracotta can be seen on the walls of the village houses.

Our journey there was adventurous full of interesting stops. Getting lost was a major part of the adventure because it meant getting to see interesting scenes. And because we ended up taking the very long route there, we ended up reaching Tho Ha via the non touristy route, which was absolutely stunning and beautiful.

Here was when we turned off the highway and came to an intersection. A pink signboard!!! So outstanding in that vast space! While our cab driver asked for directions we had a glass of fresh sugar cane juice. Sugar cane and coconut is so much sweeter in this country.

A local pointed us the way to Tho Ha, and  part of the journey was driving along this beautiful river and fields and fields of vegetable farms. 

As the journey continued we passed by large padi fields  with large flocks of geese and ducks. And here and there we even spotted horses roaming free. 
No speeding along the route 

Finally after going zig zag through different roads, we finally arrived in a village with very very narrow lanes. Here's our cab driver asking for directions again, as a local moves the rice paper racks slightly for our car to pass through.

Closer to the village we passed by several ponds and very run down houses

Finally we arrived on the main street of Tho Ha.

This is how we were supposed to arrive, via ferry. Well....because I read that you have to arrive via ferry, we took the ferry across thinking Tho Ha was on the other side. When we arrived we discovered it was a highway, and our car was on the correct side. So we had to take the ferry back again to Tho Ha. :)

Cooking Rice paper with nuts and seeds over fire. Tastes like plain crackers with seeds.

We peeked into a house, and they welcomed us to try making rice paper. I have a video of the process somewhere....but I just have no time to upload it. It's interesting....through sign language and pointing to us parts of the work space, I figured that first they start by pounding rice. Then they let the rice soak in water and ferment a little. It's then cooked, which turns it starchy. Then the machine feeds the boiling liquid onto a roller...and as the flour comes down, they "catch"it with a bamboo rack, which is then placed against walls or on top of roofs to dry.

When you walk around the village, you'll hear crackling noises, which is actually the rice paper drying, and thus separating from the bamboo rack.

The oldest arch in the village.

We went into this ancient temple. I'm not sure how old it is, I have to research it. But I think it's definitely several hundred years ago...judging from the wooden frames and the altars on the inside.

While strolling around we heard the loud snorting of pigs. It was to our amazement when we watched this tiny motorbike carrying SIX rolling fat pigs.

A grandma and her grandchild on an evening stroll. Time's stood still in this village. Fascinating. I'm so glad we discovered it.

@poundthegarlic.blogspot.com 2015
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