The old stilt houses located in Lao Cai Province in northern Vietnam have been known for their sophisticated architecture and long history for quite some time.
Around 50 stilt houses, which were built more than 50 years ago by the Tay people, one of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic groups, can be found in villages such as Tham Luong, Tham Ma, Dap, Rang and Ria in Nghia Do Commune, Bao Yen District.
Ma Thanh Soi, an artisan who lives in Ria, said that the architectural style of the stilt houses reflects the traditional lifestyle and custom of the Tay people in Nghia Do Commune.
They feature sophisticated designs and use rare wood as building materials, Soi added.
It took months, sometimes years, to collect enough high-quality wood to begin construction on a stilt house in the commune.
Nguyen Van Su, the owner of a stilt house built over 50 years ago in Tham Luong village, said that his house is made of a rare ironwood found in the jungle. It took his family around five months to cut down and transport the timber to the village.
The Tays in Nghia Do Commune often build their stilt houses on slopes or hillsides, as a high location allows for beautiful views while avoiding floods.
“Some visitors have offered to pay hundreds of millions of Vietnamese dong [VND100 million ~ US$4,700] for our stilt houses, but we have never accepted their money, as the houses are treasures that the ancestors gave us,” Hoang Van Su, who lives in Dap village, said.
Nguyen Van Quay, chairman of the Nghia Do People’s Committee, asserted that local residents can afford new houses, but they have decided to maintain the stilt houses as a beautiful tradition of the region.
“In recent years, the Tay people have considered the stilt houses a cultural space to develop local tourism,” he further explained.