The Nung hamlets in Chi Lang, Lang Son

(VOVworld) – Tourists visiting the northern province of Lang Son are greatly impressed by the peaceful hamlets of the Nung dotting the valleys, hillsides, and river banks. To Tuan introduces a Nung hamlet in Chi Lang commune.

The Nung hamlets in Chi Lang, Lang Son - ảnh 1
A Nung hamlet in Chi Lang district, Lang Son province

Chi Lang district, which is about 120 km northeast of Hanoi, covers dangerous terrain in a hard-to-access part of Lang Son province. The Nung are the majority residents in all 19 communes of Chi Lang district. Trieu Thuy Tien, an official working in Lang Son’s culture sector, says that, like the Nung in other localities, the Nung in Chi Lang have maintained their traditions and customs: “The Nung clans cluster in hamlets. They share with the Kinh people a tendency to treasure their neighbors above distant relatives. Relatives living far away are not as valuable as good people living next door who will give us whatever we ask for. It shows a sense of mutual support in a close-knit community.”   

The Nung prefer to live at high elevations. On national highway 1A, we see a road sign that reads “Ai Chi Lang”, where we turn into a rough road that climbs up the mountain to the Nung area.

40 km later we arrive at Co Hương, Thằm Nà, and Suối Mạ hamlet, about 1,200 to 1,300 meters above sea level. Our effort is rewarded with beautiful vistas of vast meadows where herds of goats and horses are grazing.

The Nung are often praised for their openness and warm welcome for strangers. Their lifestyle and cooking also make a good impression on visitors.

In recent years, besides their tradition of raising cattle, the Nung have grown cash crops and fruit trees. In the 1980s some households piloted growing custard-apple trees. Now it has become the main fruit tree which brings them a stable income. Triệu Thị Nhất, a Nung woman in Chi Lăng commune, says: “My family grows rice, custard-apples, and raises cattle. Our income comes mainly from growing custard-apples. We can afford to build a new house and buy some home comforts.”

Social changes have affected the Nung community. There are many new brick houses replacing earthen stilt houses. One thing that has not changed is their tradition of unity and mutual support to escape poverty and become better-off.