Vietnamese traditional house on stilts - Vietnam culture

4000 years of Vietnam traditional house in building and defending is tied to the vicissitudes of history, the country. Many palaces, “lầu son gác tía” (Luxury home of the feudal family) were built then destroyed, faded and forgotten. In this context, idyllic and rustic stilt houses have been alive with the time, and contributed to nation’s architectural uniqueness.

From start-up time under King Hung, stilt houses were the residence, sun-shading, rain-covering, predators- preventing as well as the place for family’s reunion. This house style is suitable with steep terrain and muddy ground. There are two types of stilts used in the land of King Hung (Vinh Phu province). The first style is curved roof as boat-nose style, low floor and no obscured walls, tail of roofs closed with floor to undertake tasks of outside walls. The second type is sloping roof toward two sides, tilted straight down to the floor, dimple middle part of the roof and decorated with catch-eye shape of birds and animals. Two top of roofs are curved up, the doors are arranged at two heads.

The village hall in Dinh Bang village (Bac Ninh Province) is one of rare traditional stilt houses existing up to now
The village hall in Dinh Bang (Bac Ninh Province) is one of rare Vietnam traditional houses on
stilts existing up to now

Its featured curved roofs
Its featured curved roofs
Today, the living habit in stilts of people in the mountainous remains unchanged, virtually all activities are happening here: worshiping ancestors, welcoming guests, cooking, eating as well as the place for embroidery, weaving, knitting blankets, brocade weaving, etc. Even the playing-yard is also arranged on the floor, it is a part of the house and at a lower position than the main floor from one to two steps up and down, target to separate from the main space. The bottom of stilt houses are often left blank or only comparted a small portion to rise cattle and poultry.
The new type of Vietnamese house on stilts
The new type of Vietnamese house on stilts

Building materials of stilts which are very simple, are usually wood, rattan, bamboo, cabs, cane ... They are exploited in the tropical forest. Though stilt houses are constructed from simple materials as such, stilt houses are still very robust thanks to the rationalization of the creation ratio in wood frame structure. Roofs of houses are usually high level of slope, roof shape of 2, 3 or 4 parts and roof materials are usually “goi” leaves, “tranh” leaves or negative positive overlap... Creating a high level of steep roofs is to create conditions for rainwater goes fastest, while taking advantage of inside space by using more planks to contain corn, potato, rice, wheat.

Immerse yourself at the Ethnic houses in Ta Van, Ban Ho villages (Sapa): Sapa Homestay Tour

In the stilts, one of the parts is considered as the most important is the kitchen. In addition to serving for cooking, the kitchen is a place to light a fire to warm the entire house, to keep everything dry, avoid damp climate of the mountainous region. The kitchen is often placed in the middle of one stilt house, this is also the place for the whole family would gather after a day of labor, therefore the kitchen becomes loving and closeness as well as extremely sacred to each family member. 

The stilts of the Tay and Nung in the Northwest Vietnam (Lang Son, Cao Bang) is usually leaned back on hills, faced out towards the fields and the airy, spacious nature landscape, , avoiding mountains, rivers, bushes with mysterious shapes. This thing comes from the concept of the Tay, Nung said that peak of mountain which looks like arrow shape toward to house makes everyone in that house will usually encounter accidents, casualties; bush shape like wild beasts will make livestock or poultry killed, arrested; while a stream flowing through the house would result in losing the property...

Explore the traditional houses of minorities in Tu Le, Mu Cang Chai via 5 days trekking tour in Northern Vietnam.
The stilt houses in the village of Thai people
The stilt houses in the village of Thai people
The ground stilts of Tay and Nung people often have a narrow width and deep inside. There are between 7 and 9 columns in the house. Stilt houses in the village are generally built parallel to each other and run under hillsides. For Viet people, their houses spread horizontally because of being made in flatter lands. The floor of Viet people has the main staircase up to the right floor and a ladder on the left side. Walls of the house by thin planks or bamboo wattle with reasonable structure of house-carpentry with because the columns are put straight from bottom to top, alternating between two columns is one or two cylindrical pillar in calabash shape. Mostly, house roofs are 4-roof style.
Tay and Nung people's house in Son La Province
Tay and Nung people's house in Son La Province
The delimitating area inside stilt-house is clear, outer portion of the right is the place for putting ancestor altar, welcoming guests and men’s living, while women are often on the left side. The stilt-house of the Muong carries characteristics of both two kinds stilt-house of Viet people and Tay, Nung people. The Thai has separate stilts. All the houses in the village of the Thai are facing toward one soaring mountain, fresh green plants. This structure demonstrates the vitality, eternal, at the same time avoiding their house towards the mid of 2 mountains.

Similar to other ethnic groups, the Thai’s houses also view to North-South direction. However, the distinction is the divided ground into 2 parts, the upper part is the place that strangers never be set foot on because of being ancestor worship place as well as sleep and rest space of all family members. The bottom is the space for welcoming guest, cooking, eating and doing other tasks: weaving, spinning, etc.

The stilt-houses of Thai people still have windows system, also known as "tu tang" which looks very beautiful, is arranged adjacently to the floor, usually 60cm x 100cm in size and about 60cm in height of wooden balustrade with 2 wings. House roofs of the Thai are also done very nicely, usually 4 roofs, 2 flat roofs with rectangle shape sloping to two sides and 2 curved roof with fan shape at 2 gables.
Welcome to the villages of Thai people & their stilt houses in the 3 private days trekking into Pu Luong Natural Reserve.

In the Tay Nguyen, in the village of Bana, Xedang, Giarai ... the Rong house with soaring roof, sloping roof as shape of head-skyward ax; bank of arched roof has many beautiful decorations, the gathering place, the whole village activities, like the Kinh village house in North Delta. Before such a Rong house is a long wooden floor and no roof wide, like a vestibule of the house.

Experience directly the traditional houses of Bana, Giarai, Xedang minorities with 2 days trekking in Vietnam central highlands.
Communal house (Rong House) in Tay Nguyen, Vietnam
Communal house (Rong House) in Tay Nguyen, Vietnam
Ede people in Dak Lak don’t have Rong house, they live with "matriarchy" style in stilt houses which are often called “long houses” with many small families. Ede concept that the East is above where arranging bedrooms, seat of the house owner ... while the West is below. The stilts of the Ede have no carpentry, only using colonnade, two protruding roofs about 1 - 1.5 meters with equal trapezoidal roof shape, long section is above, short section is below.
The ancient house of Ede
The ancient house of Ede (Long house or Dài house)
In the house of the Ede, compartment for guest often occupy very large space. There are 4 main pillars called host-column, guest-column, drum-column and gong-column. The compartment for guest space often put guest chairs made of giant trees of 27 – 30 meters which are decorated with many beautiful patterns. Despite being simple houses, the stilts are ended up with natural as well as the place for shelter and bring the beauty of peace to people among the impressive nature.

Get the new experience with traditional houses in the valley between the National Park of Phong Nha Ke Bang Homestay Tour.

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