Muong Lo cultural area
The Muong Lo area of Nghia Lo town, in the mountainous province of Yen Bai, is the second largest field in the whole Northwestern region after Muong Thanh field of Dien Bien Province.
The area is not only well-known for its productive field, which feeds hundreds of thousands of population, but also boasts the unique cultural diversity and traditional lifestyle of the Thai ethnic group, who account for nearly 50% of the population of Muong Lo.
Besides Thai ethnic people other groups living there include Kinh, Tay, Muong and Nung. This is the original cradle of Thai people in Vietnam.
Muong Lo is located in an immense and flat valley surrounded by a vast mountainous area. Here visitors can find the most perfect example of an ancient and original culture of Thai ethnic people.
They have traditional dances and songs of their own ethnic culture and often perform in local festivals. The two most famous dances of the people are xoe and sap. When visiting Nghia Lo town, visitors may easily participate in a night of xoe and sap dances around the camp-fire, where beautiful and graceful Thai girls dance and sing in their own language. Mua xoe (xoe dance) is an important part of Thai people’s traditional culture.
Deu Village in Nghia An Commune of Nghia Lo is a must-visit for travelers when in town, as the Thai den (Black Thai) people there regularly organize cultural performance nights to demonstrate their traditional mua xoe, along with serving Thai cuisine for travelers if required. The original tradition and lifestyle of the ethnic group makes the cultural exchange very interesting. Visitors should purchase hand made tho cam (ethnic fabric) products; bags, skirts and handkerchiefs are available at the local villages.
Thai ethnic people in Nghia Lo are accomplished at digging canals, building frames and forming channels to convey water to irrigate their fields. Wet rice is their staple food, especially xoi, or sticky rice. Xoi is delicious and worth trying. They also cultivate other rice, subsidiary crops and trees. Each family breeds cattle and poultry, makes items from bamboo, weaves cloth and some families have developed pottery as their occupation.
Thai people have a variety of myths, legends, ancient tales, versed stories and folksongs. Their folk dances such as xoe, sap reflect the unique Thai cultural characteristics from the old generations to the young generations.
Travelers to Nghia Lo Town should not miss a visit to Muong Lo field and local villages to experience traditional Thai mua xoe and taste xoi. The visit will definitely bring peace of mind.
Nghia Lo town is 80 kilometers from Yen Bai Province and is accessible from Highway 32.