Beside Ban Gioc waterfall, these are beautiful villages you must visit when coming to Cao Bang
The beautiful villages in Quang Uyen District (Cao Bang) are excellent stopovers for visitors to explore the traditional villages of the Nung.
About 30 km away from Cao Bang to north-east is where Quang Uyen district is. An attractive area with beautiful villages at the foot of the mountain, mixed in the rice fields and fresh green flowers. Quang Uyen is located on the way to Ban Gioc waterfall in Chongqing, quite close to the center of Cao Bang city, so it has a favorable geographic position that tourists are not difficult to find
1.Pac Rang Blacksmith village.
Asking the blacksmiths in Pac Xuong, Phuc Sen commune about the history of the forging of the smiths, not many of them could be sure how this job was born, only that it was his father’s traditional craftsmanship long ago. According to some research data, forging job in Phuc Sen commune has been around for more than 200 years.
On the way to the Nung village in Pac Rang, you will find the bustling atmosphere of the forging here and also the shops were selling agricultural tools. Handcrafted forging products lying closely together from Highway 3 into the village. Early in the morning, the villagers have woken up the burning furnace, firing iron. Called the dawn with each sound from hammers and red sparks.
At Pac Rang, almost every home has a furnace, almost every family has to forge business with various products such as knives, hoes, shovels … it seems every home has a product featured. In addition to the forge, people here also cultivate rice, crops, and cattle. They spend the early morning for the forging and the rest of the time is spent on other farming jobs.
You can go by car or motorbike to Pac Rang. If you choose to take a bus from Cao Bang city, you can go to Quang Uyen district center and then take ‘xe om’ to get to the village’s location. There are also a few families providing homestay service there. However, if you love getting up late in the morning, you may feel annoyed by the noise from the village smiths in the early morning.
2. Phia Thap Incense Making Village
The incense making craft of the Nung An people in Phia Thap has a long history. Though no one knows the founder of this traditional craft, incense making has been inherited from generation to generation, creating work that is well known for every villager.
Phia Thap incense is made from natural materials in this karst region. Natural materials including bamboo tree (“may Muoi” in Tay language) for making stick, the bark of bombax ceiba tree, sawdust and especially leaves of the wild tree nam “bau hat” to make glue for bonding the materials together.
Making incense is not difficult but it must go through several stages. Bamboo tree is cut into pieces about 40 cm long, split into a small bar in the size of a chopstick and then tidily polished. The “bau hat” leaves and bark of the bombax ceiba tree are well-milled and mixed four times with powder “bau hat” leaves to create a glue substance, then seasoned with flour mixture of “bau hat” leaves, bombax ceiba bark and sawdust to create incense stick. After drying, the sticks are dried red at its bottom half and dried again before being tied into bundles to sell at local markets.
Making incense not only brings income to Phia Thap villagers but also contributed to preserving a traditional craft of the Nung An people. It is a beauty imbued with national identity associated with the custom of the Vietnamese to worship via burning incense in the Non-Nuoc Cao Bang Geopark.