Giant Mushroom Houses in Y Ty village

Nga Do
Located in Bat Xat district in Lao Cai province, and covered by clouds throughout the year, Y Ti is one of the most remote communes in Northern Vietnam. In Y Ty Village of Lao Cai Province in northern Vietnam, small houses are topped with four-sided ‘hip’ roofs covered with moss. Seen from above, these ancient structures take on the appearance of huge mushrooms.

Although it has been suffering a harsh weather, it possesses irresistibly amazing natural beauty that is must-see on your Vietnam tour. Coming to this place you can enjoy the awesome mountains, clouds in the valley, and wonderful terraces as well as special houses of local people. If you want to see the scenes of cloud-filled valleys and terraced fields rising to heights of 1,500 meters, you should not skip the poorest commune.

Also, one of its greatest attractions is unique mushroom-shaped houses that contribute to an ancient atmosphere. The route leading to Y Ty commune is rough, though it is only some 70km from the provincial centre. Following routes which wind like snail tracks up to the peak of Nhu Co San, you get the feeling of driving up to the sky, and then descending into the valley of fog and clouds. Reaching Y Ty, you will find picturesque scenery as local ethnic minority women carry firewood around this vast natural area to the market.

Y Ti is also the home of Vietnam’s ethnic groups like Hmong, Dao, Giay and Ha Nhi. Unique mushroom-shaped houses that attract visitors represent this group’s traditional architecture. Being different from the ethnichouses that you see exploring Northern Vietnam, those are designed with earthen walls and ‘hip’ roofs, and shaped like a pyramid. The impressive walls of these houses can be 40-50cm thick and rise 4-5m high. This type of structure, while reflecting the difficult economic conditions in the village, is also well-adapted to the mountainous area’s harsh weather conditions. 

Houses in such designs are helpful both in the winter and summer. It is hard to imagine the amount of labor it takes to build such houses. In fact, local people spend months building these houses, and they typically will be repaired and maintained after each season. The building procedure begins with choosing a site with the proper soil quality.  Then, the foundation is made using different mountain stones. The foundation is set on the rocky surfaceinstead of being dug underground like modern houses in cities.

Walls are then built by putting soil into a framework which forms various layers, and with use of the proper types of soil, forms a solid wall. The low-slope roof with no clear ridge-lines is tiled with grass. The doorway is in the middle of one wall, and an extra door on one side is used as the entrance to an enclosure for a buffalo or horse.Although these houses are rarer than they used to be in Y Ty Village, those that remain are particularly attractive for photographers and have graced the scene of many a sunrise or sunset photograph. Many of those who travel here on their Vietnam tour are enchanted by the appearance of these structures.

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