Unique Vietnamese village: Kon K’tu ancient village

Kon K’tu is one of the oldest villages in Kon Tum with an age of over 300 years and is considered the most beautiful ancient village in the Central Highlands today.

Ancient village by the river

The road to Kon K’tu village winds along the soft curves of the legendary Dak Bla river. Known as a village in a city, Kon K’tu still retains the ancient beauty of the Ba Na people. Located in the middle of the village, the thatched communal house’s roof is over 13 meters high as a highlight that highlights the ancient village. This is a community living place for 138 households with more than 736 people.

After hundreds of years of destruction, the village still retains its ancient and wild beauty. In the village, most of the houses still have traditional stilts. There are still many mud-walled houses that have been colored by the years.

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The soaring roof of a communal house located in the middle of Kon K’tu village is the living place of the entire community

At the house of old man A Banh (70 years old, former elder of Kon K’tu village), the harvest has just ended. The rice in the fields has just arrived at the drying yard, golden yellow. Sitting on the porch, admiring the fruits of the entire crop, old A Banh and a few friends quietly drank wine to relieve their fatigue. “This wine has just been brewed with new rice, very sweet. Come here and drink with me a kan (a measure of the amount of alcohol to be even)”, old A Banh invited.

When the wine was fragrant in his breath, old A Banh remembered the old days. Elder A Banh said that in Ba Na language, Kon means village, and K’tu means ancient. I don’t know when this village existed. I only remember my father telling me that the village has a history of more than 300 years. Many years ago, the old village was about 3 km from the current new village. In 1968, to facilitate living and fishing, the whole village moved to the riverbank and built the village as it is today.

Years later, Kon K’tu is still very poor. All hundreds of rooftops are thatched houses with mud walls. At that time, the villagers’ greatest pride was probably their children. No family has less than 7 children. With the concept that having many children means having more wealth, the villagers’ lives go from being poor to being hungry, and as soon as the rice arrives at the drying yard, it is gone.

The old times and outdated customs also haunted the whole village for a long time. It has drawn villagers back to the most basic definition of poverty. The villagers are bound by customary law, even the love affairs of young men must be pure and cannot “cross the line”.

“If you are not married and get pregnant, you will be fined one buffalo or cow. If cousins ​​are less than 3 generations old, if they love each other, they will be fined a pig, forced to eat rice in a pig pen, and if they love each other too much to leave, they will both have to be kicked out of the village. If they don’t go, lightning will strike the communal house and the whole village will be punished. Young people in the village who cause fights are punished depending on the severity. If it’s light, punish chickens, if it’s severe, punish pigs and cows,” old A Banh said.

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Since working in tourism, Kon K’tu has turned a new page

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After 1975, with the mobilization and propaganda of the local government, fines no longer existed, but anyone who violated village laws still had to be punished. “Now there are no more punishments for cows and buffaloes. Unmarried young men with children are still fined a small amount of money to add to the village fund. After a fight, young people must follow the village elders to each other’s houses to apologize and then compensate for medical expenses according to the agreement,” old A Banh continued.

Change your life through travel

Mr. A Banh took a long sip of wine and couldn’t hide his excitement. The old man said that a few years ago, Kon K’tu was planned to become a tourist village, since then people’s lives have changed completely, becoming more prosperous and very happy.

With the support of the local government, many households in Kon K’tu have boldly borrowed capital to open homestays for tourism. In the early days of providing services, households encountered many difficulties in terms of experience, capital and customer service skills. Realizing the above shortcomings, Dak Ro Wa Commune People’s Committee organized to take 8 households opening homestay services for practical experience and training on tourism models in other provinces.

Not only that, this locality also cooperates with Kon Tum Provincial Community College to train and issue restaurant service certificates to 25 students in the village. From here, the lives of Kon K’tu villagers turned to a new page. From barefoot farmers, they completely entered the smokeless industry. The mouth has gradually become accustomed to English phrases that previously only appeared in movies. Kon K’tu welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. The houses in the village have also become more spacious since then.

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Ancient church of Kon K’tu village

Over the past 2 years, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Kon K’tu has also been severely affected. Homestays must close. The canoes are attic on the river side. The door sills of stilt houses lie silently waiting for guests. Mr. A Som (25 years old, the youngest son of old A Banh), who graduated from a restaurant service course and held the position of head chef of a restaurant for several years, said: “During the epidemic days, There were no visitors in the village, so I went to Hanoi to learn more cooking experience. In the past few months, the epidemic has subsided, so I returned to the village to continue doing tourism and take care of my parents.”

Not only A Som, these days, Kon K’tu villagers are also busy preparing to welcome tourists back when the Covid-19 epidemic has been repelled.

Mr. Nguyen Van Binh, Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Kon Tum province, said that thanks to the Dak Bla river branch flowing through, Kon K’tu village has a more poetic, charming scene, attractive to tourists. when visiting. Recently, Kon K’tu village has been evaluated by travel companies and tourists from near and far at home and abroad as an attractive tourist destination with unique and unique tourism products. (to be continued)

Say no to hydropower

A few months ago, a business came to consult people on the construction of hydroelectric power on the Dak Bla River. The proposed hydroelectric construction site is only about 500 meters from Kon K’tu village. The villagers do not agree, because if the project is built, the pristine beauty of the village will be lost. It means that a dead river will appear, no one will be interested in visiting or traveling in a place with a bare bottom river. Noting the opinions of the villagers, the People’s Committee of Kon Tum province asked the business to clarify the contents related to the project.

“The Kon Tum Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism also determined not to agree to build hydroelectric power here. When building hydroelectric dams, the landscape will be lost, creating a break in the chain connecting tourism activities, thus causing tourism activities in Kon K’tu to be greatly affected and opportunities to be lost. community jobs,” said Director of the Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Kon Tum province, Nguyen Van Binh.