Discover the unique features of the Hmong’s log house in Si Ma Cai

The wall house is a unique cultural feature of the Mong people. These works not only contribute to beautify the northern mountainous region, but also clearly demonstrate the people’s house-building techniques to adapt to the terrain and climate in the highlands. The walled house is the traditional house of the local people. Mong ethnic people live in Si Ma Cai district near Sapa Vietnam. Sao Phin Mao village, Sin Cheng commune, still retains many unique traditional houses of the Mong people. 91% of Sin Cheng commune’s population is H’mong and lives in a house.

The house is made from materials available in nature such as clay, wood and bamboo. In particular, the soil used to build houses must be good, smooth, free of stones and gravel, and have high cohesion. Hmong people use wooden planks to form a mold, pour clay into the mold and then pound it with a pestle to create adhesion so that the soil does not fall when removing the mold. These earthen wall steps can be up to 60 – 70cm thick. Thanks to the construction of thick clay walls, the house will be warm in winter and cool in summer. This can be considered a unique technique of the Mong people to adapt to the harsh terrain and climate in the highlands. Most of the houses in Si Ma Cai near Sapa Vietnam are small in scale. But besides that, there are still some families who have the conditions to build large houses. These houses usually have 2 floors and 3 rooms. For large walled houses, going straight from the main gate will be a large yard used for playing, or holding ceremonies; Above is a skylight to get light and air conditioning for the house. In the house, the bedrooms are usually located on the first floor, close to the living room. Families with many generations living together design a bedroom on the 2nd floor. The 2nd floor of the house is usually a place to store food, furniture and reserve food for poultry and livestock.

The traditional wall of the Mong people is roofed with yin and yang tiles. But after a long time of use, the old tile is damaged and there is no similar tile to replace it, many households have switched to using fibro-cement roofing sheets. Currently, some Hmong households in Si Ma Cai near Sapa Vietnam even build cleaner cement walls and foundations to replace traditional walls and ground.

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