M’lieng village beside Lak Lake in Daklak Province is still the same as it was a hundred years. The old houses and paths make it one of the rare villages that preserves the highland’s tangible and intangible cultural values.
To get to the village from Buon Ma Thuot City travel to Lien Son Town and then head to Daklak’s famous Lak Lake. Tourists can hire a motorboat or a wooden boat to cross the lake to the village. The peaceful village is surrounded by hills, mountains and primeval forests.
The M’nong ethnic minority live in traditional long houses built of wood and thatch cut from the forest. Each house is 30 meters long and includes five areas according to the M’nong family matriarchal system. It takes several years to collect all the timber from the forest for one house, and they hold ceremonies when they chop down big trees.
Each family has rice fields, cornfields and vegetable farms with herds of cattle. Some rich families also have elephants to carry wood and goods for sale.
Many villagers still keep old jars and drums made of elephant or buffalo leather. The village has their own ethnic music and dance traditions that they perform at festivals.
Most of them do traditional craft – making brocade, gongs and jars and weaving bamboo products and fishing nets and traps.
Staying overnight by the flickering firelight while enjoying local dishes and listening to old men tell folk stories is an amazing experience.