Roughly 30 kilometers west of downtown Hanoi, Quoc Oai and Thach That districts have become a popular destinations for well-off Hanoians to build rustic weekend getaways.
Passing Phu Cat and Hoa Thach communes in Quoc Oai District, visitors may feel as thought they've been suddenly transported into the highlands, due to the hundreds of stilt houses scattered throughout.
According to one local, many of the urbane weekenders spend a lot of money buying up and renovating old stilt houses in the northern highlands and then rebuilding them in the outlying districts.
The traditional structures are regarded as ideal oases from the oppressive Hanoi heat.
The number of these homes is on the rise, transforming these sleepy suburban villages into veritable resort towns.
Original design preserved
The type of wood used in the construction of these homes largely determines their price. Normally the houses are built from jackfruit wood and covered with palm leaves. However, many people have opted to use tiles to make the roofs stronger.
The houses are usually surrounded by lush gardens and ponds which provide cool, fresh air in addition to their attractive appearances.
A designer of these properties, Tran Van Thieu, said that the older a stilt house is, the more expensive they tend to be. Almost all the stilt houses in Phu Cat and Hoa Thach communes were taken from villages in the northern provinces of Hoa Binh, Son La and Lao Cai.
Thieu bought his from a family in the northern mountainous province of Son La. "We use this house as a place to relax after a hard week in the city," he said.
Others are already converting their homes into restaurants and cafés.
How to get there:
From Hanoi, drive along Thang Long Avenue and turn off at Thach That District. A number of nice stilt-houses serve as cafés and restaurants on the nearby No.21 National Highway.