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Bo To Village: Traditional Village Of Cane Sugar Production In Cao Bang Vietnam

Just 300 km northeast of Hanoi capital, Cao Bang is a prime destination for all travelers. In addition to its spectacular natural landscapes, the region also attracts visitors with its traditional craft villages. Each of these villages has a rich history dating back several centuries. Among these craft villages, Bo To village is one of these iconic places where artisanal traditions are alive and well preserved. Discover Bo To village: a traditional village of cane sugar production in Cao Bang Vietnam in this article.

1. Overview of Bo To village

Bo To village
Located in Hoa Thuan commune, Quang Hoa district, Cao Bang province, Bo To village (Bó Tờ), also called "làng nghề đường phên Bó Tờ" in Vietnamese, is renowned for its centuries-old craft of making unrefined cane sugar, known as "đường phên"(or "panela"). In this mountainous province of northern Vietnam, Bo To village has been perpetuating the traditional techniques of extracting and crystallizing sugarcane juice for more than a century to produce this raw sugar with a unique taste and an intense brown color.
Local people harvest sugarcane in Bo To village
The "đườnng phên" is one of the 24 commune products (OCOP) in Cao Bang Vietnam, with a distinctive golden brown color, a pronounced taste and containing no preservatives. Bo To village currently has about 100 households that perpetuate the traditional methods of making sugar by simply evaporating sugarcane juice. This sugar is often used in traditional Vietnamese sweets such as "bánh trôi", or in more modern drinks such as sugar cane bubble tea.

2. Why visit Bo To village?

Sugarcane harvest season in Bo To village
Phuc Hoa district is located east of Cao Bang Vietnam. It is a region where the Tay and Nung ethnicities live, rich with many cultural traditions still preserved. The life of the inhabitants is closely linked to agriculture and sugarcane cultivation. This short-cycle plant is a profitable industrial crop, providing stable jobs to local populations. Phuc Hoa is among the districts of Cao Bang with the largest sugarcane areas. From this cane, the residents have created a local specialty: the unrefined sugar called "đường phên".
The process of making " đường phên" in Bó Tờ village
Bo To village is recognized as the birthplace of the traditional craft related to sugarcane, dating back to the 1950s. Each year around November, after the harvest, the villagers set to work producing batches of this sweet and flavorful sugar, extracted from the best juice of their fresh canes. This product is sold in local markets and surrounding districts.
Local people in Bo To village
For visitors, discovering Bo To village represents a special experience. They discover a preserved ancient way of life. They observe the traditional techniques for making "đường phên". They meet local artisans and talk with them. Visitors attend all the stages, from harvesting to the final sugar. It's fun to see and smell. They taste this natural sugar with its good flavor. The village is in a beautiful landscape of green mountains, far from city pollution.
Cane sugar
Moreover, visitors can buy artisanal sugar and other local products. By this way, they help the village economy. It's an authentic experience not to be missed for visitors!

3. Artisanal process of cane sugar production

Harvest sugarcane in Bo To village
Bo To village is renowned for its centuries-old craft of making "đườnng phên" unrefined cane sugar, passed down by the local Tay and Nung ethnicities. The process begins with harvesting sugarcane from Bo To's over 30 hectares of cultivation. For every 100 kg harvested, 20-30 kg of finished "đường phên" is produced. The cane juice is extracted by an electric press.
Process of cane sugar production in Bó Tờ village
The juice is then cooked for 4-5 hours in large cast iron pots heated by burning cane residue called "bã mía". Careful monitoring is required, frequently skimming scum and filtering the juice.
Đường phên Bó Tờ
The thick syrup is poured into molds and left to cool for 30 minutes until solidifying into a compact sugar mass. Finally, the "đườnng phên" is cut into pieces, resulting in a 100% natural sugar with a unique taste.

4. Some useful travel tips

 Đường phên Bó Tờ, local specialty
a. Ideal time to visit
  • The high season to witness the sugar production is from November to February, during the cane harvest and sugar making.

  • Avoid the hottest months (May to August) which are less conducive.

b. Preparing for the visit
  • Pack comfortable walking shoes for strolling around the village.

  • Bring a hat, sunscreen and water bottle in case of intense heat.

  • Carry a camera to capture the key moments.

c. On-site
  • Hire a local guide who can explain the different production steps.

  • Respect the villagers' privacy and ask permission before taking photos.

  • Be ready to taste some sweet specialties offered by the artisans.

d. Access and accommodation
  • From Cao Bang city, it takes around 1.5 hours to reach Bo To village.

  • Option to stay in typical family accommodations in the village itself.

  • Some more modern tourist lodges are also available nearby.

Adjacent to the Bo To village, visitors can discover other famous craft villages in Cao Bang Vietnam such as the paper-making village of the Nùng An , Phia Thap incense village and Pac Rang village: the forging village of Phuc Sen, Cao Bang.
We hope the information about Bo To village: a traditional village of cane sugar production in Cao Bang Vietnam is helpful and assists you in having an enjoyable and authentic experience in Cao Bang, Vietnam . We believe you will have a wonderful journey and many memorable experiences. For a satisfying experience that exceeds your expectations, please CONTACT ATOUR ASIA, Vietnam Travel Agency now.


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