If you have a chance to visit Gia Lai, you not only admire majestic natural landscapes but also take part in home-stay tours in traditional mountain villages to learn about customs of local people. Especially, To Nung mountain village a home to Gia Rai people in Ya Ma commune, Kong Chro district is one of the most attractive home-stay tourist destinations for local and foreign visitors.
From Pleiku city, go along National Highway no.19 about 69 km, visitors will reach to Dak Po town. From here, turn right district highway no. 662 about 30 km, you will come to To Nung village. The first impression for visitors is that this village is peaceful and brings cultural features of a mountain village in Central Highlands with communal houses and traditional houses.
The communal house (Rong house) is the soul of the village and is the place for community and cultural activities such as meetings, festivals, judgments and welcoming guests. Therefore, the communal house has to be built on a large area in the center of the village. It has often a voluminous size with the length of 10m, the width of 4m and the height of 16m. The roof looks like an ax. On trusses there are many designs depicting legends, daily lives and animals with the highlight of an image of a sun god shining. In the communal house, there is a place to worship sacred objects such as knifes, stones, and horns and an exhibition for artifacts simulating cultural lives of villagers such as gongs, statues, and elephants. It can be said that the communal house is the place to show paintings, sculptures and the prosperity of the village.
Along with the communal houses, stilt houses of Gia Rai people also bring unique cultural traits including two types: the long houses and the short houses.
The long houses often have the length of 13 to 15 meters and the width of 3.5 to 3.8 m and are divided into two spaces. One is used for common activities such as picking up guests, drinking wine, and beating gongs while other is for the landlord's own activities. Between these spaces there is a row of columns which is next to a kitchen to worship Yang.
The short houses often have the length of less 9m, the width of less 3m, and the height of less 4.5m. In front of these houses there is a stair leading to the front door. In the middle of the house is a place to welcome guests. The place for the family is located on the left side.
Arriving at To Nung , visitors can learn about customs and experience daily lives together with local residents such as taking care of livestock and poultry ; planting ; hunting ; gathering ; cooking wine ; weaving. In addition, visitors also have an opportunity to enjoy traditional dances and famous epics such as Dam San, Xinh Nha and Dam Di and gongs performances.
Along with the unique cultural identity and friendly Gia Rai people, To Nung will leave an unforgettable impression for tourists when they experience the special culture of Central Highlands.