This is one of my most anticipated part of our Mondulkiri trip. A visit to the Phnong hill tribes in Pu-tang Village. The Phnong Khmer ethnic minorities live on the rolling hills some distance from the city of Monorom. Their main sources of livelihood is agriculture and their ethnic homes, costumes are very interesting to see.
The views going to the village is nothing short of amazing. The photos doesn’t really do it justice. Gentle rolling hills that Mondulkiri is famous for and crisp, cool air will greet you as you drive along.
The Pu-tang Village though is decidedly a lot colder than in any parts of the province, its actually hard to go out without a thin jacket. So most people there weren’t wearing their traditional garb but were swathed in thick clothes.
It’s dry season so everywhere I looked, the hills were covered in dry grass..
The number of traditional Phnong houses were smaller compared to those who have now built ‘modern’ Khmer style houses. But still, the few present in the village are worth having a peek at. The Phnongs are also incredibly warm and welcoming and would even allow you inside their houses if you ask politely.
The kids with us prepared some clothes, books and food donation and also interacted with the villagers and I left them to it while I wandered about taking photos.
The Phnongs are passionate about their rice wine. It keeps them extra warm during really cold nights and they usually store their rice wine in these jars and drink from it using long plastic straws.
And this is the traditional Phnong ethnic house. The owner kindly invited me inside to look around but I didn’t take photos out of respect for his privacy. But let me just describe what’s inside.. It’s dome shaped (kinda reminded me of an igloo), and made of wood and other local materials. On the inner center was a place for fire to keep them warm. On both sides there were raised platforms they use to lounge around and they also have hammocks. One of these platforms were lined with jars filled with rice wine and another section housed a small cotton weave. There was also a hanging storage platform very near the roof with some huge baskets made of native materials stored.