The Biggest Chicken at Dalat's Chicken Village in Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

The Biggest Chicken in Vietnam – A Quick Look at Dalat’s Chicken Village

Chicken Village is an oddball attraction in Dalat, Vietnam. Home to a 15 ft. (4.5m) tall chicken statue, Chicken Village is Unimpressive, yet weirdly memorable.

The Biggest Chicken at Dalat's Chicken Village in Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

Chicken Village is about 10 miles (16km) outside Dalat city center. Also known as Lat Village or Lanh Dinh An, it’s home to some of Dalat’s ethnic minority groups.

We hoped to meet some locals here and glimpse their way of life because that’s how the travel literature sells the visit. But no such luck.

You’re more likely to meet the residents outside their village at the major attractions of Dalat (where they sell their goods). The most famous part of the village is the big chicken statue and the story behind it.

We don’t recommend going out of your way to see Chicken Village. There are too many better things to do around Dalat. We wanted to share it as one of those zany places that stick in your mind, despite being relatively mediocre and meaningless.

If you’re on a countryside tour of Dalat, and your guide mentions seeing Chicken Village, it’s worth a few minutes at most.

The Biggest Chicken at Dalat's Chicken Village in Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

The images of Chicken Village are both amusing and somewhat haunting for us. We only spent about 15 minutes in Chicken Village. We thought it was OK, but we didn’t especially like it.

Nevertheless, it remains some of our strongest visual memories of Dalat. Isn’t it funny how memory works? We saw and did so much in Dalat. Why would these few insignificant moments with a big chicken statue stand out in our minds? We don’t really know.

The Biggest Chicken at Dalat's Chicken Village in Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

A 15 ft. (4.5m) tall chicken statue would be weird anywhere. But in this very poor village, the big chicken is radically out of place. It’s downright surreal.

The village is like a ghost town. The roads are just dirt. The homes are quite humble (even by Vietnamese standards).

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The general mood is pretty somber. And then there’s this huge, festive chicken towering above the village. It’s like finding a clown juggling in a cemetery.

It’s hard not to smile at this massive chicken statue, but in the context of this bleak village, you can’t help looking over your shoulder in the next moment. Then, you look back to the larger-than-life chicken, smile again, and scratch your head. It was a mildly fun experience, but also creepy.

Mix in the beauty of the surrounding mountains, and the visit to Chicken Village takes on an aspect of haunting beauty too. The contrasts are so stark between the statue, the village, and the gorgeous natural scenery. Maybe that’s part of why it was so memorable.

The contrasts are so stark between the statue, the village, and the gorgeous natural scenery.Click To Tweet

The Biggest Chicken at Dalat's Chicken Village in Central Vietnam, Southeast Asia

The Story Behind Chicken Village

The story behind the statue is also pretty weird but gives some historical and cultural insight into the tribe that traditionally lived here. It involves the sad fate of two star-crossed lovers.

In the old days of this farming village, a bride’s family had to pay a hefty dowry to the groom’s family. Chickens were the preferred dowry, the bigger the better. If a bride couldn’t pay a dowry or couldn’t pay much, she’d have no husband or a bad one, and be destined for a sad, lonely life.

In the legend of the statue, a young man and woman were madly in love, but the poor bride had no dowry. Determined, she went into the forest to capture a “wild chicken” big enough to pay her groom’s family. (We didn’t know wild chickens existed.)

Weeks went by, and she never returned. Fearing she was hurt, her groom entered the forest in search of his love. Then he disappeared too. So sad.

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The elders of the village then realized the error of the dowry system. They erected a huge, wooden chicken so that no other brides would have to go into the dangerous forest seeking a dowry. The whole village could share in the chicken statue as a symbolic dowry.

People could marry who they loved, without economic concerns. That old wooden statue was replaced by the current, concrete statue long ago. This centuries-old story is odd, but surprisingly progressive and modern too.

Again, we’re not necessarily recommending a visit to Chicken Village. We don’t even think of it as a good attraction, but Chicken Village has somehow worked its way into our memories of Dalat.

When we think of Dalat, there are iconic images that come to mind: the mountainscapes, the waterfalls, the temples, and the gardens. AND the stark image of that huge chicken. Go figure.

Getting to Chicken Village

The most common way to visit is on a tour of the countryside surrounding Dalat. Your tour guide may pitch a side trip to Chicken Village. The pitch is usually for the wacky statue and a visit to an “ethnic minority” village.

Don’t come expecting to see many locals or an interesting slice of life. The big chicken is pretty much all there is. If this doesn’t appeal to you ask your guide to skip it.

But if you’re a traveler who likes oddball experiences, you might enjoy Chicken Village.

Do you have any similar travel experiences? What places get stuck in your memory even though you didn’t have any strong like or dislike for them at the time?
 

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74 Comments
  • Ticking the Bucketlist
    Posted at 21:54h, 19 February

    I loved the story behind the chicken…how progressive, as you rightly said. Its a pity that we still have some bit of dowry culture in many parts of the Indian interiors. I wish we take on some insight from here. I am not sure if I would go here, but it sure was an interesting read…thanks for sharing.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:00h, 19 February

    Hi Ticking the Bucketlist. It is amazing that this innovation was a totally local idea that their minority group embraced.

  • Punita Malhotra
    Posted at 22:27h, 19 February

    What a quaint and interesting story that is. We need more of such wise decisions in today’s day and age, to solve the many common problems of mankind.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:33h, 19 February

    Hey Punita. That’s so true. They were really wise to change for the better.

  • Aldrick Agpaoa
    Posted at 22:41h, 19 February

    This is the first I have ever heard about a Chicken Village. The place looks interesting and I hope I could visit this place soon! Vietnam is just a few hours from the Philippines and my money will surely come a long way here! 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:44h, 19 February

    Hello Aldrick. It is really close and a cheap flight away. Hope you make it.

  • Cat | For Two, Please
    Posted at 22:53h, 19 February

    Wow, it has such a romantic yet sad story behind it! It might not be an attractive site to visit on its own, but it tells us much of the culture/history of the village!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:55h, 19 February

    Hey Cat. We agree it is odd but an interesting bit of local culture.

  • Devesh Joshi
    Posted at 00:34h, 20 February

    Never heard about a chicken village before. Thanks for sharing somehting unique.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 00:35h, 20 February

    Hey Devesh. It’s our pleasure. Glad to know you liked it.

  • Christopher James
    Posted at 02:04h, 20 February

    Chicken village, who knew? Looks pretty cool, I’ll have to check this out.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 02:11h, 20 February

    Hi Christopher. It was new to us too. And we did think it cool.

  • Rosie Benton
    Posted at 02:58h, 20 February

    We visited Dalat a few years ago but don’t recall the Chicken Village – although from your post it doesn’t seem liked we missed out on much! the history is pretty interesting though!!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 02:59h, 20 February

    Hey Rosie. Yes it’s an oddball place and not a priority for sure unless you like the oddball stuff.

  • Danni lawson
    Posted at 05:11h, 20 February

    I like the surreal way you describe the village, it must be pretty incongruous! I too didnt know there were wild chickens but its nice to find some romance in the story of the chicken. I could compare it to the giant bull billboards you see in Southern Spain.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:22h, 20 February

    Hey Danni. Those sound really cool. I’d love to see those.

  • Chris
    Posted at 05:26h, 20 February

    It’s certainly an odd one, but as you say, it’s often the random that become truly memorable!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 05:33h, 20 February

    Hello Chris. It random for sure and really haunting in our memories.

  • Kelly
    Posted at 09:57h, 20 February

    This is soo funny. Reminds me of some of the weird sites we have here in the US, like the world’s biggest ball of twine. I think this site is awesome and I love the story behind it. But I also like your honesty in saying thete are better things to see in the areA.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 10:00h, 20 February

    Hey Kelly. Oh I saw that as a kid too. Guess I have a long history for this kind of thing.

  • Brian
    Posted at 10:14h, 20 February

    Wow, 2 1/2 times as tall as I am!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 10:22h, 20 February

    Hey Brian. Well, that really puts it into perspective.

  • ERICA
    Posted at 11:25h, 20 February

    woah!!! that chicken is not big for nothing!!! interesting story by the way 😮 love stories in most sightseeing spots are common and always interesting… never heard of dalat before but now that you’ve shared about it, i think i would never forget!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 11:33h, 20 February

    Hi Erica. Yeah it is an interesting story.

  • Arzo Travels
    Posted at 14:58h, 20 February

    Such an interesting…well, sight. Never heard of it and as a vegetarian i would prefer it over a roasted chicken 🙂 Good to know though it is not a must-see place.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 15:00h, 20 February

    Hey Arzo. HaHa, yup this is a chicken for everyone.

  • Andi
    Posted at 16:47h, 20 February

    The chicken was amusing! I never thought that there would be a chicken village. And the statue looks really superb. The history is kinda interesting too. but overall, it was funny and very cute. I want to have a chicken statue too!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 16:55h, 20 February

    Hey Andi. That would be funny. I huge chicken stature in your yard.

  • Tami Wilcox
    Posted at 17:45h, 20 February

    It wouldn’t mean as much without the story behind it, for sure. Yet it is also interesting that a town as poor as this would put their money and effort into a huge chicken as their representative!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 17:55h, 20 February

    Hey Tami. It is a puzzle for sure, but a fun one.

  • Ally Emm
    Posted at 18:28h, 20 February

    My cousin loves chickens! He has a whole collection of figurines…I think he’d love to go here!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 18:33h, 20 February

    Hey Ally. I bet he would. He’d probably want to add it to his collection.

  • Nikaia
    Posted at 19:06h, 20 February

    Okay first off, I am terrified of any kinds of birds so I won’t ever visit this place. Lol. And I may have cringed most of the time I read this post. But it was an interesting post! Love the story behind the chicken village 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 19:11h, 20 February

    Hi Nikaia. Yes, it definitely sounds like this is not the village for you.

  • Kate Carter
    Posted at 19:22h, 20 February

    Wow you’re right – this sounds like quite a sad story. I would have trouble stifling my laughter too with a giant chicken in the middle of a dusty town. Thanks for sharing, but I think Vietnam has much more to explore for this girl! Glad to know before I might go!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 19:33h, 20 February

    Hello Kate. There is so many hidden corners to explore in Vietnam.

  • Ashlyn | From Heart And Seoul
    Posted at 20:49h, 20 February

    This is so funny! I can’t believe it’s such a HUGE statue. The background story makes sense, but it’s still a little out there lol

    Thanks for an interesting read!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 20:55h, 20 February

    Hi Ashlyn. The backstory does add a dimension of intrigue and historical flare.

  • Jorge Bastos
    Posted at 22:22h, 20 February

    That’s some weird stuff 🙂 but hey everything has statues nowaydays, why not a giant chicken…?

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 22:33h, 20 February

    Hey Jorge. Why not giant chicken indeed.

  • Sandy N Vyjay
    Posted at 23:18h, 20 February

    This looks wonderful. The story behind this place was really fascinating.. The story of the Dowry system and how the villagers turned it into a symbolic gesture with the Chicken statue is fascinating. Also appreciate your candid thoughts and suggestions about the place.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:25h, 20 February

    Hi Sandy N Vyjay. It is really intriguing to us. The contrasts between the serious and the humorous / wealth and poverty / tradition and innovation.

  • Riely
    Posted at 23:26h, 20 February

    The story of the chicken is quite interesting. I never heard of chickens being traded as a dowry. What a tragic story! But on the positive end, it ended the story of the dowry for this small village and at least the couple wasn’t forced to marry another.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:33h, 20 February

    Hi Reily. That old dowry system was based on the wealth they had, I guess.

  • Jenn and Ed Coleman
    Posted at 23:38h, 20 February

    The odd ball stories are sometimes the ones that stick with you. I went to Mexico last year for Day of the Dead. We live in San Diego and just crossed over into Tijuana for the day. We saw the festive markets all decked out with skeletons and marigolds but what stuck in my mind was the visit to the cemetery. There was one grave, Juan Soledad, that was receiving all kinds of attention. Before our group arrived, there was a mariachi band serenading the grave. Juan was a local saint for safe passage into the US. In fact, you could see the border fence from the entrance of the cemetery. It was a very human and unexpected.

    BTW, loved your writing. You have a gift.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 23:44h, 20 February

    Hey Jen and Ed. That’s such a cool experience. Big festivals, mariachis, cemeteries, and Saints. So cool. Thanks for sharing that story.

  • Danijela WorldGlimpses
    Posted at 02:04h, 21 February

    Sad story behind that odd chicken, even though the statue itself is just ridiculous. Never would have thought that was the reason for having such a big “monument” in the village! Thought that there was a chicken farm or something…

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 02:06h, 21 February

    Hi Danijela. It is definitely not the normal or the expected.

  • neha
    Posted at 02:56h, 21 February

    A chicken village!! Heard for the first time. But when read through your post, I was really impressed by the way the elders of the village decided to combat the evil dowry system through this chicken. I would like to visit it one day

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 03:00h, 21 February

    Hi Neha. That was really impressive and brave to change things for the better.

  • wendy maes
    Posted at 04:08h, 21 February

    Never heard of this before! Chicken village story is so much fun that I will never forget it anymore. If i ever end up in VIetnam I will absolutely visit it.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 04:11h, 21 February

    Hi Wendy. It is hard to forget. Hope you enjoy Vietnam if you make it.

  • Nadine Cathleen
    Posted at 05:51h, 21 February

    Hahaha, how cool! Didn’t know there was a huge chicken! Looks like a fun trip 🙂 There is so much to explore in Vietnam, it’s such an amazing country!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 06:00h, 21 February

    Hi Nadine. Yeah we’ve found lots of quirky and entertaining offbeat stuff in Vietnam.

  • Nomadic Foot
    Posted at 12:32h, 21 February

    What a interesting place is this. I never heard a place like this which is based on a particular Bird or Animal. Would like to visit some day…

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:33h, 21 February

    Hi Nomadic Foot. Hope you do see it and enjoy the oddity of it.

  • Janine Good
    Posted at 14:43h, 21 February

    I don’t know, I think I would make it a point to visit the chicken village as I find these quirky places amusing and interesting! The story behind it is quite sad, but I think the tribute to the legend is unique. I seriously am hoping to get to Vietnam one day so if I’m near Dalat, I think I will try to fit it in 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 14:44h, 21 February

    Hi Janine. We love Vietnam and Dalat so we hope you make it. And enjoy it as much as we do.

  • Karla at GlobalETA
    Posted at 18:40h, 21 February

    Well it gets a 10 on the character scale! Can’t say I’ve ever heard of it or anything else like it. 😀 Thanks for sharing your experience there!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 18:44h, 21 February

    Hi Karla. It does score big on original character for sure.

  • Tracie Howe
    Posted at 01:04h, 22 February

    This reminds me of one of America’s many road side attractions. Not always worth going out of your way for, but certainly worth a stop if you’re in the area. And a photo op of course! 😉

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 01:11h, 22 February

    Hey Tracie. You’re right it is like that.

  • Sridhar @InterludJourney
    Posted at 08:15h, 22 February

    Oh my goodness. I never heard such Palace really exists and glad that I come across your post and read something think about this village and sad part of it. Will keep this mind in my next visit.

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 08:22h, 22 February

    Hey Sridhar. That’s cool. Good the hear you liked it.

  • James Smith
    Posted at 16:37h, 22 February

    Dalat has has been on my bucket list for so long. Those chickens are amazing. Tanks for these great tips on seeing the chickens

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 16:44h, 22 February

    Hi James. Thanks. We hope you can make it to Dalat and enjoy all its offerings.

  • Izzy
    Posted at 14:00h, 26 February

    This is actually hilarious. I work for the Vietnam Tourism Board and had no idea this even existed, that’s what I love about Vietnam, there’s something new to learn every day. I’m headed to Dalat beginning of April so I will definitely put this on the bucket list!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 14:11h, 26 February

    Hi Izzy. Thats a great way to see it. Have a blast in Dalat. We love it.

  • Sheena
    Posted at 17:18h, 26 February

    That’s also got to be up there as one of the biggest chickens in the world! This kind of stuff usually sucks me into visiting so it’s good to read that it isn’t actually worth going out of your way to see. I’ll still keep it in mind if I ever go back to Dalat for an extended period 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 17:22h, 26 February

    Hey Sheena. Yes we love the highlights but offbeat stuff can be irresistible too.

  • Aanchal Iyer
    Posted at 07:25h, 27 February

    This is really amazing, glad that still the history continues in this place. Vietnam seems to be an amazing country!
    Have to visit this country some day. for sure. 🙂

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 07:33h, 27 February

    Hi Aanchal. We have been here for 1.5 years and love it.

  • Cai Dominguez
    Posted at 12:17h, 27 February

    I think I still pay it a visit if ever. Though there is nothing look interesting around te village aside from that huge chicken. Maybe I could talk to locals to know their stories. Thanks for sharing your story!

  • The Travel Ninjas
    Posted at 12:22h, 27 February

    Hi Cai. Yes that would be even better for sure.