In search of something to get high in Vietnam, thuoc lao will be the best result. In a small street-side café on the pavement inside the heart of Hanoi, you can easily catch sight of a group of middle-aged men, even women, drinking bitter iced tea, chatting about life, and smoking from a huge bamboo water pipe. It is an old habit that has a deep root in Vietnamese custom. Once taking Vietnam local tours and try it!
What is Thuoc Lao – Pipe Smoking?
Thuoc lao, also called Nicotiana rustica, is strong pipe tobacco smoked after a meal on a full stomach to “aid in digestion” and one of the oldest customs in Vietnam. Thuoc lao literally means “drug from Laos”. This traditional Vietnamese tobacco can be either smoked or chewed. When smoking, people usually use bamboo bong. If you are looking for a new stimulant to get you high in Vietnam, pipe-smoking or thuoc lao will be mentioned as the number one by all Vietnamese.
What is Bamboo Bong?
As it has been mentioned before, Vietnamese use a pipe called a bamboo bong to smoke thuoc lao. Typically, there are 3 main types of bamboo bongs in Vietnam.
This bamboo tube is the most popular and simple one. It is made of a 50 centimeters-length bamboo cylinder with a small hole of the bowl on it. Ahead is closed to contain a little of water, the rest one is opened to smoke. People put tobacco into the bowl, burn, take a breath and release the smoke. The sound of the dieu cay inspires smokers. Smoking Thuoc lao by dieu cay is very convenient, tasty, resounding and cheaper so almost common workers and farmer used it in their daily life.
It includes a pipe bowl, usually made of ceramic as a water catchment and a small straight stem made of around 50-centimeter bamboo tube. People put tobacco in a hole above the bowl, light the spill, inhale, feel and release the smoke. The bowl of điếu bát is often decorated a lot of sophisticated and ingenious patterns so it is popular in royal and Mandarin classes. Because of the inconvenient to bring out, dieu bat is mainly used at home and the old nobles need their servants to lift dieu and light the stem. It is so great to have a scented teapot after smoking.
It is a 30 centimeters tube made of precious wood, animal bones or of ivory. It has a silver hoop, handles, and rim. With dedicatedly carved patterns, it is popular in the rich family. Servants bring the dieu ong along with their boss every time.
How to Enjoy Thuoc Lao – Pipe Smoking?
Smoke Thuoc Lao by Pipe
All you need to get high like the true Vietnamese style is a pipe made from bamboo or plastic, a ball of Vietnamese tobacco and a match to set the fire. To experience pipe smoking, you can simply go to every drink stalls on every street. Order a cup of green tea, pack up a tobacco ball, put it into dieu cay, burn the tobacco, wait for a second then blow the ash out of the pipe, take a deep toke from the pipe together with drinking some tea, let the smoke get out from your mouth, you will feel extremely “phe” – the word Vietnamese people use to describe the high. You should ask someone sitting behind to catch you in case you may hit your head because of getting too high. You will be also addicted to a unique sound when smoking thuoc lao, it is so cool.
Chew Thuoc Lao
Vietnamese tobacco is also used to chew as a way of chewing betel leaves and areca nuts. Eat a pinch of dry tobacco in the mouth, keep it between the teeth and cheeks, sometimes chew the tobacco to get its water but not swallow it. Chewing thuoc lao cannot get you high as much as smoking but it is a worthwhile experience to try for once.
Thuoc Lao – Should or Should Not?
It is scientifically proven that smoking Vietnamese tobacco poses serious harm to our health, and is considered much more dangerous than smoking cigarette. Choking to death or suffering sudden respiratory failure due to the sudden inhalation of a large amount of smoke just are some typical examples of its drawbacks. However, it still remains popular in the central and northern parts of the country, especially with minority and rural groups. So what are the reasons?