Top 5 must-visit traditional handicraft villages in Hanoi

With a more than 1000-year history, Hanoi is becoming increasingly modern and busy. However, there is a more peaceful and quiet side to dynamic Hanoi. When you visit traditional handicraft villages, you will have the opportunity to learn about the handicraft industry that has evolved since the feudal period. Furthermore, you can purchase one-of-a-kind items as souvenirs or gifts for friends and family.

Hanoi is well-known for its many traditional craft villages. Learning about the traditional craft village is a great approach to have a better understanding of this historic region.

Let us take you on a tour of the five most famous traditional handicraft villages in Hanoi.

 1- Bat Trang ceramic village

Bat Trang ceramic village is a small village located about 13 kilometers south of Hanoi's center, on the other side of the Chuong Duong bridge.

Several documents claim that the Bat Trang pottery village was founded in the 14th or 15th century. According to the villagers, the village may have appeared earlier. There are always two versions of the village's origin story. One of these claims that in 1100, during the Ly dynasty's independence and early growth period, three scholars returned from a mission trip to China, bringing the ceramic craft industry learned there back to Vietnam and teaching the people of Bat Trang. In the other story, in the village history dates back to the 10th century, when King Ly Cong Uan relocated the capital in Thang Long. With the establishment and development of the capital, many businessmen, crafters from many areas come to settle down here to work and trade. In Bat Trang pottery village, there was a lot of white clay, so that many potters, among whom was Nguyen Ninh Trang family, came and built the kilns here. Accordingly, Bat Trang has gradually changed from a normal ceramic and pottery village into a famous ceramic and pottery centre until now.

2- Phu Vinh rattan and bamboo handicraft village

The 417-year-old Phu Vinh village in Chuong My District, 25 kilometers west of Hanoi's center, is well-known for its sophisticated bamboo and rattan products. There are many bamboo and rattan craft villages but Phu Vinh-branded products are considered works of art.

When it was founded in 1700, Phu Vinh village was called Phu Hoa Trang, which means “endowed with manual dexterity”. In 1800 the name Phu Hoa Trang was changed to Phu Vinh.

Everyone in the village, young or old, man or woman, weaves rattan and bamboo. It has been in their blood for generations.

In the past, every household in the village was involved in the craft. Now only about 90% of the villagers follow the trade, but Phu Vinh artisans have spread the craft to 12 other provinces and cities in Vietnam. 

3- Thach Xa  - the village makes bamboo dragonflies 

Nestled at the foot of the mountain where the temple of Tay Phuong is situated, about 35 km from Hanoi, Thach Xa village, Thach That district, Hanoi – a unique bamboo dragonfly-making village draws tourists by its eye-catching bamboo dragonflies.

The career in the village started hundred years ago. Thach Xa villagers have still preserved and had strong attachment with the traditional work for a long time.

The village craft of making bamboo dragonflies started booming 20 years ago. Initially Thach Xa villagers made dragonflies as souvenirs for tourists who came sightseeing or to attend a ceremony at nearby Tay Phuong Pagoda. Tourists bought a lot of the toys, which were cheap at less than half dollar. As demand outpaced supply, more and more households got involved in making dragonflies as a main job.

4- Chuong village - Unique craft of making conical hats

Chuong Village, located 30 kilometers from Hanoi's center, is modestly situated by the Day River. For more than three centuries, the village has been known for its skill in making Nón Lá (conical hats).

The village's craft of making the Vietnamese traditional hat dates back three centuries. Conical hats were made as decorative items for princesses and royalty in ancient times. Visitors now come to the village not only to buy hats, but also to see how the hats are made.

Conical hats are traditionally all the same size. However, as more tourists seek them out, hats are now made in a variety of sizes, ranging from very small (for souvenirs) to larger versions.

Children in this village can also make conical hats. They make the hats during the time following harvest. This enables villagers to increase their incomes, improve their living standards, and contribute to the improvement of their home village.

5- Chang Son paper fan making village

Making paper fans dates back hundreds of years in Chang Son village, about 30 kilometers from Hanoi. Since the 19th century, Chang Son fans have been famous at home and abroad. The French colonialists used to exhibit Chang Son fans in Paris.

Chang Son village, located in the Chang Son commune of Thach That district, has long been known as the most famous paper fan craft village.

Chang Son fans come in a variety of patterns, designs, and sizes. They are designed for everyday use, special occasions, and decoration. All have a gentle beauty due to decorative patterns depicting Vietnamese scenery, fairy tales, poems, or parallel sentences.

According to Mr. Duong Van Mo, a village artisan, "Luxury fans are decorative fans that can be given as gifts." Bamboo is used to make the sticks. A stick is made up of two splints pressed together. As a result, these fans are referred to as combination fans. The fans' spines are made of bone or horn. The fan's painting, paper, and silk should have artistic patterns of foliage or supernatural creatures. The foliage on Chang Son fans is more typical than on other villages' products. They are meticulously sculpted. Fans made in Chang Son are used by art troupes that perform traditional operetta, classical drama, or traditional dance.”


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