Make a tour around Hanoi to traditional handicraft villages
Vietnam, especially in the Northern part, is the hub of many handicraft villages, from which colorful and unique souvenirs and hand-made things are created. These villages are successful at preserving not only their traditional occupation and integrate it with the modern world without losing their own traits. Visiting these local handicraft villages is a good opportunity to discover the unique local culture.
If you are going to have a tour in Hanoi, here are some suggestions of near-by handcraft villages that you can easily add to your itinerary.
Thạch Xá Village
The bamboo dragonflies and butterflies are familiar souvenirs that you can see in many vendors around the Old Quarter. These little brilliant toys will bring you some surprise and they are really wonderful gifts for kids. The bamboo dragon can remain balance on standing on one small fulcrum. You can discover how the villagers could mass-produce such sophisticated toys. The only village making this special toys is named Thach Xa which is just about 25 kilometers from Hanoi.
Chàng Sơn Village
In the past, people just relied on hand fans to blow away the heat of the summer days. Today, people are more familiar with the presence of electronic fans. However, the hand-fan-making villages still manage to develop their business in the modern world. Hand fans are no longer the practical things or daily tools but transfer their use into more of a symbolic and decorative thing. Chang Son was once a national-famous for producing high-qualified and beautiful hand fan. Today, Chang Son is still a big supplier of hand fans in Vietnam. They produce a wide range of hand fans with various looks and sizes. More than a handicraft village, Chang Son also features many traditional houses of hundred-year-olds, which will show you the traditional architecture of a typical Vietnamese village.
Nón Chuông Village
The conical hat is an iconic and symbolic sight of Vietnam. The use of conical is prevalent in the daily life of villages around the country; therefore the conical had-producing villages still grow and stay strong in the modern market. Located about 30 kilometers from Hanoi, Non Chuong has a long tradition of making conical hats. The conical hat market where people go buying and selling conical hats as well as the materials to make them opens 6 times per month, on the 4th, 10th 14th 20th 24th and 30th of the Lunar month.
Phú Vinh Village
Bamboo and rattan made in Vietnam are one of the most-exported good of the country. They are a good example of how to remain the traditional business and even to develop the traditional handcraft good into a worth-wide name. To achieve the recent success, people have actively renovated their products and make it more relevant to the modern life. Phu Vinh is one of the leading bamboo and rattan handicraft village in Vietnam. Their product is highly appreciated for their high quality and sophisticated design. The whole process of handicraft and bamboo weaving are available for visitors to come and see.
Đào Thục Village
Water puppetry is a unique art form of Vietnam. Water puppet shows are now the prevailing attractions in Vietnam and are available in many big cities of Vietnam. As water puppetry is originated from the villages of the Northern region, you can see the authentic and original spirit of water puppetry by visiting villages. Dao Thuc is the most famous among them. When traveling to this village, you are not only able to see authentic shows performed by experienced artists who are born and raised to do the job but also see how the water puppets are made. In Dao Thuc, you can enjoy the performance right in a real “water temple facade” in which people have been performing this type of art for hundred years.
Quất Động Village
One of the favorite hand-made souvenirs for foreign tourists to Vietnam is embroidery. Quat Dong is a famous handicraft village for producing high-quality and beautiful hand-made embroidery. Their works are embedded with the Vietnamese symbols: they depict the beautiful landscapes of Vietnam, or simply using various traditional symbols.
With these suggestions, you will gain insight into the life of Vietnamese, and have fun by participating in the process as a real artisan.