In the past, after harvest time, Vietnamese people made handicraft works to meet their own needs. Their products are very skillful and sophisticated, even though they are farmers and do not specialize in handicrafts. The techniques were kept secret, but taught to relatives or fellow villagers.
The village, therefore, became a very important institution in the handicraft industry. The village's name became the trademark of handicraft products made by its villagers. Đình làng- the village's temple became the place of worship and tổ nghề the man who first taught the villagers to do these handicraft works.
When urbanization came to Vietnam, many people came to towns/cities and professionalized in the handicraft works they had done in their old village. They did not compete with one another but gathered in phường/hội, the new form of handicraft village, to help others to improve.
The Vietnamese government has recognised about 1500 handicraft villages, of which about 300 are traditional handicraft villages. These villages maintain the country's handicraft heritage.
Traditional villages tour (-/L/-)
In the morning, ODC Travel’s tour guide and driver will pick you up at the hotel around 7:30 – 8:00 a.m to start a spectacular trip. The first stop is the pottery village of Bat Trang, which has been well-known during hundreds of years for its high-qualified and extraordinarily beautiful ceramic products, particularly dinnerware and ornamental ware.
Visitors can wander in Bat Trang’s narrow streets, watching the skillful and talented workers producing sophisticated porcelain, tableware and ornaments using the modern gas-fired kilns. Inside the studios are craftsmen mixing clay or dipping burnt cases into glaze to highlight their crackled lines, and then the painting masters will apply the intricate design on the raw terracotta before heating them in the ovens. The outcome pottery products include a diversified range of bowl, dish, pot, cup, wine pot, a big flower-vase, leg lamp, lime-pot, big-bellied jar with glazes such as ancient pearl blaze, crackle glaze, dark glaze, indigo-blue flower glaze, grey flower glaze, melt glaze...
11.00 a.m: Continue to Dong Ho, where paintings made by wooden block printing can be seen. Once in the village, a visit will be made at craftsman Nguyen Dang Che’s house. Today though, just two families are engaged in this painstaking craft. The rest of the village has turned to a more lucrative pursuit, turning out paper votive offerings.
12.30: Have lunch at local restaurant.
13.00 p.m: Afternoon tour to the wood - carving village of Dong Ky, which is attached with making carved hardwood furniture in both private and state run workshops. The craftsmen have enough superb skill to make the high-quality wood furniture which is sold both inside and outside the village. The most common pieces are tables, chairs, cupboards, and carved beds.
15.00 p.m: Continue to visit the rattan - knitting village of Phu Vinh. Phu Vinh bamboo and rattan-woven products exceed 500 varieties. The most notable include art work such as panels, couples, birds and animal pictures. They are made of extremely thin and small splints woven with a small awl as if embroidered. Another variety includes fruit baskets, trays, plates, bags, suitcases, sandals, hats, lamp shapes and flower vases. A third category includes large baskets, sieves, buckets and creels.
17.00 p.m: Drop off at your hotel, tour finish.