Traveling to small villages in Vietnam is one of the best ways to discover what really makes Vietnam unique. You are away from the chaos of the cities and able to see the raw Vietnam. This experience also puts your closer to some of the most warm and welcoming people in Vietnam.
- Get a local tour guide to help you connect with the people and learn about local traditions
- Learn how to make silk with locals and design your own clothes
- Create your own pottery from local clay in Brat Trang Pottery Village
- Step back in time and trek your way through minority villages
- Navigate on small boats through the floating fishing villages
- Learn about local organic farming and taste unique takes on classic Vietnamese cuisine
Van Phuc Silk Village in Hanoi
Located just ten kilometers southwest of Hanoi Old Quarters on the banks of the Nhue River, Van Phuc is the oldest silk village in the world. For more than 1,200 years locals they have been passing down the tradition of weaving some of the most premium quality silk products.
The silk in Van Phuc is famous for it’s lightweight and smooth appearance. One specific kind of silk called Van Silk makes the wearer feel cool in the summer heat and warm in the winter chill. Today silks can be found in a variety of colors, patterns, double layers, and even embroidered silk.
Modern times have brought mechanical looms to the village, but traditional looms can be found in the homes of locals, many of which are excited to be able to teach foreigners about their traditional way of making silk. This is a great place to pick up some souvenirs, and even look into getting customized clothing made.
Brat Trang Pottery Village in Hanoi
Bat Trang is located on land rich in clay, giving the locals all the ingredients needed to create fine ceramics. These exceedingly well-crafted ceramics have helped sustain this 7th century pottery village and has been made known around the globe.
The ceramics produced in Bat Trang are mostly made for daily use (cups, bowls, plates, etc.), with other more intricate products designed for worshipping or decoration. Some modern innovations have influenced the products and techniques used to make them. Meaning, now many of the household daily items have the same elegance as the decorations.
There is more that one can do than just see the beautiful pottery. Why not try your hand at making one of your own in the Bat Trang Porcelain and Pottery Market. Some tourists can easily spend a whole day in this market making their own hand-made gifts to take home.
Cat Cat Village in Sapa
Only three short kilometers (20 – 30 minute walk) from Sapa you can find Cat Cat, the old village known for its ethnic groups. This village was formed in the 19th century by the gathering of families from different ethnic groups living in the surrounding mountains. The majority of people there are from the Black H’Mong ethnic group.
The main livelihood in this small mountainside village is agriculture and handicrafts that have been pasted down from generation to generation. Some of their well known traditional handicrafts includes twisting flax and weaving fabrics. You can often see locals creating and wearing beautiful pieces of one of a kind embroidery.
Ta Phin Village in Sapa
If you’re looking to get away from the tourists in Sapa then Ta Phin is the perfect place. Just 17 kilometers west of Sapa, Ta Phin is home to the Red Dao ethnic minority. This village has survived into the modern era while still preserving much of its culture from outside influences.
On the mountainous roads traveling by motorbike is the most convenient way to get to this village. It usually only takes 30 minutes, but sometimes by car the traffic can move much slower. Motorbikes are an easy solution and take you right to your destination for a reasonable price usually with tips and advice.
This hardworking village surprises many tourists. Most the people can speak English quite well. Since 1998 Ta Phin officially became the “brocade village”, attracting many tourists. The Red Dao minority hand-make these beautiful brocades in a wide variety of colors and patterns on bags, scarfs, purses, and even clothes. TahPhin is the main supplier of brocades for shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Fishing in Ha Long Bay
Northern Vietnam is famous for its beautiful small fishing villages. These floating villages surround you with the raw beauty of Vietnam. Cua Van Village is one example and is located 6 hours from Hanoi characterized by its teal waters, colorful floating houses, and karsts limestone mountains coming out of the sea.
Tourists can enjoy a variety of boat trips around these villages, allowing them to interact with the locals and see how their lifestyle centered around water. You can join kayaking or in a slightly larger boat to get first hand experience of navigating this floating village or even hunting for your dinner.
Tra Que Herb Village in Hoi An
Tra Que village is a quick two kilometer bike ride north of Hoi An. The village is situated between the DeVong River and TraQue alga pond, resulting in rich soil and water. Locals are able to grow a large variety of vegetables and herbs not seen in other places due to this. The vegetables and herbs grown here have influenced traditional cuisine in the area and famous for their quality and taste.
Visitors not only have the chance to watch the local farming practices, but can even learn about organic farming techniques and participate in actual farming. No chemicals or fertilizers are used in this area, but instead they use algae found in the local pond.
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