Wandering around pottery town

Bát Tràng is a hidden gem about 13 km from Hanoi’s city center. It’s essentially the ceramics Mecca of nothern Vietnam. I was told there are about 200 ceramics producers in the village, many whom are second- and third-generation business owners. Shopping in Hanoi is pretty convenient because many goods are grouped together in one location. For instance, there’s a street in the Old Quarter that sells only shoes. There’s also a silver street and even a chicken street. Similarly, many “craft villages” outside of Hanoi specialize in a particular good.

He made it look so easy.
Hand-carving images into a ceramic plate. Engraved items are priced higher.

Bát Tràng, which literally means “bowl workshop,” has been producing hand-crafted porcelain and ceramic items for centuries. My friend Thanh, who recently founded the Bát Tràng Discovery Tour group, gave me an excellent tour of the village and took me behind the scenes of a ceramics business. She said not many foreigners have the chance to see the ceramics being produced because it isn’t open to tourists, and local producers want to protect their trade secrets from competitors. I was amazed by all the painstaking details that went into creating a single item. Not only are the ceramics beautiful, but the village itself is also worth visiting. It’s a nice mix of Vietnamese/Chinese architecture and old French-style buildings.

Thanh nicely summed up why she enjoys Bát Tràng so much:

Hand-drawing the images.

“When I was a kid, I first knew about Bát Tràng ceramic village by its charming pottery products. I still remember how careful my mom was while unpacking stuffs. Another world — delicate and colorful exposed in front of my eyes. The set of tea pot and cups, the plates and bowls; the saving pigs looked charming and so alive. My mind was absolutely blown away.”

Without further ado, I’ll fill the rest of this post with photos from the village. If anyone is interested in attending the tour with Thanh, please contact her via the website (https://www.triip.me/hanoi/bat-trang-ceramic-village-discovery-tour-8358/) or Facebook page: “Bat Trang Discovery Tour.”

Rows and rows and rows of ceramics vendors