Bat Trang is a village located about 10 km (6.2 miles) south of Hanoi and is known for its pottery making. Of a population of about 5,000 people, 90% of people are involved in pottery making, thus you see pottery ovens and pottery stores everywhere you go.
Depending on the store, prices can be quite different, so take your time to walk around and find the best souvenirs to take them back home. There are cups, plates, vases, pot stands, and many more to choose from, so you can find your perfect item! It is close enough to Hanoi, but on the way there you see cows walking around and it is also great to see the change of scenery from a city to a village.
Visit Bat Trang, take a half day trip out of Hanoi
Bat Trang is a village known for its ceramics. The village is on the outskirt of Hanoi where it is surrounded by rice fields and vegetable fields with cows walking along the sides of the streets. It is only 10 km south of Hanoi, but the feeling changes dramatically when you travel out of the busy streets of Hanoi.
As soon as you enter the village, you see store after store of ceramics. You may think everything is the same, but the price and the quality of the ceramics differs by each store and artisan, thus you may like to take your time to look for what is within your budget. The village itself is small enough for you to walk around in 30 minutes if you do not stop and get your shopping on. If you like ceramics and home décor, you can easily spend a half day here at the village trying to locate the best souvenir from Northern Vietnam.
The signature Bat Trang designs
When you visit the stores, you start realizing there are certain designs you frequently see, such as lotuses and dragonflies. As well as these traditional designs, there are also more modern designs, such as with letters from alphabets and characters that seem to be influenced greatly by the increase of international travelers visiting the village.
The truth is, when you shop, you will be surprised by how each store differs, which indicates most likely who they target for their customers. At some stores, which have poor lighting and dust on ceramics, you can find very cheap ceramics. At other stores, which clearly target tourists, as soon as you step inside, you can tell the difference.
There are signs in various languages and the lighting showcases the ceramics well. In addition, store staff can be pretty aggressive when approaching you to sell you ceramics, to most likely get a commission from their sales. They can get little too aggressive so if that is the case, do not feel afraid to tell them to give you some space so that you can concentrate on shopping.
Immerse yourself in the art of ceramics
For those who are interested in ceramics as well as arts and crafts, you will have a great time visiting this ceramic village. From a small coffee cup to a large vase bigger than 1 m (3.28 feet) tall, you can find a lot of ceramics in Bat Trang.
Unlike marble and limestone sculptures found at the Marble Mountains in Da Nang, there are a lot of ceramics that can actually be used in your daily life that you can spend hours locating the ones you want to take home. The day we visited, it was a heavily raining, thus we could not walk around the village much, but for those who want to explore a small village lifestyle of Vietnam, this town is also an interesting experience out of Hanoi, which is totally different from a busy Vietnam city.
Eco-friendly, cute hemp bags to take your ceramics home
When you come from places where ample plastic bags are provided at any purchase you make at stores, you feel pretty good about getting a shopping bag with your purchase in Bat Trang. At any store you make a purchase, they wrap your ceramics in newspaper and then put them in hemp bags.These hemp bags add special flavor to your souvenir hunting in Bat Trang. You could easily use them for your eco-bags back in your home country or use it to give a gift from Bat Trang to your loved ones.
Shopping is a part of a great Vietnam adventure
When you visit Vietnam, you are most likely looking for experiences rather than shopping, but shopping is indeed an experience on its own when you are searching for a special ceramic at Bat Trang. Sure, it would be very hard to take a meter long vase home, but you can always find something small to take home with you.
The store staff wrap the ceramics pretty well with newspaper and put them in a hemp bag so add a little more wrapping when you travel back home and your purchases should be fine. If you are taking a half day trip, it is very close to Hanoi, so you may like to return to the city for a snack or a lunch after the trip as it is hard to find a cafe or a restaurant that may be suitable for a foreign stomach at this village.
Get Trip101 in your inbox
You can buy and claim online, even after you've left home. Travel insurance from WorldNomads.com is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travellers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities.
*5% off when you book with our promo code: TRIP101
*For our Canadian and US travellers, unfortunately due to financial services laws, we cannot provide a discount. This promotional code cannot be used with any other discount offer, including World Nomads Members’ discount for travel insurance policy holders.