Dinh Cong Village Hanoi

Dinh Cong Village is located on the To Lich river bank in Thanh Tri District, Ha Noi. Dinh Cong village is famous for jewelry handicraft. Book a day cycling tour from Hanoi to visit Dinh Cong village as well as Hanoi countryside.

Dinh Cong village map

The Dinh Cong Jewelers used to relate the following story: during the Ly Nam De period (571 – 603), in the To Lich River area, there were three orphan brothers of the Tran family called Tran Hoa, Tran Dien and Tran Dien, who originated from Dinh Cong Village. After a period of exile in the war, they learned jewelry making and came back to their native village and opened a jewelry shop called “Kim Hoan”, taking the gold bracelet as their trade mark. The jewelry they made was very sophisticated. As their prestige became more well-known, the king got the three brothers to come to the royal court to make jewelry. The brothers taught people in their village the profession. Since then, Dinh Cong Village has been renowned for its jewelry, the skills being handed down from generation to generation. Besides the Dinh Cong Village, Hang Bac Street in the very heart of Hanoi is an area for jewellers originating from Dinh Cong Village.

In fact the three Tran brothers are not the originators of the jewelry handicraft, they simply contributed to the development of the techniques. About 5 or 6 centuries earlier, ancient China had already appreciated Giao Chi (the name of Vietnam at that time) as an area rich in gold and gemstones, and the exploitation of these precious resources was developed. A Chinese historian in about 187 – 226 A.D. wrote: Sy Nhiep sent to China many gifts, at first these were gold and silver items. In many tombs of the 2nd and 3rd centuries, sophisticated gold and jade jewelry such as bracelets, rings, hairpins, combs, earrings and necklaces have been found.

Under the feudal regimes, kings and mandarins gathered skillful jewelers not only from Dinh Cong village but also from other provinces to produce jewels for themselves or to decorate their palaces.

To make sophisticated products, jewelers must master 3 important techniques relating to the profession, including carving, making and polishing.

The carving technique involves carving a picture, design or motif on jewels, or on gold or silver pieces. The pieces included necklaces, bracelets and spittoons.

The making technique involves spinning tempered gold and silver into strings and then making flowers, birds and animals from these strings to stick on the jewels. This technique requires a careful and skillful hand, so it’s mainly reserved for women. The polishing technique making gold and silver articles by shading not by carving.

The skillful jewelers must master not only these 3 professional techniques but above all the ancient technique of smelting. To use pure gold (called also gold foil or gold leaf) for jewelry making, they have to follow the traditional techniques of “polishing gold”.

When the making is finished, the article is ready for polishing. Silver articles are brushed with sand and then with a solution of soot and lime and then put on a fire. The article is then immersed in a solution of boiled alum and finally polished with sand and pieces of glass. Gold articles are brushed with a solution of pounded brick and liquid salt, then put on a fire and cleaned. Then they are immersed in a solution of boiled, sour fungus and finally polished with sand and by pieces of glass.

Looking at the figures and motifs on the articles, one can see the patience, skill and creativeness of these Vietnamese jewelers.

Bike tours to Dinh Cong village

Tay Tuu Flower Village Hanoi

Tay Tuu Flower Village

Tay Tuu Flower Village is located in southwest of Hanoi, about 1 hour cycling from Hanoi city center. We at Lotussia Travel provide both the half day cycling tour and the full day bike tour to Tay Tuu village.

Tay Tuu village map

Although the village of Tay Tuu was one of the last to switch from traditional farming to cultivating flowers, following the lead of villages like Ngoc Ha and Quang Ba, it has blossomed into being considered the flower granary of Hanoi

Tay Tuu has become famous for its large variety of beautiful flowers that not o­nly grace local markets but are also exported abroad, and all the households in the village have become involved in this industry.

Farmers in Tay Tuu used to specialise in traditional agriculture but this yielded a low income. In the 1990s, however, the farmers changed to growing flowering plants and spices.

These crops brought in good profits and the standard of living in the village improved markedly. The Tay Tuu villagers first planted daisies imported from Taiwan and Singapore, but now are concentrating on growing roses on a large scale.

The first stage in establishing a flower farm is to prepare the fields by marking furrows with a milling machine and growing seedlings. The second stage – the most important and difficult, as it determines whether a tree will survive or not – is grafting nodes onto the young trees after two months’ growth.

The grafted plants require special care for the next 20 days, after which the grafts’ nylon coverings are removed to allow the grafted shoots to grow.

It takes another three months before the flowers can be harvested, during which time a lot of work such as weeding and spraying insecticide has to be done in the fields.

Bike tours to Tay Tuu village

Van Phuc Silk Village Hanoi

Van Phuc Silk Village

Van Phuc Silk Village is one of northern Vietnam’s most famous “traditional craft villages” but local silk producers are using so many imported materials and modern machinery that soon it might not be so traditional. Book a day bike tour to visit Van Phuc village as well as Hanoi rural villages.

Van Phuc Village Map

The name Van Phuc is synonymous with silk. Some will tell you that silk was first produced here around 700 years ago when a woman from China’s Hangzhou city, also well-known for silk products, arrived in the village. At the time the village was desperately poor, so she decided to teach the villagers how to weave silk so they would have a trade.

Another legend said that a princess during the reign of the semi-mythical Hung Kings introduced silk making to the area nearly 2,000 years ago. But yet another story goes that 1,200 years ago, a young woman called A La Thi Nuong from Cao Bang province, who married a man from Van Phuc, taught the village how to cultivate mulberries, raise silkworms and weave silk.

After she passed away, she became a tutelary village genie. In feudal times, silk products were made exclusively for kings, queens, mandarins and other members of the royal court. In colonial times Van Phuc silk was highly prized and sold in international fairs in Marseille and Paris, held in 1931 and 1938 respectively, and distributed across Europe afterwards.

Today nearly 700 households are engaged in silk weaving in Van Phuc with more than half of the village’s population involved. The village produces 2.5-2.7 million square metres of silk every year and is home to nearly 100 shops.

Traditionally Van Phuc produced silk from locally-made materials. The villagers liked to say they had their secret methods when it came to producing silk. But now you can buy silk from elsewhere in Van Phuc. Roughly half of the products in most shops are believe to be either imported or produced from imported materials.

Bike tours to Van Phuc village

Xuan La Village Hanoi

Xuan La Village - Toy Figurine

Xuan La village is located in Phuong Duc commune, Phu Xuyen district, Hanoi. Xuan La village has three thousand people and around 200 people are earning their living by making To he (toy figurine). Everywhere there is To he – that place has Xuan La villagers. Take a day cycling tour to discover Xuan La village as well as Hanoi rural villages.

Xuan La village map

The toy figurines which have brought a small joy to many generations of Vietnamese have experienced many ups and downs, but Xuan La people are faithful to this job, though this job can’t make them rich.

For children, To he can open a colourful world where they can see characters from history, movies and cartoons, from the famous monkey named Ton Ngo Khong in “The Journey to the West” Chinese novel to Picachu and Pokemon, characters from famous Japanese cartoons to princesses in fairy tales, etc.

Today, when children are flooded in the world of modern games, toys, etc. To he craftsmen have to be very creative to make their characters lively.

To make To he, craftsmen must be very patient, but most To he craftsmen are men. Xuan La families have one oral rule: secrets in making To he are only transmitted to sons and daughters-in-law, not daughters. According to old craftsmen, this job appeared around 300 years ago.

To he is a traditional toy that is closely tied to the lives of farmers. To make To he, craftsmen only need glutinous rice powder, which is dyed with seven basic colours (green, sea blue, red, purple, yellow, white and black), and bamboo sticks.

In the past, Xuan La villages used trees, ash, etc. to make colours for rice powder but now they use food dyes, to still ensure that children can eat their toys.

The tools to make To he are very simple, comprising a bamboo stick, a small comb, a bee wax piece and a small knife. With a small box containing the above things, a To he craftsman can go everywhere for several days or even a month.

Like other traditional crafts, To he has experienced many ups and down. Sometimes To he makers seemed to have lost their job because they couldn’t compete with Chinese toys, which are eye-catching and cheap.

Thanks to the efforts of Xuan La villagers, this craft is surviving. Now children can see To he at every park or at the gates of schools.

This folk toy has confirmed its position and is considered a cultural ambassador of Vietnam.

From sticky rice flour and pigment, the artisan can shape the dough into a doctor’s figure, dragons, a phoenix, birds and trees. Though To he is not a particularly difficult job, artisans should know well how to combine different colours in order to produce a lively effect.

Trips to Xuan La village

Ngu Xa Village Hanoi

Bronze Casting

Ngu Xa Village is located to the west of Hanoi city center, near to the Truc Bach Lake and the West Lake. The village is well known for bronze casting, making the name Ngu Xa Bronze Casting village.

Ngu Xa Village Map

Around the shore of the West Lake, there have been many famous craft villages of Thang Long for many centuries, such as Linh Hoa weaving, Yen Thai poonah paper making, Ngu Xa bronze casting. Ngu Xa means five villages including Dong Mai, Chau My, Lang Thuong, Dien Tien and Dao Nien (Van Lam District – Hai Hung and Thuan Thanh – Ha Bac Province). People of the five villages who were skillful at bronze casting had migrated to the capital of Thang Long to establish a casting workshop. They settled here and set up a new village which was named Ngu Xa to commemorate their five original villages. Afterwards they reorganized into a separate professional guild called Ngu Xa bronze-casting guild.

Ngu Xa represents the talent of Vietnamese bronze casters. Their products over the last 500 years have become great masterpieces of national art. one of the statues expressing the intelligence, talent, peculiar know-how, diligence and creativeness of Ngu Xa artisans and bronze casters is the Buddha statue placed in Tran Quang pagoda. This statue including the lotus throne bottom is 5.50 meters high and weighs 12 tons and 300 kilograms. This is a grandiose piece of bronze art work, typical and sophisticated in all aspects, acting as symbol of the techniques and art of bronze casting in Vietnam. The Buddha’s face is benevolent and calm, his stature, sitting with folded robes expresses an inner deep calmness. This illustrates the Vietnamese concept of life, as well as the tradition of Buddhist carving.

The qualification of Ngu Xa bronze casters has reached the top. Their success for hundreds of years asserted their talent. Besides the intelligence, creativeness, sharp eyes, skillful hands and carefulness, craft-men also have their own professional know-how and long-standing experience. The know-how of Ngu Xa bronze casting includes shaping the mould, preparing the mixture, melting and pouring it into the mould. Artisans have to carry out two tasks: creating the model and shaping the mould, which is usually made of wax or paraffin oil. Shaping the mould is hard work because they have to base o­n the model statue which is made of clay, mud from ponds, tissue paper, lime and rice husk.

The artisans often burn the mould before casting. The temperature adjustment is very difficult and sophisticated, which requires carefulness and experience. Ngu Xa bronze casting techniques have been highly appreciated for a long time and admired by international tourists.

Trips to Ngu Xa Village Hanoi

Kieu Ky Village Hanoi

Kieu Ky Village

Kieu Ky village has been well known beyond Vietnam’s border for its craft of planting gold and silver sheets that gives a shining. The Kieu Ky village is located in Gia Lam district, north eastern Hanoi.

Kieu Ky Village Hanoi Map

Over 500 years ago, Nguyen Quy Tri who lived during the Anterior Le Dynasty (1428- 1527) passed the craft down to Kieu Ky locals. Descendants of those locals now take his date of death, the 17th day of the eighth lunar month, as the annual chance to show their gratitude to the ancestor of the craft. Craftsmen often start their work in the new year on the 14th day of the first lunar month with a ceremony, during which a famous and skilled man, often ready to help villagers, is given the honor of making the first hammer strikes.

Kieu Ky is the only village in Vietnam where the sheets are made from pure gold and silver, called old sheets, used exclusive for products in the village. Craftsmen only make decorative sheets from tin, called new sheets, outside the village where they go to practice the craft. Each household puts its own distinguishing characteristics on the products. That is why craftsmen can easily pinpoint who the manufacturers of the works are among their fellow villagers.

Coming to Kieu Ky, visitors find themselves in the busy life of the locals. Most of the villagers are peasants, but they hardly have any free time because, over 40 households engaged in the craft employ hundreds of the old and young alike. Vu Thi Dac, 75, who has spent over 60 years in the craft, said : “this job requires experience, technique and sophisticated work before becoming a sheet.” First, pine resin is mixed with gelatin glue processed from buffalo skin. The mixture is then mixed with special raw paper pulp, then cut cut into 4cm x 6cm pieces. Small pieces of gold, sandwiched between those sheet, are hammered for nearly an hour before becoming a complete products. The last stage of the work is to take the gold sheets out of the “moulds”, but this is by no means a simple task, as only a gentle breath would be enough to blow them away.

In recent years, together with the growth of the economy, various pagodas, and shrines are being restored, creating a chance for the development of the craft in Kieu Ky, as the demand for the sheets skyrockets. Large volumes of the sheets are exported to Japan and Thailand, and this injects a new vitality to the craft. Kieu Ky craftsmen can feel proud because they have successfully restored and developed the unique legacy passed down to them by their ancestors.

Trips to Kieu Ky Village Hanoi

Dong Ho Village Bac Ninh

Dong Ho Painting

Dong Ho Village Bac Ninh is located on the southern side of the Duong river (40km to the east of Hanoi) is one of the villages that preserves ancient cultural relics of Kinh Bac area (Red river delta, north of Vietnam).

Dong Ho Village Map

Folk painting is o­ne of the special cultural features of Vietnam. Since the ancient time, there have been a lot of painting villages, such as Dong Ho village (Bac Ninh province), Hang Trong village (Hanoi), Kim Hoang village (Ha Tay province), Nam Hoanh village (Nghe An province), Sinh village (Hue city), and other villages in the south and mountainous areas.

Dong Ho painting is printed by hand on the surface of wooden plate. Each printing colour has its own engraved board. The black one is printed last. Thanks to this way, paintings are made in bulk and do not require sophisticated techniques.

Dong Ho paintings mainly reflect the aspiration for a peaceful, happy and prosperous life. Dear animals in people’s life, such as cow, pig, dog, cat and chicken are also depicted in a lot of paintings. Especially, some paintings like “catching coconuts”, “mice wedding” and “jealously” attract the attention of many domestic and foreign visitors.

The painting fair is annually held on Tet holiday in the communal house in Dong Ho village, which draws a large number of tourists. From the afternoon of March 14th (lunar calendar), shoddy goods competition is also held at the same place. Painting fair is a distinctive cultural feature of Dong Ho villagers.

The printing paper is made from the bark of a tree called “Dzo”. The background paper is originally white. People use natural materials to change the colours of the paper which are usually orange, pink, yellow, purple, etc. colours of the paintings are refined from various kinds of tree leaves that can be easily found in Vietnam. Particularly, the red colour is taken from earth of hills and mountains; the black colour is from the coal of burned bamboo’s leaves; the glitter white colour is made of sea shells. The original point of Dong Ho folk painting is the durability of colours. The painting is finally covered with a layer of sticky rice paste (called “ho nep”) to protect the paintings and their colours. They are so long lasting that it is very difficult to make them dimmer due to time or light.

The most common idea carries congratulation meanings, for instance, “Honour-Prosperity”, “Spring Ritual”, “Chicken Family”. Another plot is daily activities, which include “Jealously”, “Playing flute”, “Farmer and Water Buffalo”. Those paintings with Chinese characters have clearer meanings. For example, the painting “Justice” that portraits a child carrying a frog, which means humanity and justice.

Remember to come to Dong Ho on Tet holiday to mingle yourselves in the atmosphere of a painting fair, which is an opportunity to choose one to your taste.

Trips to Dong Ho Village Vietnam

Quat Dong Village Hanoi

Quat Dong village is located Thuong Tin, southern of Ha Noi. With a four century tradition in hand embroidery, Quat Dong Village is renowned for the sophisticated and refined embroidery artworks produced here.

Quat Dong Village Map

The traditional craft has been in existence for thousands of years, first marked by embroidered letters on clothes and silk in the first century. Books of history and legends talk of how Imperial Concubine Y Lan taught palace maids embroidery techniques in the 11th century of the Ly Dynasty. But the craft did not really blossom until 600 years later when Le Cong Hanh returned home from his king’s envoy term in China.

Hanh who was a villager of Quat Dong, Thuong Tin District now on the outskirts of Hanoi brought back the embroidery craft of the Chinese and gave it to his neighbours and residents in surrounding communes. He was then honoured with the Ancestor of Quat Dong Embroidery.

The beauty and quality of the village’s products grew in reputation and became a favourite of royal mandarins and dignitaries in Thang Long (Hanoi today).

To Quat Dong Hanoi we provide at Lotussia Travel a day trip from Hanoi. Classic itinerary is provided with car transfer, English-speaking guide and meals. The second itinerary, a day cycling tour Hanoi Quat Dong village is arranged with 30K bike ride on the back roads.

Hanoi Dan Phuong peanut candy village

Dan Phuong peanut candy village

Dan Phuong peanut candy village is located in the west of Hanoi, about half hour drive from Hanoi city center. Dan Phuong village is the main supplier of peanut candies for Hanoi market. In addition, households in the village also make other products such as popcorn, peppery maize, and doughnuts.

Dan Phuong peanut candy village

When winter comes, people can feel the extremely cold weather and chilly wind. Huddling up in a corner of a stand, enjoying a few sips of hot tea and crunchy peanut candies is a simple pleasure of many people.

Making peanut candies is easy because the ingredients are available and it requires few labourers. However, it is really difficult to make delicious, crisp, sweet and appealing peanut candies. Peanuts have to be roasted and smashed into small pieces; and then peanut shells must be removed. Malt should be heated, mixed with peanuts, poured on the tray, rolled into thin layer of about 1.5 centimetres, cut into small bars, dried and finally packaged.

The hardest process is roasting peanuts and heating malt. If it is overheated, peanuts will be burnt and the candies will have dark colour and won’t be tasty. In wet season, if overheated, malt will turn into dull red. In dry season, if undercook, peanut candies often have light white. It is very easy to spoil the batch of candies if people do not pay much attention to the process. In a household, only skilful and experienced person will take charge of heating malt and roasting peanuts. Other people are responsible for rolling, cutting and packaging.

Dan Phuong peanut candy village map

Trips to Dan Phuong

Hanoi Chuong conical hat village

Chuong conical hat village

Chuong Conical Hat Village is located in Thanh Oai District, Ha Tay Province, Chuong Conical Hat Village is well-known for its special product “non” by many foreign and domestic visitors. This small village is crowded with people who not o­nly come here to place orders but also witness the process of making “non”.

Chuong conical hat village

The main material for making “non” is palm leaf. Chuong villagers have to choose the white shoots from Phu Tho Province or “noi” leaf from Ha Tinh Province. Bamboo hammocks and conical hats must be imported from other provinces.

Not o­nly old people but also children in this village know how to make conical hats. They take advantage of leisure after harvest time to make “non”. This occupation helps villagers increase their incomes, improve their living standards and contribute to bettering their home vill-age.

“Non quai thao”(a kind of conical hat with fringe hanging at both sides) has a unique beauty with pink fringes, 2 yellow and red silk tassels, which is suitable for girls in Spring festivals, village festivities, “cheo” and “quan ho” folk music festivals.

Many Chuong villagers are good at making “non quai thao”, which is a special cultural feature of the Nothern delta in Vietnam. The conical makers must be meticulous, skillful and have experience as the process is complicated, including choosing, arranging palm leaves, then stiching them o­n the conical ring, and sewing colorful thread. It sometimes takes the artisan a whole day to complete a nice “quai thao” conical hat.

Not o­nly is “quai thao” conical hat ordered by artistic troupes but it is also foreign tourists’ favourite souvenir. Many visitors from Germany, France, England can’t help buying this unique souvenir when they arrive at Chuong Village.

Chuong conical hat village map

Trips to Chuong conical hat village

Cu Da village Vietnam

Cu Da Village is located on the bank of the Nhue River, about 15 kilometres from center of Hanoi, bearing characters of a Vietnamese village with hundred-year-old banian-trees, rivers, ponds, village wells and ancient mossy walls.

Cu-Da-Village-1

Cu Da villagers still keep traditional and neighbourly lifestyle which has been maintained from generation to generation. So, once visitors coming Cu Da, they will find it easy to inquire the way to some family in the village. This is really a respectfully cultural feature of Cu Da people.

The main village road is built along a riverside, every lane has a gate. The village pagoda is classified as a national relic. It’s Linh Minh Tu and a stone column is inscribed “the pagoda was renovated in 1695.”

Cu-Da-Village-6

Houses in Cu Da are low and deep in length, so they are always cool in summer and warm in winter. Architecture is specified in Nguyen feudalist dynasty, nearly made of wood. On beams, pillars, there are delicate sculptures. In the middle of the houses, there are ancestral altars, panels and parallel scrolls. Houses with the western architectural style mixed with traditional art were built. These were communal houses built under the French-style so that villagers could gather together and make decisions on things of common concern. Each house was numbered like in a big city. Cu Da is among a few Vietnamese villages whose houses were numbered. This has made it so unique, rarely seen in any village in the northern delta area.

Cu-Da-Village-5

On a river bank, there’s a flag-pole built in 1929, a communal house of the village-council, a school. At one end of the village (entry road), there’s a low earthen hill named Dong Gia, it’s thought to be a centuries-old tomb since the old Chinese colony.

Not only well known for a place with many ancient houses and ancestral temples dating back to over one hundred years, the Cu Da Village is also noted for its traditional handicraft of vermicelli making.

Cu Da village map

Cu Da trips you might like

Yen Thai Paper Village Hanoi

The Yen Thai paper village, also called Buoi Village, was located to the north west of Hanoi, just beside the big west lake. Take a half day bike tour to visit Yen Thai village.

Yen Thai village map

Paper making has started here since the 15th century, which was mentioned in “Du Dia Chi” written in 1435 by Nguyen Trai. Yen Thai guild in Thang Long specialized in producing different kinds of paper, such as edict paper (to write royal edicts) and order paper (to write orders from the King). In the past, Yen Thai guild resounded with the sound of rhamnoneuron-pounding pestle. This sound mentioned in folk songs has brought a source of inspiration for a lot of artists and poets for many centuries.

However, in order to produce such kind of paper, a few people can understand the hardship of paper makers.

The traditional production of poonah paper in Yen Thai, as well as in some other places, soon became specialized because the paper production had to go through different steps using rather complex techniques, and requiring experienced and skillful workers at every stage. It is right to say that every step in the production is very hard, from striping the skin of poonah to washing, pounding and refining it, then packing the paper and taking it to the market. In the past the paper production was made mainly manual. It requires a lot of clean water to produce paper and fire to burn the kiln for boiling paper pulp.

Once upon a time, in Yen Thai Village, To Lich river bank was chosen as a place for manufacturing, pounding, refining and boiling poonah. Big pots for boiling poonah paper were placed o­n soil kilns along the river bank. There is a deep well with pure water which was very famous in Thang Long capital. The arrangement and organization of paper-making place is very suitable. The kiln is 5 meters high, o­n which is a big pot with the diameter of 2 meters. The skin of poonah is boiled in bain-marie. When it is well-done, it will be picked up, soaked in lime water and pounded by hand.

The process of soaking paper pulp in the refining tank of Yen Thai Village is similar to that of other villages, which creates vicous water made from the resin of “mo” tree. It is a kind of fermenter to dissolve the poonah paper, produce paper and deal with the stickiness.

The traditional production of poonah paper in Yen Thai Village is mainly tissue paper used for printing books and writing Han scripts or printing folk paintings. Moreover, rice paper or alum paper is o­nly used for packaging.

Trips to Yen Thai Village