Natural Sites

Craft villages

Conical hats making village. For a very longtime, “Non la” is a traditional symbol of Vietnamese people without age, sex or racial distinctions. It is a familiar object with the life of Vietnamese especially farmers working on their land everyday. They use it as a precious object to protect against the power of the sun and rain.

Without controversy its protective aspect, Non la is closely linked to the cultural life of Vietnam. Vietnam has conical hats as well as Mexico with sombreros or Basque with berets!

The image of Non La appears on ancients objects such as Ngoc Lu bronze drums and Dao Thinh bronze jar, dating back 2500-3000 years ago.

Originally, Non La was woven and braided. It was not until the third century BC when iron was used, the people began to use needles to sew the leaves of the hat.

For a very longtime, Chuong village – 30 km South West of Hanoi situated at Thanh Oai district is best known for its handmade palm-leaf conial hats although no one knows when it appeared in this village.

Its sewing requires a great care from the beginning to the end. A proper hat requires not only a clever hand but also the craftsmen’s experience. Bamboo must be split into very thin strings during the dry season and then submerged in water to preclude tearing and breaking. Main rings of the frame must be even, smooth and shiny. The makers buy dark green palms, then clean them by sand and work them with a light touch or otherwise they will tear. After the step of treading the palms, they sun-season them. The palm will go from dark green to white. The stronger the sun the whiter the palms will become. Before using the palms, makers expose them briefly to sulfur to make them whiter and to preserve the color. Finally, before using them, they are exposed to frost to make them soft, then split and ironed. The palms and rings are then sewn together.

The sewing of conical hat take around 4 hours.

Not only will you visit a village, but you also can meet a local family where gives you chance to practice and know how to make a conical hat. You will feel the deep attachement that Vietnamese towards to this symbol object for their culture.

Activity: During your stay at our Thai Binh garden, conical hat village is Binh Lang village situated at Hung Ha district. From our bungalows, you can take bicycle to go there.

Weaving loom village

The first textile product in Vietnam made from coton on a wooden loom. According to legend, China was the first civilization to use silk. Leizu was a legendary chinese Empress and wife of emperor Huang Di (reign: 2674 to 2575 BC) who discoverd silk, sericulture and invented the silk loom in the 27th century BC.  She discoverd silkworm, shared her discoveries to all her population. Most villages raised the silkworms in their house.The chinese know – how was expanded, China became the veritalbe virtuoso in the silk weaving.

In the person of an ambassador, Phung Khac Khoan (XVI – XVII century) found that chinese had woven the shiny and nice silk. He had carefully observed and  noted the shape of loom, the technique and the way to use it. He returned and shared his knowleges to Vietnamese people. Van Phuc Village located on the bank of Nhue River, around 10km southwest of Hanoi Old Quarter, is well-known for its traditional weaving and quality silk products. It’s the most ancient silk village which provides the best silk in Vietnam. And in XIV – XV century, the weavers installed on the outskirts of the capital and it become the silk street into “36 streets and corporations” of Hanoi (Hang Dao street).

With the ancestral knowledge, we alway focus on artistic and daily products. As well as basketry, silk weaving is one of the most handicraft in Vietnam. Originated from traditional weaving products, Vietnames continuoustly develop and diversify their weaving forms. One of the clearest evidence for this are the merticulous masterpices made from hemp or flax by the Northern ethnic minorities for their clothes. In order to make momentum development of Vietnam economy after the wars of 1945 and Indo-china war, a number of silk, fabric, cotton and flax with marchanised system appreared. And Thai Binh became one of silk weaving producing areas that provided products for both Hanoi and nationa wided.

It’s an area you can meet the villagers possessing the weaving looms.

Activities: Minh Tan Village, Hung Ha District, Thai Binh. Car is required to go to there