Photo: Evening in Hoi An's old town.

Thanh Ha Pottery Village

Head west out of town on Tran Hung Dao and then turn right onto Hung Vuong.

Photo of Thanh Ha Pottery Village

The road forks after three kilometres. For Da Nang (and My Son) take the right fork and for the pottery village take the left fork along the water. Several pottery outfits operate in the area, but we found the easiest to reach on your own was right at the end of that road, about a kilometre from the fork. A ticket booth is set up at the entrance charging 20,000 VND (if you hand this ticket to the lady in the shop as you leave you'll be presented with a complimentary clay whistle).

The potters here have a reputation for being welcoming and friendly and we discovered on our visit that it's well deserved. They were very happy to offer us a seat so we could watch as an old woman pounded up some clay into a long slug and then coiled it into a pot shape atop a stone kick wheel mounted on the ground. Then another woman started kicking the wheel, the old woman threw some water on it, stuck her hands in, and like magic, a perfectly-formed pot emerged, identical to the stack of unfired pots that sat drying in the sun. The huge, old kiln in the back was half-filled with unfired goods — they only light it up once a month so count yourself lucky if you get there on a firing day.

Fired goods for sale include scaled-down models of the Sydney Opera House -- although with some pieces priced at more than $1,000 a piece, you are unlikely to be taking one back home. They are incredibly detailed and certainly worth checking out, especially if the old potter responsible for them is around.

If you turn left just before this place and follow the road round, there's another pottery spot on the right. It's hard to miss but you will probably be accosted by the daughter on her bicycle before you get there anyway. It's not as impressive as the other joint but they have a wider range of goods on offer. That visit cost us more than just a whistle.

Last updated on 22nd August, 2013.

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