Photo: Ready to ship from Bat Trang, Vietnam.

Bat Trang ceramic village

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Home to the pottery families of Hanoi, Bat Trang village is also referred to as the ceramic village and makes for an easy half-day excursion from the city. It's one of numerous old villages on the outskirts of the capital that have specialised in a range of cottage industries for centuries.

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Bat Trang has been producing earthenware since the 15th century, and is best known for its blue-and-white designs, though these days the 2,000 or so families based here produce a range of ceramic styles, as well as more functional bricks and tiles for export. While it used to be worth the trek here to pick up well-priced souvenirs, we reckon these days the range and cost is comparable back in Hanoi, and you can easily skip a visit without too much regret.

Proper shops at the market rather than stalls. Photo taken in or around Bat Trang ceramic village, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

Proper shops at the market rather than stalls. Photo: Samantha Brown

Shops selling merchandise ranging from the traditional blue and white plates and bowls to more modern designs start as soon as you enter the village off the main road. Follow this road along for a kilometre or so until you reach the main market ("cho"). A traditional coal-fired kiln is in operation just by the market, but signs strictly forbid entering and photography; most of the several thousand kilns here these days are gas-fired, but we still saw dried coal-pats being dislodged from walls to use as fuel.

The shops in the village seem more suited to tour groups—one shop had everything priced in yen—though they certainly sell retail to anyone. One shop attendant warned us that a lot of the ceramics are now imported from China, and said to only buy products marked with "Bat Trang" underneath. Whether this was a sales tactic or the truth, it did seem like the items so marked were of a higher quality.

Export-ready. Photo taken in or around Bat Trang ceramic village, Hanoi, Vietnam by Samantha Brown.

Export-ready. Photo: Samantha Brown

The shops at the market surround a massive car park (we suspect it fills with tour buses) and sell a wide array of ceramics, but we honestly found the selection more alluring, and perhaps overall better priced, at the Oriberry cafes back in ... Travelfish members only (Around 600 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Bat Trang ceramic village
Bat Trang, Gia Lam, Hanoi
Admission: Free

Location map for Bat Trang ceramic village

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