Handicraft Villages Travel Guide
The outskirts of Hanoi are scattered with handicraft villages which sell locally made products ranging from small figures to four-poster beds. The villages are a great place to visit because not only does it allow for souvenir shopping, but it is also a chance to see these skilled craftsmen at work.
Bat Trang is just outside Hanoi and is home to a number of ceramic shops. There are workshops along the main road which are open all day, every day. Most of the families here have come from generations of craftsmen before them - with some dating back over 400 years. It was poverty which forced the villagers into the work.
Le Mat snake village is along the banks of the Red River and is home to snake breeders and charmers. Snake wine is a common souvenir as are snake tonics and snake dishes. The people of this village have been capturing snakes for over 900 years.
Van Phuc silk village is another handicraft center outside the capital. It is here where you can buy the local silk and watch how it is made. Scarves, dresses, shirts and accessories are all popular buys.
Getting There & Away
Most people arrive in Hanoi, by bus, train or plane, at the international airport, and make their way to the villages from here. Taxis are available to make the short hop to and from the villages. It is also possible to join a guided tour which offers mini bus transfers to and from your hotel.