Bat Trang pottery village in market economy
Bat Trang pottery village in Vietnam, located on the dykes of the Red River, Bat Trang, a commune in Long Bien District on the edge of Hanoi Vietnam, is popular for being an ancient pottery handicrafts village.
It is 13 kilometers by land to reach Bat Trang from Guom Lake in Hanoi’s center and is a shorter distance if reached by waterway, which is also the way pottery goods are transported to the capital city.
For a whole morning, tourists can use buses, taxies or motorbike taxies to explore Bat Trang, where artistic porcelains are sold at reasonable prices.
Among the means of transport, buses are the cheapest. The buses are on time, comfortable and convenient to tourists wanting to observe daily life along the dykes of the Red River.
Tourists can hop on the locally assembled buses of Transinco at the governmental supported price of only VND5,000 or catch a taxi in Hanoi at the more expensive price of VND85,000 because the taxi drivers usually drive back without any guests.
Tourists can also call a motorbike taxi (xe om) in Hanoi Vietnam for a price of about VND30,000 and the driver can wait hours for tourists to go shopping and visiting. However, the price might be higher if tourists do not know how to bargain.
Foreign tourists are interested in Bat Trang because of not only the attraction of an ancient handicraft village but also the uniqueness of the traditional Vietnamese culture that is still retained here in the 21st century.
At the early morning market, tourists can still see old women chewing areca-nuts and betel leaves with their hair rolled and their teeth blackened.
Most of the pottery kilns in the village still produce goods in the traditional way, which is similar to the ancient way dating back 700 years and contrasts with the showrooms designed for a market style economy along the street leading to the village.
Following the narrow alleys in the direction of the Red River’s dykes, tourists can find the red brick walls of the alleys filled with pieces of peat, the old material burned in kilns.
Nowadays, many of the kilns use gas because of its higher temperature for better quality of the enamel. The owners of traditional kilns welcome tourists to go inside to have a look.
The total export turnover of Bat Trang every year is about US$40mil and Bat Trang is trying to combine traditional and modern tastes of the buyers. The ratio of the export and local consumption is 65:35 with the four major markets of Japan, Korea, Australia and Europe.
Bat Trang has just started to do business with the US market. The price is based on negotiation,” Phung Van Huu, the leader of the managing board of the pottery village’s market said to a group of U.S. businessmen.
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