Bac Ninh trade villages
Northern Bac Ninh Province, homeland of Quan Ho art, has 62 traditional trade villages, which attract many visitors.
The most colorful village is Dong Ho, made famous by its folk paintings, but now producing more votive papers. All of the free space in the village is used to dry the papers, making the village look like a colorful painting. All of the villagers, both old and young, help in production.
Another trade village, Phu Lang, is home to pottery products. Thousands of ancient pots have been found here. There are about 300 families in Phu Lang doing pottery work. Their products are exported and sold in many countries and regions.
Together with Phu Lang, Tho Ha is also famous for pottery. These days, however, Tho Ha has started to produce other product such as wine and cakes. The Tho Ha festival takes place on lunar January 20 – 22. Villagers are very warm to visitors.
Near by, Xuan Lai village produces bamboo products, especially black bamboo. Normally, bamboo is soaked under water for months; it is then fumigated with straw and clay for four days. This makes it light and stable.
Passing the “bamboo village”, visitors come to “iron village,” Da Hoi. This 400-year-old trade village has many inhabitants who have become billionaires by their hard work. As well as iron, Da Hoi is also renowned for its traditional looms. Women there still raise silkworms and weave fabric.
Another village, Van, home to famous traditional wines, is located on the bank of the Cau River. All the villagers there brew wine, mostly wine made from cassava. Among them, the most popular wine maker is the Binh Tuong family, which has customers from all over the country. The villagers are very pleased to let visitors photograph their wine, but the brewing process is a trade secret.
Buoi, or Dai Bai village, is famous for its bronze products. Villagers in Dai Bai were taught bronze work by Nguyen Cong Truyen in the 10th and 11th centuries. Since then the tradition has been transmitted from generation to generation. The end of the year is the busiest time in Dai Bai. Visitors can then see over 700 bronze furnaces lit, including the furnace of Nguyen Xuan Thanh’s family, which was used to make a 1.7m diameter, 134kg heavy gong; it is the biggest gong in Vietnam.
Many other trade villages await discovery and welcome visitors in the area.