Friday, February 14, 2014

Bat Trang Ceramics Village near Hanoi

Once I found out that there was an entire village of ceramics shops near Hanoi, I hired a taxi for the half-day excursion (about $40). The drive took less than an hour. There is a city bus but take my word, you want to splurge for the taxi.

Bat Trang is a tiny village, with a tourist ox cart, and heaps of dishes; shopping it takes a good eye and a strong back. I have heard of people who hated it here, mostly because there is a lot of duplication and they don’t care if the vases cost $3. I’ve now been here three times and brought a tour group. I’ve had the time of my life, bought beautiful pieces and was exhausted afterward. Actually no one in our group cared about the ox after the photo op, they wanted to go shopping and were delighted to buy the pottery.
If you want the ox-cart tour, you go to Minh Hai Ceramic Co., which is one of the large shops on the right as you enter the village. To tell the truth, communications with the oxen were a tad difficult; it seems there’s no charge for the tour if you buy from the shop. We didn’t want to buy from the shop – too touristy—and in the end gave the driver $10.

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