Last Thursday my boyfriend and I had the day off, so we decided to take a little motorbike trip out of town to the pottery village of Bát Tràng. I’d read a few blogs online about how the prices have gone up and the village has become more commercial over the last few years, so I didn’t have extremely high expectations for the trip. Then to top it off the weather took an unexpected bitterly, windy, cold turn for the worst, so we spent the morning gearing up in what little winter clothes we brought with us from our respective home countries and set off.
Turns out the trip was actually a blast.
It’s amazing how quickly bustling Hanoi turns into fields and rural scenes once you cross the river and start driving. Seeing rural life in full swing after so many weeks of city life was really refreshing.
We were so distracted by the sights that we actually passed the village by several kilometers on the way out and had to ask a friendly construction man how to get back to Bat Trang. “Ở đâu (where?),” has become my favorite survivalist Vietnamese phrase of late.
After turning ourselves around and eventually finding our turn we went into the village.
The guidebooks were not lying when they called Bát Tràng a pottery village.
We spent a fun afternoon wandering around and picking through the pottery.
We also had a little wander around the village. There is a little pond with old men playing horse chess and lots of houses with pottery bits and pieces out front.
It’s really cool to see almost an entire town dedicated to pottery making.
There isn’t really anywhere to eat in town, so don’t plan your trip around lunchtime unless you intend on bringing a picnic.
There are a handful of street food vendors if you’re in a pinch.
So, despite what I read online, I had a really nice afternoon in Bát Tràng. Prices are reasonable, the people are friendly, and it was a nice couple of hours spent outside of Hanoi. The taste of country life made me really want to travel outside of the city more.
And to top it off we made a lot of fun purchases.
So if you’re deciding whether or not it’s worth squeezing Bat Trang into your trip, I think it’s definitely a fun relaxing way to spend the afternoon shopping and just seeing something different from the big city.