Driving about 1,5 hours from Hanoi center to the north, we can reach in Tho Ha village, a small village known as once upon a time pottery village till the new industry of rice paper making. Tho Ha stretches on the banks of the poetic Cau River at Van Ha commune, Viet Yen district, Bac Giang province. It is surrounded with beautiful landscapes having features of the ancient time with banyan tree, river, communal house, temple ground, and old houses closed together in little allies.
Tho Ha village stretches on the banks of the poetic Cau River
From 14th century, Tho Ha village has been famous for its ceramic products and become one of three oldest ceramic centers of Vietnam, along with Phu Lang (Que Vo, Bac Ninh) and Bat Trang (Gia Lam District, Hanoi). The products of this village were well-known throughout the country. Tho Ha ceramics has its own special features: waterproof, reddish-brown warm ceramics, durable products even burying in the ground or soaking in water…Thanks to the craft, villagers have good life.
Ceramic and pottery walls in Tho Ha Village
Furthermore, Tho Ha is known for ancient architecture from house to the village entrance. The gate here is very old covered with moss and a big banyan-tree. There are tens of old-styled houses of the families including Trinh Dac, Trinh Quang, Nguyen Dinh and Cap preserved in the village, which are located in the old little allies. Specially, in the middle of the small allies at the village, you can see a lot of ceramic and pottery walls, ancient pagodas and majestic communal houses – masterpieces of traditional Vietnamese architectures.
Rustic life of local people in Tho Ha Ancient Village
In the early 1990s, like many other traditional handicraft villages, Tho Ha village’s ceramic products could not sell a lot in the market. To earn enough to live on, villagers had to move to other jobs. In 1992, most of pottery stocks were liquidated and Tho Ha pottery was almost lost after nearly 6 century existence. And now Tho Ha Village becomes the rice paper handicraft village.
Communal house in Tho Ha ancient village
For visitors, it will be very interesting to discover every alley of the village and experience traditional method of making rice paper and dried rice cake with coconut which requires complicated processing from dipping the rice into the water, grilling rice powder, making cakes, drying cakes and cutting cakes. Rice has to be dipped from the previous night to be grilled and made in the following morning. Cakes have to be dried from early morning at sunrise. Drying process decides quality of cakes because they will get mould as getting wet in rain or get crispy if it is too hot and dry. Hence, the local people here have to pay special attention to the weather to make the best- quality cakes.
Tho Ha Village is famous for making of rice paper and dried rice cake
With ancient beauty of old architecture and typical village historical and cultural examples of the North including communal houses, temples, pagodas and festivals, Tho Ha ancient and traditional craft village is an ideal place for tourists to learn and discover cultural and traditional value in rustic life of Vietnamese people.