Thanh Ha Pottery Village $
Want to do something different? Then head 3 kilometres out of town to Thanh Ha Terracotta Park and Pottery Village to paint your very own souvenir Vietnamese theater mask followed by a bit of pot making and enjoy a little bit of history in between. This is a fun day for adults and kids alike.
You begin with a delightful Gulliver’s Travel walk through the Lilliputian garden display at the Thanh Ha Terracotta Park. Featuring waist high terracotta models of iconic monuments from around the world this is a fun game of test your knowledge (or lack of). There’s the Taj Mahal, Statue of Liberty, Big Ben, Stonehenge, Sydney Opera House, Pyramids, Lincoln Cathedral, the White House, the Vatican and much more including a miniature replica of Hoi An Old Town.
Helpful, exuberant guides are on hand every step of the way to fill in the gaps in your knowledge and brief you on all aspects of the park and inside museum: the clay comes from the Hoai River, the masks you paint come from Son Hau (a Vietnamese classical drama composed around the end of the 18th Century); ceramic pottery inside the building depicts legendary figures and so forth and the museum houses numerous interesting pieces from ancient Vietnamese cultures.
There is much to see and admire but when you’ve got four crazed children who’ve heard there are masks to be painted, there’s only one way out and that’s a running jaunt down the stairs to where the action starts.
Upon completion, your Monet masterpiece will be bubble-wrapped and bagged and staff will happily give directions to your next port of call – the Pottery Village.
Dating back to the 15th Century, this tiny village with its narrow alley ways is a captivating step back in time. No motors spin the pottery wheels here – it’s foot pedals all the way. As is the case with so much of Hoi An, this little village on the water’s edge is incredibly pretty so make sure you take a good walk around before succumbing to one of the many villagers vying for your budding pottery skills.
The pots come out surprisingly well too (with the diligent help of an artisan’s guiding hands). They also come out wet and will take at least a day to dry. If you want to fire it up in the kiln you will need to wait a month because they only light it on a monthly basis.
At the end of the day I really wondered why I’d never come here before and vowed that next time I’d come without the crazed kids so I could paint splatter a mask and cake my fingernails too.
Price Guide in VND
Taxi: 80,000 (approx.) from the Old Town. (Get the driver’s number or arrange a time for him to return and pick you up. It took us around 3 hours total to see all.)
Mask painting: 40,000 (small); 100,000 (big) & 20,000 for paint. You can also donate 30,000 extra that enables the Museum to fund free mask painting for poor village children on Children’s Day.
Entry to Pottery Village: 30,000 adults (children 15,000)
Cost to make pot: 30,000
(Directions: cabs will know where to go but if you want to go make your own way there – take Hung Vuong Street out of town until you can see the river clearly on your left. When you come to a fork in the road keep left. Continue for about 1 km and turn left at Pham Phan – the Terracotta Pottery Park and Pottery Village is about 15 meters further down on the right.)