The best craft workshops in Hoi An

Reading Time: 18 minutes

Last Updated on 3 years by Tam Le Van

Join a handicraft workshop when travel to Hoi An? Why not? It brings not only good time for you, but also your family members. Notably, you have the opportunity to make lovely items by yourself for beloved persons back home, with locals and with traditional techniques.

Variety and long history of handicrafts in Hoi An make it become an ideal place where people can share and be shared know-how as well as skills about. In this article, HOIAN LIFE outlines all the best craft workshops in Hoi An according to their kind. Hopefully you have plenty of retentive memories when participate.

Lantern making workshops

History of lantern in Hoi An

Chinese living in South China brought lantern making techniques into Vietnam when Hoi An served as a major international trading port from 15th until 19th centuries. At the time, lanterns were used to decorate streets as well as indiviual houses. People believed that happiness, wealth and fortune would come in their family all year round if front one at the main door (especially with red color).

Following a long time of interaction, Vietnamese learnt knowledge and skills in making lanterns from Chinese. These’re preserved carefully within households and passed down from generation to generation today in Hoi An. That is reason why no significant lantern making community exists (different to pottery, carpentry, farming, basket boat, noodles crafts). Check out our article about Hoi An’s craft villages via http://hoianlife.net/craft-villages-in-hoi-an-and-da-nang/ if interested.

Steps to make a lantern traditionally

Hoi An artisans still follow their grandfather and father skills in making graceful lanterns. Generally, the bulk of workshops share you whole process. First of all, bamboo stakes need to be attached together by wire threads once shaped into sunrise or sunset forms and inserted into a hanger. Next stage is silk selection basing on favourite color and patterns of order makers. After that, the glue gets added to stakes alternately and wait for it becoming drier but tacky. Place the silks on correct positions, press them on the glue and stretch carefully. Keep going until all stakes fully-wrapped. Before a colorful tassel is appended at base of the lantern, hanger’s top and bottom parts are covered up by strips of silk. Checking everything will be final step to make a lantern in traditional technique.

Hoi An’s best lantern making workshops

Hoi An Handicraft Tours lantern making workshop

Address: 08 Tran Cao Van, Son PhongOpening hours: 8 a.m to 11 p.m
Email: Hoianhandicrafttours@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 399216230

The Hoi An Handicraft Tours holds two lantern making classes daily including full class in 2.5hrs and express class in 1.5 hours. In other words, each of them will begin with traditional Vietnamese tea and provides detailed instructions by local experienced artisan in English (you have the chance to taste various flavours of tea during the classes as well). While the full class covers all of eleven steps, another one only starts from stage of silk selection with pre-tied bamboo stakes. Respectively, 380.000 VND (around 16 USD) and 250.000 VND (around 10 USD) per person are prices of these classes. Inclusions are welcome drink, all ingredients, a foldable lantern, gift from the organisers and English speaking craftman-instructor.

To book, browse the official webpage of Hoi An Handicraft Tours. Keep in mind that you are able to cancel without fees at least 24hrs before. Besides, a full refund can be made if classes can not be runned, bad weather for example. Getting in touch soon with the organiser will be the best thing you should do.

Hoi An Handicraft Tours possibly arranges workshops anytime during its opening hours. This makes a great flexibility for your choices if like to experience the best lantern making classes in Hoi An.

The Lantern Lady lantern making workshop

Address: 9A Phan Boi Chau street (opposite Thai Kitchen), Son PhongOpening hours: 9 a.m to 8 p.m
Email: Telephone number: (+84) 1219482335

Ms.Thuy is the founder of this best lantern making workshop in Hoi An. She offers very careful instruction to guide you how to make a lovely lantern from scratch with your preferred fabric. Feeling given likes creating something at home together with mom, in fact, from her sweet services. Currently, The Lantern Lady gives us two options of workshop to choose: one hour experience with ready-made frame and 1.5hrs one with do-it-yourself frame. Prices are 90.000 VND (around 4 USD) and 135.000 VND (5.8 USD) respectively. In comparison to other noticeable classes, you have lower rates here.

More than that, The Lantern Lady workshop enable to set out anytime during the day making it highly flexible. If you’re busy with various things to do in Hoi An, there is no difficulty to combine this awesome activity in between, beginning or end of. To make a reservation, come to the address 9A Phan Boi Chau or leave a message on its official Facebook page.

Reaching Out lantern making workshop

Address: 103 Nguyen Thai Hoc (Reaching Out Arts and Crafts), Old townOpening hours: 2-3 p.m from Monday to Friday weekly
Email:Telephone number: (+84) 2353910168

This next best lantern making workshop is operated by the Reaching Out-an famed social enterprise, training and enploying persons with disabilities. According to its program, you will experience every steps for making the foldable lantern with a paperwork atisan named Ha that turn your creative ideas into functional work of art. Her friendly personality and pleasant services make your time enjoyable (every instructions only in English). Moreover, to keep the quality of workshop in an awesome manner, 12 partcipants are maximum.

Price of Reaching Out lantern making workshop is about 345.000 VND (15 USD) per person and changable to each group in case of private one or with childrens (browse https://reachingoutvietnam.com/art-craft-shop/workshop-tours/ to see details). This covers all materials, tools and fresh water during it. Reserve your seat on prefered day and pay in official webpage of the enterprise. Take note that six is minimum number of partcipants therefore you have to wait until enough people at sometimes. You’re advised to contact in advance to be more proactive when travel. If cancel one day previous to reservation time, 60% of your payment will be returned.

Note: To join Reaching Out lantern making workshop, you need to prepare a copy of order receipt (print or on phone) and proof of identity (pasport, ID or driving license) what match cardholder name. Keep in mind to show at least 5 minutes before it begins to ensure your benefits wholly-kept.

Leather workshop

History of Vietnamese leather making craft

Vietnamese leather making craft has a history of over 500 years. For all artisans, Nguyen Trong Trung doctorate was first person introducing its knowledge and skills into the country. Previously, the kings sent him to China as an ambassador. During that time, he had the chance to learn about their long-standing techniques in the field. Year after year, these are quickly absorbed and developed by skilled mans around quarters within Hanoi and other localities. Trung’s temples (‘leather ancestor temples’) were built in numerous places following his death to worship and express the gratitude.

In 19th century, Vietnamese leather making craft also received new know-how from French in the course of their occupation period. Its inventory was enriched and craftmans also started taking part in producing western-styled items then. More than anywhere else, these changes were much more active in cities where big French communities lived like Hoi An.

Overall view of leather goods and leather workshops in Hoi An

Leather goods in Hoi An are quite diverse in source of material, model, style, quality and price. Additionally, shops selling them also show their abundance around streets inside the Ancient town as well as the Cloth market (read our leather buying guide to know how to pick a nice piece). Among all of items, bag, shoe plus jacket gets most sought-after. Especially, leather bags produced in best Hoi An leather shops bring us high levels of standard that possible stand on par with makers at two metropolitans-Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. Browse our article through http://hoianlife.net/leather-goods-and-leather-workshops-in-hoi-an/ to know Hoi An’s top four leather bag shops.

With a strong desire to share Vietnamese traditional techniques in making leather items, some shops usually organize workshops like Blue Lotus Leather.

Steps to design a leather item traditionally

Selecting design&kind of material, doing patterns, cutting the leather, punching holes, stitching by hands and completing final details with accessories are steps to make a leather item in brief. To understand each one of them, Hoi An Life carried out an experience with basic class run by Blue Lotus Leather-current best leather workshop in Hoi An (we booked online without any special notes and did it as usual). Browse http://hoianlife.net/leather-goods-and-leather-workshops-in-hoi-an/ to get further details about.

The best leather workshops in Hoi An

Blue Lotus Leather workshops

Address: 98 Hung Vuong street, Cam PhoOpening hours: 8 a.m to 9 p.m
Email: Bluelotusleather@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 916183279

Blue Lotus Leather offers the best leather workshops in Hoi An. Its current collection covers four hands-on classes according to different levels from basic class (half-day), immediate class (full-day) to advanced class (two days). In the course of these, you will experience all steps to make your favourite item from scratch with an enthusiatic and passonate craftman. Additionally, the organiser also arranges an express class within two hours only for who has not rich budget of time. Beside that, there are couples of ready-made pieces available in its workshop space (Blue Lotus is the member of four best leather bag shops in Hoi An). Take a look if you’re seeking high-grade bags.

See our article through http://hoianlife.net/leather-goods-and-leather-workshops-in-hoi-an/ to get further information about every class, story behind the establishment of Blue Lotus Leather, prices and its booking/cancellation policies as well as sharings of Hoi An Life experience.

Not only succeed in leather making workshops and creating qualitied-fashionable bags, the Blue Lotus also brings us the opportunity to try authentic Northern Vietnam style coffees at its shop (under the name ‘Blue Lotus coffee’).

Zen Leather workshop

Address: Loongboong homestay, Tra Que vegetable villageOpening hours: 8 a.m to 8 p.m
Email: Zenleathervn@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 976678289

Zen’s workshops is another best leather workshops in Hoi An, alongside with Blue Lotus Leather one. It offers handicraft lovers daily two classes including a four-hour basic class (create small pieces like wallet, passport holder, pen holder, etc) and a bookbinding class lasting from 2.5 to 3.5 hours. While first choice suits for experiencers who wants to make meaningful gift by themselves to beloved persons back home, second class is the signature of Zen so proper for special-thing seekers. See more information in Hoi An article via http://hoianlife.net/leather-goods-and-leather-workshops-in-hoi-an/.

Mask making workshop

History of mask and its significance in Vietnam

Nobody makes sure when first masks appeared in Vietnam but none of Vietnamese does not know their presence within traditional Tuồng art of performance or Mid-autumn festival. Particularly, the full of color mask are an unmissable accessory for Tuồng actors and actresses, together with gorgeous dresses (you will see this kind of Asian opera as an inclusion of Hoi An Ancient Town ticket). Different types of mask in this classic art tell us different characteristics of the role. For instance, white mask corresponds an elegant and calm person or red one for bravery and maturity. Furthermore, paper mask itself plays very important role to childrens in Mid-autumn festival too. They fancy wearing it on their face to transform into shape of figures in folk stories. More than anytime during the year, the celebration provides us most chances to see impressive masks with lots of creativity.

Like many handicrafts, knowledge and skills of mask making are passed down from father to son. As a result, various ‘craft families’ often keep them in secret. However, not all, some persons share them in an open-minded spirit.

Vietnamese mask making craft today

Because of effects from modern technologies (plastic masks) and low cost of mass-produced masks, there is no surprise that not much people keep making mask by traditional techniques up to the present. Their work just is busy during special days like Mid-autumn festival, new year festival or for bulk orders.

The Timming Mask: the best mask making workshop in Hoi An

Address: 66 Bach Dang street, the Old townOpening hours: 9 a.m to 6 p.m
Email:Telephone number: (+84) 905028088

Alongside with creative masks for sale, The Timming Mask also introduces Vietnamese long-lived mask making tradition through two workshops: 2 hours class with four stages (350.000 VND-15 USD) and another one with just painting (200.000 VND-8.6 USD). If join, you will have the chance to meet and create your own mask under comprehensive guide from Mr.Phong Bui (the founder). He is one of the last artisans who keep this precious craft alive around Hoi An as well as the country. Workshop name, The Timming was born from the idea of Phong’s family in honor his 30 years experience.

To book, you need to come to its workshop house at 66 Bach Dang street or leave a message on its official Facebook page. Keep in mind to make a reservation two days once your prefering workshop begins. Because it is run by group of 5 at least, you may have to wait (most during off-tourist seasons). Contact responsible persons for update information to help you more proactive in designing your travel plan. Moreover, there are couples of ready-masks for sale as well. Price of medium sized one is from 184.000 VND (around 8 USD).

The Timming Mask shares the same space with traditional performances included in Hoi An Ancient Ticket, therefore great to combine together.

Bamboo workshop

Taboo Bamboo workshop

Address: Thanh Tam Dong, Cam ThanhOpening hours: 7:30 a.m to 5:30 p.m
Email: Taboobambooworshop@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 905312812

Taboo Bamboo workshop is daily organised by Tan, a young man living with love for traditional craft. His passion was inherited from his grandfather and father who spent their whole life in building bamboo houses and furnitures.

If join, you will set out this special workshop with a visit around Tan’s studio and deepen the understanding about different household facilities through his clear introduction. On the next stage, he gives the guidance on how to make a bamboo creation according to your own idea from very beginning (you’re advised preparing in advance if like to make something special). Inexperienced or professional persons are welcome to participate.

It costs around 2.270.000 VND (99 USD) per person. Visit Taboo Bamboo’s official webpage and its Facebook to reserve your seats. The host highly recommends making it at least 24hrs for its best preparations, specially during tourist seasons.

Taboo Bamboo studio is an inclusion of Cam Thanh water coconut forest’s entrance ticket. It’s worth it to spend time around for admiring creative bamboo things like a car, bicyle, ship and much more.

Bamboo root sculpture run by Hoi An Handicraft Tours

Address: 08 Tran Cao Van street, Son Phong Opening hours: 8 a.m to 11 p.m
Email: Hoianhandicrafttours@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 399216230

Apart from lantern making, Hoi An Handicraft Tours offers another awesome workshop in bamboo root sculpture. Your whole experience is under a comprehensive guide of Mr.Do Huynh Phuong, one of the most prominent artisans in the field (he has his own shop at 26 Bach Dang street). He and the organiser also arrange pre-washed and pre-dried bamboo roots head of time just to make sure everything ready when you arrive. With Phuong’s guide, you will have the opportunity to create a work of art from raw form to bamboo-carved bust. If not confident in shaping eyes or nose on face of your chosen figure, feel free to let him know. Using sandpapering for final touches prior to you actually have the complete sculpture.

This Hoi An Handicraft Tours’s workshop costs 450.000 VND (20 USD) and includes English speaking guide, welcome drink, all materials and tools. Browse its official webpage to make an online reservation as well as pick your prefering time to begin (any in opening hours). In addition to, hotel pick-up with a fee of 160.000 VND (7 USD) is availble when needed. Contact early for everything going smooth.

Pottery workshop

History of pottery making in Hoi An

Clay-made items produced by inhabitants of Sa Huynh culture (10.000 BC-200 AD) and Champa kingdom (2nd to 14th century) are found at numerous places around Hoi An, even in distant Cham islands. Besides decorative and containing functions, they were used as burial-pots during the first period (not on ground like famous Plain of jars). After fifteen century, Vietnamese took over the land and built it to be international bustling trading port. Like many handicraft works at the time, merchants had a high demand in exchanging potteries. As a result, many high-quality production areas were established including Thanh Ha village (the last one still alive today).

Pottery life changed following decline of commercial activities when Hoi An lost its importance in worldwide maritime network later. Modern mass-production technologies pushed traditional pottery making craft again to the brink of disappearance. Thanksfully, under the collaboration between UNESCO and local authority, it gradually recovers.

Within Hoi An Ancient Town, there are two places suited if you like to deep your understanding about ancient potteries: Sa Huynh culture museum and Hoi An museum of trading ceramics.

Hoi An’s best pottery workshops

Pottery workshop of the Hoi An Handicraft Tours

Address: 08 Tran Cao Van street, Son PhongOpening hours: 8 a.m to 11 p.m
Email: Hoianhandicrafttours@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 399216230

The Hoi An Handicraft Tours brings you out of its office in this workshop (depart anytime in operational hours). The destination is Thanh Ha village where pottery making tradition is still alive after many ups and downs over centuries. In this long-established community, Ms.Ty (a local) will help you to expand your horizon about ceramic production and ceramic art. Then visit Thanh Ha Terracotta park once heat up by steps to knead the clay and make your pot, ware or vase with a wheel under clear instruction of craftman. All secrets of lovely animal flute are revealed for you on the later session. It’s a meaningful souvenir to begin a conversation at home.

You will pay 490.000 VND (22 USD) for this best workshop in Hoi An. Inclusions are English-speaking guide, welcome drink, every materials and tools during it. Read our article via http://hoianlife.net/craft-villages-in-hoi-an-and-da-nang/ to get further information about Thanh Ha village and its hundred-year-old handicraft.

Thanh Ha pottery village class

Address: Thanh Ha pottery making villageOpening hours: 8 a.m to 5 p.m

Thanh Ha pottery village‘s sightseeing ticket covers a pottery making class under the guidance of local craftman. Ask people in detail and get the map of sites at ticket booth to know where you’re able to find a workshop house. Everywhere, you will start creating a small item like pot or bowl from pre-made clay mixture after watching craftman’s performance with full of ingenuity. Interestingly, clay sources right from river bed near the village (reason why people moved to live here few centuries ago). This kid-friendly experience it takes around one hour.

To know how to get Thanh Ha pottery village and all information about its long-established craft, read Hoi An Life article through http://hoianlife.net/craft-villages-in-hoi-an-and-da-nang/.

If like to fire your clay piece to bring it home, tell the workshop host for a help. Keep in mind to discuss with her/him about how much you will pay and how you can take it after everything done.

Coffee workshop

History of coffee in Vietnam

Coffee was introduced by French at very beginning of their occupation on Vietnam in 19th century. It was a high-cost beverage and often for rich mans before become popular for all like nowadays. Among two current main crops, Arabica beans came into the country first but the latter-Robusta beans are dominating, due to adventuous conditions about geography, soil and climate. At the moment, Vietnam is the second largest coffee producer as well as king of Robusta coffee production of the world (that’s why it is used for every traditional coffees).

General scene of coffee in Hoi An: past and today

French colonists came and lived in Hoi An for nearly 100 years so their cultures influenced the architecture, cuisine and ways of living of the city. As same as Banh mi, Vietnamese coffee today is an adaption of French base to suit for local tastes. Differentiate to its past, current coffee scene in Hoi An is much more vivid. Firstly, coffee is for everybody instead of upper classes formerly. Secondly, coffee drinkers are likely to find their boost any corners, especially along main streets. Pavement, roadside stalls, medium-priced shops, state-of-art designed shops, shop with a view, or worldwide brand chains are choices during the day, for a coffee!

Tay Nguyen (red-basalt highlands in South Vietnam) is the most well-known coffee region in present-day, for both of Robusta and Arabica beans. It’s no wonder that the source of coffee in Hoi An cafe is mainly from this locality. Many shops only bring coffee to their house and roast then to make its quality more stable like Phin Coffee or Hoi An Roastery. Alongside with traditional kinds, western-styled one is also in abundance on the menu (still used locally sourced beans).

Vietnamese traditional coffees

You have no difficulty to look for Vietnamese traditional coffees like Ca phe den (back coffee brewed by Phin filter), Ca phe sua (back coffee with condensed milk) or Ca phe sua da (Vietnamese iced milk coffee) at any cafeterias across the country. Most of them is made by dark roasted Robusta beans that cause their bitterness (strongness). For that reason, condensed milk gets added into to sweeten it. Iced cubes are other additions during the summer or high-temperatured days. Moreover, Ca phe trung (egg coffee) and Ca phe sua dua (coconut milk coffee) are other traditional Vietnamese coffees what drinkies usually notes in their must-try list.

The best coffee workshops in Hoi An

Phin Coffee workshop

Address: 132/7 Tran Phu street (Phin Coffee), the Old townOpening hours: 8 a.m to 4 p.m
Email: phincoffeehoian@gmail.comTelephone number: (+84) 919882783

Hosted by Phin Coffee’s people who are willing to introduce coffee variety, its development and famous production areas in Vietnam. During two hours of the workshop, a many- years-experienced coffee maker will give you information in detail as well as testings of coffee varied in origin, processing method, roasting technique and way of brewing. Notably, you will learn about how to filter classic Vietnamese black coffee by Phin, new twist of egg coffee and cloth filter coffee. Furthermore, the workshop also provides you the most trendy cold brew and some special creations to give a taste. You’re advised to ask Phin Coffee workshop’s barista questions.

Walking in Phin Coffee or leave an message on its Facebook page to book this best coffee workshop in Hoi An. It’s possible to depart anytime during operational hours of the shop. Keep in mind to make it at least 24hrs (and more within peak tourist seasons because each class is held with 6 persons at most).

‘Making coffee with a Vietnamese Phin’ workshop

Address: 8 Tran Cao Van street, Son Phong Opening hours: 8 a.m to 11 p.m
Email: Hoianhandicrafttours@gmail.com Telephone number: (+84) 399216230

In the course of this two-hours Hoi An Handicraft Tours‘s workshop, you will learn about stories of coffee from crop to cup. Besides, adventure Vietnamese ground coffee, fined Robusta beans and steps needed to roast them to be suited for local taste. The barista keep going with his/her explaination about why Vietnamese use condensed milk instead of original fresh milk. The workshop focuses on making coffee by Phin filter set on its later part (highlight). In fact, every common shops around streets in Vietnam takes this traditional techinique to brew their coffee for sale. To serve morning coffee boost for people before work, local sellers usually prepare from the night or at least few hours before.

The workshop lasts 1.5 hours in total and costs 348.000 VND (about 15 USD) including English-speaking guide, welcome drink with tea, all ingredients and tools and a Phin to bring home. Walk in Hoi An Handicraft Tours’s office to book if you are near it, or just click on its webpage or Facebook page.

Hoi An photo tour and workshop

Address: 42 Phan Boi Chau street, Son PhongOpening hours: 9 a.m to 7:30 p.m
Email: Info@hoianphototour.com Telephone number: (+84) 905671898

Hoi An Photo Tours offter two interesting workshops to choose from: Smart Phone Photography and Street Photography. These share a same basis (2 hours), price (2.760.000 VND-120 USD) as well as ‘working space’ (the Old town). However, if like to venture into peaceful countryside lands, give a request to the company in advance. Generally, workshop’s duration will be longer around one hour therefore you need to review carefull all things to do in a same day before make up your mind. Browse Hoi An Photo Tour’s webpage via https://www.hoianphototour.com/ to get further details of each workshop and to book.

Beside that, the company also arranges private photography workshop-an one-on-one session in which you spend time to work with an expert guide (topic of your choice). Basing on his/her extentive experience, your photography skills are quickly improved.

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Tam Le Van

Tam is a tour leader and passionate traveler who has beautiful memories over 50 provinces of Vietnam. During the time Corona virus spreads out globally, he decides to become a blogger to share his experiences.
Contacts for work: Levantam0906@gmail.com or (+84) 968009827

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