The beauty and treasured cultural values of Vietnamese traditional craft villages have inspired 1985-born Ngo Quy Duc to establish the ‘Ve Lang’ (Travel to villages) project. ‘Ve Lang’ introduces visitors to the idyllic and tranquil space of the destinations while providing them with a deeper understanding about the place’s history and culture which have been preserved through many generations.
Children learn how to make star-shaped lanterns during a tour developed under the ‘Ve Lang’ project
Launched in mid-2020, the project had been in planning for 15 years since Duc established My Hanoi Group in 2006, which aims to advertise the history and culture of the capital city to visitors at home and abroad.
Duc then worked as Head of the Vietnamese Craft Villages’ Folklore Culture Club under the Vietnam Craft Village Association and now Deputy Director of the Centre for Rural Research and Development under the Scientific Union for Sustainable Tourism Development.
The working experience has brought Duc on many trips to rural areas through which he has had the opportunity to meet craftsmen and learn more about the history and culture of traditional craft villages. The trips motivated him to work out a project to uphold the value of traditional crafts so that they can avoid the risk of being disappearing.
While other tours to craft villages often target international visitors to Vietnam, the ‘Ve Lang’ project is designed for both domestic and foreign tourists. Several tours under the project have received positive feedback from visitors.
They include the tour connecting the silk weaving village of Nha Xa in Ha Nam Province and the Ao dai making village of Trach Xa in Hanoi, during which visitors can learn about the history and culture of the long-standing silk weaving craft; witness each stage in the production process such as weaving, dyeing and sewing; and talk with the local artisans. The tour has attracted much attention and appreciation tourists who are interested in design, garment and textile, and fashion.
Other prominent tours under ‘Ve Lang’ project include one that brings visitors to Dong Ho Village to learn more about the history of Vietnamese folk paintings and the tour allowing children to explore traditional toys.
Through the ‘Ve Lang’ project, Ngo Quy Duc wants to promote the value of traditional crafts so that they can avoid the risk of disappearing.
The tours are designed with two priorities on highlighting the villages’ culture and promoting the role of artisans and craftsmen in introducing their traditional crafts to visitors.
To date, Duc’s project has received support from many youngsters who have a common passion for traditional culture as well as villagers who want to preserve and uphold the essence of their ancestors’ crafts.
According to Duc, the ‘Ve Lang’ project will be implemented in three phases. The first phase of the project focuses on introducing the community to cultural values of traditional craft by offering visitors with experience activities in craft villages. Therefore, tours are designed for specific groups such that they can enjoy the tours to the fullest. For example, children are suggested with to visit traditional toy-making villages, women are served with tours to silk villages and Ao dai making villages, while those working in the architecture or the construction industry can choose tours to the sculpture and bamboo processing villages.
In the second phase, the tour’s organisers will review the pros and cons of the first phase’s implementation to make appropriate adjustments to make them more attractive. In the third phase, after completing the adjustments, the project will work with travel agencies to develop tourism activities in the craft villages in order to add value for the villages and help local people promote their culture while seeking business opportunities for their products.
While implementing tours under the ‘Ve Lang’ project, Ngo Quy Duc always pays special attention to the community living in craft villages. According to him, to gain sustainable preservation and traditional craft villages, it is important to get local villagers involved in the preservation and promotion activities and for them enjoy benefits from such activities. This is the core mission of his project, which make it distinguished and win much appreciation from those who have passion for Vietnamese traditional culture.