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Vinh Long Pottery village Mekong homestay

The first stop of our Mekong Delta road trip was the city of Vinh Long, a quaint local city with a century-old tradition of artisan pottery making. So it only made sense to spend a morning learning all about the ancient craft of pottery making during our stay. Here’s what we got up to during our tour of the Vinh Long pottery village with Yenni, the charming host of the Mekong Pottery Homestay.

Mekong pottery homestay tour

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, all marked with * Booking through these links generates a small commission for me at no extra cost to you.

The Mekong Pottery Homestay

Mekong Pottery homestay was the only place I could find online offering tours of the pottery factories, so we checked in to use this as our base for exploring Vinh Long. Located a little outside the city centre, it would be easiest to explore the city from here with a motorbike or bicycle, however, its location is right in midst of the pottery factories making it perfect if this is your sole purpose in Vinh Long. The host, Yenni, has done a really tasteful job creating a home-away-from-home with great facilities and breakfast at her mom’s coffee shop included.

Book your own stay at The Mekong Pottery Homestay here.* Don’t forget to let her know you want to add on a tour of the pottery factories!

💰 400k for two-person tour

Exploring the Vinh Long Pottery Village

After a well-rested sleep (and a failed attempt to get up for sunrise) we headed off to explore Yenni’s uncle’s pottery factory. In my mind, I was expecting a small-scale operation, so I was surprised to discover multiple huge warehouses tucked just off the main road. Without Yenni’s insider knowledge we would have been completely clueless, which makes me curious how many other artisan factories are hidden away in the Mekong Delta.

Entering the factory, we head to the rear of the warehouse which backs onto the iconic Mekong River. The Mekong river is a core part of life in the delta, a source of wealth and vital to the transport of goods, and you can bet this applies to the pottery industry that thrives in the region. Yenni shared that the sand, and subsequent clay, that is used in the factory is dredged from the bottom of the Mekong river and delivered directly from the river to the factories’ back door, hence the location of the pottery factories on the river. Apparently, it is the local sand that creates the red pottery, iconic of the Vinh Long region, while pottery from northern Vietnam has a different hue. Nowadays, the river’s supplies of sand are starting to dwindle and so suppliers are transporting sand from other nearby sources to reduce the strain on the river.

The sand is carefully mixed into clay, before being spun into items using moulds. Moving with a seamless rhythm, the artisans make it look effortless to create a bowl or plant pot in minutes. Working in pairs, the shaped bowl is passed to another artisan who applies the finishing touches, spinning the items delicately to smooth the edges and ensure all the fine details are perfect. Yenni told us that in one day, each pair of artisans can complete upwards of 150/200 items.

Pottery village tour Mekong Pottery homestayOnce complete, the pots are left to dry in the warm Vietnam air. This can take anywhere from 3 days to a week, even longer during monsoon season when the air is damp. The dark grey of the wet clay slowly morphs into a muted red.

The most intriguing stage to me is the firing; this is when the dried pots are placed in a kiln and engulfed by flames until they harden. One of the key features of Vinh Long is the hundreds and hundreds of beautiful stone kilns that peak above the buildings, some with strings of smoke emerging to signal the firing is in process. So, getting the chance to get up close to them and ask questions about the process was really cool.

Vinh Long Pottery village tour kilnsIt was at this point we met Yenni’s Uncle, the big boss and owner of the factory. He was taking watch of one of the kilns which he told us had been firing for over a week already. The stone kilns are stacked 8 meters high with dried pottery, the entrance sealed up and a fire set inside. Rice husk is continuously fed in to fuel the fire, and the ash is pulled out and sold back to farmers as fertilizer; a beautiful full-circle process.

Yenni shared how there is a team watching the kiln 24hrs a day, responsible for keeping it aflame and ensuring the valuable products inside are safe. On the morning we visited, her Uncle was relaxing with the watch team keeping an eye on their stock. With the duration of the fire, it’s unsurprising to hear that the heat can reach well into the thousands of degrees celsius.

The final stage of the pottery-making process is polishing and cleaning the end products. All done carefully by hand, the pots are brushed and cleaned before being distributed to stores or glazing factories.

Our morning exploring the pottery factory was so interesting, and not something we would ever have been able to experience without the guidance of Yenni. She shared so much insight and helped us ask the artisans questions about their craft, giving us a real insider look at the craft of pottery making in the Mekong.

Where to find the pottery kilns of Vinh Long

Not quite done with pottery for the day, we said farewell to Yenni and headed further out of Vinh Long on the hunt for the infamous photo spot of the kilns (the ones that comes up when you google “pottery Vinh Long”). Under Yenni’s direction, we found the spot and set up to watch the sunset behind the countless factories. A truly perfect end to the day exploring Vinh Long’s pottery village.

Vinh Long Pottery kilns sunsetWe found that this stretch of the river has the most easily accessible kilns, with some that you can walk up to, and some areas where you can climb down to the river to take in the scale of the area. You’ll need a motorbike or bicycle (you can rent from The Mekong Pottery Homestay) to explore this area, and I highly recommend heading for sunset.

📍 Drive down road DT907 to see the pottery kilns lining the river.

The lowdown of visiting Vinh Long Pottery Village

To book a tour of the pottery village, you will need to stay at the Mekong Pottery Homestay*.

⏰ 2 hours
💰 400k for two-person tour

Planning a Trip to the Mekong Delta

For more information on planning a trip to the Vinh Long and the Mekong Delta, check out these posts:

✍️ How to Spend a Day in Vinh Long
✍️ A Quick Guide to the Mekong Delta (including information on how to travel around the Mekong Delta).
✍️ 3 Day Road Trip in the Mekong
✍️ 10 Day Mekong Delta Road Trip (coming soon)

Meet Frances; Scottish lass turned Vietnam expat, and creator of this space. She can be found sippin’ ice tea’s and writing about her adventures from her sunny base of Saigon, Vietnam’s southern metropolis. All with a healthy side of researching her next road trip. With 5 years of living, travelling and scooting around Asia under her belt – let Frances be your guide to travelling the region.

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