Throughout centuries, traditional crafts and craft villages have been existed and developed as an integral part of Thai Binh’s history, for instance: weave fabric in Phuong La, silver carve in Dong Xam, copper casting in An Long, lace embroider in Minh Lang, “cáy” cake making in Nguyen Xa. Of which, Dong Xam Silver Village is the place whose population is skilled in metal carving and attracts a large number of visitors from other provinces.
I. How is It Unique?
Dong Xam Silver Village is located in Hong Thai Commune, the north of Kien Xuong District, Thai Binh Province. Dong Xam is a village whose population is skilled in metal carving. The craft of silver processing in Dong Xam Village has existed since the 17th Century.
As of March 2003, the village has been acknowledged as qualified craft village and has a wide range of consumer’s favorite handicrafts. Dong Xam Silver Village is known not only in Vietnam, but also overseas. The handicrafts are produced for both domestic use and export to foreign markets, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Laos, Thailand, the Netherlands, and Spain.
Silver has been used for many centuries, going back to ancient times. Periodically, it enjoys great popularity as it does currently. Silver is the most common of the precious metals. It is working qualities that are very similar to gold. In fact, silver shines above all other metals in this respect.
Silver carving products of Dong Xam village is so different from the ones of other places. Dong Xam’s products are characterized by strange styles of cube and appearance, by sophisticated and well-proportioned decorations, by delicate and perfect skills.
It can be said that the skill and carefulness of Dong Xam artists have been able to satisfy all the demands for using silver carving products of customers who are difficult and knowledgeable about silver carving art.
Dong Xam artists always think high of “faithfulness” and “talent”. Therefore, their products, which are always genuine and carefully-made, keep maintaining customers’ confidence.
II. What to See?
1. Dong Xam Temple
According to the local people, 300 hundred years ago, there was an artist named Nguyen Kim Lau, who travelled downstream on Tra Ly River by boat to Dong Xam to make a living. He transferred his silver carving skills to the local people. Over time, silver carving has been maintained and developed.
After his death, the Dong Xam Temple was built in appreciation of his contributions to the village and the festival in the temple is yearly held to mark the anniversary of the progenitor Kim Lau’s death.
2. Dong Xam Festival
Dong Xam Temple Festival annually takes place from the 1st to the 3rd day of the fourth lunar month and attracts many tourists from everywhere. The most exciting program is the boat racing contest on river with the participation of youth men in the hamlet and neighboring communes. Besides, there remains interesting traditional games and folk cultures like ca tru singing and cheo singing.
In the days of Dong Xam Temple Festival, a great deal of beautiful silver carving products are also displayed and sold as souvenirs for tourists to buy.
III. Where to Go?
After visiting Dong Xam Silver Village, tourists can go to another nearby famous destination in Thai Binh Province.
1. Dong Chau Beach
Dong Chau Beach is situated in Tien Hai District. It is 5km long with green pine forests and crystal clear water sea. In addition, the fine white sand, the blue waves, the variety of rare birds, soft winds, pure air and good climate in this area can also create an unforgettable experience for every visitor.
2. Bach Thuan Garden Village
Bach Thuan Garden Village boasts a wide range of fruits throughout the year such as plums, bananas, oranges, apples, lemons and so on. The interesting feature of this place is that even during the flood season, people still have a chance to visit the village. They will take a boat instead of walking to see the whole village.
3. Keo Pagoda
Keo Pagoda has a unique wooden structure representing ancient architectural style in Vietnam. It was constructed in honor of a Vietnamamese monk named Duong Khong Lo. Entering the pagoda, you will see many ancient and precious sculptures and statues in each part. If you go between the 13th and 15th of the ninth lunar month, you can participate in its attractive yearly festival.
IV. What to Eat?
There are some kinds of specialties recommended for you.
1. Raw Jellyfish Salad
Because of being located near the sea, Thai Binh people receive many good food from the sea and river. The most famous one of them is the raw jellyfish salad. The main ingredient of this dish is, therefore, jellyfish. People will clean and soak the jellyfish in alum or saline. Then, boil it and mix it with sliced chicken, peanuts, onions, chopped coconut, dried beef or squid, herbs, lemon leaves, fish sauce and salt.
Raw jellyfish salad is so delicious and nutritious. The taste is a little mild spicy, sour and hot. Anyone going to Thai Binh to visit Dong Xam Silver Village should not miss the chance to eat this kind of food.
2. Fried Fish
To make this dish, local people will cut the fish into fillets, season them with turmeric powder and fish sauce. Next, the fillets are clamped between bamboo sticks and dried on charcoal. This process lasts for about 4 or 5 hours. After that, a bamboo wire is used to remove the yellow and fragrant fillet fish out of the bamboo clamps. Now, the fish is ready to be served.
3. Cream Fish Soup
Another dish related to fish in Thai Binh is the cream fish soup. People use gamboge, pennywort and vegetables to make this food, which is very different from other places in Vietnam. Cream fish soup should be enjoyed when it is still hot and it is very suitable for the cold wintering days.
V. Where to Stay?
1. PetroVietnam Hotel
- Location: 511 Ly Bon, De Tham street, Thai Binh province
- Tel: 0227 3658 222
2. Golden Thai Binh Hotel
- Location: 716 Le Thanh Tong, Thai Binh province
- Tel: 097 864 73 87
3. Binh Minh Riverside Hotel
- Location: Hoang Dieu ward, Thai Binh province
- Tel: 0227 3799 888
Dong Xam Silver Village is expected to make a positive contribution into the implementation of provincial socio-economic targets and help Thai Binh province to make rapid advances on the course of industrialization and modernization.