Located in Thanh Oai District, 30km from Hanoi city central. Tri Le village is well-known for making conical hats. Similar with other traditional villages, Tri Le has existed since centuries ago. They has been making hats for over 400 years, they grew up watching their father, grandfather and other elderly working with hats. They just inherited the craftsmanship and then elaborated it.
Tri Le village has a population of around 4,000 people, three-quarters of whom already know how to make palm leaves. All products are still 100% handmade. Like any other palm leaf hat, the hat-maker first needs to create a wooden frame to firmly situate several bent bamboo rings, which differ in size. This may be the most complicated and time-consuming step of the whole hat-making process. Moreover, the bamboo must grow naturally in the forest and be straight and strong.After a strong frame is completed, leaves will be attached to it by threads. Tri Le’s conical hats are famous for having two layers of leaves. Craftsmen must be very skillful to make the two layers very thin.
The hat sold at cheap price, each hat can only earn to its makers as little as VND8,000. Thus most residents here consider hat making a part-time job, which they can do between farming sessions. However, as the market and the buyers’ preferences change, Their products now face many challenges to survive.
Visitors go to Tri Le not only to learn about its traditions or to buy souvenir hats, but also to enjoy fresh air, the beautiful landscape and the friendly people.
In summer , the children in Tri Le village, who do not have to go to school, stay at home to help adults in family making palm leaf hats. The laughing of children have broken the quietness of the village.
The conical and other palm leaf hats are unique to the Vietnamese people and have been in use for centuries and until now. The conical hat has become familiar to Vietnamese women across many generations; rich and poor, in big cities and rural areas. The conical hat has given a discreet charm to Vietnamese women, and has become a unique feature of Vietnamese culture, sought after by many foreign visitors travel in Vietnam.