vietnam travel covid 19 updates

Stay updated with the latest news of the COVID-19 situation in Vietnam and information for traveling to Vietnam. Read more here.

Vietnam Travel Information

i Tour Vietnam | Top-rated private Ho Chi Minh City tours and Vietnam travel guides.

A Guide to the Vietnamese Conical Hat

vietnamese-conical-hat Vietnamese conical hat (non la) with decorations

Beautiful craft works could be an interesting and unique souvenir from your trip to Vietnam. The Vietnamese conical hat is an iconic image that reminds people of the farmers working on the golden paddy fields or Vietnamese girls wearing the traditional dress, ao dai, strolling down the streets. The hat has been an item that evolves with Vietnamese culture, becoming an essential part of daily life, and is still used by many Vietnamese locals. From our Vietnam travel guide, you should be able to know why this hat has become so famous around the world, how much work the craftsmen have to put in to make it, and of course, where to buy this great souvenir.

Origin of the Vietnamese Conical Hat

Vietnam conical hat non quai thao Vietnam conical hat non ngua

"Non quai thao" and "Non ngua"

In Vietnam, there are many types of hats that are made from palm or similar leaves. In examples, “non quai thao” a flat round hat that is mostly used by women in formal events like festivals or the most popular hat with a conical shape called “non ngua.” It has a small decoration at the tip of the hat and is used in horse riding.

Vietnam conical hat non bai tho

Beautiful pattern on "Non bai tho"

The poem hat, “non bai tho,” has a layer of a picture or a poem is put between the two layers of leaves to make this hat. And a general plain hat “non la” that is mostly used by farmers and elderly women.

There are many stories about the origin of the conical hat. An early version of the conical hat is said to have been carved on Ngoc Lu bronze drum and Dao Thinh bronze jar is around 2,500 and 3,000 BC. But many believe that the conical hat had become popular and was widely used in the Tran dynasty in the 13th century. Women used it as an accessory even though it was thick and heavy at that time. There is also a story in Than Village, Hanoi about a princess who taught the villagers how to make "non chao rang,” an early version of the conical hat, which is made by sewing the old palm leaves. In Hue, the idea of making “non bai tho” was born in Tay Ho in the late 50s by a craftsman who made conical hats and also loved poems. He made a layer of verses of the poem and put it between the layers of leaves. And since then the conical hat has become a symbol of Vietnamese hat. Men or women, children or the elders can wear the conical hats with no distinction at all. It can be a symbol for the labor and farmers, but it also represents the nobility in the past and the elegance of the Vietnamese girls.

To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!

 

Usages of The Vietnamese Conical Hat

vietnamese conical hat street vendors 1

How to wear a conical hat - Put the cone on your head, settle the ribbon strap under your chin to secure the hat's position if it has one

There are many ways to use the conical hat. Of course like any other hat, you wear it to protect your head, mostly from the intense sun rays. But the conical hat is coated with a layer of waterproof varnish, it is also like a small umbrella, protecting you from the rain.

basket lady vietnamese conical hat

You can get a bit creative with it, too. When turning the conical hat upside down, it makes a perfect basket that you can put small items you get from the markets or hold a small amount of water inside. In hot summer days, the conical hat is like a cooling device; you can wet the conical hat with a little bit of water then wear it and use the evaporation to cool your head, or just use it as a handy fan. The multi-usages, lightweight, and low price of a typical conical hat have made it the favorite headwear for many people in Vietnam, especially to the farmers and street vendor sellers.

vietnamese conical hat mekong

tourist vietnamese conical hat

Wear a conical hat to protect you from the sun or as a fashionable item

The conical hat is also a symbol of Vietnamese fashion. It would be less frequent to see a conical hat in the urban than in rural areas, but there are still many young girls wearing “ao dai” or “ao ba ba” with the conical hats for photo shoots in places like the Notre Dame Cathedral and festivals in Ho Chi Minh City. The simplicity of the conical hat makes a perfect match with dresses like “ao dai” and “ao ba ba,” adding a touch of elegance to Vietnamese traditional dresses.

In Hue, the land of poetry, poems are attached to conical hats as an alternative to writing on paper. They are widely sold as a souvenir, not only to tourists but also to the locals. “Non bai tho” is not only a special gift to those who have a love for poetry, but it could also be a keepsake of the past.

 

How the Vietnamese Conical Hat Is Made

Vietnam conical hat palm leaves Vietnam conical hat bamboo frame

The material and the frame of a conical hat

The palm trees and palm leaves are easily found in any countryside in Vietnam, so this could be why it became the primary materials to make conical hats. The leaves are beaten to open up the layers and dried under the sun to become harder and more durable. The leaves are then ironed; this part of the process is the most sophisticated because it requires the right amount of pressure and heat you apply. If the heat is too little, the leaves will not be straightened, but too much heat and pressure will burn the leaves. After that, two layers of leaves are placed on the hat frame. The frame is made of bamboo sticks that have been shredded and bent into circles of different diameters. The vertical bamboo strips will be used as backbones of the frame, and circled strips will be placed from the bottom to the top of the frame into a conical net. People will sew the palm leaves together with small threads, which requires a lot of skills and patience from the makers to make the perfect shape and knit the leaves tightly. This part usually takes a lot of time even for the professionals; it might take a whole day for an amateur to finish one conical hat.

Vietnamese conical hat Vietnam conical hat silk strap

Conical hat with (right) and without (left) a strap

Two threaded holders will be sewed on two sides, inside the conical hat. Those are where a silky neck strap is tightened to keep the hat positioned on your head. After that, the conical hat is processed with heat (on fire or under the sun) one last time to prevent mold and turns a lighter color. Finally, it is coated with turpentine oil that gives a protective film and makes the conical hat a bit glossy.

 Check out other great souvenirs to shop in Saigonand shopping guide in Saigon!

Where to Buy Conical Hats in Vietnam

The Vietnamese conical hats have made it to the world; Amazon sells conical hats for an average price of US$18/piece. But you can buy it for a much lower price when visiting Vietnam. A typical hat in Vietnam is about VND 30,000 (USD 1.5), ranging to VND 100,000 (USD 5), depending on how it is decorated. Sophisticated hats like “non bai tho” should be about VND 60,000 (USD 3) and above.

souvenirs vietnamese conical hat

As such an iconic fashion item of the Vietnamese, conical hats are widely sold as souvenirs at tourist spots

There are many craft villages where they make and sell conical hats to other parts of Vietnam. One of the most famous villages is Chuong Village in Hanoi. This ancient town has many old houses, and their traditional conical hat craft has been passed down for over 300 years. Annually, in June, there are market sessions held at Chuong village to sell conical hats solely.

Location: Phuong Trung Ward, Thanh Oai District, Hanoi

Vietnam conical hat nghia chau

In Nam Dinh, there are many craft villages that have become an essential part of this province's tourism, and Nghia Chau Village is one of them, making conical hats since 1940.

Location: 17km from Nam Dinh City, in Nghia Chau Ward, Nghia Hung District, Nam Dinh Province

Vietnam conical hat ha thon

Another old village with a history of making a conical hat for 100 years is Ha Thon Village in Quang Binh.

Location: 50 km from Dong Hoi City, in Quang Tan Ward, Ba Don Town, Quang Trach District, Quang Binh Province

Vietnam conical hat tay ho

Tay Ho is a village in Hue that is famous for making the light and elegant poem hat known as “non bai tho.”

Location: 20 km from Hue City, by Nhu Y River, Phu Ho Ward, Phu Vang District, Thua Thien - Hue Province

Vietnam conical hat can tho

Traveling all the way to the South, you can find a village in Can Tho that makes conical hats. They use the local palm leaves from the lady palm trees that grow in abundance in the Southern provinces of the Mekong Delta, like Tay Ninh, Phu Quoc and Ca Mau.

Location: 35 km from Can Tho City, in Thoi Tan Ward, Thoi Lai District, Can Tho Province

In areas that don’t have craft villages making conical hats, you can still go to the local markets and find shops that sell them. In Ho Chi Minh City, you can go to a market like Binh Tay market in District 6.

Location: 57A Thap Muoi Street, Ward 2, District 6, Ho Chi Minh City (temporary location for reconstruction in 2017)

Find a travel insurance plan for your trip to Vietnam:

 

 

Summary on the Vietnamese Conical Hat

vietnamese conical hat street vendors 2

In modern times, when most Vietnamese use motorbikes as their primary mean of transportation, there is less chance to use a conical hat, especially in urban cities. But it is still a gem in Vietnamese culture and the beauty of Vietnamese craft. Seeing how it is made would make you understand why it is one of the worthy souvenirs to buy in Vietnam, and using it would make you feel like why it still exists against the flow of time.

Copyright

© Written by Nhi Nguyen for itourvn.com

251
 

Comments

Guest - Mykie Starge on Tuesday, 24 December 2019 21:34

This is so interesting. I saw so many ladies on the streets of Saigon wearing this hat. The souvenir version I got is not as big, but it was still as useful to wear around and protect myself from the sun. I'm happy I got to bring this iconic hat back home.

This is so interesting. I saw so many ladies on the streets of Saigon wearing this hat. The souvenir version I got is not as big, but it was still as useful to wear around and protect myself from the sun. I'm happy I got to bring this iconic hat back home.
Guest - Sheila McCarthy on Tuesday, 01 October 2019 19:24

Thanks for the well-written article, can you please tell me where can I buy one of those?

Thanks for the well-written article, can you please tell me where can I buy one of those?
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Tuesday, 26 October 2021

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.itourvn.com/

 

About itourvn.com

This Vietnam travel information page is written by a team of professional tour guides in Vietnam. More about us or visit home page

Private Ho Chi Minh Tours

private ho chi minh tours

All tours are private, customizable, and led by professional English-speaking guides. For more reference, read our customer reviews or see below for the tour package in Ho Chi Minh that works for you.

Half-day City Tour

Night Tour

Food Tour

Saigon's Other Side

Shore Excursions

Vietnam Travel Information

Check out the necessary information for traveling to Vietnam

First Time in Vietnam

To Pack List for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Adaptors

Major Cities in Vietnam

Family & Elderly Travel

LGBT Travel

Vietnam Festivals and Holidays

Best Vietnamese Dishes

UNESCO World Heritage in Vietnam

Responsible Travel in Vietnam

Vietnamese Culture

Religions in Vietnam

Ethnicities in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam

Vietnamese Currency Guide

Best Dishes to Try in Vietnam

20 Must-try Vietnamese Dishes

Unusual Foods to Try in Vietnam

Street Food in Vietnam

Vietnamese Grilled Dishes

Rice Dishes in Vietnam

Pho Dishes in Vietnam

Holiday Dishes to Try during Tet Holiday

Chinese Dishes in Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Northern Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Central Vietnam

Dishes to Try in Southern Vietnam

What to Eat in Ho Chi Minh City

What to Eat in Hanoi

What to Eat in Hue

What to Eat in Hoi An

What to Eat in Da Lat

What to Eat in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to and within Vietnam

Airport Arrival Tips at Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh)

Airport Arrival Tips at Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi)

Major Airports in Vietnam

Taking Trains in Vietnam

Bringing your Motorbikes on Trains in Vietnam

Bringing Your Own Vehicles to Vietnam

Bringing Your Pets to Vietnam

How to Take Motorbike Taxis

Taking a Ferry in Vietnam

Renting a Car in Vietnam

How to Travel from Hanoi to Da Nang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Hue

How to Travel from Hanoi to Sa Pa

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mai Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Moc Chau

How to Travel from Hanoi to Cao Bang

How to Travel from Hanoi to Mu Cang Chai

How to Travel from Hanoi to Ha Giang

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Mui Ne

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Da Lat

How to Travel from Ho Chi Minh to Phu Quoc Island

How to Travel from Da Nang to Hoi An

How to Travel from Hue to Phong Nha

Vietnam Travel Itineraries

Vietnam One-month Itinerary

Vietnam One-week Itinerary

Taking a Gap Year in Vietnam

Backpacking in Vietnam

Expat Tours in Vietnam

Honeymoon in Vietnam

Vietnam Visa, SIM Cards, and WiFi

Visa Info & Where to Buy Sim Cards

Traveling with Wifi in Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Safety Tips

Travel Insurance

Is it Safe to Drink Tap Water?

How to Avoid Mosquitoes

Food Safety in Vietnam

Getting Vaccinations

Common Diseases and How to Prevent

Wearing Face Masks in Vietnam

Can Tourists Drive in Vietnam

How to Avoid Scams

Travel Safety Tips

Best Places to Stay in Vietnam

Deluxe Hotels in Vietnam

Best Hotels in Ho Chi Minh

Best Hotels in Hanoi

Where to Stay in Ha Long Bay

Where to Stay in Mai Chau

Where to Stay in Moc Chau

Where to Stay in Ha Giang

Where to Stay in Cao Bang

Where to Stay in Lang Son

Where to Stay in Sa Pa

Where to Stay in Mu Cang Chai

Where to Stay in Kon Tum

Where to Stay in Da Lat

Where to Stay in Mui Ne

Where to Stay in Hoi An

Homestays in Vietnam

Find more hotels to stay in Vietnam below:

 

Ho Chi Minh Travel Guides

First Time in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh

Ho Chi Minh City Districts

Local Activities in Ho Chi Minh

Hanoi Travel Guides

First Time in Hanoi

Hanoi Attractions & Activities

Places to Eat & Drink in Hanoi

Shopping in Hanoi

Hanoi Districts

Local Activities in Hanoi

North Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Ninh Binh

First Time in Ha Giang

First Time in Ha Long Bay

First Time in Sa Pa

First Time at Yen Tu Mountain

First Time in Moc Chau

First Time in Mai Chau

First Time in Hai Phong

First Time in Cao Bang

First Time in Lang Son

First Time at Bai Tu Long Bay

Central Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in Hue

First Time in Hoi An

First Time in Da Nang

First Time in Nha Trang

First Time in Da Lat

First Time in Mui Ne

First Time in Buon Ma Thuot

First Time in Kon Tum

First Time in Phu Yen

South Vietnam Travel Guides

First Time in the Mekong Delta

First Time at Con Dao Island

First Time in Vung Tau

First Time at Phu Quoc Island

First Time in Ca Mau

First Time in Can Tho

Powered by 12Go Asia system