Nón lá – A traditional head wear of Vietnamse

“Nón lá” is called for traditional Vietnamese hat, no body knows when it was existed but it was in Vietnamese folk stories, songs and poem many hundred years ago, it just like be born for Vietnamese all class of people from wealthy to poor, from noble to farmer and even solder. a little research and collection may bring to you some thoughts about one of our value to talk to your traveler during the trip. I would like to mention briefly about:
  • History
  • Composition
  • Types
  • How to make it
  • Usage
  • There is a job


no-one knows surely, but we have found this in the carving in a brass drum made in Vietnam 3000 years ago

  • Large and round,
  • Mostly conical, some flat
  • Frame: bamboo, 16 rounds of bamboo stand for the year a girl turns mature
  • Coverage: normal leaf, palm leaf, rice straw, bamboo, etc
  • Lace: silk, fabric
  • Nón ngựa ( horsed hat)
  • Nón quai thao (flat palm hat)
  • Nón bài thơ (poem hat)
  • Nón lính (soldered hat)
  • Nón rơm (strawed hat)
Horsed hat (Nón ngựa)
  • Made by pinaple leaf
  • Made in Binh Định for horse riders
  • Bình Định used to be a center for Vietnam Kungfu, for knights on the horses and a horse exchange

Flat palm hat (Nón Quai Thao)

  • Made by palm leaf
  • Made in the North of Vietnam
  • Usually goes with Quan Ho traditional music and Tu Than clothes

Poem hat (Nón bài thơ)
  • Only in Hue, literately means poetic hat
  • Goes with purple ao dai
  • Famous with Hue style
  • Poems and pictures in the hat
Soldier hat (Nón lính)

  • For solder at the monarchy time
  • Also for man (special)
  • Made by bamboo only, no leaf
  • Not available now

  • Cut bamboo to long sticks, 1.5 mm in diameter, smooth the sticks
  • Turn the sticks to the circle with the maximum diameter of 50 cm ( 80cm for flat palm hat), the inner is the smaller, totally 16 circles are applied to a conical frame
  • Collect palms leaf, dry them then iron them
  • Cover the leaves to the frame then weave by plastic threads, one or two layers is depend on the quality and types of hats
  • Cover the outside layer by oil
  • Hue poem hats are two layers with pictures in between layers

  • Cover head from rain and sun
  • For beauty of a girl: charming, secret, hidden, gentle and attractive
  • Cover from wind ( for smoking for example)
  • Cover other things
  • Fan
  • Used as a basket
  • Used with ao dai ( the center) or baba ( in the South)

  • There are many villages along the country making non la for their living
  • A skillful person can make 3 hats per day, earn $1 per days
  • Job mostly done by ladies
  • If it is done at the free time, it is as an extra income
  • Done in countryside
Nón lá is one of traditional feature of Vietnamese people, it looks fragile but it’s very strong in its inner and adapts well to all circumstances. It looks simple very very useful. It’s looks normal but it’s very special in literacy.
Collecting by Thanh Long (former TIC guide)

About Insiderjourneyguidehelpdesk

Local guide manager-Vietnam
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