Van Phuc Silk Village, located roughly 10 kilometers southwest from Hanoi’s Old Quarter, has been a silk production village for over 1,200 years. It is the country’s oldest silk village and is said to produce the best silk in Vietnam. Van Phuc is a very small village that has lost much of its ancient appeal and has transformed into a busy tourist destination. However, that does not mean it isn’t worth visiting, especially as it is such convenient day trip. Additionally, most of the silk items you find for sale in Hanoi’s Old Quarter are made in Van Phuc and transported to the Old Quarter, making prices in the Old Quarter higher for the exact same products.
See silk being woven on old looms
As you enter Van Phuc, you will hear a repetitive, loud clapping sound. Follow the sound into minimalist mini-factories where there are roughly a dozen old looms. For the sake of mass production, the looms are now mechanical and do not require someone to be present to work the machine at all times. One woman eyes the looms, wandering around the room to ensure they are all working properly. She smiles and goes about her business; she has a lot of silk to weave.
However, the experience would be even more enjoyable if one of the silk weavers has the time to explain the silk production process. It is a sight to see, and hear, these ancient machines working away to make beautiful, soft silk. It would be even better to know how the machines work, how long the process takes, where the silk originally comes from, and what happens once the woven, stark white silk comes off the loom.
Browse through stalls of silk products
Van Phuc is relatively small, but plan to spend two to three hours roaming around the various stalls and stores. Each stall has hundreds of items. Dig through piles of scarves, coats hanging along the walls of the stalls, and men’s ties hanging neatly on racks.
Scarves, coats and ties can be found at practically every stall. However, since Van Phuc has become somewhat of a tourist attraction, the products have expanded to include pajamas, men’s underwear, stuffed animals intricately embroidered with colorful designs, coin purses and cross-body bags.
Don't forget to barter
Do not impulse buy. It is best to walk around the entire village, keeping in mind items you have found and asking for the prices as you continue your search. Often, you will see the same product at multiple stores. Once you have an idea of what items you want and the prices each vendor is selling them for, begin to barter for a lower price. A large winter scarf could start at 250,000 VND (11.12 USD) but, after haggling with the vendor, you may walk away with the scarf for 150,000 VND (6.67 USD).
How to get to Van Phuc Silk Village
The best way to get to Van Phuc Silk Village is by motorbike. Search “Van Phuc” in Google Maps and it will lead you to your destination. As it is only 10 kilometers southwest of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, the drive takes roughly 30-40 minutes depending on how fast you drive. A majority of the drive is on the highway so you’ll be driving at least 40 kilometers/hour.
As you get closer to Van Phuc, you will see a large sign on the left side of To Huu that reads “Welcome to Van Phuc Silk Village”. This is where you will turn left off the highway. Drive about one more minute and the entrance arch to Van Phuc is on the left side of the road. Park your motorbike for 5,000 VND (0.22 USD), payable when you leave.
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