Vietnam Tailor made holidays in Hoi An
Vietnam Tailor made holidays, take an opportunity this summer to indulge in the attractions of Hoi An has to offer; unique cuisine, an old town ambience and of course its high quality tailoring.
Hoi An is located 30km south of Danang City, and 60 km northeast of Tam Ky. It sits on the picturesque banks of the river Thu Bon. Hoi An itself has become a major tourist attraction recognised by UNESCO due to it's well preserved historic buildings heavily influenced by Chinese, Japanese, French and Vietnamese architectural styles and it's reputation for bargains that draw shopaholics from around the world.
The town houses - consisting of a fusion of different historical styles - act as a beautiful backdrop to everyday life in the cobbled streets of the old town, the sunlight's warm glow reflected back onto the streets via the deep yellow walls of the ancient buildings.
Relaxing in whicker chairs on the patios outside of the numerous cafes that are scattered throughout the town, visitors to Hoi an can rest their weary feet while drinking an iced coffee following a hard day pounding the streets in search of an illusive bargain.
Hoi An has rightly gained a reputation as a haven for shoppers trying to find something special to take home. Intricate wooden carved items, art, paper lanterns and most famously of all - hand tailored items are often top of the shopping list when travel in Hoi An.
When last counted in 2002, there were 140 shops in the city and the number is now well over 400. However it pays to be careful when you choose who to manufacture your clothes. The high quality Yaly tailors, located on Tran Phu Street have a great and extensive range of fabrics to choose from, with attentive and extremely patient staff. While browsing through their off-the-peg collection you can be sure that you'll hear happy customers commenting to each other on both the speed and quality of the work. Leanne Demergue from Quebec, Canada said while shopping: 'I not only got two skirts hand made and fitted but I am so happy with the quality of the garments that I've decided to take material home with me to Canada to copy the couture of the Yaly tailors!'
Another tourist, Duyen, a Vietnamese national living in Toulouse, France who also got a red silk dress made in Hoi An, commented on the work, saying 'the fitting was very quick, but as always it is necessary to make sure you have time to check the fit, so leave yourself time to allow for corrections to your clothes', useful advice indeed, as with all hand tailoring, minor adjustments are always necessary. Another worthwhile tip is to get your fitting done as soon as you arrive in Hoi An, as giving yourself two days to get corrections done will mean you'll be happy with the garment.
Off-the-peg purchases are also an option, while visiting Hoi An two years ago I purchased a cap; which as a testament to it's quality is still in perfect condition. Seeking out the same shop I eagerly stocked up on another two to keep me supplied in headgear for the foreseeable future! I shared this piece of information with the shop-owners, who were only too delighted to see the excellence of their merchandise withstanding the test of time.
While you are waiting for your clothes to be made, there is plenty else to do.
Once you've recovered from the first bout of shopping it's back onto the street for a second round. However don't despair as this is an ideal opportunity to see the sights of Hoi An enjoyed via cyclo (xich lo in Vietnamese; a three-wheeled bicycle taxi). Cyclo drivers are some of the best impromptu tour guides, and will enthusiastically take you in any direction to any corner of town while offering a friendly, local perspective, although it should be noted that it’s always worth negotiating the fare in advance.
While meandering through the streets of Hoi An, you should take in some of the sights of particular interest. Keep an eye out for the old houses, some of which have witnessed seven generations of families over a period of more than 200 years. After passing through two compartments of the house, tourists can see into a large courtyard.
Apparently the outdoor space was either used to attract sunlight or create an airy atmosphere in the house. Within the house, special attention was paid to details over the years, and old artifacts and features have remained intact.
Small family-owned shops and carts along the street with many kinds of che (grass jelly and bean desert) and ice cream can satisfy your thirst, or alternatively indulge yourself in a cooling glass of nuoc mia da (iced sugar-cane juice) while watching the world go by on the busy ferry dockside.
As the sun descends from its zenith, HoiAn now wrapped in the warm evening air, sparkles as shops and homes light their paper lanterns on roofs and shop awnings, bathing the town in a warm ruddy glow.
Finish your day with a relaxing cocktail or beer at the Cargo Rooms, Tam Tam bar, Treats or Before and Now, and make plans for your next shopping haul or a jaunt out to Cau Dai beach a few short kilometres down the road.
-This town is best seen by bike. It is that perfect size, where a bike will get you anywhere in an instant and a walk may seem a little too far.
-Come into stores with an idea of what you are looking for and how much you want to spend. It is amazing how well they can convince you to buy more things, to get something to match, etc. You can also certainly bargain in this town. Negotiating prices is a part of the culture.
-Make sure you really look around town for the right place to do business. It is easy to jump up and down and get excited with the first shop you find, but, the different places have different quality of fabrics and are worth checking out.
-There is an underground night scene in this town. When the popular tourist bars close, there are hired people telling tourists the best places to go next. Be warned, that the places are pretty far down the road and is likely just a party in a garage. That being said, if you are down for an adventure, hop on a motorbike and go!
A short walking tour Hoi An
The town is pretty small so can be explored it within half the day.
Begin your walk to the Japanese Covered bridge. The Japanese Covered Bridge has other names such us Japanese Bridge or Pagoda Bridge. This Bridge located at the corner of Tran Phu Street & Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street, is regarded as the symbol of Hoi An, and was built by Japanese community somewhere between the end of 16th century and the beginning of 17th century.
There you’ll likely get a brief introduction/ history lesson by the locals there before heading on towards the old house of Quan Thang at Tran Phu street. There, you can have a brief chat with the latest descendant, who will kindly show you around the house (in combination style of Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese). What is really fascinating is the generational struggle to keep the antiques well maintained and away from harm in the form of the annual floods. They literally hoist all furniture upstairs during those months for safekeeping.
The Tran Family chapel is another interesting house to visit. The book of ancestors gives fascinating glimpse of history tracing the family back to the early 19th century.
A short walk further down the road lead you into the market. It teams with activity as fishermen unload their morning catch onto the docks, fish mongers selling the catch, as well as all manner of produce by the various sellers.
(Source: Nhan Dan)
Vietnam Tailor made holidays in Hoi An (12/05/07)
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