Hoi An, Vietnam, A Shopper's Paradise
Vietnam is an exotic land with lots to offer its visitors. This Southeast Asian nation is full of friendly and beautiful people, and the food is absolutely out of this world. But the land of green rice fields and conical hats has a lot more to offer the tourist than just its streets full of motorbikes and historical importance; Vietnam is a shopper's paradise.
Not only can you buy beautiful rice pictures for only $1, T-shirts for $2 and a full meal for under $5, but you can also get custom-tailored clothing for the price of a baseball cap in the United States.
Welcome to Hoi An, a small port town in the middle of Vietnam where experienced tailors eagerly await your order. You may be thinking that this is impossible, or that it would cost a fortune. You may also be thinking that to get this service you would have to go to an expensive tailor in Beverly Hills. Well, you would be wrong!
In Hoi An you will have the luxury of walking into a shop knowing that whatever you buy will fit perfectly and that every detail will be as you wish. The biggest dilemma will be which color to choose for your new outfit!
When you arrive an oasis of tailor shops greets you. You can choose a tailor on your own, or if you want a recommendation, you can ask at the front desk of your hotel. They will have feedback from recent guests and will also direct you on where to go to begin your shopping.
As you enter a store very experienced tailors will greet you. First the tailors will measure you and next you will choose which colors and types of cloth you want. Cotton and silk are the main fabrics used for clothing made in Hoi An, and they range in quality. Colors are about the only thing that vary from shop to shop and if you are not satisfied with the selection at the store you go to, the tailors will be more than happy to use cloth from another shop.
The next part of the process is the most fun. During this time you are able to describe exactly what you want to the tailors. If you don't know exactly what you want, the tailors will happily guide you along until you are satisfied with your order. Pockets or no pockets? Exactly how long should that skirt be? And what color buttons for that shirt? The tailors will cater to your requests and to make sure that you will look good in the clothes that they make for you.
I went to two different tailors. The first was Tien and was recommended to me by my hotel. The shop specializes in silk and cotton garments and has an assortment of colors and styles to choose from. These friendly tailors charge reasonable prices and speak both French and English. Orders can be made at the store at 54 Nguyen Truong To. Orders can also be made by Telephone: 0510-863900, or by email: Haipq_2000@hotmail.com.
I found Dong Phuong, the second shop, on my own while browsing down the main street in town. What drew me to this one shop was a particular dress that I saw hanging on display. I immediately walked in and was measured. I ended up buying two of the dresses (of course in different colors) for me and another one for my sister, not to mention some other skirts and tops. Dong Phuong is located at: 15b Le Loi Street and their telephone is: 0510-861422. This shop makes all types of clothes and also has all kinds of materials. They also promise quick service, which I can second. The service is friendly and the tailors make beautiful clothing.
The best part is that this is all affordable- to everyone who visits Vietnam! A dress will cost $12, while a suit will cost around $24, being the most expensive. These prices are definitely very affordable! Orders can be rushed and will be taken to your hotel if needed. I went into the shops around 4 p.m. and was trying on my clothes by 9 p.m. After I saw the quality of the clothes they had made, I ordered more clothes! The tailors worked hard to finish the order so that it would be ready before I left and even though I was leaving very early the next morning, the tailors completed my order before my departure. They went as far as to go to my hotel to deliver my clothes at 6:30 the next morning. I was happy to be able to say goodbye to the tailors and also very pleased with my new wardrobe! The tailor from Don Phuong even gave me a scarf as a gift!
If you are making a journey down through Vietnam you will more than likely make a stop in Hoi An. It has a lot more to offer to a traveler than clothes. Aside from tailor shops, Hoi An is a lovely town and a great place to unwind. There are lots of restaurants to dine in as well as many quaint places to stay. It is a short bus ride away from Danang and should definitely be on any visitor's destination list who is going to Vietnam. As you leave Vietnam you will notice that a lot of the passengers on your flight will be leaving with a little more than they arrived with and will more than likely have bought a new bag to hold their clothes. So make sure to put a label on your bag, because I'm sure you will have one holding all of your clothes too!
* * * * *
Here's an email (dated 3/6/2001) sent to the author after publication of the article.
We were very very surprised and excited to see our name in your article! A German couple brought the article to our shop and made our day. Of all the shops in Hoi An you mentioned us. We are very grateful for that. We would like show our appreciation some how. Please email us if there is anything we could make for you as a token of our appreciation. Rest assured that our customer service and the quality of our clothes will continue and live up to your wonderful recommendation. Since your article was written we have set up a second email account. Our new address is email@example.com. If it is possible somehow we would love it if our new address could be added to your article. Once again thank you for your mention, it has been very helpful to our business. Please contact us via email and especially if you ever return to Hoi An.
Pham Thi Tho
* * * * *
Published on 12/4/00