Van Phuc Silk Village is world-renowned for its high-quality silk weaved with traditional techniques and is the most visited handicraft village in Vietnam. Established over a century ago, this serene hamlet is a living museum exhibiting not only top-notch souvenirs but also a glimpse of the ancient Vietnamese lifestyle. From the great banyan trees, the communal wells and houses, to the local craftsmen producing apparel in the same way as their ancestors, everything creates a sense of tranquility and relaxation.
Van Phuc Silk Village’s Gate
Van Phuc Silk Village is situated 10 kilometers away to the South-West of Hanoi, on the banks of Nhue River. From the city center, simply follow the axis of Nguyen Trai - Ha Dong, then cross the Am Bridge, and you’ll reach your destination. The journey often takes about 30 minutes.
For large groups, getting a taxi or renting a car prove to be better options cost-wise. The price fluctuates between 60,000 and 150,000 VND depending on the means of transportation. To avoid congestion, it is advisable that you avoid rush hours. The best time for your departure should be from 9 to 10 A.M. and 2 to 4 P.M. Check out our guide to traveling in Hanoi to learn more!
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Van Phuc Silk
Legend has it that about 1,200 years ago, A La Thi Nuong, a woman of Cao Bang, was well-known for her skillful silk weaving. She passed the craftsmanship to the villagers and became the worshipped village tutelary god after her death. Van Phuc’s silk was first internationally introduced at the Marseille fairs (1931) and was considered by the French to be the delicate product of the French Indochina region. 60% of the total village households currently engaged in weaving and selling silk. Every year, Van Phuc produces from 2.5 to 3 million square meters of silk, accounting for 63% of the turnover of the entire village (about 27 billion VND). This village uses over 1,000 weaving machines and provides occupation for approximately 400 seasonal workers from the surrounding areas. To keep up with the increasing demand for both domestic and foreign visitors, the villagers have established over 100 shops to form the main trade road.
Colorful silk shops in Van Phuc Village
Visiting the Silk Village, you can experience the silk weaving process: from where to get the silk, followed by the stages of getting, selecting, sizing, then weaving silk. Such a complex process requires the artisans to be meticulous and ingenious. However, to create a unique product, it also demands a creative way of embroidery. Van Phuc’s Silk is a combination of the rustic traditional Vietnamese beauty and a touch of modern sophistication. Antique weaving workshops are available for visitors to witness ancient techniques still preserved in the present time. This offers a rare occasion to learn about the labor-intensive traditional method of making silk, as well as the rich history and the resilience of Vietnamese people.
You can buy a wide range of souvenirs from gift-shops in the village’s center. The products on sale include ready-to-wear clothing items such as dresses, shirts, ties, and handicrafts at reasonable prices.
Pre-made Vietnamese items of clothing
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1. When to go? Van Phuc Silk Village only opens from 8 A.M to 10 P.M. We highly recommend visiting in Autumn to avoid harsh weather in Hanoi. Weekdays are often less crowded than the weekends. Van Phuc Village holds an annual festival from November 8th to November 17th, when the village is adorned in vibrant colors and celebrating exciting activities. It’ll make a quite Facebook post!
Traditional local celebration in Van Phuc Silk Village
2. Money matters? It’s best if you can exchange your national currencies to Vietnamese Dong for trading in the village. Remember to bargain! There’s a likelihood that villagers may sell you overpriced products, so make sure that you pay a reasonable amount.
3. Photography and etiquette? Van Phuc Silk Village is open for tourism, but there are still villagers living there. Be polite and ask if you want to take a portrait of the locals.
4. Other handicraft villages in Hanoi? Hanoi offers several handicraft villages to satisfy the cultural enthusiasts seeking to know more about her thousand-year-old history. Some of the most famous places are Bat Trang Pottery Village, Chang Son Hand-fan Village, Chuong Conical Hat Village, and Quat Dong Embroidery Village. If you want to know more, check out our guide to Hanoi Handicraft Villages!
Overall, Van Phuc Silk Village is among the best destinations for cultural tourism in Hanoi. It is relatively close to the city center but still retains the traditional quality of the thousand-year-old capital. Visitors flock here, not only for the world-renowned silk products but also for a taste of the ancient way of life.
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© Written by Dũng Trần for itourvn.com