Set on the very outskirts of the city in Ha Dong District, Van Phuc silk village does exactly what it says on the tin — make and sell silk. Admittedly, Chào saw more of the selling than the making on our visit though there was a fair bit of the latter.
Essentially being a large silk market, the entire village hums with color. Bright greens, reds, cyans, yellows and pretty much every color under the rainbow are everywhere, with many of the small streets colored by bright umbrellas hanging down to add to the area’s vibrancy. There are small makeshift factories with ancient looms spinning throughout the village, and no one seemed to mind when we popped in to see them at work.
The still-alive silk worms wriggling in their baskets is quite a sight, though might be a little much for some.
For those really interested in the nitty-gritty of how the silk is made and colored, half-day tours can be arranged where guides can explain the process in depth and you might even get the chance to dye your own silk, but we found an hour or so wandering among the looms and small silk shops more than enough.
One of the pleasures of the village is that being quite far from the center it is eerily quiet and peaceful. Chào explored a small surrounding village and found a tiny, yet beautiful temple full of trees and wild birds.
It goes without saying that the best reason to visit to Van Phuc is if you want to actually buy silk, and you will be overwhelmed for choice. You will find almost anything you are looking for silk-wise, including sheets, shirts, ties, hats, handkerchiefs, dresses, flannels, ties and more.
You are unlikely to find decent silk cheaper anywhere else either. A taxi will take you to Van Phuc from the center of town in about 25 minutes flat for 100,000 VND, with the village a wonderful way to while away a bright sunny morning.