On the banks of the Nhue River about 6 miles (10 kilometers) southwest of Hanoi sits Van Phuc Silk Village. Of Vietnam’s many officially designated craft villages, Van Phuc is perhaps the best known and best developed. It’s also one of the oldest silk producing villages, with a history dating back more than 1,200 years. More than 700 households within the village are involved in silk production, and visitors will find three main streets lined with over 100 shops.
While modern silk shops and mechanized weaving are now the norm in Van Phuc, it remains the best place in the Hanoi area for buying silk products, and even if you’re not in the market to buy, it’s an excellent place to see up close how silk is produced, both with modern methods and traditional looms. In general, silk items in the village tend to be slightly cheaper than in Hanoi, and Van Phuc silk is known for its light weight and smooth appearance, making it cool in the summer yet warm in winter.
Some shop owners in Van Phuc Silk Village speak a little English and French, but be prepared to bargain.