Silk Village in Hanoi, Van Phuc
We visited the town of Van Phuc in search of Hanoian silk. The sleek fabric retaining the thousand-year-long history and know-how embraces the village ever so gently.
The Chinese idiom of ‘adding flower on the silk’ is an expression of amazement used by ancient people in seeing both beautiful and precious things in one place. Van Phuc Silk Village is the epitome of the idiom.

An old, worn-out hand-loom for silk weaving ©Shutterstock

Sixth Largest Silk Exporter
A timeless symbol of what is good and luxurious, silk originated about 3,000 BC in China. Vietnamese records reveal that mulberry trees and silkworms were raised as early as 4,000 BC in the country, and the full-fledged silk weaving began as the manufacturing method was introduced by China during the colonial period. Later in the 19th century when France took over Vietnam, its silk was featured at a Paris exhibition and drew the interest of Europeans. This served as a momentum through which Vietnamese silk became widely known in the international market. As of now, Vietnam is ranked third in Asia and sixth worldwide in terms of silk export.

Hanging silk fabric ©Shutterstock

Inspecting the quality of silk yarn ©Shutterstock

There are six famous silk-producing villages in Vietnam: Bao Loc is considered the home of Vietnamese silk industry; Nha Xa Village near the Red River is believed to have produced silk since the late 13th century; Mai Chau began growing mulberries and silkworms in the 16th century; Hoi An still retains the ancient history of Vietnam; Tan Chau specializes in black silk using the resin of diospyros mollis fruit as a dye; and last but not least, backed by its thousand-year-old tradition, Van Phuc continues to produce hand-woven silk.

Weaving silk ©Shutterstock

Drying freshly-produced silk ©Shutterstock

Entrance to Van Phuc Silk Village ©Shutterstock

Just Two Hands
Van Phuc Silk Village is located in Ha Dong, 10km south of downtown Hanoi. An inscription at a local temple reads, “By knowing how to weave silk, you can build an entire town, and the skill will provide food for the residents for generations to come,” indicating how sincere the craft village is about producing silk. The quality of Van Phuc silk was superior enough to be presented to the royal palace. During the French occupation, it was popular among the French population in Vietnam.

Colorful, smooth silk products of Van Phuc ©Shutterstock

The handwoven Van Phuc silk is soft to the touch and highly durable thanks to its flexibility and elasticity. In addition, the wide variety of weaving patterns means Van Phuc’s fabric products can appeal to people of varying tastes. That’s how the Hanoian silk still continues to attract visitors and locals, even after hundreds of years in popularity. The most iconic scene of Van Phuc is the one where a silk artisan operates an old weaving machine to make silk. The archaic machine squeaks rather loudly as it works in tune with the artisan’s experienced hands and feet to create the classic Van Phuc silk, woven with tradition and pride.

A weaver inspecting silk fabric with hands ©Shutterstock

“Silk is a textile of natural animal fiber, made by weaving raw silk threads extracted from silkworm cocoons. About 75% of silk fiber is composed of a protein known as fibroin, which has a similar molecular structure to that of amino acid in the form of proteins that make up human skin. It is why silk feels soft and comfortable to the touch.”

A silk shop in Hanoi ©Jeon haein

Best Souvenir Ever, Van Phuc Silk Products
Silk textiles manufactured in Van Phuc become materials for ao dai, Vietnam’s traditional costume, other clothings or scarves. Because of its tendency to absorb moisture and also repel moisture, silk is quite breathable and thus perfect for garment-making in Vietnam which is hot and humid year-round. Besides, ao dai dresses and scarves are worn close to the body, meaning silk offers necessary benefits.
Van Phuc silk products are great souvenirs and gifts from your trip to Vietnam. A 100% silk scarf with one-of-a-kind pattern and vivid colorways would cost you around 20,000 won. Once you start picking gifts for your family or female friends, soon enough your two arms are going to be under heaps of scarves. Come empty handed, but  return with a bag full of silk. It may be the unspoken rule of Van Phuc trips.

Umbrella Street marking the entrance to Van Phuc ©

Merchandise at a silk shop ©Jeon haein

Van Phuc is not a big town so it is easy to have a walking tour. Enjoy the cute local Vietnamese vibe as you go through ‘Umbrella Street’ featuring rows of colorful umbrellas seemingly floating in the sky. Watch artisans’ silk manufacturing processes. You can even have a silk product customized for you. All of these activities will enrich your time in the silk village.
We recommend that you use taxi or bike taxi services to visit Van Phuc village. It will take 20-30 min from downtown Hanoi to Van Phuc.

Where to Stay in Hanoi: LOTTE HOTEL HANOI
LOTTE HOTEL HANOI is located in the upper floors of Hanoi’s new landmark Lotte Center. Offering a fantastic view of the entire city of Hanoi, the hotel’s 318 rooms and suites are beautifully decorated using traditional Vietnamese patterns. Its restaurants entertain guests with mouthwatering dishes cooked with the freshest ingredients from Vietnam and around the world, and the rooftop bar is famous for its breathtaking view of Hanoi’s skyline.

Address 54, Lieu Giai St., Cong Vi Ward, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
Inquiry +84-24-3333-1000
April 2023 Editor:Jung Jaewook
Writer:Jeon Haein

Where to stay?

  • April 2023
  • Editor: Jung Jaewook
    Writer: Jeon Haein
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