Location & History
Visitors to Van Phuc village will be impressed by typical manner of an ancient village in the north of Vietnam with banyan tree, well, communal house, and the sound of power-looms everywhere. Walking on the main road in Van Phuc, tourists will be lost in the world of silk with various products like shirts, ties, crafts, dresses… made of silk available in the village.
For a long period of time, silk was considered as extremely precious handwork which was only used to tailor Royal members’ and aristocrats’ dress. The special beauty of Van Phuc or Ha Dong silk was inspiration for many Vietnamese poems, songs and movies (see The White Silk Dress, one of the 5 most outstanding Vietnamese movies).
In Nguyen dynasty time, Van Phuc silk was brought to Hue imperial citadel to make dress for royal members. Between 1931 and 1932, Van Phuc silk was on display in international exhibitions for the first time in Marseille, then Paris and was highly appreciated and preferred by the French. From 1958 to 1988, Van Phuc silk mostly was exported to Eastern European market, and since 1990, it has been known widely in many countries all over the world.
Van Phuc silk has been known for its smooth, light weight, and elegant appearance. Especially, a traditional kind of silk called Van Silk made in Van Phuc make the wearers feel cool in summer and warm in winter. Today, to satisfy various demand for silk of the market, Van Phuc silk producers have expanded their silk and garment goods like embroidered silk, , wrinkled silk, double layers and more colors for silk products.
Many families in Van Phuc open their own shops on the main road of the village; create a “town of silk” that sell eye-catching and high quality silk products. Tourists may buy available nice souvenir and clothes in the shop, or select the most suitable materials to then get customized products. The sellers are very friendly and can speak a little English and French to communicate to foreign tourists.
Nowadays, although the weaving has been mechanized for higher productivity, there are still simple manual looms in some houses in the village which help tourists contemplate the genuinely traditional Vietnamese way of making silk.
How to get there
Tourists can join a tour to Van Phuc village available in travel agencies, or visit Van Phuc on their owns by car, motorbike, or catch the local bus 02, 21 then walk 500m to reach the village.
Tourists should travel south west out of Hanoi center on Nguyen Trai road until reach the border of Ha Dong district, then turn right and drive about 3km to reach the village.