Out of the many places we visited in Vietnam, if I had to recommend just one place to visit, it would have to be Hoi An. The winding streets lit with hundreds of tiny lanterns have a simply magical feel, and all of a sudden you find you’ve been wandering for hours just taking it all in, and you know you’re somewhere pretty special. The top reasons to visit aside from seeing how beautiful the town is? Some of the most incredible Vietnamese food, and of course, the TAILORS!
When visiting a place famed for its tailoring, it had been on the back of both of our minds that this was something that would definitely be happening when we arrived in Hoi An. With the upcoming wedding of the year, a new suit was essential, and I mean when does a girl need an excuse to buy a new dress!?
As a whole, choosing a Tailor and what to have made is a daunting task on arriving into Hoi An. There’s tailor’s on every corner showing off their work, and to the untrained eye, it’s certainly not an easy task to establish the good from the bad, from the great!
With this in mind, some key advice:
Have an idea of what you want before you shop – it would be very easy for one pair of trousers to turn into a 3-piece suit, and if this really isn’t what you’re looking for, stick to your guns! And of course along the same lines…
Do you have a budget to stick to? It would be a shame to miss out on other things in your trip at the expense of something you didn’t really need. (You can imagine the struggle I had with this Hector…!)
Are you looking for a timeless piece, or just something to take home as a souvenir? In our situation, we were looking for a high quality suit (naturally!) that was going to last, so it was vital we took some care in selecting a tailor. If you are looking for something simple, and just want to enjoy the experience of having tailor made clothing, this is something that can be done very inexpensively
Our hotel recommended Kimmy’s, located just on the edge of the main town area. The girls were very, very helpful, and certainly knew what they were talking about! Selecting styles, colours, materials, items does take some time, so be sure to leave plenty of time for a visit so you aren’t rushing to choose what you want. We also had to pop in for fittings over the next two days in Hoi An, so it’s wise to visit early on in your stay. Make sure to take full advantage of the fittings – if you aren’t 100% happy with something, you have paid for it to be tailor made so they will adjust it for you, even if they don’t quite agree that it needs to be done!
We had the finished products shipped back to England for an extra charge (somewhat easier than carrying a suit bag alongside a backpack) which arrived promptly 3 weeks later. Now I just need an occasion for the grand debut! (plans to be made perhaps on your return from Madeira?!)
Similar to so many other places in South East Asia, Hoi An has its own Night Market to peruse if you aren’t shopped out from the Tailoring experience. Reached over the large, brightly lit bridge, it is a bit of a battle to get through the crowds of tourists and selfie sticks, and avoid the men parked up on the middle of the bridge offering to take photographs, then proceeding to make you pay for them. But with a bit of persistence, the other side of the river is equally lovely, with several large illuminated dragons along the river bank. Although we were a little short on spending money for the market after placing our orders, I couldn’t get enough of the stalls filled with more brightly coloured lanterns, and window shopped to my hearts content!
During the day, we were fortunate to be visiting on Vietnam Tourist Day, and so each of the Heritage Properties in the town waived admission charges for the day. Including the Japanese bridge and the Tan Ky house, we perused as many as we could, however found without our guidebook we wouldn’t really have had any idea what we were actually looking at.
Accommodation in Hoi An
Hoi An can be reached by bus from a variety of locations, however we chose to take the train from Hue to Da Nang (a very inexpensive journey, on arguably the most beautiful stretch of train line in Vietnam, with views similar to those seen on the Hai Van Pass). Although we tried to get a local bus into Hoi An, this wasn’t such a success, and took a taxi. It turned out I had booked the SunSHINE Hotel, and not the SunFLOWER hostel (woops!), but this actually turned out to be one of the nicest hotels we stayed on the whole trip.
We had a large, clean, twin room, with big windows showing off lovely views over Hoi An. Bonus points as well – a full bathroom rather than a wet room – Hurray!. The staff were extremely helpful showing us our location on the map, and giving us some recommendations for activities, dining, and our lovely tailor Kimmys. There were also bikes available to borrow complimentary, which wasn’t something we took advantage of, but the area is fairly flat if you can handle the heat (and the relentless horn beeping when on the roads!). The walk to town is only 15 minutes, and they do operate an hourly shuttle bus. We also took advantage of the surprisingly nice swimming pool, and the amazing buffet breakfast that had everything from an omelette station, to chicken fried rice, to dragonfruit, to garlic bread!! At only £17 for the room per night, this was worth every penny, and highly recommended.
With kindest regards,