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If you are looking for a unique shopping experience in Hanoi, you should not miss the famous Silk Street. This is a 300-meter-long street in the Old Quarter, where you can find hundreds of shops selling silk products, such as clothes, scarves, bags, ties, and more. Here are the top 3 best things to do in Hanoi Silk Street.
Things to know about Hanoi Silk Street
When it comes to the term “Hanoi Silk Street” these days, many will think about Hang Gai Street. However, few people are aware that Hang Dao Street used to be the street known for silk products
In Thang Long (ancient Hanoi), Hang Dao Street was formerly a thriving hub for the silk trade. Industrial textiles, however, started to take the lead over conventional hand-woven textiles around 1925. Modern fabric stores have taken the place of more than half of the previous retailers on Hang Dao Street.
The historic Hanoi Silk Street gradually stopped selling fabrics. The wealthier shop owners began to specialize in selling expensive goods like perfume, cosmetics, fur caps, and aromatic oils. Hang Dao is still regarded as one of Hanoi’s busiest business streets despite undergoing several changes.
Currently, Hang Gai Street is frequently considered when Hanoi Silk Street is mentioned. Before, Hang Gai Street was known for its variety of ropes, hammocks, and strings.It is unknown when the shops on Hang Gai Street switched to selling silk products.
Today, Hang Gai Street is renowned for its numerous high-end silk stores that offer both traditional hand-embroidered goods and trendy clothes. You can purchase these goods from this contemporary Hanoi Silk Street as presents for your loved ones.
Best things to do in Hanoi silk street
1. Buy custom-made silk clothes
One of the most popular things to do in Silk Street is to get your own tailor-made silk outfit. You can choose from a variety of fabrics, colors, patterns, and styles, and have your measurements taken by a professional tailor. You can also bring your own design or photo of what you want to make. The price depends on the quality and quantity of the material, as well as the complexity of the work. It usually takes a few days to finish your order, but some shops can do it faster if you pay extra.
2. Explore the history and culture of silk
Silk Street is not only a place to shop, but also a place to learn about the history and culture of silk in Vietnam. You can visit some of the oldest and most famous silk shops in the street, such as Khai Silk, Bao Khanh Silk, or Duc Loi Silk, and see how they preserve the traditional techniques and craftsmanship of silk making. You can also visit the nearby Van Phuc Silk Village, where you can see how silk is produced from silkworms, dyed with natural colors, and woven into beautiful fabrics.
3. Enjoy the street food and atmosphere
After a busy day of shopping and sightseeing, you can relax and enjoy the street food and atmosphere of Silk Street. As you walk along the street, you can admire the architecture of the old buildings, some dating back to the French colonial era.
You can find many stalls and restaurants offering delicious Vietnamese dishes, such as pho (noodle soup), bun cha (grilled pork with rice noodles), banh mi (sandwich), or cha ca (fried fish with herbs). You can also try some of the local specialties, such as banh cuon (steamed rice rolls), banh tom (shrimp cake), or che (sweet soup). You can also mingle with the locals and tourists, and soak up the lively and colorful vibe of the street.
Some tips on how to make the most of your visit to the Silk Street.
- Know what you want.
There are hundreds of shops and stalls along the street, selling different kinds of silk items. Some specialize in ready-made clothes, such as dresses, shirts, scarves and ties. Others offer tailor-made services, where you can choose the fabric, color and style of your desired outfit. You can also find shops that sell silk bedding, curtains, cushions and other household items. Before you go, have a clear idea of what you are looking for and how much you are willing to spend.
- Bargain hard
As with any other street market in Vietnam, the prices on the Silk Street are not fixed. You can always negotiate with the sellers to get a better deal. However, be prepared to bargain hard, as they may start with a very high price. A good rule of thumb is to offer half of the initial price and work your way up from there. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you think the price is too high or the quality is not good enough. You can always find another shop that sells similar products.
- Check the quality:
Not all silk products on the Silk Street are genuine or high-quality. Some may be mixed with synthetic fibers or have poor craftsmanship. To avoid buying fake or low-quality silk, you should check the following things:
– The texture: Genuine silk should feel smooth and soft, not rough or stiff. It should also have a slight sheen, not too shiny or dull.
– The color: Genuine silk should have a rich and even color, not faded or blotchy. It should also not bleed when wet or rub off on your skin or clothes.
– The label: Genuine silk should have a label that indicates the percentage of silk content, the origin and the washing instructions. If there is no label or the label is vague or suspicious, it may be a sign of fake or low-quality silk.
– The burn test: If you are not sure about the authenticity of the silk, you can ask the seller to do a burn test. This involves burning a small piece of the fabric and observing the flame, smoke and ash. Genuine silk should burn with a steady flame and produce a smell similar to burnt hair. The ash should be black and crumbly, not sticky or hard.
Note: To get to the Silk Street, you can take a taxi, a bus or a motorbike from anywhere in Hanoi. The street is located in Hoan Kiem District, near Hoan Kiem Lake and St Joseph’s Cathedral. The street runs from Hang Bong Street to Hang Dao Street, parallel to Hang Trong Street. You can also walk there from other nearby attractions, such as the Hoa Lo Prison Museum or the Dong Xuan Market.
The Silk Street is one of the best places to buy silk products in Hanoi, but it also offers much more than that. It is a place where you can immerse yourself in the vibrant and colorful atmosphere of the city and discover its charm and beauty.