The Hoi An Cloth Market is not for the faint hearted, but it’s a great place to experience local culture. Here you can get some really good bargains on materials and dress making for a fraction of what you’d pay in the tailor shops, while getting a taste for the art of bargaining in Vietnam.
Tips for Visiting Hoi An Cloth Market
The Hoi An Cloth Market may be overwhelming at times, but if you keep in mind these tips, you can make the most of the experience. Here are some dos and don’ts to consider when visiting:
1. Do not feel pressured to buy something
Be prepared to be approached by sellers from the moment you walk in. They will thrust material in your face, scurry up piles of material and bring the top one down simply because you looked at it. Do not feel obliged to buy and do not feel harassed in any way – it is just how things are done in Hoi An’s Cloth Market. Shop sellers are used to people walking away so don’t give it a second thought.
2. Be firm but go with the flow and keep a sense of humor
As you are looking through fabric, the shop assistant will flank your every move whilst simultaneously thrusting cloth in your face and repeatedly asking what you want. Do not let this phase you. Smile and keep exploring. It is all worth it because there is wonderful material of all types and quality in this place and if you keep your wits about you and your eye on the ball you may just come away with a real bargain.
3. Step up your bartering game
Of course the market sellers will barter, so remember that bartering is part of Vietnamese culture. Join in the game and have fun!
4. Ask the Hoi An Cloth Market sellers for help when you need it
If you simply cannot find what you are looking for, ask for help. The sellers at the market will scour every nook and cranny to find what you need and they will always come back with it. Whilst the Vietnamese are business people, most are also incredibly nice human beings who will go out of their way to help you with a kindness that puts other cultures to shame. So always remember to be polite and friendly.
Quality of Tailoring at the Cloth Market
The cloth tailors at the Hoi An Cloth Market are cheaper than the shop tailors. However, usually the cotton used in the high-end tailor shops is marginally better fabric. Here is a price guide in Vietnamese dong for 1m of the following fabrics:
- Cotton: 5 – 6 USD
- Linen: 4 – 13 USD
- Silk: 6 – 13 USD
Alternatives to the Cloth Market
If you are looking for a quieter place, there are a couple of fabric shops in Hung Vuong Street that could be a good alternative. Here you will find a great range of fabrics at far cheaper prices. Keep in mind that they may not speak English. This is okay because there’s nothing that a bit of pointing and charades can’t solve.
- Kim Thảo , 68 Hung Vuong Street
- Kim Thủy , 10 Hung Vuong Street
- Minh Khang , 95 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai Street
These shops are also used by local dressmakers as you’ll sometimes see them walking out with yards of fabric – always a good indication of quality!
Alternatives for Buying Silk
If you want to explore more places in search for silk, you can head to Minh Khang, 95 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai – close to the Hung Vung material shops. They have a fabulous range of silk and are open from 8a.m. to 7p.m., 7 days per week.
Price: 4 – 15 USD per 1m
For the best quality silk in Hoi An, try the Hoi An Silk Village. Whilst the prices are higher the incredible choice and quality of silk on offer, together with the quality, is worth it. Whilst you’re there do the silk tour. This great little tour encompasses all stages of the silk process from silk worms spinning their cocoons to weavers spinning the yarn to the final display room that is home to reams of colorful silk.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hoi An’s Cloth Market is located at the corner of Tran Phu street and Nguyen Duy Hieu street and it is opened daily, from 7am. to 5pm.
The best time to visit Hoi An’s Cloth Market depends on the experience you’re after. Are you aiming for a peaceful and quiet trip or are you in for the hustle? If you want to stroll around at you own pace, then go before 10 am as you will not bump into many customers and many vendors are still setting up for the day. On the other hand, if you are in for the real excitement of the market, go late afternoon.
You do not need to book in advance to visit Hoi An’s Cloth Market. All you have to do is grab a delicious coffee at one of the many coffee shops in town and be ready to have lots of fun. Even if you do not end up buying something, you will still have a great experience.
300 years ago, Hoi An was a very important trading port and was once the center of the famous Silk Road. The fabric was used as a type of currency in trade and played a big part in Vietnam’s history and economic development. Nowadays, silk still plays an important role in Vietnamese culture and is considered to be a luxurious staple of the fabric industry, as tailoring is a family tradition in Hoi An.