Hoi An, Vietnam

Hoi An Lanterns

With its riverside setting, elegant architecture and glut of restaurants and boutique hotels, Hoi An is fast becoming Vietnam’s Venice of the East.

In a sort of Primark-meets-Parisian-haute-couture way, Hoi An is most famous for its speedy, hand-made clothing industry and the streets are lined with endless tailors, cobblers and fabric shops hoping to entice tourists with made-to-measure suits and coats. However, if having pocket-sized women flutter around you with tape measures, reassuring you that “we make big big sizes, lots of material” – I’m 5’3, incidentally – doesn’t appeal, then see a different kind of workmanship on show at the Hoi An Arts & Crafts Workshop.

Yes it’s packed with tourists and you’ll probably leave with three lanterns and a wooden mask wedged into your rucksack because they offered you a deal that was just too good to resist, but it’s well worth a visit to watch the artisans make wood carvings, embroidered lanterns and pottery and catch one of the daily two-hour Vietnamese music and dance shows.

Admission is covered as one of your five entries under the city’s Heritage Pass.

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