Hoi An - A town tailored to fit

Hoi An is a small town near the coast, halfway up / down Vietnam. It very popular with travellers that seeth around in swarms of aquisitive paleness. Yet during the time I was there, post-SARS 2003, there was only the most mild infection of bewildered over-heated tourists.

The main thing Hoi An is famous for on the consumptive tourist circuit is tailoring. When you hear about get good clothes made for you and your body alone in Veitnam this is the place they meant. Tailors will hunt down the poorly dressed like rabid dogs and you better off for being stripped for your rags. If you want, they can make exact replicas of what you are wearing / packing, but made of better materials and having finer workmanship. Of course, pick the wrong tailor and you will be screwed. Buyers beware. For a few Buck it is possible to spend the rest of your travels wearing something sexy / ethnic / functional, instead of the generic destination t-shirts you can't help buying.

As a historical port Hoi An was part of the route the Dutch trading ships created on their way to the Dutch East Indies. It was also an important center for Chinesetraders and Japanese traders - until the Japanese sealed themselves off from contamination in the 16th century.

Hoi An is a conservative town, at the time of writing tourists haven't yet brought the seedier nightlife that is somehow inevitable. Hawkers are a minor problem, but will suck the keritin out of your fingernails if you do not make it clear straight away you are not interested in postcards, trinkets, fake sunglasses, lychees, keyrings, nail clippers and so forth.

As part of the route up / down the coast, any trip to Veitnam will most likely include Hoi An as a port of call, between Hue and Nga Trang and it is well worth the time spent. Before you go, rip out some pictures of clothes you always wanted - i.e. from a movie, they can often make things from a picture alone - if the material is available. Maybe clothes aren't important to you, but a hand-made suit has a home in any wardrobe.