Gallery: Resisting the urge to shop in Hoi An and Battle History in Hue!

It is only now I chastise myself for knocking at least one more grain of rock from these sculptures.

It is only now I chastise myself for knocking at least one more grain of rock from these sculptures.13-Jan-2010 08:24, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 200

Our final straight in Vietnam had only places left beginning with H – and of the first two to be knocked off one is famous for bargain tailor made clothes and the other for being the site of a major battle during the Vietnam war. Geographic necessity forced us down Vietnam’s famous shopping centre first… just how did we go from planning on buying absolutely nothing to having a $96 shipping bill? What does the Perfume river actually smell of? How does a glass of beer costing just ten English pennies actually taste?

Note: 1 GBP = ~30,000 Vietnamese Dong or 1.6 US Dollar at time of writing.

Some locals enjoying lunch on the street.Some locals enjoying lunch on the street.

Some locals enjoying lunch on the street.06-Jan-2010 06:06, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 53.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

We arrived in Hoi An feeling fairly shattered after our attempt to make a South East Asia bus journey more palatable. The experiment was to opt for the standard reclining seat approach, so we could cuddle up and watch a movie or two before hitting the sack. Unfortunately, the 130,000D trip from Nha Trang to Hoi An was possibly even worse than the midget proportions of the normal sleeper, the aggressive driving techniques and harsh beeping meant we emerged in the hotel area of Hoi An feeling something less than Neanderthal. Lynette grabbed a coffee, while in traditional hunter gatherer role I went hostel hunting. Finding that most were still full (leftovers from NYE) I took up a Vietnamese girl on her offer of help, hopped in a taxi and followed her scooter to the other side of town and into Dong Khanh Hotel, where $12 bought us a double with aircon, private bath and ok Wi-Fi. The Vietnamese girl’s only request was that we took a look around her shop, which we dutifully did before parting ways with our wallets fully intact.

Lynette's favourite mistranslation. Even funnier when you read the original Vietnamese.Lynette’s favourite mistranslation. Even funnier when you read the original Vietnamese.

Lynette's favourite mistranslation. Even funnier when you read the original Vietnamese.07-Jan-2010 09:52, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 80

Way back in the 1st century, Hoi An was the proud owner of the largest port in South East Asia, and between 9th-10th century controlled the lucrative spice trade making it a major commercial hub for Vietnam, but silt gradually building up due to floods prevented the entry of larger ships and business moved to the deeper port of Da Nang. In the 19th century it entered recession, but eventually repeated efforts to rebuild and renovate the area proved successful; in 1999 the old town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the beautiful architecture (a fusion of Japanese, Chinese, European and Vietnamese), the winding streets and relaxed atmosphere has been gently enjoyed by tourists ever since. One of its more (in)famous attributes is the hundreds of tailor shops that dominate the streets, where made to measure clothes can be with you more swiftly than your laundry. In fact, it’s probably cheaper (albeit less environmental) to forego washing clothes altogether here, and just wear new ones every day.

Sellers offering their wares on Thu Bon river, with minimum effort.Sellers offering their wares on Thu Bon river, with minimum effort.

Sellers offering their wares on Thu Bon river, with minimum effort.06-Jan-2010 06:07, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 70.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

We’d only intended to stay in Hoi An for two days, before moving swiftly on. We planned to resist the allure of ridiculously priced cashmere suits, inventive dresses that fit like a glove, jackets in any material you can think of and more designs of tie than you can shake a stick at and simply soak up the atmosphere, visit a couple of museums, and potter on our way. Hoi An thought differently and our planned two days melted into a week of meandering around, browsing the aisles, and unintentionally performing a group test of the different tailors that were available. Without further ado, and because it’s quite difficult to remember, a few brief breakdowns of how we spent our time.

The Five Thingamejigs Ticket

In Hoi An, 90,000D buys you a ticket gaining entry to one of five tourist stops on the streets. Some are barely merit a pause, let alone a complete stop, while others were surprisingly fascinating.


    Photo caption : "The graves of some western missionaries coming to Hoi An to preach their religion ... now, they are in Hoi An church"... easy to misinterpret?Photo caption : “The graves of some western missionaries coming to Hoi An to preach their religion … now, they are in Hoi An church”… easy to misinterpret?

    Photo caption : "The graves of some western missionaries coming to Hoi An to preach their religion … now, they are in Hoi An church"… easy to misinterpret?06-Jan-2010 04:29, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 73.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 800

  • The History and Culture Museum –deserves not a lot more than a fleeting glance. Plus it has mosquitoes lurking in the shadows. Some interesting bells, and hilarioiusly captioned photos, other than this it was pap. Although allegedly the best of a bad bunch… we also accidentally walked through into Quang Cong temple – equally dull although they seem to get very excited about some General’s poetry.
  • The green faced assistant of Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea.The green faced assistant of Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea.

    The green faced assistant of Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea.06-Jan-2010 05:03, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 400

  • Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall – Each of the ethnic Chinese groups that lived in Hoi An had their own assembly hall, and the Fujian’s had a wonderful building with an overly elaborate triple-arched gateway. Dedicated to Thian Hau, Goddess of the Sea, she is guarded by some freaky looking assistants who between them can see and hear over one thousand miles. Handy, and a great look around some very ornate fixtures.
  • At first glance just a Chinese letter, but closer inspection reveals four birds carefully crafted from mother of pearl.At first glance just a Chinese letter, but closer inspection reveals four birds carefully crafted from mother of pearl.

    At first glance just a Chinese letter, but closer inspection reveals four birds carefully crafted from mother of pearl.06-Jan-2010 10:07, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 53.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

  • Tan Ky Merchant House – Built in the 18th century, this beautiful shop house has been home to seven generations (who still live there!) and, like many buildings in Hoi An, is a fine example of policy in action. Properties were taxed according to their street frontage, so the buildings are very long and have entrances on two parallel streets – one is the museum entrance and the other is now a restaurant while the family lives upstairs (which is where everything has to retreat in the annual wet season that completely submerges the entire ground floor of Hoi An old town). They are definitely using their space well!

  • The Japanese Covered Bridge – At one end of town is Hoi An’s emblem, a very pretty bridge. Not much more to say on that really…
  • When in fact the whole show was fascinating, if weird, like this tortured soul, obviously in great pain, who still attempted some famous Vietnamese opera.When in fact the whole show was fascinating, if weird, like this tortured soul, obviously in great pain, who still attempted some famous Vietnamese opera.

    When in fact the whole show was fascinating, if weird, like this tortured soul, obviously in great pain, who still attempted some famous Vietnamese opera.07-Jan-2010 09:28, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.5, 105.0mm, 0.008 sec, ISO 1600

  • The Handicraft Workshop – This was a wonderful opportunity to see the traditional methods at work, sculpture, wood carving, silk lantern making and embroidery are all practised daily and the output handily available to buy. We timed our visit with the daily show, which we presumed was going to be terrible but was surprisingly entertaining, varying from skilled (a bit) to unintentionally hilarious (most of it, particularly the intense Vietnamese Opera recital) it is well worth getting to.

A day of doing not much

Some fish in Thu Bin river are bigger than others...Some fish in Thu Bin river are bigger than others…

Some fish in Thu Bin river are bigger than others…08-Jan-2010 01:00, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 4.3, 17.0mm, 0.025 sec, ISO 500

Our favourite day in Hoi An was not necessarily because we were being lazy, we woke at 6am to see the fish market in action; it was crazy. Each day the fishermen bring in the nightly catch to sell to traders and restaurant owners; they’re often chopped up there and then meaning our flip flopped feet were soon paddling in puddles of fish guts and blood, lovely. It didn’t feel like part of a tour, partly because we were blatantly in the way of daily life and these people were very aware that the any money to be made that morning wasn’t going to come from us.

Hoi An delicacies: In front, White Rose, in the middle Cao Lau, at the back is a hungry Lynette.Hoi An delicacies: In front, White Rose, in the middle Cao Lau, at the back is a hungry Lynette.

Hoi An delicacies: In front, White Rose, in the middle Cao Lau, at the back is a hungry Lynette.07-Jan-2010 10:03, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 6.3, 28.0mm, 0.04 sec, ISO 100

We then spent most of the morning drinking very delicious English tea from pint glasses (In Same Same cafe they differentiate ‘English’ tea by adding an extra bag) and grazing on breakfast, before wandering over to the food market for some unidentifiable lunch and returning for more tea. Buzzing on caffeine, we headed to the long table outside restaurants and tried the Hoi An specialities of Cao Lau (noodles and pork rind croutons), Banh Bao Vac (White Rose shrimp dumplings), Hoanh Thanh Chien (Crispy Chinese style wantons) and Mi Quang (another tasty noodle dish with shrimps). Conveniently they also serve Bia Hoi, a national favourite of locally brewed beer that for some reason only lasts a day. But its cheap, 3,000D a glass or about 10p. In Saigon it tasted like it had been brewed with batteries, but here in Hoi An it was a far better brew and went down a treat.

Succumbing to the Tailored Treats

I think she's just glad I didn't order a top hat.I think she’s just glad I didn’t order a top hat.

I think she's just glad I didn't order a top hat.09-Jan-2010 08:13, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 28.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 400

As I’ve mentioned, we planned on avoiding the constantly yelled invitations to visit various shops (Hoi An would be infinitely improved if touting, shouting or asking ‘motorbike?’ was banned), but before long (and after a beer or two if I recall) we were feeling the fabric and sucking up for the tape measure on more than one occasion. Our final shopping list and experiences below!


  • Dai Duong Ocean , 84 Nguyen Thai Hoc – It was the dress that drew us in, and their unstoppable torrent of happy suggestions and compliments that made us buy more. The first shirt fitted so I bought four more, could have been more particular on the material I think but they look great. We pointed out quiet a few quality issues which they fixed there and then, we just hope it all stays together! Every time we turned up for a fitting, they weren’t ready and we had to come back an hour or two later. Became a running joke… :)
    The bill: Five shirts for Steve ($63), Dress for Lynette $21, Top for Lynette $17

  • Nguyet Thu Cloth Shop, 140 Tran Phu – After a few Bia Hois, and using the unfortunate excuse that I’d need one soon, I ventured in on the basis that since they had a big shop and hadn’t been physically dragging us into the shop for a look they might actually be good at what they do. Which I can happily say they were; at the first fitting I was very worried I’d made a mistake. A really bad fit, and I tried to point out all the places it was going wrong. They completely ignored (and eventually shushed) me, and I left feeling a bit despondent. Thankfully on the next fitting they showed their prowess and it fitted like a second skin; I ended up going for the waistcoat as well. Only comment would be they certainly are a grumpy bunch!
    The bill: $100 for cashmere suit (jacket and two trousers), $25 for waistcoat.

  • Lana Tailor, 130 Tran Phu-Hai – Soon afterwards, the idea of a winter jacket entered Lynette’s head and it wouldn’t go away. We only popped in for a look, but the pushy saleswoman ended up going from $40 to $25 so we thought why not. At first fitting she’d stitched in the selected green lining, but left it with bright red buttons, and a collar that meant Lynette nearly couldn’t see let alone breathe. In typical fashion, she assured us nobody could see the lining and the collar was supposed to be like that otherwise you’d get cold. We assured her we’d like it in the original colours we’d chose, and that we’d like to see Lynette’s face as well as the jacket. She then admitted she’d run out of green buttons but would find more, and the collar would be taken down. Second fitting it was the warmest thing Lynette had ever known, and the collar was perfect. It came with black buttons.
    The bill: Winter Jacket for Lynette ($25)

  • Phu’o’ng, 325 Nguyen Duy Hieu – Looking for a more oriental style short jacket, the owner assured us she had thirty five years experience, we’d need one fitting and it would fit better than Lycra. Five fittings later, we think we finally got there, despite her assurances (as most) that it looked fine at every stage, we ended up with something that looks damn good but won’t be going back…
    The bill: Jacket for Lynette ($22)

  • Kim Quyen, 113 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Finally we were looking for an oriental evening gown in honour of our stay. We woke the owner, and she seemed pretty tired whenever we saw her, and we had one issue that they eventually had to call down the tailor for to get resolved. In all a friendly bunch, we ended up packaging up everything in their shop (much easier than the post office!) pretty good, I’d put the repeated fittings down as a mistake but it got unnecessarily nail biting at the end!
    The bill: Dress for Lynette ($21)

  • Hoi An Intertrans VietNam – < BR>We’d planned to post a large box at the local post office, but the experience of boxing it all up inside the shop was a lot more pleasurable and after looking around it seemed pretty reasonable. Transit by boat would have taken three months and cost half as much, but we’ve since heard everything has arrived OK so it looks good!The bill: 96$ for one month air mail delivery 7.5Kg

With our box in the post we set off for our four hour, $3 bus to Hue. But not before a panic stop back at the parcel delivery office just to double check that my lovely cashmere suit was definitely packed… :)

Arrival and the History of Hue

A captain never deserts his ship!A captain never deserts his ship!

A captain never deserts his ship!12-Jan-2010 05:51, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.5, 105.0mm, 0.01 sec, ISO 100

We arrived in overcast Hue just as the sun was setting, unfortunately no glorious view just a general feeling everything was getting darker and colder. We were definitely getting further North! Conveniently, and with probably a small tip involved, our bus stopped outside Binh Duong II Hotel. Several hikes to the top floor later, we bargained them to $11 for a double with private bath and amazing balcony. We trundled off in the direction of Mandarin Cafe, recommended in the book, which turned out to be a brilliant decision with great food and an exceptionally friendly owner. He gave us a walking tour map of Hue, and even a couple of postcards (depicting his famous photography) as gifts. Suitably cheered, we headed back to the hotel ready for the next day, where the heavens dutifully opened and we watched screaming locals sprinting for cover from the comfort of our (covered) balcony with a few bottles of local Ving DaLat Red Wine, very drinkable and a very enjoyable evening.

The south entrance through the first set of walls protecting the citadel.The south entrance through the first set of walls protecting the citadel.

The south entrance through the first set of walls protecting the citadel.12-Jan-2010 06:01, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 40.0mm, 0.004 sec, ISO 100

Between 1802 and 1945 Hue was the imperial capital of the Nguyen dynasty, with a magnificent citadel surrounded by several walls and a moat that was unfortunately all but levelled during the Tet offensive in 1968 when the American army attempted to rout the North Vietnamese Army (NVA) who held the city for twenty five days. Initially calls for air bombing raids were refused by the South Vietnamese government, who eventually relented and as a result much of the historical treasures were destroyed, the damage continued with Communist Vietnam’s policy of not renovating historical or religious monuments (they reminded the locals of a time before the regime ruled), only recently to slowly change as the importance of tourism and the increasing awareness of Western influence. As a result the citadel itself is undergoing redevelopment internally, increasing the ten or so buildings that remain towards their height of over two hundred.

Hue! This bridge over the Perfume River is where the Americans were first driven back by the North Vietnamese army (after they took the city during the Tet offensive).Hue! This bridge over the Perfume River is where the Americans were first driven back by the North Vietnamese army (after they took the city during the Tet offensive).

Hue! This bridge over the Perfume River is where the Americans were first driven back by the North Vietnamese army (after they took the city during the Tet offensive).12-Jan-2010 05:47, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 70.0mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 100

The walk took us over Trang Tien bridge towards the old city, where the American soldiers were first mown down by NVA machine gun fire when they attempted to retake the city. It was interesting to walk these paths, partly due to an excellent BBC documentary we’d watched beforehand, Twentieth Century Battlefields, presented by the father and son Snow combo of Peter and Dan. We stopped off for the obligatory thick, strong, syrupy and after a time quite good Vietnamese coffee before wandering through some of the local streets spotting various local wares such as Spirit Houses, Karaoke machines and alternative therapy shops.

We think the drinking water is too prove he's not leaking.We think the drinking water is too prove he’s not leaking.

We think the drinking water is too prove he's not leaking.13-Jan-2010 03:47, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.5, 105.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 1600

The next day we headed on a $5 boat trip along the Perfume rive, which smelled disappointingly like muddy water, definitely not evening wear. First stop was a fishing village, that due to the height of the river wasn’t actually there – so we turned pointlessly back the way we came and headed the other direction to an optional martial arts display, where students had been training for up to fifteen years and put on a very impressive display. The Vietnamese credit their nation’s martial arts skills as the reason they managed to repel the Mongols three times over.

A life size statue of Emporer Kha Dinh himself, our guide mentioned their general consesus is that he must have been gay, as he only had one son.A life size statue of Emporer Kha Dinh himself, our guide mentioned their general consesus is that he must have been gay, as he only had one son.

A life size statue of Emporer Kha Dinh himself, our guide mentioned their general consesus is that he must have been gay, as he only had one son.13-Jan-2010 08:36, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 200

Afterwards the main attractions of the boat tour awaited, the three mausoleums of Minh Mang, Khai Dinh and Tu Duc. These were immense building projects and very individual to each other – particularly Khai Dinh and its French gothic architecture. See the photos, but our only regret is perhaps not making the trip ourselves as our attempt to break away from the crowds frequently ended up in us squelching through sodden surrounding fields and in general any extra minute more than the allotted forty five would have been well received. It would have been wonderful to spend more time in all of these places.

Two more stupas, this time with minarets, embellishing the mausoleum's silhouette.Two more stupas, this time with minarets, embellishing the mausoleum’s silhouette.

Two more stupas, this time with minarets, embellishing the mausoleum's silhouette.13-Jan-2010 08:41, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.4, 4.7mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 80

With minutes to spare on our return from the boat, we took a taxi (which Mandarin Cafe paid for, as we’d booked both the trip and bus through them and the trip had arrived back late) to the bus station and headed to our next set of capital Hs – Hanoi and Ha Long Bay! We’d opted for the sleeper style at $10 each, hopefully this time we might actually get a chance to rest our weary lids… so much to do, so little time!

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Photo caption : "The graves of some western missionaries coming to Hoi An to preach their religion ... now, they are in Hoi An church"... easy to misinterpret?

Photo caption : "The graves of some western missionaries coming to Hoi An to preach their religion … now, they are in Hoi An church"… easy to misinterpret?06-Jan-2010 04:29, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 73.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 800

Lynette outside Quan Cong temple, built in 1653 and dedicated to the Highly regarded Chinese General.

Lynette outside Quan Cong temple, built in 1653 and dedicated to the Highly regarded Chinese General.06-Jan-2010 04:48, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 100

A turtle marvelling over his relatively gigantic size in Quan Cong temple's indoor pond.

A turtle marvelling over his relatively gigantic size in Quan Cong temple's indoor pond.06-Jan-2010 04:43, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 73.0mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 100

Standing outside two absolutely typical street houses in Hoi An, all beautiful.

Standing outside two absolutely typical street houses in Hoi An, all beautiful.06-Jan-2010 04:52, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 80

Lynette outside Phuoc Kien Asembly Hall in Hoi An, where Chinese Fujian maintained their community centre. No prams allowed.

Lynette outside Phuoc Kien Asembly Hall in Hoi An, where Chinese Fujian maintained their community centre. No prams allowed.06-Jan-2010 05:18, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 8.0, 28.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

Lynette outside one of the ever popular miniature gardens in Hoi An.

Lynette outside one of the ever popular miniature gardens in Hoi An.06-Jan-2010 04:58, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 35.0mm, 0.001 sec, ISO 100

A bit like a scary version of Lynette's own King Charles Spaniel, Lady!

A bit like a scary version of Lynette's own King Charles Spaniel, Lady!06-Jan-2010 04:59, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 5.0, 4.1mm, 0.002 sec, ISO 125

One of the Thien Hau's assistants in the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall.

One of the Thien Hau's assistants in the Phuoc Kien Assembly Hall.06-Jan-2010 05:03, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.077 sec, ISO 400

The green faced assistant of Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea.

The green faced assistant of Thien Hau, Goddess of the Sea.06-Jan-2010 05:03, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.1 sec, ISO 400

Lynette was suitably fascinated by the lively fish pond.

Lynette was suitably fascinated by the lively fish pond.06-Jan-2010 05:06, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 4.4, 18.2mm, 0.013 sec, ISO 80

Many ornate and detailed statues decorate the inside of temples and houses throughout Hoi An.

Many ornate and detailed statues decorate the inside of temples and houses throughout Hoi An.06-Jan-2010 05:08, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 3.5, 28.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

A collection of Vietnamese light switches. One of these destroys the world.

A collection of Vietnamese light switches. One of these destroys the world.06-Jan-2010 05:10, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.3, 4.1mm, 0.125 sec, ISO 400

Polish architect Kazimierz Kwiatkowsky, Kazik, came to Hoi An in the 1980s as part of Vietnam's conservation project and helped make the town the beautifully restored scene it is today. He also has a better beard.

Polish architect Kazimierz Kwiatkowsky, Kazik, came to Hoi An in the 1980s as part of Vietnam's conservation project and helped make the town the beautifully restored scene it is today. He also has a better beard.06-Jan-2010 05:55, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 5.0, 4.1mm, 0.003 sec, ISO 80

Perhaps this is the same shop Jeremy Clarkson bought Hamster's boat in?

Perhaps this is the same shop Jeremy Clarkson bought Hamster's boat in?06-Jan-2010 05:58, Panasonic DMC-TZ6, 3.6, 6.5mm, 0.033 sec, ISO 100

Lynette outside the Japenese Covered Bridge, adopted as Hoi An's emblem and built in the sixteenth century.

Lynette outside the Japenese Covered Bridge, adopted as Hoi An's emblem and built in the sixteenth century.06-Jan-2010 06:06, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 8.0, 28.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

Some of the locals traversing the bridge complete with the surprisingly common coned hat.

Some of the locals traversing the bridge complete with the surprisingly common coned hat.06-Jan-2010 06:01, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 28.0mm, 0.017 sec, ISO 100

Some locals enjoying lunch on the street.

Some locals enjoying lunch on the street.06-Jan-2010 06:06, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 53.0mm, 0.006 sec, ISO 100

Sellers offering their wares on Thu Bon river, with minimum effort.

Sellers offering their wares on Thu Bon river, with minimum effort.06-Jan-2010 06:07, Canon Canon EOS 400D DIGIT, 4.0, 70.0mm, 0.005 sec, ISO 100

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2 comments to Gallery: Resisting the urge to shop in Hoi An and Battle History in Hue!

  • Jamie

    Jacket 44 long and trousers 36 long, thanks mate ;o)

  • admin

    Hi all, I’ve been meaning to update this since we got back since the clothes we’ve bought in Hoi An have had a little more ‘use’.
    The shirts: Fit great, but they sewed the double cuffs together through the cufflink hole, so they needed totally unstitching and sewing together again separately. The stiffener in the collar seems to be just card, and is already bubbling. Basically the shirts are fine for work, but not suitable for meetings! So either specify your requirements even further, or resign yourself to dodgy shirts.
    The suit: Fits great, but again the material now looks a little cheap on return and creases easily. Pick the material and lining carefully, suggesting a few beers first is probably a bad idea.
    The jacket & dress: Lynette isn’t overly enamoured with any of these and feels that your tastes change (i.e. relax) significantly while travelling. Now she is back… they might not see the light of day!

    Basically, even though bits are cheap, don’t let it tempt you in to dropping your standards otherwise you might not have bothered buying it in the first place! Cheers! :)

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