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Bespoke Vietnam

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Photo © LOOK Die Bildagentur der Fotografen GmbH / Alamy

Hoi An, a small riverside city just south of Danang, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, famous for its charming old town and skilled tailors. Many will vie for your business, but AoBaBa (148 Tran Phu St.; 0510/392-0666; stands out, with its attractive shop, friendly, professional service and wide array of high-quality linens, cottons and wools. Binders of fashion magazines are available for perusal, but it is easier to bring pictures of the pieces you would like made. (Take screenshots on an iPad or iPhone.) Allow at least 48 hours. You will need to come back the day after ordering for a fitting, and though your items will be ready the following day, you may request further tweaks if you have extra time in town.

When shopping in Hoi An there is no reason to stop at suits and dresses—the city offers all kinds of custom goods. At Hieu Da Leather Suede (85 Tran Phu St.; 0510/391-0094;, browse walls of supple skins before designing a jacket, handbag or valise. There are catalogs to flip through—as well as a stock of ready-made bags and jackets—but it is best to come with photographs of the style you want copied. If you can, allow two days here. Handbags can be ready in 24 hours, but jackets require a fitting.

For a final made-to-order experience, sign up for a cooking class at Red Bridge Restaurant & Cooking School (Thon 4, Cam Thanh; 84-510-3933222; The restaurant, which is located on lush grounds about a mile from central Hoi An, runs the school. Half- and full-day culinary courses include boat travel down river to Red Bridge, as well as a guided tour of the local food market and the restaurant’s herb garden—all intended to give a better understanding of Vietnamese cuisine. After several hours of hands-on instruction, guests feast on their creations.


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