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Silky touch for tourists

One silk shop in Lam Dong province attracts more than 35,000 domestic and foreign visitors a year. Why this shop is so popular?
Cuong Hoan silk shop in Nam Ban-Lam Ha district of Lam Dong province is named after the owners, Nguyen Van Cuong and his wife Truong Thi Hoan. The shop is 25km from Dalat City but people staying in Dalat don’t seem to mind making the trip. 

Located near the popular waterfall Thac Voi in Lam Ha town, the shop is always filled with tourists looking to pick up some authentic silk, which is produced on site in a traditional fashion.

Phan Tai Tho from Hanoi, a tour guide from Oat-Grand Circle, explains the attraction. “Foreign tourists like to admire the scenery, people, cultural life and history of Vietnam, especially the countryside,” he says. “They are impressed by Cuong Hoan Silk shop and tell their friends to visit this shop whenever they travel to Vietnam. That is why you see so many foreign tourists here.”

Tourists also like the relaxed pressure-free ambiance. “Our shop is open night and day and admission is free, there are no guides or ticket touts, there is no entrance fee and visitors can come and leave any time they like,” says Cuong.

Cuong and Hoan’s shop is also a “living picture of the traditional Vietnamese industry” as they do everything from scratch from raising the silkworms that produce silk to waeving the threads into the silk fabrics which are then used to make various garments.

“People enjoy seeing the process and touching every one of the silk products, ” says Cuong. All the products at Cuong Hoan are hand-made and of high quality. But costs are low. You can pick up items for as little as VND20,000 or spend as much as VND220,000.

“Almost all visitors buy something before leaving,” says Cuong with quiet delight. In 1990, Cuong was discharged from the army and started growing mulberry trees and raising silkworms.

The business was a prosperous one. Most silk shops are not using their own silk and so products are sold at high costs. By raising his own silkworms, weaving and dyeing silk threads and making his own silk products, Cuong is running a completely self-contained business.
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The shop employs 50 local workers who earn VND1.8 million to VND2 million per month. Cuong and Hoan also provide mulberry-growing and silkworm-raising work for 1,000 more locals.

Cuong also realised that by pegging his shop to Vietnam’s blossoming tourism industry his business had great potential for growth. Now the shop averages over 3,000 visitors per month.
Hoang Ngoc Trong, vice-chairman of the Nam Ban town’s People’s Committee, believes this is one of the most efficient private handicraft businesses in the area.

“Cuong Hoan not only creates stable jobs for many workers, but also maintains a traditional industry of Vietnam,” he says. Trong also praised Cuong Hoan for promoting the locality all over the world.

“This business model should be encouraged,” he said. 


Time:18-05-2010 10:52:47