Whether it’s a woven tapestry as an art piece, hand-drawn batik for that formal sarong or a sophisticated length of watered silk, Asia’s textile game is strong – you just need to know where to look.
AltaModa–Touted as having the biggest textile grand store in Southeast Asia, this leading Indonesia chain has branches is Medan, Jakarta, Bali and even Singapore. Expect everything from prints to wool, linen, cotton and satin. Prices are slightly high but you might prefer to pay that little extra for air-conditioned comfort and neatly stacked and displayed merchandise, over jostling in a crowded, dusty marketplace.
Pasar Tanah Abang, Jakarta – If going on a treasure hunt is your idea of fun, then this is the place for you. This multi-level wholesale market began in 1735 in Central Jakarta and is a treasure trove of textiles, batiks, ikats, ready–to- wear clothes and even shoes. It is also considered the largest textile market in Southeast Asia. Head to B1 and B2 for textile heaven and remember to always bargain!
Jl. Kyai Haji Mas Mansyur, Central Jakarta.
Pasar Baru, Jakarta – Jakarta’s oldest shopping centre has many decades-old fabric stores, now owned by Indian-Indonesians. The Jalan Antara entrance takes you through the textile section, which offers everything from intricate Indonesian tapestries, to simple vintage printed cotton, silks, batiks, linen, brocade, lace and georgette to name a few. Take your pick from the more basic or luxurious stores, and watch out for pickpockets! Go early, and keep a bottle of water handy to cool down.
Jalan Pasar Baru, Sawah Besar, Jakarta.
Chợ Hôm, Hanoi – Meaning ‘fabric market’, this bustling, old-school market in Hanoi is chock-a-block with hundreds of tiny stalls, some sticking to one single fabric such as silk, brocade or tweed, while others sell a mix. Take your time to squeeze through the narrow paths between stalls as you strategise your fabrics and their future incarnations. More than just a fabric stop, this charming market is an experience not to be missed.
Corner of Hue and Tran Xuan Soan streets, Hanoi.
Soai Kinh Lam Fabric Market, Ho Chi Minh City – You can spot this market from afar; striking bolts of material draw the eye as soon as you’re in the vicinity. Here, over 500 stalls specialize in fantastic fabrics, which range from silk, satin and brocade for traditional costumes, to cotton, corduroy and chiffon. Patterns abound as far as the eye can see, polka dots, plaids, gingham, florals – you will be spoilt for choice. It’s a wholesale market so prices are more reasonable when buying in bulk.
Tran Hung Dao B street, District 5.