SHOPPING TIPS IN VIETNAM
HO CHI MINH CITY (SAIGON):
HCMC has a number of huge indoor markets (Ben Thanh market, An Dong market, Binh Tay market, etc.), big super markets and shopping malls (Vincom building, Parkson buildings, Diamond Plaza, Maxi Marks, Big C, Co-Op marts, etc.), and boutique shops on Dong Khoi street, Nguyen Hue street, Le Loi street, Le Thanh Ton street, etc.
Among all, the most popular one is the Ben Thanh Market. The market and surrounding streets make up one of the city’s liveliest areas. The stalls are opened as early as 6:00 am but closed before 6:00 pm, after which, a night market will be set up around the area. Everything you need or want is found here, from daily wears such as clothes, shoes, handbags, wallets, hats, etc. to travelling gears such as back bags, suitcases, sleeping bags, first aids, sun creams, etc.; to things for entertainment and decorations such as CD, DVD, electronics, watches, paintings, handicrafts, lacquer wares, fancy ornaments, jewelry, cosmetic, table cloth, bed room wears, fabric, etc. as well as things for F&B such as cooked food, fruits, drinks, coffee beans and powder, dried seafood, candies and sweets, etc. You name it!
Binh Tay market and An Dong market. The former is a whole sales market of low budget stuffs, particularly popular for grocery and spices. The latter is huge with 5 floors full of various mixes of all kinds of stuff like the Ben Thanh market but less fancy and cheaper.
Expensive boutiques in the city center and those shopping malls sell genuine stuffs of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Esprit, BVLGARI, Lancome, Christian Dior, Channel, Shiseido, Versace, etc.
If you are looking for outlets of popular brands, you can find those of Adidas, An Phuoc Pierre Cardin, Guess, Shiseido, Calvin Klein, etc.
While enjoying fascinating boat tours in My tho, Ben Tre, Vinh Long, Can Tho, and Chau Doc, you have lots of chances to buy local handicrafts and souvenirs at those tourist spots. Lots of products are made from coconut junks, shells, and milk such as kitchen gadgets (chopsticks, spoons, forks, plate, bowls, tea pot, etc.), handbags, candies, cakes, cooking oil and caramel, etc. There are lots of fruit candies and sweets of banana, jack fruit, sour sop, durian, pineapple, etc. Of course there must be common stuff sold at any tourist areas in Vietnam such as T-shirts, kimonos, conical hats, bags, table cloth, slippers and shoes, etc. But there are also rare stuffs such as things made from snake leather and crocodile leather, bee honey and pollen, Cham silk, etc.
Along with HaNoi, HCMC and Hoi An, Nha Trang has emerged as a reasonable place to look for art. Though actual galleries are scant, there are several local painters and photographers who display their work on the walls of Nha trang’s resorts, restaurants and cafés or bars.
You can see the artisans at work at this embroidery workshop and gallery, where intricate embroidery ‘paintings’ are painstakingly worked by hand.
Nha Trang offers typical local products such as dried seafood (fish fin, fish stomach, fish, shrimp, squid, oyster), sea shell handicrafts (necklace, bracelet, pearls, boxes, dried sea creatures), famous fish sauce, famous swallow nets, etc. at Dam market (Cho Dam) or many shops along Tran Phu boulevard and Nha Trang harbour.
Hoi An is one of the best places for shopping in Vietnam besides HCMC (Saigon). It’s known for its production of cotton cloth, silk, wooden furniture, marble stone arts (made in Danang city nearby), art works, antiques and interesting souvenirs of ceramic, porcelain, bronze collected from shipwrecks in the South Vietnam Sea. Hoian is famous for its tailoring overnight, especially suits, dresses and things made of silk such as blouses, shoes, bags . Another typical thing that has featured the charm of Hoian is those silk lanterns lighten up Hoian ancient streets, houses, temples, shops at night. Hoian market is worth a visit for shopping and picture hunting.
Hue is known for producing the finest conical hats, porcelain, bronze casting, and traditional female dress “Ao Dai” in Vietnam. The city’s specialty is ‘poem hats’, which, when held up to the light, reveal shadowy scenes of daily life.
Hue is also home to one of the largest and most beautiful selections of rice paper and silk paintings available in Vietnam.
If you have a lot of time, you can visit Dong Ba market, where you can buy everything.
Hanoi is a great place for shopping. There are lots of things to buy at very reasonable prices. Most stores are concentrated in the ancient quarter.
You can buy silk, clothes on Silk Street and Hang Dao street. If you look for jewelry, go to Hang Bac street (silver street). Hanoi is the best place to buy traditional art works, paintings and handicrafts in Vietnam, found on Hang Bong street, Hang Trong street, Ly Quoc Su street, Dinh Liet street, etc. There are particular streets where you can find certain things such as Hang Than street for Hanoi typical rice cake “Banh Com”, Cha Ca street for Hanoi typical dish of “fried fish”, Lan Ong street for traditional herbs, Hang Thiec street for anything made of tin, Hang Dong street for anything made of bronze, Hang Duong street for Hanoi typical candies and sweets, Hang Ma street for colorful stuff for weddings, funerals, altars, etc. Last but not least, Hanoi is the best place to buy a unique water puppet for your own collect or for gifts.
Sapa is not only famous for its gorgeous scenery but also interesting hill tribes’ cultures of the Black H’Mong, the Red Dao, the Tay, the Zay, etc. Shopping in Sapa is really fun to talk with those smart and friendly hill tribe selling girls and women who speak extremely well many different languages. Their products are very colorful and well hand made including clothes, bags, scarves mostly made from cotton and brocade, hand wares, head wears, silver jewelry, etc.