Shopping in Vietnam

It is hard to say “I won’t shop” when you travel Vietnam. It is simply that Vietnam has some of the very beautiful products, souvenirs…that you find nowhere. Again, shopping in Vietnam is cheap and if you know where to go, what to buy and know how to bargain. This bargain hunting is in a way an enjoyable experienced especially with women. So bargain hard with a smile!

Many people will tell you that buying from street vendors is cheaper than buying in malls or markets, but this is not always the case, so shop around. It is better to take your time and enjoy searching for good Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends.

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

Ho Chi Minh City is a fun place to shop for bargains. Some goods can be unique and fascinating – old propaganda posters, for example; we found one that exhorted people to plant garlic for export.

Clothing includes silks and hand-woven fabrics with a reputation for high quality. Vietnam is also famous for handicrafts including bamboo ware, ceramics and lacquer. There are, too, all the usual holiday souvenirs such as T-shirts and beaded handbags at prices that are hard to beat.

Shopping in Hanoi

If you’re particularly enthusiastic about quality textiles, clothes and handicrafts, shopping in Hanoi will not disappoint.

The city also has a good range of day and night markets, both indoors and outdoors and you’ll find that night markets are more of a social than shopping occasion but that doesn’t preclude finding bargains at night.

There’s a good arts scene alive in Hanoi and let’s face it; in a city this size with a shopaholic population you’re going to find a lot to buy but under less stressful conditions than frenetic Ho Chi Minh City.

Shopping in Mui Ne & Phan Thiet

The tourist industry is quite new for the fishing villages of Mui Ne and Phan Thiet, but they are catching up fast, with souvenir shops opening almost every week.

Products include handicrafts such as embroidery, paintings, lacquer ware, blankets, scarves, handbags and ceramics. Many of these products are created in the ancient Cham style, making them unique and special. It is also fun to explore the local market. Don’t forget to try favorite local fruits such as Dragon Fruit.

Shopping in Nha Trang

Nha Trang may not have the sleek designer shops of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, but there is still plenty of opportunity to shop in a much more laid-back atmosphere than in the big cities. Try the daily market on Doc Lop Street and the small shops in town for some terrific local artwork.

Have some clothes made for you at one of the many tailors in town. Near the port are lots of little shops selling seashell souvenirs. Outside of established shops and supermarkets always remember to bargain and never pay the asking price.

Shopping in Hoi An

For most people who visit Hoi An, the two main shopping allures are the Central or Riverside Market and the plethora of cheap tailors downtown.

With the sheer number of tailors available Hoi An is definitely a buyers’ market and the visitor who doesn’t bargain down the price of a suit or silk shirt is really missing out. Of course, many other items are on sale in Hoi An and the ancient charm of the town makes an afternoon or evening out shopping a delight.

Tailors speak both French and English – most stores are open from 08:00 to 21:00

Shopping in Ha Long Bay

Though there are limited options for shopping in Halong Bay, what is actually available can be very interesting. Try the night market at Bai Chay Town. It is set up with many small open-air stalls with good collections of Vietnamese products includes the famous traditional Vietnamese silk dress (ao dai), lacquerware, chopsticks, trinkets, ceramic tea sets, Vietnamese conical hats (nón lá) and dolls. Experienced shoppers recommend bargaining hard to 30-50% of the original offered price. Most shops accept US Dollars as well as the local currency, Dong.

Another fun way of shopping is from small floating shops. Local people row boats filled with goods such as beer, vodka, cigarettes, potato chips, cookies and other snacks. Their small boats are usually laden with goods in a very organized way and even if you’re not buying anything these vessels are fascinating to see and photograph.

It is important for shoppers not to encourage vendors selling stalagmites and stalactites as they should stay where they belong – inside Halong’s caves and grottoes.

Shopping in Hue

A must-buy item in Hue should include the Vietnamese Nón lá, the conical-shaped hat made by woven palm leaves.

The hat has been around almost as long as the country and is worn by men and women everywhere. The lighter the hat is the more elegant the look.

In Hue especially, the hat makers insert poems into the weaves and the poem can only be seen when the hat is held up to the sunlight, making it even more special.

Shopping in Phu Quoc Island

Markets selling a wide range of fruit, vegetable and seafood are the main shopping venues in Phu Quoc, not necessarily what tourists want to buy but very interesting to see all the same.

For tourists, shopping opportunities come in the form of handicrafts expertly made by locals and pearls which are farmed locally.

Shopping in Sapa

You can find throughout Sapa town series of souvenir shops where they show all local people’s products: handicrafts, silvers, wooden things. All products are made by the people in this region.

It is also interesting to go down to the villages and buy souvenirs from the local minority people.

It is important that you should buy things from the adults (especially from women) in their houses in stead of buying outside and from children. By this way, you will encourage the people to sell things in their villages and motivate the children come back to schools.

 

 

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