Shopping in Vietnam

Vietnam may not be regarded a shopping destination for many but it in deed is a place to find the most affoatdable gifts and souvenirs in the world. The streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are lined with shops, and here you can find incredible bargains on products like lacquer ware, antiques, and tailor made clothing. But before you start shopping, remember one advice: Don't forget to bargain! it is a joy to bargain here.

The locally produced items such as lacquer work, pottery, baskets and embroidery embroidered tablecloths and shirts, photo-albums, intricate basketwork and beautiful ethnic clothes of high standards etc. not only attract tourists, it's now big business in shops in the length of Vietnam.

Shopping in Hanoi

Hanoi, Vietnam's charming capital in the north, (known deservedly as the "Pearl of the Orient") boasts perhaps the best souvenir outlets. They wisely concentrate on the North and Central Vietnamese hill-tribes' wondrous work. The shops themselves are worth a browse for their tasteful displays, lined along quaint, thousand year-old narrow streets. You can buy yourself velvet handbags with bamboo handles, maybe a gong or two, or delicate, pale green tea-sets.

Hanoi is a shoppers paradise for silk, lacquerware, wood, custom tailoring and other Asian inspired design. You will find the bargains that are among the best in the whole Asia. Artisans and craftsmen have set up small & large shop in the Old Quarter of Hanoi for generations, and each street is named after the item traditionally sold in it. Among the more interesting are the streets close to the lake full of nothing but stores overflowing with wave upon wave of white shoes, and a few shops offering to custom-carve black marble tombstones  for anyone passing by.

In the quarter between Hoan Kiem Lake and the Cathedral, you'll find numerous shops with the same selection but of better quality. Vendors know that, so prices are higher than in the Old Quarter. Shops can sometimes arrange shipment to overseas destinations, and even with the added costs you'll still have a bargain.

There are two major shopping malls in Hanoi, Trang Tien Plaza and the new-built Vincom City Towers. Both are located in the Hoan Kiem District.

Bookworm, 4B Yen The (Near the Temple of Literature and the Goethe Institute), ☎ 84 4 943 7226 ( 10AM-7PM, closed Mondays. The only English bookshop in Hanoi, apparently. Good selection of new and used books. You can sell your unwanted books to them too.

Khue Binh Jewelry, 114 Hang Bac, ☎ 9260256. Tiny jewelry shop, operating off-street out of somebody's house. Walk through the narrow passageway and wake up the old lady to buy some exquisite and breath-takingly cheap jewelry.

Ngo Kim Nhat ART Gallery, 6 Tho Xuong Street (not far from the the Cathedral), ☎ (84-4) 2 700 448 (, [12]. Open daily from 10am to 8pm. Affordable contemporary Asian art, professing to offer a warm, relaxing atmosphere for experts and tourists alike. edit

Rang Xay Che Bian Cafe, 56 Hang Buom, Old Quarter. A true gem waiting to be discovered. Serves Vietnamese coffee. Must trys are the Iced white coffee with milk, Hot Black coffee & Iced white coffee with milk and hot, thick cocoa syrup! Ground coffee poweder also available for purchase. Simply choose coffee beans of your choice and watch the young teenage boy grind and have them packed them into dainty little shiny foil bags.




Shopping in Saigon or Ho Chi Minh City

Saigon has a more developed shopping scene than in Hanoi, but Hanoi does seem to have more charming, specialised hand embroidery products. Here's what their main shopping streets look like.

Shopping Street, Saigon
ồng Khởi is the most famous shopping street in HM city. It is synonymous with high end shopping, and the top hotels are located here. Gucci and Louis Vuitton would be opening soon here!

Parkson is an upmarket shopping destination (as is Diamond Hill Shopping Centre) in Saigon. I like the food court on the top floor. The small supermarket is nice for browsing, but I prefer to shop at the supermarket located at the nearby Tax Department Store (more down-market, but better prices and a much wider variety of goods).

Saigon - or Ho Chi Minh City - reflects the Mecca to mammon with the most blatant Westernization so far found in the country. Electrical goods, cameras, and cars have settled quite happily amongst the noodle stalls and temples. More recently, a foreign invasion of designer stores has hit the high streets. Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton, once forbidden as capitalistic evils now take pride of place along the shopping haunts of Dong Khoi and Le Loi Streets. Saigon sells out big-time but the nouveau-riche locals' love it and the ex-pats aren't complaining either.

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