Vietnam is a shopper’s paradise and different regions specialize in different items. The northern hill stations are famed for their colorful weaving, the coast is known for its silk, the capital boasts great local artists, and Ho Chi Minh City has Ben Thanh Market, the largest and oldest market in the country. There are hundreds upon hundreds of stalls selling clothing, souvenirs, kitchenware, fruit, and candy. Bargaining is key if you don’t want to pay inflated tourist prices. For a more comfortable shopping experience in Ho Chi Minh City, the indoor air-conditioned Saigon Square is a good option.
There are also specialty shops throughout Vietnam selling electronics, silk, clothes, home décor, and art. Bac Ha in the north is a great place to purchase local handicrafts from the hill tribes, such as wood carvings and scarves, while Sapa is known for its intricate embroidery. Hanoi’s Hieu Phuc Loi is home to plenty of little boutiques selling watercolors and hand-carved wood blocks, while Ha Gallery sells knock-offs of classic oil paintings.
The coastal city of Hoi An is where the best fabrics can be found, and there are a number of custom tailors that can make these into a fashionable suit or evening gown for you in just a few days. The floating markets in the Mekong Delta are a major attraction and although they predominately sell local produce like fruit and vegetables, they are fun just to have a look at.
Ben Thanh Market
The liveliest market in Vietnam is situated at the south end of Le Lai in Ho Chi Minh City’s Quan 1. The popular attraction is divided into two sections; the t and jewelry, or sample authentic Vietnamese cuisine. Be sure to check if the quoted price is per item or wholesale before you begin bargaining.
Night Market, Hanoi
Found on P Hang Giay in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, this market opens at 7:00 p.m. daily and closes the street to traffic. Everything from pirated DVDs to traditional knick-knacks can be found here, with bartering a must.
Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Hoi An
This street in Hoi An’s Minh An area is dotted with shops selling antiques, fake-antiques and beautiful artwork. Housed in stunning old buildings, artisans sell hand-painted reproductions and originals works. Just use common sense when purchasing works, if it seems like too good of a deal, it probably is.