Hue’s shopping scene consists mostly of local markets, art galleries, tailor shops, and boutiques. One of the best cities in Vietnam to purchase authentic handicrafts, a must-buy item here is the Vietnamese nón lá or 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. 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.
The city’s local markets are great for experiencing the local lifestyle and sampling Hue dishes. There are also several non-profit organisations and fair-trade outlets where visitors can learn how to made simple handicrafts in workshops as mementos of their holiday in Hue. If you’re unsure about what to buy for loved ones back home, this guide includes some of our favourite places to shop in Hue.
Hai Phong is a booming town with new residential projects and commercial complexes under construction, often featuring modern amenities with shopping and recreational spaces. A good example is the large Thuy Duong Plaza which has Parkson Plaza Shopping Mall in it. Almost adjacent to this development stands the Big C supermarket with a host of satellite businesses. At the other end of the scale, visitors who plan to buy something for loved ones back home at little cost should have a look around the Cho Sat Market and along downtown’s Tran Phu Street. Items to look for include lacquer-ware, porcelain items, ceramics, wood carvings and silk products. Vietnam is a great country in which to buy handicraft products and Hai Phong is known for its high-quality tapestries and carpets.
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 organised 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 grottos.
Mui Ne and Phan Thiet’s shopping scene comprises mostly boutique outlets selling handicrafts such as embroidery, paintings, lacquerware, blankets, scarves, handbags and ceramics. Many are done up in ancient Cham style, making them unique gifts for loved ones back home. Open from dawn onwards, the local markets are must-visits for travellers looking to experience the local lifestyle, stock up on fresh fruit and vegetables, and sample Vietnamese dishes such as fish pho, banh xeo, and spring rolls. Offering a more relaxed shopping experience, read on to discover where to shop and what to buy in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet.
Nha Trang shopping outlets offer a much more relaxed and authentically local atmosphere compared to Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi’s often overcrowded malls and sleek designer stores. Street markets such as Vinh Luong and Dam are great for observing the daily life of Nha Trang’s local population as well as purchasing handicrafts, clothing, and jewellery at relatively low prices. Meanwhile, humble-looking shops along the beach offer beautiful artwork and quality clothing, both of which make excellent souvenirs for loved ones back home. Although this coastal town isn’t particularly famed for its retail offerings, we’ve compiled a helpful guide on what to buy and where to shop to make sure you get only the best buys during your vacation in Nha Trang.
Ho Chi Minh City’s shopping scene offers more than just boutique outlets and generic shopping malls. Great for experiencing the local culture, traditional street markets are scattered across the city with local vendors selling fresh produce, Vietnamese coffee beans, household supplies, and Vietnamese street food at attractive prices. Must-visits include Ben Thanh Market, Cholon, and An Dong Market. For a more unique shopping experience, there are also marketplaces that specialise in niche items such as war memorabilia, quality silks and hand-woven fabrics, as well as authentic woodwork, ceramics and lacquer. If you’re a first-time visitor, make sure you check out our helpful guide on what to buy and where to shop so that you get only the best buys during your Saigon holiday.
Markets are among the best places in Vietnam for travellers looking to experience the daily lives of its local population. Operating as early as 03:00, you’ll find throngs of marketgoers haggling for the freshest fruit, vegetables, seafood and meat. Vietnam markets are also great for sampling a wide range of local delicacies at affordable prices, as they are often fitted with a dedicated food court surrounded by food stalls. While most markets in Vietnam have been in operation for hundreds of years, there are several (especially those located in the cities) that are now geared towards tourists, featuring stalls selling handicrafts, souvenirs and pre-packaged food items. While goods here are sold at relatively low prices, you can still exercise your bargaining skills to get better deals. Read on for our handy guide on Vietnam’s most popular local markets.
Shopping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture during your Vietnam holiday, where you can find unique handicrafts, food items, and apparel at relatively affordable prices. Whenever perusing through Vietnam’s local markets, art galleries, and craft centres, it’s wise to take your time searching for good Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends. Bargaining (at least 75% lower than the retail price) is a must for better deals as vendors often charge higher for tourists. Locally produced coffee, conical hats and dipping sauces can be found in most shopping venues in Vietnam, but if you’re looking to purchase authentic Vietnamese silk, jewellery and antiques, make sure you’ve done your research and visit reputable brands to avoid getting scammed. Read on for our guide on the best things to buy in Vietnam.
Ho Chi Minh is truly a shopping paradise, whether you are looking for bespoke fashion, local silks or even handcrafted lacquerware. As the world becomes one big shopping mall of international brands, Ho Chi Minh retains its love of boutique fashion and one off collections – and all at a fraction of what you might pay for any of the European or Japanese brands. Here are our top 10 picks of the best fashion boutiques in the city: