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.
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.