Vietnam Shopping Guide – Best Things to Buy in Vietnam

Travelling and shopping seem to go hand in hand. Regardless of where you travel, without a doubt you will get a few souvenirs for family, friends or for yourself. Shopping in Vietnam is more than picking and paying, it is an intriguing experience through which you can get to know more social and cultural features.

Vietnam is a shopping paradise, where guests can purchase nearly anything from engaging knickknacks to world-class handmade products, including traditional music instruments, exquisite pottery, coffee, garments and home decor. Shopping abroad for the first time may be somewhat tricky for some people. Here, we review shopping destinations, things to buy and a couple of tips to enable you to save time and money, and guarantee you bring home great gifts from Vietnam.

Hai An by ND Strupler

Top shopping destinations in North, Central, and South Vietnam

Ha Noi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh are the three best shopping destinations in North, Central and South Vietnam respectively.

1. Ha Noi

Want your shopping process go as smooth as silk with a plethora of souvenirs to choose from? Then Hanoi is a great choice. Hanoi is well known for its clamouring markets, authentic shops and quality shopping centres. With the quick modernization and urbanization, this city has been perceived as a standout amongst the most targeted shopping destinations in Vietnam. No lack of choice here! It is an awesome place to purchase specific items like stoneware, silver, and silk items. In case you are especially inspired by quality materials, handicraft and garments, shopping in Hanoi won't disappoint you.

  • Dong Xuan Market
    This is the biggest traditional city market with the distinctive feature of the Old Quarter. The products here are extremely diverse: garments, footwear, silk, lanterns, home furniture, etc. All are sold at affordable prices.

  • Hang Gai Street (Silk Street)
    Hang Gai is the best street in Hanoi to buy trendy silk materials, traditional Vietnamese clothing, and home decorations. The whole street is filled with fashion boutiques and local tailor shops that have been in this business for many years. This is an incredible street to purchase items produced from paper, for example, fans, pictures, books, lanterns, and so on.

  • Bat Trang Pottery Village
    Bat Trang Market offers a wide range of stoneware merchandise, from best quality dishes, handicraft goods to worship objects, vases, gifts, glasses, and bowls. Pottery is cheap and beautiful here. You can purchase a ready-made item or make your own. USD0.5-1 is the entrance fee. You are allowed to play and make products of clay. To bring home a pottery item, you need to pay an additional fee of USD2-USD3.

*Trang Tien Plaza (shopping center)
Trang Tien Shopping Mall is one of the top shopping centres. It is a home to numerous well known international brands, for example, Dior, Cartier, Zara, Jimmy Choo and Louis Vuitton. It was initially constructed in 1901 in a French style and was renewed to its present appearance in 2013.

2. Hoi An

Visitors!!! Load up your pockets with Dongs, the Vietnamese cash, as there are a lot of things that will catch your eye when shopping in Hoi An. It is difficult to resist a conical hat, customized lantern, tailor-made garments or well-made design things. Hoi An enchants by the variety of customary artworks and extraordinary souvenirs. It is famous for reasonable yet professional tailoring service, where you can easily get uniquely designed dresses, shirts, and shoes at a small amount of the money. It has numerous things you have never known you really need them.

  • Night Market
    The market comprises more than 50 local merchants offering silk, clothing, jewellery, and accessories. The street is illuminated by many colourful lights at night. Hoi An is known for traditional clothes, silk items, and paper lanterns; all are sold at low prices by most sellers. You can also discover different souvenirs, for example, stickers, T-shirts, key chains and fans there.

  • Hoi An Silk Village
    Hoi An Silk Village is a decent alternative for those looking for extravagant Vietnamese textiles, handicraft, elegant suits and dresses. More than 12 neighbourhood craftsmen inside the town gather to work here and make quality clothing, handicraft work, and woven artwork following the antique weaving process and weaving silk.

  • Friendly Shoe Shop
    The shop has over 10 years' experience in designing and making shoes. There are more than 600 models displayed, ranging from sneakers, sandals, wooden shoes and boots. 100% cash back if you are not happy with the product of the shop you have bought.

3. Ho Chi Minh

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh is really one of the features of this entrancing city. New shopping centres are rising up downtown, containing international fashion brands to satisfy the most demanding fashion specialists. The boutique form is more dominant here than anywhere else in Southeast Asia, where bespoke things can be purchased cheaper than anywhere else. Markets in Ho Chi Minh are exceptionally recommended as they are an essential part of daily lives of the local people and visitors.

  • Ben Thanh Market
    This is a clamouring market day and night. It is recognized as a symbol, an extremely intriguing destination for foreign visitors as well as for the locals. Everything that is regularly eaten, worn or used by the locals can be purchased here. Gift items, pottery, knit wear, traditional crafts goods including lacquer ware and weaving can be found in abundance.

  • A Dong Market (Craft Market)
    The market houses a variety of fashion wholesalers and handicraft shops. Here fashion fans can find a broad choice of apparel, materials, shoes, bags, belts and sunglasses. You can also find souvenirs and jewellery made with gemstones, for example, amethyst and jade, however, authenticity isn't ensured.

  • Vincom Centre (shopping mall)
    With more than 250 shops, Vincom Centre is the greatest shopping centre in Ho Chi Minh. In case you are looking for international items, this should be your first stop because this is the place where the most of worldwide luxury brands are sold. There are also some fast food restaurants and authentic restaurants serving foods from most regions of Vietnam, and a modern gym and swimming pool as well.

  • Diamond Plaza (shopping centre)
    Diamond Plaza is an excellent shopping centre surrounded by a significant number of the city's most appealing locales, for example, Notre Dame Cathedral, the Saigon Post Office, and the April 30th Park – an enchanting open space with green plants. There are many high-class items here: perfume, watches and adornments, significant sportswear brands, and a collection of electronic items and cell phones.

Can You Bargain in Vietnam?

You are a foreigner, you feel uncomfortable and inexperienced in bargaining. Don’t panic! Bargaining is a part of Vietnamese culture because through haggling individuals speak with others and make a relationship. It is quite entertaining. Remember that there is no bargaining in the grocery store, a shopping centre, a food court, a pawn shop and small local groceries. But you can bargain at local markets, night markets and tourist- friendly shops selling souvenirs. To get a better deal, you should consider some bargaining tips as follows:

  • Please don't acknowledge the first price offered by the seller.
  • Starting with half of the price at that point deal up to 75% of the first offer.
  • You can always leave and return, yet kindly don't simply ask the price and walk away without any bargaining in the morning (prior to 8 or 9AM). Vietnamese merchants are superstitious and believe that it is misfortune.
  • You will probably win the deal when you do it with sincerity and humour: demonstrating your friendly non-verbal communication.
  • If you can, go with a tour guide or your Vietnamese local friends to help you buy stuff.

12 Gift Ideas to Take Home

1. Non La (palm-leaf conical hat)

Non La is a traditional symbol of Vietnamese people without race, age, sex or religious contrasts. Non La has been prevalently used every day in Vietnam, particularly in the rural regions thanks to its usefulness and convenience. It is a practical item for travelling, especially in summer. It is made of basic accessible materials, for example, bamboo and palm leaves. Exceptionally 'Non Bai Tho' (poem hat) – a popular hat of Hue, has printed verse under the leaf layer which is only seen in the daylight.

Where to buy: Souvenir shops in Old Quarter (Hanoi), Dong Ba Market (Hue), Local markets and a night market (Hue), Ben Thanh market (Ho Chi Minh)
Price: USD3-USD10

2. Ao Dai (traditional costume)

Ao Dai, Vietnam's national dress for females, consists of a long tight-fitting silk tunic that is worn over pants. Though ready-made Ao Dai can be found in most of the tourist markets and fashion boutiques, some travellers may seize the opportunity to have the costume sawn for them by a local dressmaker. Hoi An has had a great reputation for professional tailoring services for many decades. There are numerous collections of fabric for you to choose.

Where to buy: Luong Van Can Street (Ha Noi), the avenues are loaded with a lot of custom tailors (Hoi An), To HienThanh Street (Ho Chi Minh)
Price: at least USD35

3. 3D Pop-Up Cards

A pop-up card is a bit of a collapsed paper from which a three-dimensional paper structure flies up when it is opened. Its material will be completely cut and decorated by hands. The pop-up cards are so incredibly pretty and designs are impressive. Apart from the uniqueness of this gift, it is extremely simple to pack and carry. The designs suit many occasions: birthdays, Valentine’s day, Christmas, New Year, wedding invitations, graduation, and so on.

Where to buy: markets or walking streets in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh

Price: USD3-USD8.

4. Rice Painting

Vietnam is the second-biggest rice exporter in the world, after Thailand. Talented artists transform this regular item into another kind of fine art – rice painting. Individual roasted grains are carefully inserted into plywood. It takes a lot of patience and effort to make little grains become vivid and charming pieces of art. Rice painting can last for about ten years if handled with care.

Where to buy: 9/40 Duong Quang Ham, QuanHoa (Ha Noi), 142 VuonChuoi, District 3 (Ho Chi Minh)
Price: USD15-USD500

5. Hand Embroidery

Natural scenes and wildlife are frequently depicted by weaving in Vietnam. The visitor can go to craft centres and weaving shops to watch local people dressed in traditional clothes making silk attire and hand-woven portraiture. Quality embroidery, for example, XQ Hand Embroidery has a wide range of showrooms exhibiting dazzling embroidered paintings. You can buy a ready-made one, yet in case you have time, you can have your portrait weaved at the shop.

Where to buy: we recommend purchasing in XQ Hand Embroidery in Da Lat and Nhan Trang, yet they can also be found in gift shops in Ha Noi, Hoi A, Hue, and Ho Chi Minh.
Price: at least USD20

6. Silk Products and Hand Woven Gifts

Silk is a sort of animal protein fibre produced by insects. Silk texture is soft and durable. Hand-made gifts of silk including scarves, quilts, sacks, towels, wallets, are usually sold in gift shops and night markets. Surprisingly, these handmade items are typically cheap being produced by the low-salary group or handicapped people.

Where to buy: Hang Gai road (Ha Noi), Silk town (Hoi A), Khai Silk (Ho Chi Minh)
Price: commonly under USD20

7. Wooden Handicraft Products

Vietnam is one of the main countries in designing, creating and exporting an extensive variety of valuable eco-friendly handmade gifts. There are thousands of varieties of Vietnamese traditional handicraft items produced in an environmentally friendly process, using natural resources and recycled materials such as coconut shell, bamboo, rattan, and timber. Products are offered at competitive prices in most tourist shops.

Where to buy: Souvenir shops (Hoi A), Night Market (Ha Noi) and Ben Thanh market and Night Market (Ho Chi Minh)
Price: USD4-USD15

8. Ceramics and Pottery

Items made of clay are other popular souvenirs that you may bring home from Vietnam as long as you handle them with care when travelling. You can easily find ceramic vases, bowls, containers, plates, pots, and so on in different sizes, shapes, and colours. All ceramic items are made using traditional methods.

Where to buy: Bat Trang village and Dong Xuanmarket, Night Market (Ha Noi)
Price: USD1-USD50

9. Musical Instruments

Hang an instrument on the wall! Some of you may have never imagined that there is the sort of individual to show a guitar, woodwind, ukelele, stringed or other traditional instruments on the wall, yet some do it and it really looks quite stylish!

Where to buy: Hang Manh Street (Ha Noi) and Nguyen ThienThuat Street (Ho Chi Minh).
Price: For a cheap stringed instrument in Vietnam, the price ranges from USD25-USD100.

10. Coffee and Tea

It’s undeniable that Vietnam produces probably the most delicious espresso and tea in the world. It is a standout amongst the most in-demand items from Vietnam that you can bring for coffee/tea lovers. You will have no trouble finding a place to buy them in Vietnam. Trung Nguyen and Thai Nguyen are the most famous coffee and tea brands, respectively.

Where to buy: There are various spots where you can search for them like local markets (less expensive) or Vietnamese cafés (more costly) or even at supermarkets (moderate).
Price: You can get decent espresso coffee at about USD10/kg.

11. Green Bean Cake (Mung Bean Paste)

Green bean cakes are kind of biscuit from the finely ground green beans. This is a famous specialty of Hai Duong province, yet it can be easily found in big cities like Ha Noi. The recipes are not complicated: green beans, sugar, vegetable oil, and grapefruit flower or coconut. The mystery of this delightful dessert can be because of ingredient selection and careful preparation. You might like it served with tea.

Where to buy: Local markets and general stores (Hai Duong), shopping streets and markets (Ha Noi)
Price: USD4 - USD8

12. Organic Phu Quoc Pepper and Phu Quoc Pearl

Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam. It's famous for excellent beach sites as well as farming items (pepper) and aquaculture items (pearls). Phu Quoc pepper is the superior item and has been internationally traded. If you choose to visit this island, bear in mind to stock your pack with some pepper. Your home dishes will be extremely great with this sort of extraordinary spice.

Where to buy: Pepper farms in Phu Quoc.
Price: USD20/kg .

Dark, yellow, white, pink or some other colour of pearl! Phu Quoc is a tempting tourist place for pearl seekers. Valid jewellery can be found in high-end shops where the certificate can be given. For no particular reason, no assurance, ordinary items from pearl can be found in Phu Quoc night market at just USD10-USD20.

Tips for Shopping In Vietnam

  • Bargain! Bargain! Please see bargain tips
  • Knowing some Vietnamese expressions will not be extra, for example, ‘Cai nay baonhieu?’ – ‘How much is it?’
  • It is less expensive to pay Vietnamese cash rather than Euro or US dollars.
  • The same items can be found in a few shops, so take your time to compare the prices.
  • Check the customs regulations in your home countries before purchasing dried fish.

News

Nghe An, Vietnam to Host Sunflower Festival

Nghe An, a north-central Vietnamese province bordering Laos and the Gulf of Tonkin, will host the Sunflower Festival scheduled for December 27–29.

07 December 2019

Launch of New Air Routes to Bring More Tourists to Vietnam

The launch of new direct flights and an increase in flight frequency between destinations in Vietnam and the countries from the Asian region including India, Thailand, Hong Kong, etc. will contribute to the growth of tourist arrivals to Vietnam, the representatives of the tourism industry in the country believe.

13 November 2019

Ben Tre Province, Vietnam, to Host Coconut Festival

Do you like coconuts? Then Bến Tre province in the Mekong Delta, southern Vietnam, is where you should be on November, 16 as the annual Bến Tre Coconut festival 2019 hits the province.

05 November 2019