Shopping in Vietnam

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Article Index
Shopping in Vietnam
Shopping in VN in brief
Shopping in VN: DOs and DON’Ts
10 tips to savvy shopping in VN
Newspapers, Magazines, CD-ROMs
Top recommended shopping places
Markets & Supermarkets
Bookshops
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I. Shopping in VN in brief 

Shopping in Vietnam is a fun and interesting experience, and guarantees good bargains to those who know what to look for. It is true to say that you can find nearly anything in Vietnam. Markets vary from high class shopping malls, supermarkets to bustling open market, galleries, boutiques and street stalls.
It is not recommended that you buy imported, famous branded products such as clothing, perfume or electronics in Vietnam as tax makes these items more costly than neighboring countries.
In terms of shopping for tourists, Vietnam is most famous for its handicrafts, war souvenirs, authentic clothing, art, antiques and gems.
Hotspots include  Hanoi, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City, each of which has a temping selection of everything from avant-garde art to sumptuous silk suits.

Art and Antiques
Vietnam has very strict regulations about exporting real antiques. There are several shops to hunt for art and antiques. Both traditional and modern paintings are a popular item. More sophisticated works are displayed in art galleries, while cheaper mass-produced stuff is touted in souvenir shops and by street vendors. Be careful and check your sources for certificates if they claim to sell you an original or antique piece.

 

Clothing
Vietnam is emerging as a regional design center and there are some extravagant creations in the boutiques of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Clothing varies greatly from tourist T-shirts to beaded handbags and traditional ao dai (the traditional costume) made to fit your size. Items made from silk are a popular buy, with prices varying depending on the material and tailor. Pre-made traditional dresses are sold in many places. However, it is more recommended to have the dress made to fit your body, which takes more time and slightly more money.
Shoes, slippers and handbags made from traditional materials (silk and bamboo) can also become unique gifts and accessories.
The Vietnamese traditional conical hat, can be found everywhere throughout the country, but hats made in Hue are most famous as they have a poem embroiled on the inside.
Non (conical hats) are favorite items for women in both rainy and sunny times. The best quality ones can be found in the Hue’s area.

Gems and jewelry
Vietnam is rich in gemstones. The jewelry business is also increasing during current years, and sophisticated works are produced by both big businesses and traditional craftsmen. The quality of the gemstones sold is sometimes doubtable, so it is recommended that you buy gems at prestigious locations and be ware with cheap prices.

War souvenirs
Most war souvenirs sold today in Vietnam (for example, Zippo lighters engraved with platoon philosophy) are fake reproductions. Be careful while transporting these items as many airlines do not allow weapons, even fakes to be carried on their planes.

Handicrafts
Other popular handicrafts in Vietnam include lacquer ware, wood-block prints, and oil and watercolor paintings, blinds made from bamboo, reed mats, carpets, and leatherwork.

Tip: Bargaining
Bargaining should be good-natured, smile and don’t get angry or argue. Once the money is accepted, the deal is done. Remember that in Asia, “saving face” is very important. In some cases you will be able to get a 50% discount or more, at other times this may only be 10%.