Night Market (just outside of Ben Thanh Market). Here you can enjoy many kinds of different food and drink, and go round to do your shopping as well.
Open from 6pm (when the Ben Thanh Market closes).
The place is good for bargain hunter. Ben Thanh is the largest old-style market in the central district, with several hundred small stalls stuffed with goods on almost impassably narrow aisles. Most items are not price-marked, and vendors always quote a 50-100% higher price to tourists, so bargaining hard will save you money.
If possible, take your own bag when shopping; vendors have been known to give out different colored bags to indicate if you are a sucker, or a hard bargainer.
operating hour: 8am-5pm
What to buy: coffee and tea, craft, dried fruits, fruits, dried fish, handbags, clothes, sandals
don't forget to try some food inside the market, there is many food vendors.
If you walk to the rear of the Municipal Theatre, opposite the Park Hyatt Saigon Hotel, you'll find a few model boat shops, all next to each other selling all kinds of model boats. They are really beautifully crafted and one guy told me that it takes six days just to construct the rigging.
Almost all private dental clinic will have the most updated equipment to do an impressive job on whitening teeth, so I don't think you necessarily worry about a well recommended dentist. The technique they use is common: laser or using whitening gel or combination of both. I myself tried both laser and whitening gel. and I'd say laser is a waste of money because using whitening gel for a week is way more effective and cheaper than laser technique. Usually they will talk you into laser, but stand firm on your ground!
Minh Khai Dental clinic has been in Saigon for almost a decade and never change their location, which means their business has been very stable to afford running costs. So you might find it more 'reliable' than others.
here is their website
What to buy: http://www.nhakhoaminhkhai.com/index.php?lang=language
Dong Khoi Street is widely regarded as the crème de la crème of Saigon shopping. From Lam Son Square, with its collections of tablecloths and napkins, to the exclusive custom-made silk garments from the many boutiques that line Dong Khoi, it is a shopper’s paradise.
Other products of note include jewellery, ceramics, antiques, lacquer ware, fine art and furniture. While prices are on the higher side, there is no doubting the quality. Tailors may also be prepared to custom-make items for you, depending on time availability.
The many coffee shops make shopping Dong Khoi Street and the branching alleyways a pleasure.
Saigon Square consists of many small stalls selling mainly clothes, shoes and music/movie CD/DVD. You can find the best prices in town and you can still bargain for some more. It is always crowded and a little hot as every stall is not air-conditioned.
What to buy: T-shirts, winter jackets, CD/DVD
What to pay: 35 USD for ski/snow board jackets
Ben Thanh market has a little of everything. Clothes, manchester, souveniers, coffee, fruit & veg etc.
I found the fresh food section the most interesting. Eels & fish jumping out of their buckets, frogs still moving even though they had been skinned and decapitated. Not for the squeamish for sure. The fresh fruit on display was very colourful.
Benh Thanh Market is a shoppers paradise and the various stalls inside are arranged neatly into various themes like the dry goods section, the fresh meat section, the coffee section, etc. It is unlike chatuchak market which is so disorganized in presentation. It is really a pleasure to shop inside due to the right arrangement of goods here!
What to pay: depends on what you want the your haggling skills. All things here are for haggling!
Oleh-oleh means 'things that we give to our family and friends after coming back from holiday or trip'. The short and easy term is 'souvenir'. Oleh-oleh is an Indonesian language, and also became a tradition for Indonesian people to always bring something for their loved ones after a vacation.
My oleh-oleh from HCMC:
1. Fridge magnet.
3. Coffee from Highlands Coffee and Trung Nguyen.
4. Lotus Tea.
5. Vietnamese Jasmine Tea.
6. Vietnamese Green Bean snack.
7. Chocolate liquer.
8. Rice paper for spring roll.
9. Sesame cookies.
10. Tan Tan peanut (coconut flavour).
Those oleh-oleh were also 'must buy things' from HCMC or Vietnam. I bought another things such as dried pho noodle, peanut candy, and some authentic Vietnamese food spices, but these were not as special as those 10 items list above.
Buy one more luggage then.
What to pay: Fridge magnets not more than Dong 15,000. Coffee around Dong 15,000. Teas are vary according to the brand. Lacquerware also vary but less than Dong 100,000. Greenbean snack (very delicious) only about Dong 7,000. Sesame snack Dong 2,500. Rice paper Dong 5,500. Tan Tan peanut (big canister) around Dong 20,000.
This is one of my main reasons to love Vietnam. I love bags and purses so much that I think I can buy the whole items in the ipa-nima store (well, if I don't have to meet a budget constraint of course...). The idea of ipa-nima came from the Hong Kong born fashion-addict Christina Yu who used to be a litigator before settling in in Vietnam and started to grow her own fashion label. Ipa-nima has stores in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
What to buy: Bags, purses, dresses...
What to pay: US$ 60 to 300.
An Duong Plaza is adjacent to Windsor Plaza Hotel the place where I stayed during in HCMC. There are other things such as electronics, cosmetics and hair accessories, souvenirs shops and Coop mart.
**Nicer and friendlier people/seller comparing to Ben Thanh market
What to buy: 1. Fridge magnets, 10 pairs = Dong 85,000.
2. Lacquerware, 3 pieces/1 set = Dong 80,000.
3. Other lacquerware items = Dong 20,000 - Dong 50,000.
4. Keychain, 1 piece less than Dong 10,000.
There are some souvenir counters in the level 3 of Tax shopping centre. Very friendly sellers, I love shopping there. The items are basicly the same as in Ben Thanh market or An Duong Plaza. I bought a pair of Vietnamese couple wearing traditional costume (big size) for Dong 45,000.
If you’re looking for original Communist propaganda posters check out the Hanoi Gallery. They have shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and the collection varies from store to store. Although, we saw a piece we liked in Hanoi and passed it up but after looking at the collection in Saigon they offered to deliver the piece we liked from Hanoi down to the Saigon store. Replicas are also available at inexpensive prices, but if you’re looking for hand painted originals expect to spend a little dough. Their collection was far better than any other “propaganda seller” we saw.
What to buy: Original Communist Propaganda posters as well as replicas.
What to pay: Originals start at about $300 US on up.
We found a shop that is located at the Ben Thanh Night Market.
What to buy: We were searching around for a shop that would give us a good price for the four-piece laquerware. Many shops that we went to charged us sky high prices. But of course it sound quite reasonable to us. 650,000VND for the four pieces, which works out to about 14,000VND per piece.
Thank goodness we did not buy from the other shops. The shop that we went to charged us 300,000VND, which we bargained down to 230,000VND.
If we paid 230,000VND for the four-piece laquerwood, you should be paying no more 100,000VND for each piece.
Bao silk is on De Tham st. right in the backpackers area. I got measured up for 3 short sleeved shirts at 9.00 p.m. and they were ready at 11.00 next morning.
What to buy: These were hand made button-down collared silk shirts.
What to pay: In May 2007 I paid 10$ per shirt, slightly cheaper than I had paid in Hoi An 2 years before.
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