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Stores & Markets: Cheap & Chic Bling-Blings!
You can go crazy shopping in Vietnam!! The markets are full of cheap & chic wonders... esp. good value are sports shoes, market 'designer' shirts and backpacks for the guys, and sequinned bags/slippers as well as silks and ao dai for the girls!! Ohhh.. then of course all those lacquer goods, and paintings (see my hanoi shopping tips for those)... and doilies, tablecloths,
N.B. BE CAREFUL OF PICKPOCKETS!!! I spotted one hurrying away after trying to get at my wallet from my handbag. Strangely.. she didn't even look Vietnamese. Looked like a regular tourist in a big hat and capri pants.
What to buy: Check out these sequined bags, though they're a mere fraction of what you can find there!! I bought like 20 on my first trip alone.
What to pay: Realllyyyy cheap. U pay like USD$1-$2 for a little sequinned pouch but even the really nice big holdall type ones aren't more than USD$10, esp. not in the markets or u know u're being charged foreigner prices.
- Budget Travel
- Women's Travel
Stores & Markets: Pretty Shiny Things
Just wanted to include another photo of slippers.. everytime I go to Vietnam, I really overbuy!!! Every trip would see me buy at least a couple pairs of these fantastic clogs, and a few handbags. Great gifts, if they don't end up in my own cupboard! :)
- Women's Travel
Galleries in Vietnam: Fancy a Renoir but too poor to afford one?
Have one renoir specially painted for you at about USD 30 or less by one of these copy artists in HCMC. I spotted one such gallery in Dong Khoi area, not too far from the Opera house. I didn't buy a copy but I was so very tempted to get Van Gough's Starry Night. There's also a 'proper' gallery in the same vincinity but they carry original works by local artists. Don't ask those folks to do a copy for you, trust me, they know how to say "omigawwd" in English. The website is attached below.
Stores & Markets: General shopping
In the market, I bargained for a set of chopsticks in a nice box.
Agreeing on the price, the woman took my money, and proceeded behind the counter to wrap the Chopsticks.
At this time, another girl came up and started talking to me. I realized I had let my guard down for a second, so when I was given my parcel, I walked a short distance and opened the end to see if I had the correct chopsticks. I could see it was, so went back to my Hotel.
At the Hotel, I opened the parcel completely......
Yes, I had the right design, only they had changed it for one with a large chip out of it!
This was to be a gift for my family. If I had opened the other end, I would have found the chip, luck wasn't with me.
You cannot let your guard down. I realize the other lady was a decoy now, didn't then, just thought being friendly, not so, all part of a plan.
BINH TAY MARKET: CHINATOWN
A typical LARGE asian market (under a roof).
I found this market as good as if not better than the covered marked in the centre of HCMC. It is 2 floors and built round a open space in the centre.
Sells everything (and I mean everything) and the food is wonderful as well.
Oposite on the other side of the street is another market as well.
What to buy: Clothes, Bags, Shoes, kitchen ware, whatever you are looking for.
What to pay: Bargin, and its cheap.
Mosaique: Asian lighting - unique and lovely
A small shop specializing in candle holders, candles, lighting, home decorating and unique fashions
What to buy: Whatever you are entranced with. You will be and you decide. I loved the lighting, it was so unique and elegant, but very understated. Perfect.
What to pay: Not expensive. It just depends on what you are buying.
Binh Tay Market: The Market in Cholon
Cho Lon means "big market" and the Binh Tay Market is the largest market in Saigon's Chinatown. Much like Ben Thanh Market, the aisles are full of just about anything that you would need for the modern Vietnamese life. However, the prices are generally cheaper than Ben Thanh.
At the center of the market is a courtyard garden for you to escape the craziness of the shopping.
What to pay: Depends on your barganing skills. Generally, for items without a price tag you should pay at least 50% of the first price that they say.
Ben Thanh Market: The Central Market IS central
You will find Ben Thanh Market right in the heart of the city. Here you can buy just about anything from fresh produce and meat [some still living], tableclothes, clothes, art -- it really is the shopping heart of the city. You will find many restaurants nearby, including Pho 2000. [See my restaurant tips]
What to buy: I purchased a Christmas tablecloth and napkins.
What to pay: Bargain, but don't be unreasonable. I was fortunate in that I had my young Vietnamese friend with me who did the negotiating.
Stores & Markets: Ben Thanh Market
Ben Thanh Market is a large, indoor market worth going to for shopping or just to look.
This is a huge market that dates back to the days of French occupation.
This market has aisles and aisles of stalls that are arranged according to the types of items they are selling. There are plenty of Clothes including the Vietnamese Ao Dai outfits and many Vietnamese hats - I bought some and they were squashed on the flight home!
Shoes, fabrics, accessories, jewelry, hardware, pet shops, crafts, flowers, spices, nuts, food, pickles, ducks, wine, sweets and much more. I could pick out my own selection of sweets, I really like doing that!
Plenty of restaurants where you can enjoy Vietnamese cuisine.
Ben Thanh Market was very busy, so make sure you look after your money. I did find that some of the stalls were not that keen on moving their price much so didn't buy from them, there is plenty of others that will!
Ben Thanh Night Market
After 6pm, the indoor market closes and traders set street stalls on the outside of the Ben Thanh market.
Operates from 6pm - midnight.
THE INDOOR DAY MARKET
The market opens its doors in the early hours of the morning and closes at 6pm.
It is open every day of the week including public holidays, only during the lunar new year (Tết) and national holidays some shops may be closed.
They say if you can't find what you want here, then you will not find it in HCMC.
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
Stores & Markets: Ben Thanh
This market sells everyhting from up to the minute phones to clothes and sounvenirs. We did a lot of shopping here buying draw string pants long and short for $US5 a pair also Filo & Nike women's sports tops for th e
All kinds of souvenirs are available here t-shirts $US2 and that is before you haggle at those prices I felt too embarressed to haggle.
What to buy: There are beautiful chop stick boxes a steal at approx $US5 each some are plainn others have been hand carved.
If you are after fabric this is the place to go we watched women buying fabrics for special occasions maybe wedding gowns??? in the most beautiful fabrics and colours.
The first time we went we took a taxi but walked back to the hotel ourselves. Seems to be much easier to find your way from than to!!!!
Apart from the souvenir stuff there are some good bargains to be had in men's shirts clothes in general and shoes there were many westerners buying up big on shoes. I am sure if we had not had to carry a backpack into Cambodia we would of bought a lot more. The stall holders will deal in either US$ or VN Dong.
Away from the markets there are plenty of music stores that sell pirate dvd's(20,000VND) or cd's(10,000VND) they are all good quality. There are also loads of kids selling photo copies of books lots of Lonely Planet, history books from the war we paid between $US2-3 per book. There are also loads of sunglasses to be had either from stalls or from street vendors who walk around selling them my treat were Ray Ban $US3. There is so much to buy you will be spoilt for choice. So far none of my t-shirts have fallen apart and all my dvd's & cd's are in perfect working order.
- Budget Travel
Stores & Markets: Ben Thanh Market
This is one of the main markets in Saigon and one of the landmarks of the city, with its belfry and clock. Recently refurbished, inside you can find many everyday life items, as household items, food, tobacco, clothing, hats, hardware, parfums? And outside, in the streets around, you will find many local restaurants, chinese shops, and a lively atmosphere which is very pleasant to observe?
It was built in 1914 by the french who knew it as ?Les Halles Centrales?
Stores & Markets: CHEAP!! Ladies Handbags & Mens Wallet!!
This handbag shop sells everything from upmarket designer copy handbags to cheap fashionable handbags. Both my wife & me bought a lot of handbags here. Price ranging from USD$5 - USD$20 every item in the shop is tag with its selling price, so.. feel at ease buying cause there is no way that the shop will slash you. A part from handbags the shop also carries designer copy wallets both for men & women.
This shop is located in a district known as Quan GoVap, name street is Nguyen Kiem, F3, shop number 625B, shop name CityGirl Fashion... is actually near the Ho Chi Minh international airport. The shop is run by 2 ladies which... well to our surprise happens to be sisters.. one of them speaks english and they are extremely patient and courteous... despite of my wife's fickle mind.. they still serve with a smile. I have actually recommended many of my friends to the shop since then and their responds were all positive. SO... overall my wife & me give a 2 thumbs up for this handbag shop in Ho Chi Minh City!!
What to buy: items to look out for copy designer handbags... etc
What to pay: USD$5 - USD$20
- Women's Travel
- Budget Travel
- Family Travel
A.M. Lacquerwares: Vietnamese Lacquerware
A.M. Lacquerware is a beautiful lacquerware store right next to the Liberty 3 Hotel. Lacquerware is an art that is native to Vietnam. Here you can purchase dishware, photo albums, jewerly boxes, sandals, trays, etc made out of lacquerware. You can even order something with your own specifications if you just don't see the right purchase in the store itself. The staff is very sweet and if you do buy something they wrap it up so nicely and provide a rattan bag to carry your purchases in that is so beautiful itself, I now use it as a beach bag.
What to buy: For both of my trips to Vietnam, I purchased photo albums with lacquerware covers. They are a nice souvenier to bring back home to put your pictures of the area in. In the store they even have albums with the Vietnamese Flag on the front of them or women in ao zais.
What to pay: The prices are quite reasonable. For an 18 page photo album with very large pages you only pay about $6-8 US. This is much cheaper than any run of the mill photo album that you can purchase in the States.
Ben Than Market: Murah-Murah
These shopkeepers certainly knows the Malay word "Murah-murah" which means "cheap, cheap" in English. Bargain at slightly more than 50% and slowly work from that. Or you could confuse them by parital bargaining in local dong and then switching over to US dollar and back to dong, (not necessary in that sequence) Works for me everytime.
The shops near the entrances and exit of this market somehow has got fixed prices, So bargaining is not encouraged. But if you go further in those little alleys, bargain as much as possible
What to buy: Lacquer ware, Vietnamese silk (price range from US$2 to US$ per metre), wooden carvings, coffee (price range from US$1 to US US$ per 100 gm) and lots of other stuff.
Andong Market: Cheaper than Ben Thanh
Its definitely cheaper to get stuff from here than Ben Thanh. BUT the variety is less. However, I noticed that the handicrafts are much more here and the best thing about is that there arent many tourist coming over to this side of town. So the vendors are much less fussy to "jack" up the price and much more willing to offer a good price for their wres. YOU STILL HAVE TO BARGAIN tho'
I got this nice "painting" in semi precious stones. If you have more time in HCMH, do spend time here. You won't regret it. This market is in District 5 which beyond the ever popular District 1 (touristy area)
If you want you could try Ben Thanh Market which is a bit higher priced than here. If you want Paintings, this Ben Thanh or Andong market is NOT the place to get it.
Other Interesting HCMC Places
What to buy: Handicrafts
What to pay: You have to bargain. Start at least 40% from the price you are quoted
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