Local Crafts, Hanoi
Very good paintings of rather unknown artists, therefore affordable.
Not the US $ 3000 range as elsewhere (see photo, bought last year in Saigon) but US$ 200 - 300.
Bought three paintings there, very happy now!
What to buy: Everything!
Many shops try to overcharge the foriegner. I was walking street by street asking the price for this small ceramic vietnamese doll. The price range from 10,000D to 15,000D.
Finally I got this good deal in a shop in Cao Go, 5,000D. The shopkeeper mistaken me as a vietnamese because I was using vietnamse to ask her the price.
"mot gai baun nyiur" (how much for one)
Some of them can easily recognise you are outsider, some dont. I am just lucky.
Tan My prides in being the oldest emrbroidery shop in Hanoi. Their embroidered pieces are made of the finest silks, cotton and linen.
Make sure you go to the one on Hang Gai as there are 2 others (spin-offs) not far from the original.
What to buy: The tablecloths, pillow cases, placemats, bedsheets, pyjamas, dresses, shoe bags, lingerie bags, table runners are all exquisite!
If you fancy some local silk lanterns or lacquerware as non-pricey souvenirs, head to the Old Quarter. Remember to bargain hard.
What to pay: About 5,000VND for small lacquerbowls. Up to US$15 for quality stone lacquer / lacquerware (box about size of palm)
I like its pottery. The quality of its product is good and the prices are reasonable for its quality. The earthly and pastel colours can soothe your senses. You can consult them on how to decorate your gardens and homes.
What to buy: The stoneware especially the fountains. It is very unique.
What to pay: Depending on the products, from USD2.
You may wish instead of buying repros to buy great original art by the local Vietnamese painters... scenes of villages, schoolgirls in their white ao dai and triangle hats, landscapes and waterscapes are of very high quality.
There are some nicer but more expensive shops on Pho Nha Tho Street.
They offer very good quality and more Western oriented kind of Hoem Furnishing and Clothes.
Also check out the Moca Cafe and visit the beautiful French cathedral. Not far from Haon Kiem Lake.
What to buy: Laquer ware, Bamboo, Silk, hand bags, shoes, skirts, evening dresses, Chop sticks,......
What to pay: more than average!
All along the Old Quarters, you will find small shops selling local crafts - good as souveniers - magnets, bookmarks, handbags, trays, little key chains, embroidery pouches, wood carvings, small marble statues, T-shirts, dresses ... so many to choose from.
What to buy: All local crafts
What to pay: Ranges from 500dongs to...... unlimited
The area around Hoan Kiem lake has a wide variety of shops offering paintings and embroidery. You can get some great deals on a wide variety of art. Many local shops offer local Vietnamese art or replicas of famous works. In addition, the embroidery shops have framed art work and linens. There are a lot of different places so you should shop around before you buy to get familiar with the variety and quality that is available as well as an idea of the prices.
What to pay: Oil painting of local scene (approximately 8x10) - US$5
Full size table emroidered table cloth with napkins - $15
Silk is a big thing in Hanoi and you will find shops that sell these wonderful hand embroided silk scarves at a very reasonable price. SOmething every lady would want
What to buy: the beautiful silk scarves
What to pay: reasonable price.between $10 and $30 US
you will find these colourful Lanterns everywhere in the Old Quarter...they are made of a light material. I thought they were paper ..I was wrong :)
What to buy: these would make a nice ornament in any room at home....they woudl look good in a childs room I think
What to pay: They are cheap
The area around Hoan Kiem Lake in central Hanoi has dozens of shops full of nice souvenirs. In this area, I purchased a hand-stitched scene of the sunset over a Vietnamese lake. The designs in this type of art are made with individual strands of thread, beautifully arranged to form a landscape design. The price was around US$3 or 4.
The other souvenir I bought in this area was an egg shell painting that I purchased from a nice little shop where the owners spoke French rather than English. I think this cost about US$5.
You will see alot of shops selling silk within Old Quarter, apart from silk, the shops sell other things too, like handicraft, lacquer ware etc. Those shops are targetted at the pockets of tourists.
In contrast, N Silk sells one and only item - clothings. The quality of silk is good. And the price I was quoted is much lesser than other shops, in fact, it was what I paid in the end. Save your effort of trying to bargain for 50% of the quoted price like in other shops.
A humble shopfront with a friendly and honest shopowner, Hoa (she calls herself Flower too) who speaks good English. She is only in the shop from 830am-7pm, from 7pm -9pm it will her dad manning the shop.
When I was at the shop, I met a lady from UK who said she visited this shop 3 years ago and is here again. I saw her paying Hoa hundred of Euros to tailor make 2 tops and 2 bottoms.
This is definitely a shop I will visit again.
What to buy: Silk Clothing, ethnic flavoured clothings.
What to pay: I bought two tops for 100,000VND each and 200,000VND for a silk jacket.
You can find silk scarves and other local crafts in shops in many of the bigger hotels. You'll pay a premium, but you can still bargain.
The scarf on the left was purchased in a hotel shop. The one on the right was purchased at Craft Link -- see my "support local artisans" . I can't remember which place the middle one came from :)))
What to buy: Silk scarves are wonderful purchases -- they are fun to wear and give as gifts AND they don't take up much room in your luggage:)
Vietnamese silk is usually much softer and more supple than Thai silk -- but it depends:) The scarf on the right is "raw silk" and has little more "body" than the other two.
What to pay: Depends on the quality -- from $6 to $20 USD??
Wooden crafts in the form of masks, marionettes, boxes (lacquered and embellished with mother-of-pearl), chopsticks, incense holders, cutlery, keychains and bookmarks in the design of local Vietnamese or minority tribes make good souvenirs.
Chances of bargaining successfully increase if you buy more, so go with many friends and travel mates. A good gauge is to cut the price by a third of what's offered and gradually increasing to less than half. If you don't really want, don't budge. There are some not so enterprising shopkeepers who don't play the game - I think it's better to go to another shop.