If you wish to avoid the heat, head to Trang Tien Shopping Centre.
They have two banks on level 1 where you can get good rates for changing USD to Dong. The bank on the right gives you the exact amount while the bank on the left round it down.
You can find clothings, shops, costmetics and supermaket in this shopping complex.
Prices are on the high side but you can just do some window shopping and enjoy the aircon.
The villagers in this village have been weaving silk for generations and many locals goes to them for their Ao Zai and silk. It is relatively cheaper than in Hanoi given the same quality. You have to take a cab to this village as it is far from the City Centre(11km southwest). If you dont want to travel far, you can buy silk along Hang Gai, within the old quarters. Most shop keepers will ask for USD35 for a ready-made Ao Zai but you can bargain till USD15 to 20, depending on the quality of silk.
What to buy: Ao Zai is the traditional Vietnamese costume. Thus buying it here will definitely be a plus. To test if it is geniue silk, take a strand from the material and burn it. If it smells like burnt hair, it is silk. But first you have to burn someone's hair to know the smell :P
What to pay: USD 20 +/- USD5 will be a good guide.
There is a special Chinese meaning when someone says to the guy that he wore a "green hat'. Go find out about it.
But this Vietnamese Hat for the soldier is in bright green and with the famous star.
You can buy them for USD2 and below at any souvenier shop.
You can buy back some cheap DVDs back home for each selling at about USD2.
There are many shops that you can walk in and choose
Remember to check if you can understand the language. Most of the DVDs are from China.
We pass by this shop along Trang Tien.
The motorbike is not for sale;p
You will see lots of souvenier shops selling the famous Vietnamese Hat.
I still see some ladies wearing this hat.
They are usuall wore by those street vendors carrying lots of heavy goods balancing them on a pole with two baskets.
Cost - dont pay more than USD2.
If you’re looking for affordable, original art check out the Co Do Gallery. The collection is great. The staff is very friendly and helpful and the prices are some of the best we found for original art in Hanoi. I bought an original piece here and they helped organize shipping back to the USA. They also will give you the option of rolling the canvas for you if you want to travel with your purchase and reframe it at home. I had my piece shipped home in the frame and it arrived quickly and completely intact. I was very happy with everything and they take credit cards!
There is a small shop in the Women's Museum that sells, among other items, small paintings. The paintings are done by a young man who is deaf, and the giftshop is run by a woman who's also deaf. The painter and I 'talked' about where I was from, etc. by writing his small notebook. He was lovely, and it was a great interaction.
I bought a small painting when I was there. I kept admiring it in my hotel room, and though, well, when I get it home, it'll look silly hung on the wall all by itself, I think I'll buy two more! So, off I went, back to the Women's Museum, this time with a friend I had met at the hotel in tow, and I was greated as a long lost friend.
It was really sweet. They threw in a few extras after I bought my two additional paintings, and we posed for photos all around! Really, I couldn't have bought from nicer people!
What to buy: In this case, the small women's heads are great paintings, and easy to pack and carry with you!
What to pay: Around $6.
The oldest & largest market in Hanoi. You can find many cheap things and alots of local products on 3 wide floors, 9000m2 each. There also are many vendors arounds the market and maybe you may find some interesting things.
Be careful with the pickpocket there as the market is very crowded everytime!
I had my travel blouses and shirts made here - and purchased some trousers and other clothing' ( silk pj's and wraps).
I didn't have high-end stuff made - just cotton travel wear - and it was great. Made to measure (a real necessity for me) and was back to me in no time.
There was a good selection of fabric and the ladies were very helpful. Lots of bargaining - items were all in the $10 - 15 range in the end.
Of course the staff will recommend lots of other shops (my cousin...my brother etc) and I did look at a few other things but if the hassling got too bad they listened and left me alone.
What to buy: All clothing can be made from cheap to high-end.
There are some souveniers that you can consider brining home to your friends or to decorate your home.
So take your time to pick the products.
Be sure to check your goods before you purchase them.
I brought a handphone sling pouch, but the string attached to it has snapped.
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.
The eldest & most famous silk village in Vietnam where you can find any products of silks you want. You can also see how they make the silk products in the local family.
The village is in Ha Dong town, about 15km from the central of Hanoi. You can go there by car, bus or motorbike.
The cheapest way there is to take Hanoi bus to Ha Dong town and motorbike to the village.
What to buy: silk products
If you’re looking for a great designer working out of Hanoi check out Song. Located in the Old District across the street from St. Joseph’s Cathedral, this boutique offers original clothing designs from an Australian designer. Pieces vary in price, I bought a hand-embroidered linen shirt for $75 US. Now, that’s pretty expensive for clothing in Vietnam, but compared to designers in the US and Europe it’s pretty good. And the clothing is well-made and unique. Check it out.
Even if you aren't a shopper, you will be seduced by the countless chic boutiques in Hanoi, not unlike those in Paris. The favorite was the sought-after and uber-funky Ipa-Nima )whose main claim to fame are the handbags designed by Christina Yu.
Make sure you go to their main shop in Hai Ba Trung!
What to buy: Chic and trendy purses, shoes and accessories
What to pay: at least $70 on a handbag
Hanoi has been touted as Handbag Central, and Tien Dat should be handbag central of Hanoi. There shop is literally exploding with handbags of all shapes, material, sizes, and color. Tien Dat specializes in beaded and emobroidered bags, as well as shoes and scarves.
What to buy: bags, bags and more bags!
What to pay: about $5-$20 depending on size of bag and how elaborate they are
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