Shopping in beautiful Vietnam
Table of Contents
If you love to hunt for a good bargain then you will adore Vietnam. Fun and interesting, you can discover anything your heart desires in this beautiful South-east Asian country. Retail is a thriving market here – you will discover high-class shopping malls, busy supermarkets, colourful open-aired markets, designer boutique stores and a wide variety of vibrant street stalls. Shopping in beautiful Vietnam is really a sensory experience.
Designer clothing and high-end branded products (such as electronics and perfume) have slightly higher taxes on them compared to other neighbouring countries. For tourists, the best products to purchase are traditional clothing, ethnic crafts, art, antiques, war memorabilia and authentic gems.
Clothes are a fantastic souvenir of your time in Vietnam and range from t-shirts to ao dai (traditional Vietnamese costume) to accessories. Clothing made from silk is incredibly popular, with prices depending on both the material and the dressmaker. Although you can buy off the rack, it is best to have clothes made to measure. It does cost a little more and takes slightly longer, but the results are much better. If you are searching for a unique gift for a loved one back home, then something like shoes, slippers and handbags made from silk or bamboo are a fantastic idea. The traditional conical hat can be found throughout the country but the ones from Hue are renowned for the poems embroidered inside.
Art and Antiques
Authentic antiques are a good buy in Vietnam but there are strict regulations for foreigners exporting them outside the country. You will need to have your wits about you when purchasing antiques – most are either copies or fakes. If you do purchase an antique piece, ensure that he has an authentic certificate. You will also need a license to export it out of the country which can be a long and tiresome process.
Gems and jewellery
Vietnam is a goldmine … well, it’s a treasure chest of gems and jewellery. Both traditional pieces and the more upscale markets have been experiencing a big increase. If you are buying gemstones in Vietnam you should be careful of what you are buying – if in doubt of its authenticity, you should purchase at more prominent locations and stay clear of gems at dirt bottom prices.
Handicrafts and ethnic goods are both good value for money and incredibly popular with tourists. These include leatherwork, bamboo blinds, reed mats, carpets, lacquer ware, paintings and wood-block prints.
The country is famous for the Vietnam War and war souvenirs are popular touristy items. Most, however, are fakes. Remember that most airlines do not allow weapons, even fake ones, to be transported.
Shopping in beautiful Vietnam-Where you should buy
In the bigger cities, such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Hoi An, you should really browse and compare prices. Whole streets and even districts will sell the same product (i.e. Hanoi has streets where you can buy just shoes, earrings or silk) so just walking around and seeing who has what and at what price can save you a bundle. Villages in Vietnam will typically produce a particular type of handicraft. Not only can you explore these traditional villages and get a feel for real life, you can also purchase these items without the added expense of a middle-man.
Many shopping malls and galleries will have price tags on their products and do not allow haggling. However, you may find the same goods elsewhere at a lower price where you can bargain. If you are given the price by mouth then you will need to put on your haggling hat. Most sellers will raise the item’s price by two to five times what it actually is. There are no set rules to bargaining; your outcome will depend on your skill and good fortune.
Go on you deserve it ……. go shopping in beautiful Vietnam.