Vietnam is a shopping paradise. The streets of its main cities like Hanoi, the capital, are full of markets where you can find authentic bargains: clothing, footwear, accessories and a wide range of handicrafts. It is important to keep in mind that the cheapest items are those that are manufactured in the country, so everything imported will have a similar price to the U.K. For example, it is not worth buying electronics or mobile phones since they are not cheaper than in any European countries.
All cities have shopping centres, although most of them are focused on tourists. The Vietnamese usually buy their wares in the markets, where they must go to different stalls to pick up all the items they need. The best places to go shopping are Hanoi, where you will find the old market; Ho Chi Minh City, where the Ben Thanh Market, An Dong and the modern Windsor Plaza shopping center are located; Or Hoi An, where you can find custom-made clothing.
Vietnam has a large assortment of clothing for all tastes and styles. You can find dresses, shoes, shirts and a lot of accessories. For this, it is best to explore the markets, since the clothes will always be cheaper than in the shopping centres. If you are in Hanoi, the best shopping area is the Old Quarter. Although in Vietnam, it is forbidden to sell imitations of brands, the truth is that it is customary to have imitation items hidden in the back room. These imitations, in general, are of very good quality, especially the handbags. If you want custom made clothing then the best place for it is Hoi An. The best-known stores are Yaly Couture, Lana Silk or A Dong Silk.
On a trip to Vietnam, you will find that many of the markets, in both Hanoi and other cities of the country, have a great variety of handicrafts. In Hanoi, the quintessential village of pottery is Bat Trang, where you can watch the potters working, using traditional techniques. Also in the old market in Hanoi, you can find a variety of artisan souvenirs. In Ho Chi Minh this type of local art can be found in markets such as An Dong or Ben Thanh.
Jewellery is one of Vietnam's best bargain buys, as its price is, in most cases, far below those in Europe. In Hanoi one of the best places to buy precious stones or jewellery is the Ruby Plaza shopping centre, as it contains many jewellers. You can find great prices on watches here too. It is recommended that you ask some advice on what shops are most reliable and have been trading for a considerable amount of time, to ensure the authenticity of any jewellery you might buy. If you are interested in buying relics salvaged from Vietnam’s years of war, then it is best to visit the Dan Sinh market in Ho Chi Minh.
It is one of Vietnam's most coveted products. In Hanoi, its capital, there is an entire district dedicated to the sale of this textile. It is in the Van Phuc district where you can find small artisan shops, that have been selling silk at a great price for more than a century. In total, you can find more than 100 establishments that sell fabrics, silk and clothes in Van Phuc. In Ho Chi Minh City there are also shops where you can buy silk clothes. One of them is Tricia & Verona.