Ho Chi Minh City is a fun place to shop for bargains. Some goods can be unique and fascinating – old propaganda posters, for example; we found one that exhorted people to plant garlic for export.
Clothing includes silks and hand-woven fabrics with a reputation for high quality. Vietnam is also famous for handicrafts including bamboo ware, ceramics and lacquer. There are, too, all the usual holiday souvenirs such as T-shirts and beaded handbags at prices that are hard to beat.
This three-story market (both a retail and wholesale market) is not at all fancy but it has some modern architecture including escalators. Located in District 5 (Chinatown), it is a must for handicrafts enthusiasts. Just go directly to the top floor and spend time hunting for good quality woodwork, lacquer ware, knitwear and various type of Vietnamese crafts. An Dong is also famous for fabrics. Prices are cheaper than other bigger markets, especially those downtown.
Location: conveniently located right by the An Dong Plaza and Windsor Plaza Hotel
Remarks: Best time to go is early in the morning
Le Cong Kieu Street, otherwise known as the major antique market of HCMC features many small shops selling antiques and original arts objects (as well as fake and imitation products) within the range of the 100-metre long street. Among the goods found here are vases, ceramics, Buddha images, ivory, Asian-style food carriers, vintage coins and money and old electronics items such as radios, TVs and lamps. Take the camera.
Location: Opposite Ben Thanh Market and not far from the Fine Arts Museum
Features a range of local artists whose paintings display unmistakably distinctive Vietnamese flavour – idealised landscapes and dreamy portraits in soft hues.
Location: 50-52 Mac Thi Buoi, District 1
Tel: +848 3822 7062
The best of Vietnamese fine art finds its home at Lac Hong Gallery (located inside the Ho Chi Minh City Art Museum), which offers a large selection of unique paintings and sculptures from both local masters and up-and-coming artists. A must for any art lover.
Location: 1A Le Thi Hong Gam, District 1
Tel: +848 3821 3771
A very special store for modern lacquerware gift items. You will not find traditional Vietnamese lacquerware here as the shop is full of brightly-coloured and funky decorative pieces.
Location: 47 Ton That Thiep, District 1
Tel: +848 3821 4521
Go to MH Craft to appreciate the skills and innovation of the Vietnamese craftspeople at turning humble materials such as buffalo horn, bamboo and even eggshells into unique and beautiful decorative items and art.
Location: 33 Ton That Thiep, District 1
Tel: +848 3821 4459
Cashew’s collection features young, playful and vibrant fashion for the young and not-so-young urbanites.
Location: 38 Ly Tu Trong, District 1
Tel: +848 668 39 669
A themed café showcasing exquisite Vietnamese traditional dresses in a lavish opium den-like setting, have coffee while trying on yem dao (a halter-top bra) or ao dai (girl's tunic).
Location: 115 Ly Tu Trong, District 1
Khaisilk is part of a large and successful corporation that started life as a high-class tailor shop. While it is a well-known fashion house among Vietnamese elites and internationally for its ready-to-wear line, Khaisilk will still make clothes to order.
Location: 107 Dong Khoi, District 1
Tel: 848 3829 1146
Managed by the young Vietnamese designer Mai Lam, who recreates new and unique fashion from vintage and traditional styles.
Location: 132-134 Dong Khoi, District 1
Tel: +848 3827 2733
There are two locations for this popular beachwear boutique brand offering casual clothes, sandals, sneakers and shoes at reasonable prices.
147 Bui Vien, District 1, Tel: +848 3920 7442
123A Bui Vien, District 1, Tel: +848 3838 0019
Minh Hanh sells one-off designer fashions, elaborate hats, embroidered scarves and dresses. It’s a favourite of local celebrities as well as foreigners.
Location: 24 Dong Khoi, District 1
Tel: +848 3824 5774
Minh Khoa is known for exquisite cocktail and formal dresses. The talented local designer Minh Khoa will custom-make pieces for any special occasion.
Location: 39 Dong Khoi, District 1
Tel: +848 3823 2302
T-shirts with attitude. Papaya stock a wonderful array of cotton T-shirts all made in Vietnam, and gives part of its profits to charities such as the Endangered Asian Species Trust.
Location: 232 Bui Vien, District 1
Authorized Apple reseller stocking all of its latest products. Friendly staff.
Location: Ground floor, Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, District 1
Specializes in PC-type notebooks and desktops and other accessories.
Location: 50 Nguyen Cu Trinh, District 1
Tel: +848 3836 0639
The multi-floor Diamond Plaza, in the Central Business District, is where you can find cosmetics, leather goods, ornaments, footwear, fine wooden artworks, clothing by Vietnamese designers and interior decoration materials. There is also a restaurant, a bowling alley, snooker tables and video games.
Tel: +848 822 5500
This store is at 102 Nguyen Hue Blvd in District 1, and specialises in the usual duty-free items such as perfumes and colognes. It is open from Monday to Friday.
Tel: +848 823 4547
The Tax Department Store is a mall with air conditioning and escalators. It has cheap CDs and DVDs, and other goodies such as lacquer ware, silk scarves and T-shirts, along with a supermarket on the second floor.
Location: 135 Nguyen Hue, District 1
A large mall devoted to shopping, food, and entertainment. It has a big game arcade and modern movie theatres.
Location: 70-72 Le Thanh Ton, District 1
Modern shopping mall in the city centre. This is where you go to buy Vietnamese designer clothes as well as well-known Western brands. But this is not a place to catch bargains. There are food courts (Pho24 is here too) and a well-stocked photo studio on the 7th floor.
Location: 54-56 Nguyen Trai, District 1
Tel: +848 3925 0339
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