Guidebook It’s a country where you can shop until you drop


It’s a country where you can shop until you drop

For anyone with a taste for ethnic fashion and handicrafts, Vietnam is a “shopping paradise,” says The Culture Trip -- “from earrings and scarves to traditional women’s outfits, you’ll find great offers throughout the whole country.” The diversity is amazing, says Rough Guides: “eye-catching handicrafts and mementos range from colonial currency and stamps to fabrics and basketware crafted by the country’s ethnic minorities, and from limpet–like conical hats to fake US Army-issue Zippo lighters.” And although more shops have fixed prices, particularly those catering to tourists, “in markets and rural areas prices are almost always open to negotiation.”

Home-grown designer brands and luxury shopping malls are sprouting everywhere, reports Insight Guides. And “stricter laws on copyrights have also meant a modest reduction, but not elimination, of counterfeiting.” Here are Insight Guides’ tips for the best places to shop in Vietnam:

Hanoi: “Exquisite silks, colourful lacquerware, gems, silver, water puppets, scarves, fake war mementoes and hand-tailored clothing can all be found at reasonable prices within the city centre … in the Old Quarter, Hang Gai (Silk Street) has a clutch of top-notch silk shops, while Nha Tho Street offers some of the best clothing, handbags and home-decor items.”

Hoi An: “For many years Hoi An has been known as the centre of silk fabric and tailor shops, many of which are housed in the old Chinese merchant shop houses. While tailoring is key to Hoi An’s economy, in recent years an increasing number of souvenir shops have joined the commercial fray.”

Dalat: “The Central Market in Dalat has a plethora of wares, from candied fruit and local wines to deer jerky and souvenirs … Dalat is famous for its roses and other flowers, sold around the outside of the ground floor. Strawberries are abundant – candied, as syrup, turned to wine or blended in fresh strawberry milkshakes. Artichokes are grown here and made into tea called tra atiso or actiso.”

Ho Chi Minh City: “Although still a source of cheap, mass-produced goods, Vietnam’s undisputed shopping capital now offers stylish, home-grown stores selling contemporary stuff at down-to-earth prices … many innovative designers combine ancient artisanal techniques with contemporary designs to create both decorative and practical goods.”

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