Shopper’s Paradise: A Guide to Shopping in Vietnam

Guide to Shopping in Vietnam

Home to bustling cities and breathtaking landscapes, Vietnam has long-beckoned travel lovers from all over the globe. But beyond its scenic allure, there’s a whole world of shopping to discover in Vietnam, with some cultural items and incredible treasures that you won’t find anywhere else on the planet.

At Crown Currency Exchange, we believe you should be prepared for every aspect of your holiday. That’s why we’ve put together this ultimate guide to shopping in Vietnam. Below, we’ll walk you through some unmissable things to buy, and the places to go shopping, and we offer top tips on how to make the most of your Vietnam shopping experience.

What to Buy When Shopping in Vietnam

What to Buy When Shopping in Vietnam

You’ll find so many wonderful things to buy in Vietnam, from the finest silks to beautiful paper lanterns. Below, we’ve put together a list of items we recommend checking out when you’re shopping in Vietnam, along with the average price you can expect to pay for each.

Silk

One of the most popular items you’ll find on sale is Vietnamese silk, which is renowned for being some of the highest quality in the world. It’s available to buy in many different forms, too, including scarves, clothing, and home furnishings.

In terms of price, this will really depend on what you’re buying. For example, a Vietnamese silk scarf will cost around ₫400,000 VND ($25 AUD), while a large silk throw for a couch can cost as much as ₫2,500,000 VND ($153 AUD).

Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnam is one of the world’s largest coffee producers, so it only makes sense to sample and purchase some locally grown coffee beans when you’re shopping in Vietnam.

Coffee beans are quite inexpensive in Vietnam, and you can pick up a kilogram from a market stall for an average of ₫60,000 VND ($4 AUD).

Artwork

You’ll also find some beautiful pieces of art in Vietnam, and many art galleries showcase traditional and contemporary paintings and sculptures that you can buy.

As with any art, prices vary quite dramatically based on the artwork itself. One thing to keep in mind when buying art, however, is that you’ll need to think about how you’re going to get it home, factoring in any extra baggage costs alongside the price of the art.

Spices

An absolute must-buy for any food lover, you’ll find markets selling a variety of spices in Vietnam. You’ll also have the choice of single spices and special spice mixes, which are ideal for adding to certain Vietnamese dishes you want to recreate at home.

Like coffee, spices are relatively inexpensive in Vietnam, and you’ll pay an average of ₫162,230 VND ($10 AUD) per kilogram.

Pearl Jewellery

Vietnam has many pearl farms, and one of the most popular products that come from these is pearly jewellery. Of course, this is one of the more luxurious items you’ll find, but certainly worth considering if you’ve been thinking about treating yourself.

Luxury does come with a price, though, and a string of pink pearls can cost around ₫9,742,000 VND ($600 AUD).

Traditional Clothing

Many markets and shops in Vietnam sell traditional clothing that any fashion lover should consider buying. One of the most popular clothing items is “ao dai”, which is a traditional Vietnamese dress in various colours.

You’ll be able to find ao dai for around ₫400,000 VND ($25 AUD), but if you want to splurge and get a custom ao dai made in one of Hoi An’s famous tailors, you can expect to pay up to ₫1,000,000 VND ($60 AUD).

Paper Lanterns

Paper lanterns are one of the most popular items you’ll find in Vietnam, especially in tourist areas, and the vast range of colours, sizes, and designs they come from means that there is a choice for everyone.

The price of paper lanterns can vary and is usually based on size, with smaller lanterns costing an average of just ₫9,000 VND ($0.50 AUD) and large lanterns costing around ₫50,000 VND ($3 AUD).

The Best Markets in Vietnam

The Best Markets in Vietnam

No trip to Vietnam is complete without visiting one of the country’s famous vibrant markets, where you’ll find a variety of goods on offer, from fresh produce to souvenirs. Here are some of the best markets to explore in Vietnam:

Ben Thanh Market

One of the most famous markets in Vietnam, Ben Thanh Market has an electric atmosphere and is packed with locals and tourists. Here, you’ll find vendors selling an array of items, including spices, clothing, silk, and handicrafts.

Dong Xuan Market

Located in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, Dong Xuan Market is the city’s largest indoor market. It’s also one of the most fascinating and is made up of multiple narrow aisles where you’ll find a wide variety of goods on sale.

Hanoi Night Market

Held every weekend in the Old Quarter, the Hanoi Night Market stretches for several blocks and has a lively atmosphere. There’s more than just market stalls to explore here, too, and you’ll find live music performances and food stalls selling traditional dishes – just remember to use your best judgment when it comes to hygiene.

Hue Dong Ba Market

The largest market in Hue, you’ll find a diverse range of goods, including fresh produce and souvenirs at Hue Dong Ba Market. It’s also a great place to sample local specialities, such as bun bo hue (spicy beef noodle soup).

Best Modern Malls in Vietnam

Best Modern Malls in Vietnam

As well as traditional markets, you’ll find some modern malls in Vietnam selling international and local products, as well as providing multiple dining and entertainment options. Here are some Vietnamese malls we recommend checking out:

Vincom Center

Located in the heart of District 1, Vincom Center is one of the largest and most upscale shopping malls in Ho Chi Minh City. You’ll find a wide selection of luxury and high-end fashion brands here, as well as cosmetics, electronics, and home goods.

Saigon Centre

Adjacent to the Vincom Center, Saigon Centre houses a mixture of luxury boutiques, fashion retailers, and lifestyle stores. There are also some upscale restaurants here, as well as a cinema and a children’s play area.

Crescent Mall

With fashion boutiques, electronics stores, beauty salons, and home furnishing stores, District 7’s Crescent Mall has many things to explore. You’ll also find various dining options here including international and local cuisine, as well as a kids’ zone and a cinema.

AEON Mall

Of the largest Japanese-style shopping malls, AEON Mall is located in Ho Chi Minh City and houses a wide array of shops, including fashion stores, household goods, and grocery stores. There’s also an arcade here, so it’s ideal if you’re a gaming lover who wants to mix shopping with your favourite hobby!

The Best Clothes Shopping in Vietnam

The Best Clothes Shopping in Vietnam

Whether you prefer the atmosphere of a bustling market or the luxury of a modern shopping mall, there are loads of excellent places to enjoy clothes shopping in Vietnam. Here are some of our favourites:

Trang Tien Plaza

Located in Hanoi City Centre, Trang Tien Plaza is one of Vietnam’s premier clothes shopping destinations. Here, you’ll find a selection of high-end brands and fashion accessories, as well as beauty products and lifestyle shops.

Saigon Square

A bustling hub known for its affordable clothing options and fashion accessories, Saigon Square is a good choice for budget-conscious clothes shoppers who want that luxury experience without the high price tag.

The Garden Shopping Center

Situated in Hanoi’s My Dinh area, The Garden Shopping Center has a modern feel and ambience with a variety of fashion stores to explore. You’ll also find some beautiful, locally crafted clothing here, which is ideal for anyone looking for a souvenir or memento in clothing form.

Nha Trang Market

A huge shopping complex based right in the city centre, Nha Trang Market (also known as Dam Market) is one of the most popular clothes shopping destinations in Vietnam and features both international and local stores. You’ll also find a restaurant and cinema here, making it perfect for anyone who wants to enjoy an entire day shopping for clothes.

Top Tip: No matter what you’re shopping for, the preferred method of payment in Vietnam is cash, so make sure you have plenty on you before heading out on a shopping trip. You can find the best rates on Vietnamese Dong here.

Tips for Shopping in Vietnam

Tips for Shopping in Vietnam

As with any country you visit, there are some cultural and practical things you need to keep in mind when shopping in Vietnam. This can be difficult to navigate, but to make things as easy as possible, we’ve compiled some of our top tips!

Shopping Etiquette and Cultural Sensitivity When Shopping in Vietnam

One of the most important things you need to know about shopping in Vietnam is that Vietnamese culture values politeness and respect above all else. As such, you should always greet vendors and shopkeepers with a smile and a friendly demeanour, and if you’re confident with doing so, learn a few Vietnamese phrases to use while shopping.

It’s also important to keep in mind that bargaining is common in markets and smaller shops in Vietnam, so don’t be concerned if you experience this. However, it is still essential that you remain respectful when bargaining and avoid haggling aggressively, as this can be seen as extremely rude. Aim for a fair price that both you and the vendor are happy with.

You should also dress modestly when shopping in Vietnam, especially when visiting areas with temples. Avoid any revealing clothing, and when you enter some shops, you may also be asked to remove your shoes. Don’t act too surprised by this – simply follow suit and respect this tradition.

In Vietnamese culture, it is also considered rude to point at things with your finger, so avoid doing this while you’re shopping. Instead, gesture towards products with an open hand or nod in the direction of the item that you’re interested in buying.

Practical Advice for Shopping in Vietnam

Regardless of whether you’re shopping in markets or an upscale mall, one of the most important pieces of practical advice we can offer is to make sure you have plenty of cash on you. While some stores will accept card payments, cash is the preferred method.

You’ll also find that your bank or credit card issuer may charge an International Transaction Fee when using your card in Vietnam, so by taking cash with you, you’ll be saving money.

It’s also important to check for authenticity when shopping in Vietnam, especially if you see branded goods at bargain prices. Stick to reputable or authorised retailers if you’re shopping for a particular brand, and remember, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Shopping in Vietnam can also involve a lot of walking and navigating your way through crowded spaces, so make sure you carry a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated and refill as necessary. It’s also a good idea to stop every so often to rest and refuel at a food court or nearby cafe.

Budget Your Money for Shopping in Vietnam

With so many wonderful things on offer, it’s really easy to go over budget when you’re shopping in Vietnam. To avoid this, we recommend setting a total budget for your trip and then allocating a portion of that to shopping.

You should also prioritise the items you know you want to buy, and once you’ve grabbed those, any leftover money in your shopping budget can be spent on things you’ve found while exploring market stalls and shops.

Make sure you track your spending, too, as doing this will ensure you stay within your budget. A budgeting app is a great tool for this, or you can simply use a notebook to jot down what you’ve spent and how much you have left.

Get the Best Rates on Vietnamese Dong at Crown Currency

Vietnam’s bustling markets and modern malls are filled with exquisite finds that are begging to be discovered, making the country a true shopper’s paradise. However, to make sure you aren’t in a position of finding something you fall in love with but can’t pay for, make sure you have plenty of cash on you before you head out on your shopping spree.

You’ll find the best rates on AUD to VND at Crown Currency Exchange, with no commission fees or hidden costs. Find out more by visiting one of our many locations today and speak to one of our expert team members.

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