Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City
What’s the point of traveling to another country without at least shopping a little bit? If you don’t set out to shop, at least “try” to so you can have a bit of experience mingling with the locals.
When shopping in Ho Chi Minh City, it is best to visit the non-standard type of shopping areas where you can see a variety of products that are non-commercial. Luxury tax in Vietnam is high so branded items such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Armani are quite astronomical in this part of the world. So ditch the malls, and dig into the market culture of Vietnam where your wits and math will be tested.
Ben Thanh Market
The heart of Ho Chi Minh City can be found where the Ben Thanh Market is at Le Loi St. This wet and dry market is a shopper’s paradise. The colors, sights, and smell can be intoxicating and more often overpowering, so better visit during the earlier part of the day where it is less crowded and when the food area hasn’t began cooking their dishes yet.
This is the best place to buy luggage, scarves, textile (and even have suits made in just one day), coffee, tea, dried delicacies, and souvenir items. Haggling is the norm here so never take the seller’s price as the final price. However, if you’re going to start haggling make sure that you really are serious about the product lest you want to hear a string of expletives from the vendor — well you wouldn’t really know, would you?
Binh Tay Market
Binh Tay Market is a bit far-off in District 5 which can be reached by bus (Bus No. 1) that you can take right across the Ben Thanh Market. This place is found in Cho Lon or commonly called China Town. The Chinese vendors here are very serious sellers and usually only sell if you’re going to buy in bulk. However, Binh Tay Market is undeniably a place where goods are really cheap. This is the best place to buy helmets, hats, toys, utensils, bags, footwear, cooking paraphernalia, and the list just goes on and on.
Saigon Square 1, 2 and the Russian Market
If you’re looking to buy clothes, bags, and shoes, Saigon Square 1, 2 and the Russian Market are the places to go to. However, be warned that these areas don’t really have a place for you to try clothes. Make sure you are dressed in a fashion that you can just put clothes over the one you’re wearing. Again, haggling is more than welcome in these shops.
All are in District 1. Saigon Square 1 is along Nguyen Thi Minh Khai St. while Saigon Square 2 can be found along Ton Duc Thang St. The Russian Market is at 225 Ben Chuong Duong.
Lucky Plaza along Dong Khoi St. is a two-storey building with a number of stalls that sells shoes, clothes, souvenir items, and bags. Here, stalls have dressing rooms where shoppers can try on clothes. Several stalls though sell almost the same thing, so make sure you bring your bargaining skills.
All over Ho Chi Minh City are boutiques that sell beautiful Vietnamese products such as bags, clothes, and decors. Visiting boutiques is also the best way to go around the city as every street is different from the next.
When shopping in Vietnam, here are some tips:
1. Haggle. Don’t be embarrassed because more often than not the seller gives you a bloated price. Haggle only when you’re truly interested on a product.
2. Don’t fold your money. The Vietnamese are particular with their money.
3. Dress light. Wear something that will let you don on clothes you might want to try.
4. Bring an extra bag where you can put all the stuff you shopped.
5. Buying in bulk lowers the price of products significantly.
Enough said. Go shop!