Travel Destinations : Ho Chi Minh City

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

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!

Travel Destinations in Busuanga, Philippines

Busuanga, Philippines

Riding in a 20-seater small airplane to the island of Busuanga may be a harrowing experience for some but the beauty of this hidden gem in North Palawan makes the trip worthwhile.

From Busuanga airport, you take a short ride to the port where a boat can take you to any of your chosen resort in Coron.  Even the boat ride is an unforgettable experience as you zip through the water and view the majestic towering islands.

Home to a number of Japanese ships that went down during World War 2, Coron is a diver’s paradise and it’s no surprise that you’d see diving boat tours all over the vast blue ocean.  Even snorkelers can view a Japanese gunboat near the mainland where it sank.

Treasure Island

This deserted island has a stretch of fine white sand and can only be reached by boat.  No resorts here but just strictly for lazing the day away.

Mount Tapyas

In the mainland, you can go up the 762 steps up Mount Tapyas where a huge cross made of metal trusses marks the summit.  Be in awe of the beauty of Busuanga atop this mountain.

Maquinit Health Springs

Known for its health benefits, enjoy a soak in the hot springs of Maquinit.  This natural hot springs is best for relaxation after a tiresome workout climbing the summit of Mount Tapyas.

Black Mountain and Twin Lagoon

The abundance of limestone in the Black Mountain gives this ominous mountain its ebony-color.  This mountain is entrance to the Twin Lagoon which can only be reached by kayaking through a very low entrance — even then you’d have to lie down a bit in your kayak.  The salt and fresh water mixes in this area creating an oily effect and also causes the water to be cold on the surface and warm underneath.  There’s also a beach around the mountain where you can soak in the sun for the rest of the day. 

Siete Pecados

Siete Pecados or 7 Islets in English is home to a vast display of corals in Coron.  The corals are simply everywhere and even while kayaking you can see them right through the water — it’s that crystal clear!  So be careful when you maneuver your canoe over these precious corals.  Your paddle can be a deadly weapon!  Also, enjoy the underwater display of colorful fishes and sea urchins!

Pearl Shops

Busuanga is home to a number of pearl farms so before heading on home, do check out the pearl or jewelry shops and buy something to remember your trip by.  Nothing beats a pair of naturally-crafted saltwater pearls.

At the end of the day, if you just want a place to hideaway and enjoy moments of commune with nature, Busuanga should be on the top of your local tourist destination!