Keen shoppers will find rich pickings in Vietnam, where eye-catching handicrafts and mementos range from made-to-measure fashion to lacquerware and conical hats. In general, you’ll find the best quality, choice and prices in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Hoi An. You’ll find that more shops now have fixed prices, particularly those catering to tourists, but in markets and rural areas prices are almost always open to negotiation.

Shopping Advice and Etiquette

Markets are a central part of daily life in Vietnam and are where many travellers choose to shop. Day markets usually open around 7am-8am and close around 6pm, and night markets open around 6pm and close around 11pm. Some markets specialise while others are massive bazaars selling everything from food to crafts. Shops typically open around 8am-9am and close around 9am-10pm. However, this can vary depending on the type of shop and the location, with many in busy tourist areas staying open later. Additionally, larger shopping centres and supermarkets often have longer operating hours, sometimes staying open until 10pm-11pm. Haggling is quite common when shopping in Vietnam, especially in local markets and smaller shops where it’s generally expected that you negotiate the price. Just remember to smile and be polite - a friendly hello goes a long way and  learning some of the local language can really help.

Traditional Day Markets: Treasure Troves of Authenticity

Vietnam’s traditional markets are a feast for the senses, offering a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage. From the iconic Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City to the bustling Dong Xuan Market in Hanoi, visitors can explore the maze-like alleys filled with stalls selling everything from fresh produce and spices to clothing, accessories and souvenirs. Get ready to haggle and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere as you discover treasures like lacquerware, silk garments, conical hats (known as non la) and handcrafted ceramics. Don’t forget to sample local street food delicacies like banh mi and pho while taking a break from your shopping spree.

Night Markets: A Kaleidoscope of Colours and Flavours

When the sun sets, Vietnam’s night markets come alive, offering an enchanting shopping experience under the twinkling lights. From the famous Hoi An Night Market to the bustling streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, these markets are a must-visit for any shopaholic. Visitors can explore vibrant stalls selling handmade crafts, jewellery, clothing and accessories and savour the tantalising aromas of street food stalls offering local delicacies like banh xeo (Vietnamese pancakes) and grilled seafood. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness traditional performances and cultural shows that often accompany night markets, adding an extra layer of enjoyment to your shopping.

Fashion Boutiques: Trendy Finds and Unusual Designs

Vietnam’s fashion scene is rapidly evolving, with a growing number of trendy boutiques and local designers making their mark. From the fashion-forward streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the hipster enclaves of Hanoi, visitors can explore boutiques that offer unique designs and stylish finds. Discover up-and-coming Vietnamese designers who blend traditional elements with modern aesthetics, creating one-of-a-kind pieces that reflect the country’s rich cultural heritage. The country is also known for its high-quality silk, ao dai (traditional Vietnamese dress), and tailor-made clothing: Hoi An is a particularly good place to shop for anything made-to-measure. When it comes to accessories, there’s a thriving jewellery industry, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Seek out one-off pieces made from silver, gold or gemstones. Whether you’re looking for contemporary clothing, accessories or handmade jewellery, Vietnam is sure to satisfy your style cravings and allow you to support local talent.

Souvenirs and Handicrafts: Bringing Vietnam Home

When shopping in Vietnam be sure to pick up some unique souvenirs and handicrafts to bring home. Delve into the world of Vietnamese crafts, exploring traditional items like lacquerware, silk products, bamboo goods and hand-embroidered textiles. Discover the art of lantern-making in Hoi An, where you can find beautifully crafted lanterns in various shapes and sizes. And don’t forget to explore the local art scene, where you can find paintings and contemporary artworks that capture the essence of Vietnam’s vibrant culture. These souvenirs and handicrafts will not only serve as mementos of your trip, but also invite you to support local artisans and preserve traditional techniques.

Food and Drink Shops: Recreating the Flavour of Vietnam

Among the wide range of unique and traditional items to look for while shopping in Vietnam, be sure to seek out some of the most popular food and drink. One of our favourite things to try is the local coffee. Vietnam is the second-largest coffee exporter in the world, so don’t miss the opportunity to try and buy Vietnamese coffee, especially the famous robusta beans. Vietnam is also renowned for its flavourful and aromatic cuisine, so why not bring home some local spices, herbs and sauces like fish sauce, chilli sauce or lemongrass? If you don't have access to bubble wrap, consider using everyday items that will cushion any impact like socks, hoodies and towels to protect breakables and prevent spillages during the journey home.

If you’re interested in learning more about shopping in Vietnam, contact our expert team who can arrange tailored tours and exceptional excursions that will inject a healthy dose of retail therapy into your trip.

Contact one of our Vietnam specialists