Where to shop in Ho Chi Minh

Where to shop in Ho Chi Minh

From original handcrafted souvenirs to fancy items from boutiques, there's something for every kind of shopper and every kind of whim in Ho Chi Minh City. Shopping is one of the most exciting activities in Saigon. Glimmering shopping malls bring the downtown area to life, with a display of international fashion brands - boutique fashion is particularly distinguished in Saigon compared to the rest of Southeast Asia. It is in the markets, however, where you can see the real Vietnam. Markets still play a vital role in the lives of locals and they remain popular amongst visitors.

If you are looking for high-end boutiques, high quality silk, department centres and luxurious items, head to Dong Koi. If you prefer, instead, art pieces and intricate handmade items, head to the shops on the nearby streets of Hai Ba Trung, Le Loi and Le Thanh Ton. If you'd rather shop for cheaper and simpler goods, move westwards to Ben Thanh Market.

Ben Than Market

The best shopping to be had is in Ben Thanh Market, Ho Chi Minh's shopping mecca. From knick-knacks, electronic devices to souvenirs, you name it, they've got it and you will be able to find it from one stall to another in the maze of narrow aisles. This is a fun way to spend your day and night. This is where locals buy their fresh fish, fruit and vegetables in the morning. There are also large range of fashion stalls scattered around throughout the day. As the sun sets, a night market brightens up the main hall, housing everything from clothing, apparel and souvenirs. After all that shopping, you might need some energy and luckily a large number of food stalls line the main hall, so you can indulge in some local delicacies.

Dong Khoi Street

Although this street is a colossal display of French colonial buildings, when the Communists took over Saigon in the late 1970s, they changed the name to Dong Khoi, which literally means Total Revolution. The street, however, still retains some of its French past beyond its buildings and that is manifested in its commercial life, art and high quality embroidered silk pieces. There are also quite a few good tailors in the area. From international brands to boutiques, stylish cafes and high-end restaurants, this little French enclave in the city is one of the few places where you can admire what is left of the colonial architecture.

Vincom Centre

With over 250 shops spread out over two separate buildings, Vincom Centre is Saigon's largest shopping mall. This luxurious colonial building comprises many flagship stores for international fashion houses, the likes of Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss.

Binh Tay Market

Situated in a beautiful spot of Chinatown, at the edge of District 5, Binh Tay Market is a great place to soak in the local Buddhist culture and to buy wholesale goods, handicrafts, lacquerware, textiles and fresh produce. Even if you are not interested in shopping, it is worth walking around this market as it is blessed with a vibrant atmosphere and an ostentatious display of Chinese architecture. The market also houses a food fair where you can sample Vietnamese noodles, banh bao (steamed bun with pork filling), and even Chinese sausages.

Diamond Plaza

If you have some extra bucks digging a hole in your pocket, head to the luxurious Diamond Plaza. This glitzy department store houses international brand name goods and fashion boutiques. Even if you are on a budget, it's worth seeing this department, at least to escape the heat at noon.

Saigon Square (in photo)

This two-storey wholesale fashion mall is a bargain hunter's paradise. From t-shirts to men's and women's apparel, swimwear, shoes, handbags, textiles, luggage and jewellery, you can shop till you drop in this department store. Before you start having too much fun, remember to haggle to bring the price down. This might seem counterintuitive at a department store, but the prices are slightly inflated for this purpose, so don't be shy and try to have some fun while you are at it. Compare before shopping as different stalls might sell the same good at different prices.

An Dong Market

Although this is primarily the place where locals buy clothes, the top floor houses fantastic craft stalls. With skilled artisans fashioning traditional handicrafts from lacquer and woodwork, this is the best place to buy crafts.