Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City – What to buy and where to buy it!

Ho Chi Minh City is truly a mecca for shopping enthusiasts!  Everything from handicrafts to imitation brand name clothes and shoes are available at a fraction of what it would cost overseas!  As tourism has increased over time in Ho Chi Minh City, so has the establishment of trendy boutiques that cater to the tourist crowd.  However, you can find the same treasures within the many shopping areas throughout the city.  Our aim in this post is to guide you in your shopping adventures and help you find what you’re looking for at bargain prices!

CLOTHES

Vietnam is a manufacturing country so imitations of brand name clothes are generally cheaper than the suggested retail price!  You can find both high end brand clothing and mall brands like American Eagle Outfitters, Gap, Old Navy and more.  Many locals shop for clothing in the stores along Nguyen Trai street or at Saigon Square.  Keep in mind that there are two locations for Saigon Square and, oddly, they have the same name!  Many people refer to the new location as Saigon Square 2.  Both locations carry similar items but Saigon Square 2 is cooler and more spacious than the original location.

Location of Nguyen Trai Street shopping
Location of Saigon Square 1
Location of Saigon Square 2

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 12.10.19 PM

SHOES

Ho Chi Minh City seems to have a specific street for everything, and shoes are no exception.  In fact, the city has two streets dedicated entirely to shoes!  As is the case with clothes, you will find great imitations of brand name shoes.  Be careful with the quality of these imitations as the heel or main body of the shoe may show wear and tear very quickly.

Ly Chinh Thang street is lined with shoe shops which carry shoes in a variety of sizes and styles.  The other shoe street is just outside of Ben Thanh Market and one block away from Le Loi street.  The shops on this street have more sports shoes and sandals whereas the shops on Ly Chinh Thang street carry more fashion shoes.

Location of Shoes Street 1 (Ly Chinh Thang)
Location of Shoes Street 2 (Luu Van Lung)

Shoes in Ho Chi Minh City

HANDBAGS AND LUGGAGE

If you need to buy luggage to transport your newly purchased goods, visit Le Lai street between New World Hotel and Ben Thanh Market.  You will see an entire street of luggage shops with the most well known brands such as North Face, Samsonite, and more!  Alternatively, if you need a fashionable handbag or wallet, visit Saigon Square or Binh Tay Market in Cho Lon.  If you plan on using the handbag around the city, make sure the straps are secure enough so that you are not a victim of petty theft.

Location of Le Lai Street luggage shops
Location of Saigon Square 1
Location of Saigon Square 2
Location of Binh Tay Market in Cho Lon

Handbags and Luggage in Saigon

WATCHES

Find the best fake watches here in Ho Chi Minh City!  Name the brand and you will find it!  Many of them are impressive imitations but you will have to feel the weight and inspect the metal on the watch to ensure that the quality is good.  Of course, Ben Thanh Market has countless stalls selling watches but expect to pay a hefty price.  If you have time to explore, check out Binh Tay Market at Cho Lon or the many small shops around the market for a better bargain.  Shop owners around the city buy their stock at this market at wholesale prices.  You can also go to the top floor of the Saigon Tax Center where they have a few jewelry stores which carry watches.

Location of Ben Thanh Market
Location of Binh Tay Market in Cho Lon
Location of Saigon Tax Center

Fake Watches Ho Chi Minh City

HANDICRAFTS

Vietnamese handicrafts are very unique and intricate.  Vietnam is especially famous for lacquerware and coconut dinnerware.  Bowls, plates, spoons and chopsticks make great gifts and decoration!  You can also find fabulous fabric creations with pathwork and threadwork embroidery.  Or, if you prefer wood items, you might like the handcrafted wooden boats and figurines that are often sold at the markets.

The best place to find a huge variety of lacquerware at the best bargain prices is An Dong Plaza, near Cho Lon in Chinatown, or for someplace more accessible, try the top floor of the Tax Center.  For being so central within Ho Chi Minh City, the lacquerware at the Tax Center is a great bargain!  What’s more, many people do not know about it as it’s well hidden – go to the very top floor even if you think you can’t go up anymore.  The entire top floor is dedicated to lacquerware crafts!  We find that the choices for fabric and wood crafts are the best at Ben Thanh Market.

Location of An Dong Plaza
Location of Ben Thanh Market
Location of Saigon Tax Center

Handicrafts Vietnam

ANTIQUES

Try antiques street (otherwise known as Le Cong Kieu street) just outside Ben Thanh Market.  People have commented that the stores are riddled by imitations but you may find a diamond in the rough!  Items include old money, stamps, war memorabilia, figurines made of ivory or bone and more.  Be careful when buying “antiques” in Vietnam however as it is illegal to export real antiques out of the country.

Location of Antiques Street (Le Cong Kieu)

Antiques Ho Chi Minh City

PAINTINGS

Ho Chi Minh City is home to many art galleries which host the most talented local artists.  However, for copies of famous pieces of art or for original paintings by lesser known artists, visit the “painting street”.  Like shoes, there are not one but two streets that are chock-a-block full of painting shops!  More locals shop at the painting stores in District 5 than the one in District 1, but you will surely find a great selection wherever you choose to go!

Location of Paintings Street 1 (Tran Phu Street, District 5)
Location of Paintings Street 2 (Bui Vien Street, District 1)

Paintings Ho Chi Minh City

FABRIC

Vietnam is often touted as the next custom tailoring capital of the world!  If you have time to tailor custom outfits, we strongly recommend that you visit ‘fabric street’ to find an excellent selection of cloth for your tailored creations.  Fabric street is located directly across from Tan Dinh Market.  You will find even better deals on fabric inside the market, although the stores across the street have a wider selection of fabric types.  You can also visit Soai Kinh Lam material market in Cho Lon.  This is a wholesale market so the prices are cheaper and the choices are more abundant.  Tailors will charge less if you come with your own fabric but make sure you check with the tailor first with regard to how much material is needed for your garments.

Location of Tan Dinh Market 
Location of Fabrics Street (Hai Ba Trung)
Location of Soai Kinh Lam Material Market

Fabrics Ho Chi Minh City

Vietnam is a cash based society, which means that there is no such thing as a fixed price.  You must absolutely bargain for the goods you wish to purchase. Remember that, in a market, there will be several stores that carry the items that you want.  Therefore, the best strategy in getting things at an appropriate price is not getting attached very quickly to what you want to buy.  In many cases, the owner will call you back if you walk away and agree on a reasonable price!  Use the following phrases to help you with your negotiations!

Shopping Phrases in Vietnam

If you are in Ho Chi Minh City for a limited amount of time, you can visit either Ben Thanh Market, Saigon Square or An Dong Plaza for a one-stop shop experience.  Keep in mind that Ben Thanh Market, albeit convenient, can be much more expensive than the other markets due to its central location and frequency of tourist shoppers.  When shopping at Ben Thanh Market you should start with 40-50% of the original asking price and negotiate from there.  If the store owner does not lower the price, you can just as easily go to the next stall.  In comparison, you should expect to get no more than 10-20% discount on goods that you purchase at Saigon Square 1 & 2.  You will see more locals shopping at Saigon Square or An Dong Plaza.  Wherever you choose to shop, we are confident that you will be thoroughly impressed with what Vietnam has to offer.  We wish you an enjoyable shopping experience in Ho Chi Minh City!

This is another great Vietnam travel tip brought to you by XO Tours, the best motorcycle tour in Vietnam! :)

About the author

Brinda Shah Brinda Shah is the resident blog writer for XO Tours. She has lived in Ho Chi Minh City since November 2012 and has had the opportunity to thoroughly explore the country from North to South. You can find her travel tips for Ho Chi Minh City on the XO Tours Blog or learn more about her on .

45 comments to Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City – What to buy and where to buy it!

  • Jason

    Thanks so much for the in depth shopping guide! Great read and will certainly use the bargaining tips mentioned.

  • Regene

    Amazing Info on shopping guide! Good Job…

  • Hi there,

    Just wondering if the fabric stores have tailors attached to them or if you need to buy the fabric and then find a tailor?
    Do you know of any good tailors for men’s pants and suits and women’s dresses?

    Thanks and Regards
    David

    • XO Tours

      Hi David,

      Some tailor shops have their own fabric but the selection is usually quite limited and it’s also more economical to purchase your own fabric beforehand. Some specialized tailors will not allow fabric from elsewhere and will require you to buy their in-house fabric. As for specific tailors, we suggest that you check review sites for recommendations. Please keep checking back to our blog over the next few weeks for our entry on custom tailoring in the city!

  • ulle

    DO ANYBODY KNOWS WHERE TO BUY SHIRATAKI NOODLES, RICE AND PASTA???

    THANKS

  • U1

    Hi there, the shopping guide is very informative and helpful. How about their mode of transportation? is taking a taxi cheap? Thanks.

  • Cestine

    Thank you SO much! I just moved to Ho Chi Minh, and I was looking for somewhere else to shop than Diamond Plaza.

  • […] locations on where in the city to purchase fabric and lacquerware, take a look at our previous shopping blog.  If you have a car available at your disposal, the best place to purchase ceramics is in the Binh […]

  • Christine

    Is Cho Lon is the same as Cho An Dong ? Or Binh Tay ? Or are they all different ?

  • fion

    may i knew what is the operation hour for shopping mall and nguyen trai street?tq

  • Izan

    Hi..any hotel near to this area (Walking distance)…and how far from airport to hotel..Please help me. Thank you.

  • […] places to shop. If you’re keen on getting yourself souvenirs, head to local markets such as Trai Street and bargain your heart out. But, if you’re keen on getting your hands on something pricier, […]

  • Just wondering if the fabric stores have tailors attached to them or if you need to buy the fabric and then find a tailor?
    Do you know of any good tailors for men’s pants and suits and women’s dresses?

    Thanks and Regards
    David

  • Mike

    Hi, great article, very informative. I have a stop off in Ho Chi Min from 29th jan to 1st of February 2014. I realise this falls over the Tet period and was wondering if you could advise whether Saigon square, Binh Thay, the russian market and Ben Thanh market will be open during this time. I realise local Vietnamese people will travel home to see family etc but will the markets be open on the 29th at least? Many thanks and keep up the good work,

    Mike

  • Nice ideas shared about what all to buy. Planning to travel in February this year… so it will help. The shopping guide is really informative. Whats the best mode of transport and any suggestions on places to eat… :)

  • Faddzil

    Dear Brinda Shah, im Faddzil from Malaysia n will be in HCMC dis coming early of May. Im plan to buy some fabrics to start my small business in my country soon.. could u advice me whre actually i can get the best deal of fabrics such cotton, chiffon blouse , Vietnam silk.. its an appreciation if u could reply me via my email faziljohari@gmail.com.. tq for such a great n helpful tips n tricks..

    • Brinda Shah

      Hi Faddzil,
      For very large amounts of fabric, we recommend visiting the fabric market in District 5, although the choices are more varied at Tan Dinh market in District 3. Information on the location of these markets is available on this blog. Good luck!

  • Jason

    Hi Brinda,

    Where will be good to stay in HCM that is near shopping place?

  • yk

    can anyone share with me good tailor Ho Chin Ming city

  • James

    What a great site, well done for all your time and energy and promoting Saigon, it shows your love for the city.
    Could you please advise me what is roughly the average price for shoes and also tailored made suits, average to good quality.
    Thanks again

    • Brinda Shah

      Hi James,
      In Ho Chi Minh City, tailor made shoes will cost $80+ and a good tailor made suit will be upwards of $200. The cost is cheaper in Hoi An, but you have to be careful of the quality.

  • Evangeline Santos

    Is it better to forex in ho chi minh than in my country? which is better to use when buying souvenir items, USD or VND?

    • Brinda Shah

      Hi Evangeline,

      You will most likely get a better exchange rate if you exchange to VND in Vietnam. When shopping, it is best to pay in VND.

  • camilla

    Where to buy muslim ladies clothing in Ho Chi Minh?

  • Reena goveas

    Hi,
    As a lot of nike products are made in vietnam.where could i get these products and sports shoes too.
    regards

    • Brinda Shah

      Hi Reena,

      The safest place to buy genuine brand name products are in big department stores, like Diamond Plaza. The second shoe street has many sports shoes, but many may be imitation products.

  • Amrita

    Hi Brinda,

    Thanks for the great insight into Vietnam shopping,culture and location details.
    I’m a women wear importer from India and travel to many countries including S.Korea,Malaysia and Indonesia etc for my sourcing.
    I have been strongly advised by friends to explore Vietnam for high quality women wear.
    What markets and ares should I target in HCMC and/or Hanoi ??
    You advice will be extremely valuable.
    Regards,
    Amrita
    (New Delhi)

  • Kenneth from Denmark

    Hi there!

    This guide is still valid. Just tried most of the spots today and got some really good deals compared to back home.

    Thank you for a good blog :-)

    -Kenneth

  • Rob

    What fantastic information – and you are spot-on !

    Thank you
    Thank you
    Thank you

  • Aza

    Hi Brinda,your postings are great, you do not give the typical generic tourist stuff. If i come to HCMC and wish to buy several hundred pieces of embroidered linens for gifts,where can i find the wholesale suppliers/factories? Can XO tours take me to these places or is the tour limited to the marketplace only? Thanks

  • Amir Benjamin

    Hi, just want to ask, how to buy online do Russian market have website that we can buy online from other country?

    • Brinda Shah

      The Russian Market does not have a website, and in fact most markets in Vietnam do not have a website with online ordering capability.

  • elliya

    Hi Brinda!

    Thanks a lot! Your blog very helpful for me as a first timer to HCMC. Anyway, i’m starting a small clothing business. Can you recommend me where to find manufacturer for women’s clothing. I dont think the tailors would accept bulk order is it?

    • Brinda Shah

      Hello,

      Please call Ms. Anh at +84 93 570 5655. She works in Hoi An and has experience in bulk orders for stores. In general, many tailor shops in Hoi An do bulk orders, but it’s more rare in HCMC. Good luck!

  • Brinda Shah

    Hi Michael,

    There is an area near Calmette and Le Thi Hong Gam streets that has restaurant equipment. A quick drive around that area and you will be sure to see it. We are not sure whether it is used but their prices are generally cheaper than Kim Nguyen and other larger appliance stores. Good luck.

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