Hanoi is so special and attractive that every tourist would choose it as the last destination before flying home. What make tourist like Hanoi so much? That’s because of variety of goods in Hanoi would satisfy even the most demanding buyer. Also, the best thing about shopping in Hanoi is that you can do it all on foot, for example, just take a tour around the old quarter then you may end ups with buying a lot of things there.
1. Vietnamese silk
Most of Vietnamese silk is concentrated at Hang Gai street (people also call it “Silk street”). It would be easier for you to choose the real silk by bringing a lighter with you. The real silk will burn 100% while acrylic silk only melts. You can walk along the street to choose whichever you like best. Some prestigious shops are Khai Silk (96 Hang Gai), Ha Dong silk (102 Hang Gai) or Tan My (66 Hang Gai) in the old quarter Hanoi. There are no bargains in these shops; however, the price may a little bit higher than other shops.
How about a trip to Van Phuc Silk Village to buy good quality silk at much cheaper prices?
2. Lacquer Ware
Lacquer wares are well made in Hanoi with wonderful designs and various forms like: plates and dishes, coasters, wine holders, jewelries boxes, etc. They look quite bulky but pretty lightweight and easy to carry back home. Lacquer ware would become great gift or as decorative pieces for a modern home.
To be fair there are many stores for lacquer ware in Hanoi and there several stores in the Hoan Kiem District that you may like to get in such as the MARENA shop in 28 Nha Chung Street with well edited and impressive products.
4. Lacquer Paintings
Thanks to its special formation, created by coating the wood with layers of resin, each dried and sanded before the next coating is added, every lacquer painting work is really a masterpiece of every craftsman. You can come to No.80 Hang Gai street (Old quarter) to see various sizes and designs of lacquer paintings and buy wonderful gifts for your loved ones.
Otherwise, you can head to the corner of Hang Be street and Hang Bac street (old quarter) to get good imitation copies of famous paintings.
Hand knitted pouches, wristlets, pencil cases, wood carvings, traditional masks and other memorabilia can be found all over the Old Quarters and are best suited as souvenirs for your friends. Many of these shops are set up near the Hoan Kiem Lake and the water puppet theatre. Dinh Liet street is a good recommendation if you want to buy scarf as gifts.
Tips for shopping guide in Hanoi
If this is your first time in Hanoi, you may get nice surprise to see people do their buying and selling activities everywhere, at anytime. Shopping in Hanoi is so interesting and fascinating for the abundant lovely things available in this beautiful city, especially in the old quarters. However, it is highly recommended that you grab some guiding tips below to become the smart buyer:
Vietnamese key words in shopping.
You will never understand that why these keywords has magic power. Try to master just few key words such as “Bao nhiêu tian”? (How much is this? – pronounced: bow nyu thien) and “Dat quá”. (Too expensive! – daht quah).
When you are given an initial price try a few “Oi Gioi Oi’s” (Oh my God! – pronounced: oi zoy oi) and you’ll find things will go a lot better. Remember – keep things lighthearted. And when the purchase seems not to end happily (you do not want to buy a thing at such price), let’s smile friendly to the seller before rejecting.
Bargain is an indispensable part of a perfect purchase.
Except for supermarkets or large shopping mall where everything are tag with official fixed price, almost stores and shops in the old quarters sell goods at the quite higher price. That’s the custom of Vietnamese people and do not worry about that. Let’s try your bargain whenever you can to lower down the price to its exact value. Surprisingly that most of this bargain ends up pleasantly with a reasonable price that will not make to seller at a loss or a buyer at an unfair price.
A local friend would be useful.
Many tourists hesitate to ask local friends to do shopping with them due to afraid that it may be a nuisance. In fact, Vietnamese people are very easy-going and friendly and they will never mind in helping how to do shopping in Hanoi if they have time. After seeing how your local friend makes a bargain, you will be more self-confident in your buying activities in the next time.
Look before you choose.
This advice is shared commonly among foreign tourists in Vietnam. As you see, many shops sell the same products but at different prices, therefore, take a look around shops to compare the price is the best decision. Also, when the shopper knows that you have made reference on the other shops; he/she will lower the price for you too.
Turn away at right moment
This is the most level that only experienced buyer can do. Turn away at right moment meaning you “show” that you do not like the goods (but in fact you like it very much) and want to take a look at the other shop. You may pretend to turn away in a few steps, then when you hear the seller call you back, let’s return to have your favorite goods at lower price.