Ho Chi Minh City Shopping and Districts

(Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, Vietnam)

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City takes on many shapes and sizes. Many of it is pure junk, but mixed among the fake Gucci handbag stalls are some really interesting and authentic items.

You can find good buys on silk, embroidered fabric and lacquer ware if you spend the time to seek out the more local-oriented markets and side shops. Most shops in Ho Chi Minh City are open daily from 08:00 until around 20:00, and credit cards can be used most anywhere, except markets and street vendors.

When to Shop and Where

You can accomplish most of your shopping needs in Ho Chi Minh City at the local markets and from street vendors. Start at the downtown Ban Thanh Market or District 5's Anh Dong Market to get a feel for how things work. A little bargaining is fine at these kinds of shops, but don't bother in the more upscale boutiques in District 1's Dong Khoi Street. Duty free goods can be bought on District 1's Nguyen Hue Boulevard.

Once you've gotten your fill of market-style shopping, head to Dong Khoi Street. This is the hub of upscale shopping in Ho Chi Minh City, with hundreds of little shops crammed into every conceivable space selling jewellery, clothing, antiques and knickknacks. The two blocks at the end of the road (next to the river) have the best shops, and quality silk tailors can be found along the side lanes. As you wander westwards towards the Ben Tranh Market, the items get cheaper and somewhat simpler. Be sure and carry some local currency for any backstreet shopping.

The Ben Tranh Market is true hotbed of stall shopping. There are hundreds of stalls packed into this tourist-oriented market, and some of them actually sell decent stuff. Just keep an eye on your wallet, as thieves are known to lurk here. Saigon Square is just like Ben Tranh, but indoors. Or head over to Chinatown for a distinctly Chinese shade of the market experience at Cho Binh Tay.