Vietnam isn't a paradise of shopping with expensive products of famous brands but there, surely you will find several interesting things to buy. Let hire a driver and depart for a shopping session! Tailoring: A traditional "Ao Dai" or styled clothes from silks can be made upon your order at local tailors (in Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, etc.). Within about 2 days, you will have your clothes done so
Art and handicrafts: Those could be meaningful souvenirs for your family and friends, or nice decorations for your home. It can be very simple and popular like a “non la” (leaf hat) or much more sophisticated like the lacquer ware, ceramics and brocades.
- Ask hotel’s staves or your tour guide for the best shops: Hotel’s staves and tour guide know much more about local area than you. Thus, ask them for the best shops where you can buy high quality products and get reasonable price.
- Ask for a delivery: In case you bought some big items like a picture, a big pottery, etc., don’t be shy to ask the sellers for a delivery. At such shops, delivery is usually free of charge and it will help yourhand free to continue shopping adventure. However, make sure that you give them right address and don’t pay in full till you have the items in your hotel room.
- Beware of pickpockets: Markets and shopping center in Vietnam is usually crowded and no one can make sure that you can’t become target of a pickpocket. Thus, you should keep valuable things (like visa, cash, credit cards, etc.) in safety box at the hotel and bring just enough money for shopping. Moreover, you should hold the handbag in your sight.
- Go shopping with a guide: You should go shopping with a guide to avoid getting lost and scams. Besides, they can be a translator for you while you go shopping.
- Make a bargain: Remember to ask the price before you buy a thing. You ought to know that the sellers never give a reasonable price for an item first. Thus, you can walk around and do a comparative shopping at other shops. Then, go back the shop and make an offer that is about 40% of the first offered price, keep on until you reach the price you want (usually with 20% discount).
- Prepare to pay everything in cash: In Vietnam, credit cards are accepted for payments at supermarkets and shopping centers. However, it’s not at the markets so you ought to prepare to pay everything in cash. Currency exchange service is available at almost hotel in Vietnam. And even if it’s not available, US dollar is okay.
- Restrain from buying things sold by peddlers: They might be annoying or pathetic but don’t buy things you don’t need for that. Just keep going and pass them by!
Although Vietnam is well-known as a friendly and safe destination for travelers, you should see some dos & don'ts bellow to have a joyful and trouble-free journey in Vietnam.
Vietnam has a special place in my heart. There are definitely more than 10 things to do in Vietnam, closer to 100 but unless you have 4 months, I twiddled the list down to 10.
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