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Ho Chi Minh City

Shopping Tips for Buying Clothes in Vietnam
Are you going to Vietnam in order to buy clothes with popular world famous brand names?

Certainly not (recommended)!

Trendy or brand name clothes are often sold at an outrageous price, even for some with the tag "made in Vietnam" on it. Imagine the import tax + Vietnam sale tax + the supreme rental cost in Vietnam added all together. So what advice there is for those hunting for some good new pants or tees?

In Vietnam, clothes are sold in three main areas, including shopping centers, local markets, and small shops along streets. If you have nothing to worry about your purse and care much about the quality of your clothes, it is advisable to orient towards shopping malls, nowhere else.

Shopping malls are located mostly in big cities in Vietnam, namely Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hai Phong, Danang and the likes. In shopping malls, apart from high-end clothes, you still have a chance to grasp clothes of your taste with reasonable prices and of good quality, which are of Vietnamese popular domestic brands such as Blue Exchange, N&M, Canifa and Ninomaxx. Nem is a Vietnamese brand but its price is as costly as other international brands (expect $70 for a decent dress). Prices in shopping malls are fixed, thus your obsession with bargaining would be completely eliminated.

To save your money, it is suggested to go to local markets and make full use of your smile and bargaining tips to get the best deal. Almost all clothes items sold at local markets are made in China with low quality. Moreover, almost all shops in local markets have no place for you to try on clothes, so it could be quite inconvenient to find your best suit. Yet, sometimes, luckily, you could catch clothes of acceptable quality and in trendy designs. Just keep in mind that you have rights to bargain and you should not miss the chance to do that.

Saigon Square in Ho Chi Minh City and Nga Tu So Market in Hanoi are favorite local markets for shop lovers. Yet, as foreigners, you had better to avoid going to Nga Tu So Market because only local shopping experts could survive with bargains in this market.

If you are not fond of local markets, its ambience as well as its inconvenience, clothing shops scattering on streets could meet your demands. Shops with Made in Vietnam signboards would be your ideal choice as their clothes are of quite good materials, in elegant designs and at reasonable prices. Better still, they have your size as almost all of their products are made for exporting.

Below are some addresses of some authentic Made in Vietnam shops in Hanoi: 58 Ba Trieu, 7A Cha Ca, 20 Hang Thung, 56 Quan Thanh, 193 Giang Vo, 65 Tran Nhan Tong, 266 Tay Son, 162 Ton Duc Thang, 89 Cau Giay, 275 Bach Mai, M2 55C Ly Thuong Kiet…

Shops of Vietnamese names or with English names that sound funny such as” Boys”, “Vietnamese Name+ Mode”, “Vietnamese name+ Fashion” and the likes often display and sell clothes made in China, and the quality as well as the price are also “better” than those sold at local markets.

Yet, in some shops, despite of their showy façade, their clothes are no more than a collection of clothes sold at local markets. Vietnamese popular domestic bands also have their own stores laid on crowded streets.
Buying books in Vietnam
Like clothing shops, while some bookstores in Vietnam are scattered along streets and even leave no trace down narrow alleys, other shops are close together on some streets so-called book streets such as Dinh Le Street, Trang Tien Street, Lang Street in Hanoi and Tran Huy Lieu Street in Ho Chi Minh City. Other shops are located in shopping centers and in areas surrounding schools, universities and research institutes.
Interestingly, pavements are the ideal places for unsettled bookshops to display their books spaciously and sell them with highest discount rates, ranging from 30% to 50% off the publisher’s recommended retail price.
In bookstores, you do not have to waste your time bargaining as books are sold at their retail prices and sometimes discounts are available for those who buy in large quantity or for frequent customers only.  Yet, if you want to find English books or books in your languages, it could be harder than you expected.  For normal bookshops, which do not state clearly in their signboards that they sell English-language books or information in their signboards is not in English also, your chance of grasping an English-language book is quite slim, except for books for English study. 

Hanoi

Hanoi used to be regarded as the only capital city in Southeast Asia that could bring nightmares to bookworms as finding an English-language book in Hanoi is as difficult as crossing road in the city. Today, you are able to find your favorite English-language books if you try to spend time checking out one of following bookstores. They offer both new and secondhand books of contemporary fiction and nonfiction. 

Xuhabasa Store, 32 Hai Ba Trung Str., Hanoi
The Bookworm,  44A Chau Long Str., Hanoi
Fahasa Bookstore, 338 Xa Dan Str., Hanoi

Wandering around Dinh Le and Trang Tien Streets, you are more likely to find your desired English-language books than in other streets. Although there are still a few things for English-speaking readers to flip through along those streets, the solid ion of large-format, colorful books on art, design, architecture could be a redeeming feature of bookshops here. Besides, if you are fond of fiction books, those streets are right places for you.
For books, that albeit interesting, were published for a long time or have been on shelves for years, you only have to take about 2-3 $ out of your pocket to become their owners. It is such a bargain, right? Be patient and you could find your good companion on your journeys.
You also could find English-language magazines and newspapers in those streets. If you just want to read something without buying them, it is suggested to go to American Centre, 1 floor, 170 Ngoc Khanh Str., Hanoi to enjoy your time. 

Ho Chi Minh City

There are two largest bookstore chains in Ho Chi Minh City: FAHASA and PNC (Phuong Nam Corp.) In the city center, it is easy to find a FAHASA bookstore. On Le Loi street, within walking distance from Ben Thanh Market, you can see Saigon FAHASA Bookstore on your left.

Nearby Saigon Bookstore is Nguyen Hue FAHASA Bookstore which is on  Nguyen Hue Boulevard. At these bookstores, beside books, you can almost find everything you need, such as: paper clips, pens, notebooks, maps, etc. Price is fixed and labeled, therefore, there’s no need to bargain.
It is rather simple to shop at the bookstore. When entering a bookstore, pick up a basket and collect all you need then proceed to the check out which is often near the door. Most book shops are not equipped with an electronic system with which you can trace down the book you want but the good news is, most stores are easy to navigate and staffs are always ready to help you.

Saigon Bookstore, 60-62 Le Loi Street, District 1
Nguyen Hue Bookstore, 40 Nguyen Hue Boulevard, District 1 
Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City
You may be said to have never visited Ho Chi Minh City if you haven’t shopped around in this biggest commercial area of  Vietnam. Rightfully so! Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon) is Vietnam’s shopping hub, where you can buy almost everything on earth, from life’s bare necessities to the most luxurious products, from authentic Vietnamese origin to most well – known international brands. But the interesting thing is not just the what, it' also the where and the how. 

Most popular shopping sites in Saigon are long established traditional markets with famous names like Ben Thanh, Binh Tay, An Dong, Tan Dinh, Saigon Square, Dan Sinh.  Just wandering along arrays of stalls there, you stand a great chance of stocking up all sorts of things at very affordable prices. Especially, if you are a fashion afictionado, you could dress yourself up from head to toe with merely several hundreds  of  thousand dong in hand. The key is to be a vigilant bargain hunter and feel free to give yourself a hefty discount off the first price shopclerks tell you. 

If you feel for a modern and luxurious shopping atmosphere, Saigon offers a long list of commercial centers led by Diamond Plaza, Zen Plaza, Parkson, Superbowl,  Thuong xa Tax, Co-op mart and so on. Luckily enough, you may set off  right in the middle of the City grand “sale – off” season. Then you could own classy, well - branded products at slashed  prices , of course, with no need to haggle. 

Last but not least, there are some streets in Saigon which are specially good for shopping certain products. For example, if you are scouring for a mobile phone, then go straight to February 3rd Street ( 3 Thang 2). Likewise, remember to by  Nguyen Oanh, Nguyen Kiem streets for clocks and watches, Le Loi street for any hardware items , or scores of shops around  District 1 for lacquerware,  just to name a few.
Guide to Convenience Stores in Ho Chi Minh City
Unlike many Western countries where numerous convenience stores are set up on almost every street corner, and most in a standardized form, the business of convenience store has by and large been an informal activity. Not until recently are more and more convenience chains springing up in Ho Chi Minh City, the economic center of Vietnam.
Its appearance aim to satisfy a customer market segment who are in need of  grocery late at night or early in the morning. The traditional retail chains such as supermarket or market are still playing its major role in the shopping habit of Vietnamese.
Nonetheless, convenience stores are essential and act as an emergency-aid for their urgent needs. Price of goods in these stores is a little bit higher than the market but still affordable.
Since 2006, there are several chains of convenience stores in Vietnam, mostly seen in Ho Chi Minh City. The 3 most popular ones are Shop & Go, Circle K and Family Mart.

Shop & Go:



Shop & Go was first established in 2005 at 74A1 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1. Until now, it has expanded up to 70 stores nationwide. It offers a wide range of products: alcoholic beverages,confectionery, food, groceries, newspaper, etc. Shop & Go also has other service: phone cards and ATM. There are over 2000 products in each Shop & Go store, both local and imported products. Therefore, if one is seeking some foreign products, they may find Shop & Go suitable.
List of some Shop & Go stores in Ho Chi Minh City:
* 74A1 Hai Ba Trung Street, District 1.
* 254 Nguyen Cong Tru Street, District 1.
* 152B Tran Hung Dao Street, District 1.
* 161 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, District 1
* 194 Bui Vien Street, District 1.
More information about other stores can be found at: http://www.shopngo.com.vn

Circle K



The American franchised convenient store Circle K appeared in Vietnam in mid 2009 by GR International. Besides Vietnam, Circle K has been in China, Hongkong, Japan, Indonesia for a long time. Realizing the potential of the retailing market in a bustling economy in Vietnam, GR International aims to offer customer a new way of shopping beside the traditional way of going to the market or supermarket.
They offer wide range of products from snacks, tobacco, hair care products, stationery, to fast food. Some American products can be found at Circle K.
List of some Circle K stores in Ho Chi Minh City:
* 44 Lê Lai, District 1
* 95 Lê Thánh Tôn, District 1
* 139 Bùi Viện, District 1
* 15B1 Lê Thánh Tôn, District 1
* 251 Đề Thám, Pham Ngu Lao, District 1

Family Mart



Family Mart, a franchise convenient store business from Japan, started its operation in Vietnam in Decmeber, 2009. After 2 years, Family Mart has increased its number of store to 18 which is still too small in comparison with the giant Shop & Go (70 stores). However, with its Japanese-based , Family Mart has it competitive advantages. People love Family Mart because of its oriental taste of food and a variety of “hot” dishes for meals, the common cultural point of Asian countries. Hygiene and nutrition are two strengths of food offered in Family Mart. Rice Ball and Banh Bao can also be found here. Beside, train tickets, movie tickets and ATMs are available.
List of some Family Mart stores in Ho Chi Minh City:
* 69 Nguyen Khac Nhu Street, Co Giang Ward, District 1
* 38/1 Bis Tran Khac Chan Street, Tan Dinh Ward, District 1
* 56 Pho Duc Chinh Street, Nguyen Thai Binh Ward, District 1
* 494 Cach Mang Thang Tam Street, Ward 4, Tan Binh District 1
More information about other stores can be found at Family Mart website.
Apple
Address: Ground floor, Kumho Asiana Plaza, 39 Le Duan, District 1

Description:
Nomad is an Apple Authorized Reseller store that stocks all the latest Apple products at its competitive international price. There are also accessories and gadgets such as digital photo frames, fashionable USB, laptop covers and much more. The service here is friendly with a nice and accessible staff.
Long Binh Computer
Address: 50 Nguyen Cu Trinh, District 1
Tel: 3836 0639
Website: www.longbinh.com.vn 

Description:
Long Binh Computer specializes in notebooks from a wide range of top brands including IBM, Dell, Fujitsu, Toshiba, Sony and Apple at very reasonable prices. It also offers accessories such as disk drives, RAM and external batteries for laptops.
Hoan Long
Address: Hoan Long Building, 244 Cong Quynh, Pham Ngu Lao
Tel: 3925 8999
Website: www.hoanlongcomputer.com

Descriptions:
You can easily spot Hoan Long as it always seems to be the busiest store on Cong Quynh Street. It offers well-known brands with decent quality and an excellent service and technical support on the second floor. Highly recommended when you need computer equipments or accessories
FPT Elead Computer
Address: 211/213 Vo Van Tan, District 3
Tel: 3933 0999
www.elead.com.vn

Description:
FPT is famous as Vietnam’s biggest IT retailer with stores from all over the country. Its Elead computer systems are well known its good performance as well as very reasonable prices, ranging from small desktops to top-end S636 servers. It also provides excellent technical support and warranty service.
Cartridge World
Address: 81 Dien Bien Phu, Binh Thanh
Tel: 3840 8416
Website: www.cartridgeworld.com.vn

Description:
A world of inkjet refills, ink and toner cartridges for your printers and copiers as well as a ion of high-quality paper for office use. If offers professional service as being an international company. 
Mai Lam Tailor House
Address: 132–134 Dong Khoi, District 1 
Phone: 08 3827 2733
Website: http://www.mailam.com.vn/

Description:
Mai’s is an unique fashion shop with an artful interior which showcases and sells products designed by Mai Lam. She owns a mixture of vintage and modernized traditional style, making her designs uniquely special. Her famous signature pieces are velvet and cotton ao dai reworked for casual wear, as well as hand embroidered vintage US army and flak jackets. The price range is from $30 to $4000.
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