Ho Chi Minh City can be a dangerous place to go shopping, as you’ll likely buy more than you intended once you see the prices. Paintings on rice paper, silk ao dai, lacquerware, embroidered cloth, musical instruments and ethnic garments are all popular gifts and souvenirs, as are curios such as opium pipes, antique watches, French colonial stamps and banknotes, while the cheapest items are the ubiquitous T-shirts and conical hats. Visitors interested in Vietnam’s history will find a wealth of copied books on the subject, sold in tourist areas by wandering vendors with a metre-high stack on their hip. Sadly the range of English-language books available in regular bookshops is very limited. For cheap and cheerful souvenirs, head for Ben Thanh market, Le Loi or De Tham; for something precious and pricey, browse the upmarket boutiques along Dong Khoi and its tentacles, such as Dong Du and Mac Thi Buoi. Bargaining is an essential skill to cultivate if you’re going to be doing much shopping. Shopping malls attract curious crowds with their glitz and glamour; some offer distractions other than shopping in the form of cinemas and bowling alleys. For something different, intriguing model ships are sold on Cao Ba Quat, north of the Municipal Theatre, just east of the Caravelle Hotel. Generally speaking, shops open daily 10am to dusk, while larger stores often stay open beyond 8pm.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Vietnam features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

7 places to get off the tourist trail in Vietnam

The verdant limestone stacks of Ha Long Bay and the bustling streets of Hanoi are well established (and essential) stops along Vietnam’s tourist trail. But th…

02 Nov 2017 • Rachel Mills insert_drive_file Article
The best aerial views in the world

The best aerial views in the world

Got a head for heights? If you're craving a new perspective on your travels, the best thing to do is get up high. From mountain-top panoramas to cityscapes, her…

17 Oct 2017 • Olivia Rawes camera_alt Gallery
Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

Budget trips: 20 of the cheapest places to travel

That ever-growing travel wish list might be putting some pressure on your pocket – but there are plenty of destinations where you'll get more bang for your b…

11 Oct 2017 • Emma Gibbs camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook