The busy and bustling Ho Chih Minh City, located in southeast Vietnam, is the largest city in the country and a hub for the fusion between cultural and contemporary times. With this fusion, the shopping scene here turns into a colourful affair where the tourists and locals alike can experience the local culture as well as the fashion of the high street at the same time. So if you love shopping and happen to find yourself in Ho Chi Minh City, you are in for a treat! The variety of places, from luxury shopping malls to beautiful flea markets, will surely please your shopping taste.
The most remarkable part of shopping in Ho Chi Minh isn't the boutiques, the malls or even the people that frequent these places; it's the sheer variety. There are so many different types of malls and markets in Ho Chi Minh City that you will be hard-pressed to choose one. So, to make it easier for you, we've listed some of the best places to shop in HCMC.
Markets in Ho Chi Minh City
Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City is not always about the glamorous boutiques or the popular malls. A large part of shopping in Ho Chi Minh City includes visiting a local market. Commonly known for their reasonable prices, shopping at traditional markets is not only easy on the pocket but also quite fun as these markets are great places to pick up clothes, souvenirs and handicrafts.
1. Ben Thanh Night Market: Best Night Market in Ho Chi Minh City
As soon as dusk sets in, Benh Thanh rises. Multi-colour lights flick on, and stalls are set up alongside the main hall. People walk around, and the atmosphere is lively and enjoyable. With an affordable yet great variety of clothes, hats, bags, watches, lacquerware, bamboo goods, handicrafts, arts and crafts and textiles on offer, you will find choices to be plenty. It also has some great food shops and cafes in and around, making it a great place to stop and grab a late-night bite.
Timings - 6:00 PM to 12:00 AM
2. An Dong Market
An Dong Market is the largest textile market in Vietnam. With every textile of every colour, shape, size, pattern and material available, An Dong market is your one-stop destination for all kinds of textiles. If you require a particularly eccentric type of fabric, you might have to look around a little, but you will most definitely find it. On the ground floor, you will find conventional articles such as fashion in Asain sizes, wholesale items and food. The prices tend to be reasonable, but generally, bargaining is not encouraged unless you buy in bulk.
Timings - 9:00 AM to 9:30 PM
3. Nguyen Tri Phuong Market
Nguyen Tri Phuong Market is a less crowded version of Ben Thanh Market. With a wide variety of articles, from clothes to Jewellery and shoes to fresh fruits and vegetables, the Nguyen Tri Phuong market has all the diversity in goods you need to satisfy your shopping cravings. This market is primarily tourist-free. Right outside the market is a lady that sells traditional Vietnamese cakes, which are a must-try.
Timings - 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
4. Ho Chi Minh Flea Market
This market is one of Vietnam's oldest and busiest shopping places, where local artists display their beautiful and unique works. It is a place where fashion and décor enthusiasts should visit.
Timings – 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM
Shopping Streets in Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City's Shopping Guide cannot be complete without explicitly mentioning the shopping streets of Ho Chi Minh City. Products vary as needs vary, and bargaining is an absolute must! Street stalls are generally active during the evening night hours.
1. Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street
Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street is unique as it is solely dedicated to footwear. The street is divided into different sections - where one section is dedicated to women's, men's and children's footwear, respectively. Shoes of every style, size, and shape are available here and are of exceptional quality.
Timings - 5:00 PM to 11:30 PM
2. Student Market
Student Market is the best place to visit if you want to explore the off-beaten track and explore something colourful, cheap and stimulating. This market primarily caters to University students who cannot travel to the city. The market also offers excellent street food options - from crisp spring rolls to Ram Bap, crispy rice pancakes with corn, shrimp and herbs. The Student market is a new experience for those who prefer something different.
Timings - 4:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Shopping Malls in Ho Chi Minh City
Saigon can pretty much be termed as the 'Paris of the east. With a vast variety of malls springing up on almost every corner of every street, shoppers have a plethora of options to choose from. The malls play host to some international brands, available at affordable prices. Malls are areas filled with entertainment, food and shopping, all encapsulated into one. Some of the best shopping malls in Ho Chi Minh City are below -
1. Vincom Center
Vincom Center is the largest mall for shopping in Ho Chi Minh, with more than 250 retail outlets. The mall itself contains two complexes. Vincom Center A is built in a refurbished colonial-era building and includes electronics, home décor and upmarket brands such as Ralph Lauren. In addition, the mall has a food court, family-friendly games, a bowling alley and a cinema theatre. In comparison, the Vincom Complex B occupies a tall skyscraper on the opposite side of the road, which plays home to elite sports apparel brands and clothes brands.
Timings: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
2. Parkson Plaza
Parkson Plaza is your everyday mall with the standard arrangement -cosmetics and perfumes on the ground floor; women's and men's apparel on the first and second floors; home appliances and furniture on the third floor and an enormous food court on the fourth. It is a great place to shop for brands such as Calvin Klein, Espirit and Lacoste. The mall also has an exceptional Game Center with an arcade, air hockey and basketball hoops.
Timings: 9:30 AM - 10:00 PM
3. Aeon Mall
Aeon Mall is a Japanese mall located in Tan Phu District. More than a shopping mall, Aeon Mall caters to everyday needs with a sprawling supermarket on the ground floor. However, you should visit this mall as it has a vast variety of Japanese items that are worth looking at, if not buying. The food section is an absolute dream, with the mall incontestably having the best sushi in town. The mall also offers free shuttle services from several downtown destinations, so you won't have to pay a penny to make the commute!
Timings: 9:00 AM - 10:00 PM
Takashimaya Vietnam is a Japanese Mall but is entirely different from Aeon Mall in the sense that it caters to the rich and elite. Occupying five floors of a premium skyscraper, it houses jewellery, cosmetics and fragrance brands from Europe such as Clarins, L'occitane, Christian Dior, Bobbi Brown, Shiseido, and Estee Lauder; ladies apparel from Banana Republic, Bebe, Bonia, and Braun Buffel and footwear from Clarks, Geox, and Cole Haan. The last floor houses upscale men's apparel, children's apparel and imported watches and belts, in addition to a sprawling food court.
Timings: 9:30 AM - 9:30 PM
5. Saigon Square
Saigon Square is highly unconventional - it's not a traditional shopping mall, but neither is it a conventional market. It looks like a traditional market, but it is centrally located, air-conditioned and has toilets. Saigon Square is known for its reasonable prices, high quality, and variety of merchandise. From cheap synthetic t-shirts to beautiful boutique designs, shoes, Jewellery, perfumes, cosmetics; you name it, you get it.
Timings - 9:00 AM - 11:00 PM
6. Diamond Plaza
The Diamond Plaza is a colonial-style building in Ho Chi Minh City with high-end brand stores of clothes, cosmetics, perfumes, watches and accessories. This place is located near some major tourist attractions, making it a convenient shopping spot.
Timings - 9:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Boutiques in Ho Chi Minh City
Do you have a fashion niche? The apparel you wears defines a lot about you, from your style to your way of expression. It is a mode of self-expression. Ho Chi Minh city is dotted with some Fashion Boutiques that sell unique, trendy clothes with everything from vintage to urban. The clothes are generally cut for smaller Vietnamese sizes, but you will undoubtedly find something you like. Boutiques tend to be more pricey as the clothes are the more high-end and cut better.
1. Libe Workshop
Targeted at young fashionistas with an urban chic fashion taste, the Libe Workshop fashion boutique aims at making minimalistic yet effortlessly trendy clothes. This is the perfect place to shop for shopping in Ho Chi Minh if you are looking for stylish yet versatile basics.
Timings - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
With a clothes store, art gallery and a cute cafe all combined into one, L'Usine is a unique medley of Vietnamese and modern. Inspired by the elegance of the Indochina era, this boutique adds a hip style to conventional fashion with retro lace dresses, floaty floral skirts and Bohemian lacquerware. The items present here can be considered global fashion with a traditional Indochinese-Vietnamese twist. The ambience also contributes significantly to the hip vibe.
Timings - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
3. Devon London
Unconventional, Modern and Minimalistic are the best words to describe Devon London. Originated in Hanoi, this brainchild of Devon Nguyen offers a wide array of modern clothing that drapes off your shoulders. These trendy and sophisticated cuts ooze effortlessly appeal and constitute some of the wardrobe basics you must own.Timings - 10:00 AM - 9:00 PM
Things to Buy in Ho Chi Minh City
1. Ao Dai
The traditional costume of the country, Ao Dai, is a simple yet charming long-sleeved outfit worn by Vietnamese women. The design of this dress makes it unique and a beautiful sight to look at when adorned by women. Women mainly wear it during festivals and weddings.
Where to buy - Miss Ao Dai, Ao Dai Lien Huong, and Ao Dai Ngoc Chau are some of the places where you can buy this outfit. You can also order an Ao Dai of your choice and receive it within hours.
The Non-La is a conical-shaped traditional hat of Vietnam made out of bamboo and worn by the country's people. It works as a protection shield from the heat in summer, especially for the ones involved in farming and has now become a symbol of the Vietnamese culture. Women also wear the Non-La along with the Ao Dai as a complete traditional attire.
Where to buy – The Ben Thanh market has a variety of stalls which sell the Non-La.
3. Marou Chocolate
The Marou, Faiseurs de Chocolat was the dream that turned into a reality for the Frenchmen Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou when they took it on a global scale. This dark chocolate originated in the Mekong Delta and continues to avail its ingredients from this very place. It has the bitterness of dark chocolate and is a handmade delicacy. So make sure you grab some to bring back home!
Where to buy – You can get this delicious chocolate at the Maison Marou Saigon.
Ceramic products are perfect if you want to take a Vietnamese souvenir back home. The ceramic handicrafts are available in various shapes and sizes, ranging from vases to small porcelain cups. They have formed an exquisite taste over the years, and tourists often search for authentic Vietnamese ceramic products.
5. Tea and Coffee
If you want to get the feel of those early Vietnamese mornings once you get back home, remember to bring some packs of tea and coffee. You can also hand them out as souvenirs to your family and friends!
Tips While Shopping in Ho Chi Minh
- Carry cash with you! Many small shops in Ho Chi Minh City might not have cash dispensers or credit card machines.
- If you have bargaining skills, this is the place to put them to use.
- While shopping, make sure your belongings are safe. Keep your valuables like mobile phones and wallets close to you and check them at intervals.
- Keep a check on the items you are buying, their quality, as well as quantity. The shopping experience in Ho Chi Minh City might be a bit overwhelming, so remember to keep a check!
Shopping is undoubtedly one of the major highlights of the trip to Ho Chi Minh City. The city has so many shopping hubs, some even undiscovered; hence, there is so much opportunity to explore Ho Chi Minh City and find your favourite shopping area. Shopaholics, you know the mantra - 'Shop till you drop!'