For anyone who likes handicrafts and a bargain, Vietnam is nirvana. Wooden water puppets, with ingenious mechanisms, silk, lacquerware, ceramics, colourful hill-tribe bags, clothing and hand-painted silk greetings cards are all a must-buy. Clothes are particularly good value and tailors can make up clothes within 24 hours in many places, particularly Hoi An.
Each town and city has one or more markets and these are always worth visiting as much for the experience as for the shopping. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City have seen the arrival of upmarket shopping malls selling leading international and domestic brands.
In small shops and markets have a go at bargaining for any items that catch your eye, but remember to keep it good-natured. Many of the souvenir shops in major towns and cities don’t budge much on prices and some are even fixed price.
Shops are generally open seven days a week from 08h00 to 20h00; some are open until 22h00 hours.