Ho Chi Minh City may not be the capital of Vietnam, but it definitely deserves the title of shopping capital! Here’s an insight into three of its best retail districts.
District 1 is the city’s commercial centre, and at its heart is Dong Khoi, a picturesque street strewn with high-brow international stores, local boutiques and humble gift shops. Just off Dong Khoi, trendy Mac Thi Buoi features some top-notch local designers. Le Thanh Ton and Ly Tu Trong are also popular for shopping, along with renowned antique street Le Cong Kieu. Don’t leave without visiting Ben Thanh Market – great for local handicrafts, affordable Vietnamese art and other souvenirs.
A 20-minute drive from the city centre, District 2 is dominated by residential villas and gated terrace houses. There’s a healthy expat population here, with an outcrop of contemporary shops around the district’s popular international schools. Along the commercially busy street of Xuan Thuy you’ll find furniture and homeware stores, and children’s and women’s fashion boutiques. Trail off into Thao Dien Street and neighbouring Le Van Mien for more of the same.
Close enough to be considered District 1’s backyard, District 3 has a quieter pace of life, with leafy avenues skirting a sprinkling of French colonial buildings and old pagodas. Fashion boutiques and multi-label stores are a dime a dozen; the main arteries of Vo Van Tan, Le Van Sy and Nguyen Dinh Chieu offer great alternatives to the malls, while Truong Dinh, which unfolds across District 1 and 3, is worth an amble for its pretty lifestyle shops and cool cafés.
Renée’s Top Tips
• Keep an eye on your belongings and your bag safely strapped to your body.
• Carry cash: smaller stores and markets don’t always accept credit cards.
• Look for shops selling cultural items such as old propaganda posters, bamboo-ware, ceramics, lacquerware, silks and handwoven fabrics.
• Feast your eyes on the range of great tiles.
• Nobody takes any notice of traffic lights!
Travelshopa is the curated guide to the best local shopping around the world. travelshopa.com | @travelshopa
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This article first appeared in the June 2018 edition of Expat Living. You can purchase a copy or subscribe so you never miss an issue!