The Absolute Best Shopping in Saigon
For the best shopping in Saigon, you have to get away from Ben Thanh Market and the tourist-gouging souvenir shops surrounding it. Those places aren’t all bad. They can be fun to visit. Before we knew better, we actually shopped at those popular places.
But after living in Saigon for several months, we’ve found the shops with cooler stuff, lower prices, and better atmosphere. All of these shops are also within walking distance of the main tourist area of Saigon and are easy to find on your own.Get away from the tourist-gouging souvenir shops.Click To Tweet
Hip Shopping in Saigon
Saigon Kitsch is our favorite spot for interesting gifts and souvenirs. They offer a wide selection of items, but the coolest are covered in vintage Vietnamese imagery.
These motifs are strong, evocative, AND look great. You can find them on a number of different products.
Another personal favorite at Saigon Kitsch are the “green” products made from recycled materials. You don’t see much of this in Vietnam.
The tote bags, phone cases, laptop cases, and more are cute and help the environment a smidge.
There are also pretty bamboo bowls everywhere. Bowls may not seem like a practical purchase for travelers, but the bamboo bowls are small, lightweight and durable.
We got some for friends in the US, they arrived safely, and our friends loved them.
43 Ton That Thiep St.
District 1, Ho Chi Minh
L’Usine is a combination Café and Boutique shop. The café is very nice (expensive for Saigon), but the Boutique is the real attraction for us. The décor is even more impressive than the merchandise.
There’s a lot of vintage wood and wrought-iron fixtures. Many old contraptions are used to display items or simply as decorations.
They create an atmosphere of industrial charm. L’Usine a lovely scene that makes you feel both hip and nostalgic for a bygone era.
Some of our favorite items here are scented candles and handmade silk scarves. Although simple window shopping is best at this beautiful hangout.
151/1 Dong Khoi St.
District 1, Ho Chi Minh
Bargain Shopping in Saigon
Saigon Square is where locals shop for bargains on clothes, shoes, and accessories. There’s good selection of gifts, souvenirs, and small electronics too.
If you actually want buy things, Saigon Square is 1000 times better than Ben Thanh Market. Saigon Square is much smaller, but it’s a genuine shopping center, not a tourist attraction.
The sales people at Saigon Square are way more relaxed than those at Ben Thanh. No one will be grabbing your wrist or using aggressive sales tactics.
Although Saigon Square is smaller than Ben Thanh, the selection of things a traveler would want to buy is about the same. And the prices are better.
You’ll still want to negotiate, but they aren’t trying to take (as much) advantage of you as a foreigner. Haggling is how business is done here, even with locals.
77 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St.
District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
Taka Plaza is hidden down an alley off Le Loi St. This is a busy street in District 1 covered with visitors, but few venture into this alley seeking bargains.
Taka Plaza is smaller than Saigon Square and, being hidden, it’s 99.9% locals. The stalls almost exclusively offer clothes and accessories (lots of great purses), but there’s a fair amount of discount luggage and toys too.
Since few foreigners shop here, we often get stares, but they’re polite, questioning stares. We always feel welcome. Sometimes we get the feeling that the stares are saying, “How did you find this place?” We take it as a compliment.
Shopping here is pleasant and relaxed. The salespeople (most of whom are the shop owners) are extremely mellow and very nice. Most speak NO English, but communicating is easy using your calculator app.
There is some negotiating here, but less than at Ben Thanh or Saigon Square. We think the prices here are quite fair.
102 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St
District 1 Ho Chi Minh
Above is the address, but it can be a challenge to find using it. Start by finding 36 Le Loi St., which should be easy. If you look up, you’ll see signs for the stores in the alley, including Taka Plaza. Then enter the alley and walk about 50 feet. The door to Taka Plaza will be on the right.
Sadec District is a fashionable home goods store, popular with the new rich of Saigon.
Most of the items are really impractical for travelers. There are lots of dishes and such. But we wanted to recommend this shop because they have an exclusive line of handmade, hand painted products.
You’ll have to take extra precautions to carry or ship these home, but they are unique, lovely, and wonderful momentos of a Vietnam vacation.
The tea sets are our favorite. We love the simple lines and classic Vietnamese scenes.
There are lots of other great shops around Saigon, but these gems are our personal favorites. Sadec District covers most travelers needs for cool gifts, interesting souvenirs, and nice bargains.
Happy Shopping in Saigon.
What Saigon shops interest you most?