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Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City

Shopping in Ho Chi Minh City is pure joy for avid souvenir hunters and shopaholics. Whatever your budget, make sure you have plenty of space in your luggage as you are sure to fill it, whether you bargain hunt at the city’s many markets or browse the small, traditional shops that are still found in the main shopping areas. Alternatively, you can splurge in the high-class and international designer boutiques that have mushroomed in recent years, but don’t leave without having some clothes made to measure.

Key areas

Many shops are found along Dong Khoi but close by are Hai Ba Trung, Le Thanh Ton and Le Loi, which are also worth a look. For silk clothes and accessories try Khoi Silk at 107 Dong Khoi.

Markets

Busy Ben Thanh Market on Le Loi is crammed with inexpensive but quality clothes and souvenirs. In the evening, a night market opens outside the building including dozens of food stalls. Binh Tay Market in Cholon throngs with people from early morning until early evening, and the gloomy, narrow walkways are crammed with consumer items and exotic foodstuffs.

Shopping centres

There are now several very smart shopping malls in the city including Diamond Plaza on Le Duan and Parkson Saigontourist Plaza on Le Thanh Ton.

Opening hours

Shops are generally open seven days a week from around 0800 until between 2000 and 2200.

Souvenirs

Silk clothes and accessories, in particular handbags, are readily available as are beautifully made hand-embroidered items. Lacquerware is extremely good value and the traditional designs are now complemented by some funky new patterns. Colourful woven bags are always a good buy as is clothing made by the hill tribes of the Central Highlands.

Tax information

VAT is included on most items sold and 10% is the standard. As part of a pilot scheme, foreign visitors are able to claim 85% of that VAT back at the airport for purchases of at least VND2million (GBP £64.50; USD$87.70). They must also be unused and allowed on an aircraft. Ask in the shop if they are registered for the scheme, which has been extended from 1 July 2014.

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Featured Hotels

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Caravelle Hotel

The Caravelle Hotel is located in the heart of the commercial and entertainment area and offers 335 large and stylish rooms. It is one of the most famous addresses in Ho Chi Minh City as it was one of the gathering places for war correspondents during the Vietnam War and the rooftop Saigon Saigon Bar is still popular for its bird's eye views of the city.

Grand Hotel

Hulking ex-Yugoslav monolith with a cavernous interior, stay at Pristina's famous Grand Hotel for a retro trip down Eastern Bloc's memory lane. Blessed with the most central location in Pristina on Nënë Tereza.

Windsor Plaza Hotel

A perfect place for those who want the comfort of a luxury hotel without the pain of paying for it. Located in Cholon, this 25-floor hotel has stunning views across the city and the rooms are large and smart with excellent facilities. The bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown surround the hotel and the hotel itself has its own shopping plaza and nightclub. On request services include airport transfers, 24-hour in-room dining, a 24-hour business centre and a 24-hour multilingual concierge.

Lavender Hotel

One of the few boutique hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, the Lavender is located behind Ben Thanh Market. As the name suggests the theme is lavender and the rooms are modern and stylish with excellent facilities. It has an excellent 8th floor restaurant and bar with outside terrace with views across the city.

Intercontinental Asiana Saigon

This hotel in Ho Chi Minh City is a new gleaming landmark with stunning views across the city and ideally placed close to the colonial Notre Dame Cathedral and the old Post Office. Its smart 305 rooms form part of the Kumho Asiana Plaza where guests can browse in the luxury retail outlets. The hotel features a refreshing outdoor swimming pool, 24-hour gym and a business centre.

Park Hyatt Saigon

The hotel is centrally located at Lam Son Square, near the elegant opera house in downtown Ho Chi Minh City and within walking distance of shopping, entertainment and main tourist attractions. One of the smartest hotels in Ho Chi Minh City, this relatively new property is stylish, reflecting the French colonial era, and has ultra-modern facilities throughout, space for major special events and high levels of service.