It’s been about three days since I got back from my whirlwind 1 week holiday in Vietnam. More about the actual holiday in another post – hopefully on Monday – but seeing that today is Fashion Day, I thought I’d share a little about the shopping in Ho Chi Minh City.
Admittedly, I didn’t do very much shopping as let’s face it, when it comes to clothes in Asia, I’d be hard pressed to find something in my size as I am definitely NOT an Asian size ‘S’ even though I’m an Asian. Yes, it’s a hard pill to swallow but I have now accepted and embraced that fact.
Unlike most tourists, well from what I know anyway, we didn’t stay in District 1 while we were in Ho Chi Minh City. In case you were wondering, District 1 is their main city area. Instead we stayed in District 5, which from the recent research I did is where Cho Lon or Chinatown is situated. In other words, we were staying where locals would normally hang out. So like the locals, we shopped where the locals did – sort of.
Hung Vuong Plaza is just one of the shopping centres that recently opened under the Parkson group. There are international brands in-store, but because of the exorbitant taxes placed on imported goods, it’s usually best to purchase locally made items, which was what I did.
The thing I do know is that Vietnam is known for their tailoring. The quality is usually pretty good, which was why I was hoping that I would be able to get at least one dress there. Thankfully, I did, but I had to accept the fact that I was a size L over there. Oh well. Whatever.
Excuse the ugly photos but I haven’t had time to do any outfit photos since I got back. The polka dot dress on the left only cost me 599 000VND (AUD$37.45). It’s a simple fit and flare dress with pleats at the bottom. The dress made from decent quality fabric and fully lined! I would’ve been able to fit in their ‘M’ if I didn’t have any boobs, but I thought, better not risk not being able to breathe after zipping up the bodice! I’m going to have to wear it soon and post some photos!
The dress on the right is made from very light t-shirt fabric and would be perfect for summer. It only cost me 250 000VND (AUD$$15.65), and isn’t some cheap arse H & M type of fabric either. Miss 13 bought a simple spaghetti strap top that would normally cost about AUD$10-20 for only AUD$5.00. That’s another thing about shopping for clothes in Vietnam, your tween and/or teenage daughter would have a field day as their adults sizes would definitely fit them well!
About 10 minutes away (and believe me, walking there is a HUGE expedition!!) is An Dong Plaza, which is right next to Windsor Plaza. An Dong Craft Market is right next to it but I didn’t bother checking the place out. I just wanted some mighty, mighty air conditioner after that bloody hike from Hung Vuong Plaza!
Brace yourself as this shopping centre has a few levels PACKED with little stores! Usually frequented by the locals, yes, we were sort of an anomaly there. The ground level is where you can find jewellery (real), handbags (fakes) and I think even shoes (fakes). Sadly, I’m not into fake goods so we proceeded to go up the next level where they had women’s clothing. Miss 12 was kicking herself as she had already bought her Grade 6 graduation dress because boy were there tonnes of GORGEOUS dresses there! I didn’t take any photos because I wasn’t sure if it was allowed or not. But they were skater dresses with tutu type skirt and embroidered bodices! Ahhh… would love to be tiny enough to be able to purchase one! Anyway, you have to walk through the lane ways between the stores. These lane ways are VERY tight and the store owners seemed to be more concerned with unpacking their stuff than selling them!
Miss 13 managed to get a skort for herself and Miss 12 bought herself a top and a skater skirt, all for about 600 000VND (AUD$$37.50) and yes, you CAN haggle to get the “best” price. Although I think we could’ve gotten those items for even cheaper had we tried harder.
If you’re wondering what the fashion is like over there, well, denim is EVERYWHERE! So if you’re lucky enough to find denim jeans in your size, grab it and yes they do come in a variety of styles and washes. Because Zara makes some of their items over in Vietnam, it means that most of their styles are similar to that of what Zara might have. Tailored shorts and tops seems to be the go – I just wished they weren’t so small.
A definite tourist trap is any place in District 1, so be sure to haggle/bargain your way through as prices have definitely been inflated. This is similar to An Dong Plaza but catered more for the tourists. There are as usual, counterfeits of popular brands like Cath Kidson, Tory Burh, North Face and many more. If you don’t really care that you’re buying counterfeits, then go ahead and go crazy. Be smart with the prices though. Go 1/2 the asking price then work your way up from there because no matter what, they’re still making more than what it cost them to purchase. Miss 12 managed to get herself a tailored sleeveless top and shorts set at only AUD$12.50.
Finally, the famous Ben Thanh Market where they have fashion, sporting goods/fashion, shoes, souvenirs and even food. It is THE place for tourists so once again, be prepared to have the prices inflated. Haggle all you can, walk away if the price isn’t right and check out other stores that usually have similar if not the exact same item. The sellers are very friendly and would try their best to accommodate you.
Misses 12 and 13 bought a pair of counterfeit Adidas and Converse shoes respectively at approximately AUD$43 for the two pairs and I got myself a basket bag for AUD$8 perfect for the beach!
So that’s it with the shopping we managed to check out and shop at. Just a handful I know, but had we NOT had a pair of grumpy lads (Mr. C and Master 10), we would’ve been able to find more treasures at these places.
Have you been to Ho Chi Minh City? Where did you shop while you were there?