Dec 30 2011
While the standard Hanoi souvenirs available all over Old Quarter offer plenty of options for take home pressies for pals, if you want something more special, or just want to avoid the haggling and trooping around, Hanoi also offers some good little shopping spots.
Tan My Design on Hang Gai is one of the most beautiful shops in Hanoi and has an excellent range of products, including jewellery, clothes, lacquer items and tableware. This might sound like a list of things you’d find anywhere, but many of the items here have been created by some of Vietnam’s best local designers and the shopping experience is very pleasant – there’s a peaceful in-house cafe if you need a break. Prices are quite high and fixed though, so this is not for the bargain hunter.
Craft Link on Van Mieu by the Temple of Literature is a good choice for a few reasons: the range of products available, the non-intrusive staff and because, in their own words, it’s a “not-for-profit, fair trade organisation which helps traditional craft producers to revive their culture and improve their livelihoods through handicraft production and marketing.” Prices are also fixed here, and aren’t as cheap as similar products in Old Quarter, but you can be guaranteed of the quality and the source.
A couple of quilt shops are worth mentioning too. Mekong Quilts (previously Vietnam Quilts) is on Hang Bac in Old Quarter and as well as quilts sells cushions and soft toys. Quilts and Arts is a bit harder to get to, with outlets on To Ngoc Van in Tay Ho and Doi Can Street, but has a similar range of items. Both are social enterprises, helping women and disabled people respectively to learn a skill and make a living.
I bought a couple of gifts at Indigenous on Au Trieu recently – some Oriberry coffee and a fabric elephant – and there are a few boutique-type shops near there as well (for example on Nha Tho), making it a good area to go to for quality clothes, jewellery and linens.
If you’re not bothered about buying products made in or reflective of Vietnam then here are some final thoughts: Vine on Xuan Dieu offers gourmet food and drink items, as well as wine, tea and cigar hardware; Boo Skateshop and Bo Sua, in various locations, have a good range of clothes and shoes; for books, including a good range of children’s books, try Bookworm; and Fantasy has children’s gifts.
Lastly: for wrapping paper and cards, try Hang Ma – you’ll find a couple of shops selling plain textured paper in a range of colours.
Tan My Design
61 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3938 1154
43 – 51 Van Mieu, Hanoi
T: (04) 3733 6101
13 Hang Bac, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (04) 3926 4831
Quilts and Art
31/343 Doi Can Street, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
53 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T: (04) 3762 2214
36 Au Trieu, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi
T: (0977) 799 911
44 Chao Long, Ba Dinh, Hanoi
T: (04) 3715 3711
94 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho, Hanoi
T: (097) 338 5756
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