Shopping in Saigon

This article focuses on some suggestions for visitors who are wondering about what to bring home.


You can easily find handicrafts in Saigon as well as throughout Vietnam. There are many different types of handicrafts for your selection such as embroidery, lacquer ware, vases, trays, rosewood boxes, wood-block prints, oil or watercolor paintings, blinds made from bamboo, reed mats, carpets, ceramics and leather work.

These products are truly works of arts made by the skillful hands of the Vietnamese artists. The patterns are usually about Vietnamese people’s life so it is attractive to foreign people who are always curious about the life of an agricultural country. There are many handicraft shops in Saigon which are usually located in the center of the city (District 1 area). And there are some shops that are specialized in selling one kind of handicrafts only. Dropping a visit to these shops, you can find out more beautiful handicrafts with nice details that are skillfully and carefully designed. Please be informed that the prices in these shops are usually higher.

Price range: $4-8 for a quality silk scarf; $3 for reed mats, $2 for rosewood boxes. 


There are many different souvenirs in Saigon  for your choice including statues, chopsticks and many more. Magnet usually has many different shapes. It can be a kind of fruit in Saigon  like mangoes, coconuts, jack fruit or the dragon fruit. It can also be a shape of traditional man and woman in Vietnam in Ao Dai, Vietnamese traditional costumes. So are the statues. The statues usually are Vietnamese man and woman in Ao Dai. They have many different colors and different sizes which are usually sold in pair or as a collection of 4 or more statues.

Chopsticks are also considered as a popular souvenir that can easily be found in Saigon. They are special thanks for the material they are made of - which is usually special wood in Vietnam. You can buy one from the street vendors along the boulevards in the city center. The souvenirs sold here are at affordable prices but you can negotiate to get cheaper prices. These souvenirs can also be found in Ben Thanh Market where you need to be more thoughtful about the price so as to avoid being ripped off.

Price range: $3 for a set of chopstick; 0.5$ for a magnet.

Vietnam’s Traditional Ao Dai

Ao Dai is the traditional dress of Vietnam famous for its unique design which is said to make the woman’s body look more beautiful and attractive. This product can be found in many tailor shops in Saigon. At a tailor shop, you can choose the type of material you like with your favorite color and beautiful patterns. Then the tailor will jot down the measurements of your body and make you an “Ao Dai” as your wish. It does not take  a long time to get a pretty one with high quality, around 1 day or even 3-4 hours if necessary.

Ben Thanh Market is highly recommended to find more diverse patterns and materials to make your Ao Dai more special and unique.

Price range: $35 - 100 per outfit, depending on where you have it made

Sand Paintings

Another special gift from Vietnam is sand paintings made by pouring sand in a cup to make beautiful pictures. They must be made from extremely skillful artists and you will be strongly impressed with every work of this art.

There are many different pictures on these cups and normally about Vietnamese lives: a house in a country side with coconut trees, the rivers, the fields with cows and buffaloes, a day of working on a field of the farmers or pictures of beautiful girls dressed in white Ao Dai, about flowers, portraits, icons or scenery. You can easily buy one picture from the shop or choose your favorite picture from the catalogue, order it at the store and wait for a few days to have it done. The prices are reasonable so you can buy a beautiful, unique souvenir from Saigon for yourself or your loved ones.

Price range: $5 - 15

Dried Food

Dried food is another suggestion to take home after coming back from your trip in Saigon. There are many different kinds of dried food from the salty, spicy ones to the sweet ones. The most popular ones here is probably dried squid, dried beef and many different kinds of dried fruit such as jack fruit, coconut or banana. However, kindly be aware that your home country may not allow animal-related products upon your return.

You may come across many different brand names of this food in a supermarket or market. Most of them are good but to pick out the best one, you can get advices from the shop owners. Another place you can get delicious snacks or food to munch is Ben Thanh Market. Different from what is sold in supermarket, dried food is often sold in bulk and not pre-packed. You can buy in grams and the sellers will measure and pack all later. This is a great option for a unique gift because it brings you the chance to enjoy the special taste of Vietnamese food.

Price range: $3 for a big size dried food packs.

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