Tuesday, October 26, 2010

shopping in HCMC

Though the Vietnam trip was only two months ago, I am already forgetting bits and pieces of the trip.

When I did my research about Vietnam, I somehow got the impression that HCMC was a shopping haven so yours truly planned the itinerary involving major shopping spree. Now, I am not saying HCMC has nothing to offer. They do but my budget does not permit for bigger purchases like dresses and blouses. I bought a lot of novelty t-shirts. And purses. I bought three purses during this trip but I am still using my purse which I bought three years ago.

After checking-in, we headed to HCMC’s Chinatown, Cholon in District 5. It is about 30 minutes car ride from where were staying. All the WWW will tell you that Binh Tay Market is one of the best place to go. Well, it is if you’re looking to buy wholesale. The whole market is packed with gazillion of things from clothes, shoes, household items, and kitchenware. Everything you need is there. Unfortunately, it is not a good shopping place for tourist.

We only bought purses and a cap for myself. The place was too stuffy and the rain was not a big help. So we decided to get some lunch before heading to the next shopping place.

If you’re unsure where to eat, fast food is always the easiest option. We head down to KFC. The menu differs slightly but it wasn’t the best KFC ever. In fact they ran out most of the items in the menu. *tsk tsk tsk* I ended up eating a fish burger in Saigon.

They also serve egg tarts very similar to Portugese egg tart. The taste okay-okay larr.

Our next stop was An Dong Plaza also in District 5. It’s not really a shopping mall but more like Greenhills in Manila where inside are stalls selling clothing and what not. Unfortunately, there weren’t as many choices. I did buy a pair of sunglasses and earring though. Btw, my friends said that the streets outside An Dong are like Kotaraya in KL. Macam larr juga.

Day two shopping at HCMC was somewhat scary and disappointing too.

We were at the Saigon Central Post Office, taking photos and sightseeing. We went to the gift shop and found the exact purses we bought at Binh Tay Market at a cheaper price! They also have really cool stuffs like paintings and sculpture. I wish I could bring some of it back, but I was content to buy a small drawing of the Saigon girls. Cost me less than RM10.00.

Next stop was the very much talk-about Ben Thay Market. The moment I stepped into the place, I freaked out. The place was super super crowded and the vendors were pulling, tugging, yelling and all that. We didn’t even need to venture that much. Each stalls sell pretty much the same thing but choices are plenty here than Ben Thay.

I am not very fashion conscious but the fashion available is pretty backdated. Like the 90’s. of course this is my own opinion larr. So it’s safer to buy t-shirts and cloths if you like. The Vietnam silk is pretty but too much bling for my taste.

The Ben Thay Night Market opens from 6om onwards and is located along the two roads adjacent the market. It is very much like the local night market with stalls selling clothes, food and other things. Nothing much though I did bought one Kimono robe on impulse. It was rather cheap after intense bargaining. I think I was the first customer so they did not want to jinx the sales for that night.

I have a very nice red colored kimono robe and nowhere to use it.
Go figure.

Day three was a visit to Saigon Square, another popular shopping spot in HCMC. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize there was 2 Saigon Squares. We went to the one in District One, near the Ben Thay Market. The other one is located near Saigon River. Anyway, Saigon Square is pretty much like An Dong Plaza, two floors of almost the same things but with better choices. I did found one nice top though, which I bought for less than RM10.00. What joy!

You know, if you’re a size M and below, you will have easier time to find something that fits. So maybe I am a little bias when I say there is nothing to buy. *whistles*

We wanted to buy some Vietnam food and we were told to get them from the supermarket because it is much cheaper. We asked around where to go and they suggested Diamond Plaza. I don’t know whether they don’t understand what supermarket means or we’re just bad at explaining what we were looking for. Diamond Plaza is a departmental store. Very much like SOGO KL. Now, we compared the prices of some of the items available like branded bags and what not and after converting it to MYR, the branded goods in HCMC is cheaper than in KL.

Comparison is only made to several items, so this observation may not be accurate as well.

So, if you plan to shop at HCMC, bring along plenty of cash. You can opt to pay in Vietnam Dong or USD but better Vietnam Dong because of the currency exchange rate. More value for your money.

I just notice I never finished my Manila Trip post kan?

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