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Hanoi shopping tips - 5 things to buy when visiting Hanoi

There is no lack of choices when it comes to shopping in Hanoi, the one-thousand-year old capital of Vietnam. The city offers you a wide variety of items from authentic silk, ethnic minority souvenir to wooden products.

 It may be the case that the majority of souvenirs and crafts in Hanoi are readily available in numerous shops in the center districts near HoanKiem Lake. Below are some small suggestions for foreigners who may not currently come up with interesting ideas for shopping in Hanoi.

1. Silk and Embroidery:

Tourists can not miss authentic traditional silk when visiting Vietnam, a typical Eastern country. There are some differences in the way locals make silk in each region of Vietnam but the Van Phuc village in Hanoi has been renowned for making the best silk in the country. You can buy draw silk, print silk or patterned silk with national decorations as a unique gift for friends and families in Hang Gai, a small street near the Old Quarter.

2. Ethnic Minority Products:

Excluding the dominant Kinh people, Vietnam is home for 53 ethnic groups scattering mostly in the Northern mountainous region in Vietnam and each group has its own costume with distinctive designs. In this day and age, both handicrafts and clothes with unique decorations and special weaving from various ethnic groups are widely sold in souvenirs shops of Hanoi capital.

3. ‘Do’ paper:

Do paper is made from the bark of the Do tree, a wild plant commonly found around local riverbanks. It was in popularity for many years before the modern paper production these days has been invented. Now Do paper is only used to make Hanoi's ethnic greetings cards, water color, folk paintings and bamboo-bound notebooks. Do paper cards with embroidered squares cost more or less 2 USD, bamboo bound notebooks are from 1.50 USD and hemp covered notebooks from 2 USD. You can purchase Do paper related products in Hang Gai or Hang Bac Street.

4. Handicrafts:

Handicrafts in Hanoi varies from lacquer ware, mother-of-pearl inlaid furniture, ceramics, sandalwood statuettes, watercolours, oil paintings, prints and assorted antiques (real and imitation). Hang Gai, To Tich, Hang Khai and Cau Go Street are significant shopping destinations. The price ranges from 3-7 USD depending on each item.

5. Designer Boutiques:

Fashion lovers can purchase exquisitely crafted custom-tailored clothes with a bargain price when visiting Hanoi. You just need to bring magazine catalogue or the item of clothing you want to copy and provide the tailors your instructions. Ordering shirts, blouses, gowns, cocktail and especially Ao dai (the traditional long dress in Vietnam) made of Vietnam authentic silk is absolutely worth a try. Khai Silk shop at Hang Gai Street is one of many tailor-made boutiques. The cost is about 25-50 USD per outfit.

Useful Tips:

- In most cases, you can negotiate the price off 10-40% from the quoted price. Nonetheless, please be noted that a vigilant bargain hunters are always polite and friendly with a ready smile.
- It is better to shop around the Old Quarter to collect the price and select your most-interested items since browsing does not necessarily mean buying.

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