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Shopping traps in Vietnam

February 01, 2024 - 5258 views

A lot of tourists come to Vietnam not only for sightseeing, relaxing but also for shopping. There are a variety of quality goods at tempting prices in Vietnam to cater to all kinds of customers from those who look for luxury items with world-famous brands to low-budget travelers. However, like any other country, there are some scams you should avoid when going shopping.

Shopping in Vietnam can be the highlight of any visit to the country. It's possible to find quality goods like silk, handicrafts, homeware, and tailor-made fashions at fantastic prices in the whole country from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh city. To get the best deal in Vietnam for shopping, you should know some common scams to avoid and the best places to shop. The below article can help!

Shopping traps in Vietnam

Shopping is a fashion for many people

Common scams

1. Overpriced product

In some markets like Ben Thanh, Dong Xuan, prices are marked far higher than the real price. Some stalls do not have price tags, which making customers difficult to buy items with the correct price. Vendors in Hoan Kiem lake also try to sell goods at a higher price. It can be double, triple, or even ten times higher than the real price.
How to avoid: Check the price of the items you want to buy with receptionists at your hotel or tour guide when you want to buy something beforehand. Learn to bargain.

2. Return money

There are some notes in Vietnam that look similar such as 20.000VND and 500.000VND, 10.000VND, and 200.000VND. You can be confused when using the Vietnam currency because there are too many zeros on each note. Therefore, when returning money to customers, some vendors intentionally give a smaller amount of money with wrong notes. Some use candies, chocolate for a change instead of money, some even give customers spirit money for the change. In July 2018, Miguel, a tourist from Spain was given spirit money for change after his using a taxi in Hanoi. The taxi driver got punished after that.
How to avoid: The best way to avoid this is to pay small bills. Break your larger bills at convenience stores, restaurants, or other reputable businesses. Carefully check the money returned by the vendor, get familiarized with the kinds of money in Vietnam

You may be interested in: All You Need to Know about Vietnam Currency

Shopping traps in Vietnam

Get familiarized with Vietnam currency

3. Shopping online:

Some tourists book accommodations or tours online. They already paid full for this service, however, there is no service available when they arrive. In July 2018, a couple from Spain paid 640 Euros for 2 overnights cruises on Halong Bay online through, but they could find the cruise when they arrived. Luckily, they were invited to stay on a Pelican cruise for 1 night. Even if you are able to book the service you want, sometimes you will be asked to pay extra money. They will blame for the error booking system, or price published was per person. Additionally, plenty of hotels provide exaggerated information and images, even the same name with a major brand in hopes of faking business.

How to avoid: Book with trustful travel agencies. Check carefully the service you are going to book and ask for a receptionist or confirmation when you pay online. A trustful travel agency should have all company detail including company registration on its website like Best Price Travel or among the top-recommended companies on TripAdvisor.

4. Counterfeit products

Vietnam shares a long border with China, so a lot of products selling in Vietnam are imported from this country. Some people want to get high profit from selling these products so they changed the labels and told customers these are made in Vietnam. Cheap clothes, electronics in some markets can be counterfeit products.
How to avoid: Check the product carefully when buying, especially those that are wrapped, as they might be swapped. Go to reliable shops or supermarkets to buy your items.

Places to shop


1. Hang Gai Street (Silk Street) for high quality, modern, traditional and fashionable silk material, souvenir like notebooks, postcards, lamps
2. Dong Xuan Market for a variety of goods, souvenirs, fresh produce, clothing, accessories, household, electronic appliances, school uniforms, handicrafts, shirts, handbags, fabrics, and tee shirts.
3. Hanoi Weekend Night Market for food, clothes, accessories, shoes, sunglasses, and an array of food items.
4. Hang Da Shopping Mall for fashion items at a cheap price, which includes clothes, bags, shoes, and accessories.
5. Hang Dau Street for shoes with an abundant choice in shoes made in Vietnam at affordable prices.

Shopping traps in Vietnam

Dong Xuan market, famous market in Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh city

1. Ben Thanh Market for clothes, jewelry, and shoes to handicrafts, lacquerware, electronics, and even food.
2. Vincom Center for luxurious items with amazing foreign brands like Ralph Lauren or local brands and homeware.
3. Cholon, or Binh Tay Market, for handicrafts, lacquerware, textiles, and fresh produce. Here you can also enjoy tasty treats such as Vietnamese noodles, banh bao (steamed bun with pork filling), and Chinese sausages.
4. Saigon Square for t-shirts, men’s and women’s apparel, shoes, handbags, swimwear, luggage, jewelry, and textiles at a reasonable price.
5. An Dong Market for crafts stalls, handicrafts from the skilled artisans who practice Vietnam’s proud heritage in lacquer and woodwork

Shopping traps in Vietnam

Saigon square

Hoi An

1. Hoi An Central Market for purchasing fresh fruits, vegetables, spices, handicrafts, and street snacks. You can also find Asian silk and textiles in this market.
2. Hoi An Silk Village for luxury Vietnamese textiles, handmade lanterns, high-end suits, and dresses. Here, you can learn about the traditional silk manufacturing process, get a hands-on experience of harvesting mulberry leaves, feeding silkworms, and deciphering between true and synthetic silk.
3. Friendly Shoe Shop Hoi An for made-to-order shoes in local and international designs. There are over 600 models on display, ranging from sandals and sports shoes to leather slippers and boots.
4. Metiseko for ready-to-wear women’s apparel, stylish accessories, and eco-friendly homeware, all of which made with high-quality cotton and silk. Their best products are silk scarfs, jumpsuits, and dresses to handmade quilts, keyrings, and cushion covers.
5. Lotus Jewellery Hoi An for quality jewelry designs made with semi-precious stones, pearls, sterling silver, and gold. Their best products are rings, necklaces, broaches, and bracelets.

Shopping traps in Vietnam

Shoe shop in Hoi An 

Hope that you have a great trip to Vietnam and enjoy shopping here.

Jenny Tran

Image source: Internet

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