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Central Vietnam Shopping

Art Phong Lan
11 Hung Vuong Street
Tel: 84 5 484 9229

Busy Hung Vuong Street, south of the Perfume River, has a number of souvenir shops selling clothing, silken paintings, and "poem hats,'' conical Hue headgear with scenes of temples and forests painted under the brim. You have to wind your way through that kitsch to reach Phan Van Thang's hole-in-the-wall Art Phong Lan, which specializes in antique textiles. Since 1991, Phan has scoured the countryside for nghi truong lien theu, exquisitely embroidered silk or cotton pictures that once graced the ancestor altars or walls of Nguyen dynasty mandarins and commoners alike. Hundreds of his 1,000-piece collection are for sale.

Open daily 9 to 11 am and 3 to 9:30 pm.

Chuong Lamp Shop
132 Tran Phu Street
Hoi An
Tel: 84 510 864 158

Dozens of stores in Hoi An sell handmade Vietnamese-style silken lanterns, but Mrs. Cuc Chuong's small shop is the best. She fashions strips of bamboo, fabric, tassels, and glue into lampshades in several sizes and shapes: round, banana bud, and mandarin orange. Prices are negotiable, but most shades won't set you back more than $3 or $4. Best of all, they're collapsible, so there's room in your suitcase for more than one.

Open daily 8 am to 8 pm.

Custom Tailoring in Hoi An

In a nation known for its needlework, no place counts more talented tailors per yard of fabric than Hoi An. Hundreds of small shops will stitch up made-to-order women's blouses, dresses, and ao dai tunics or men's trousers, dress shirts, and suits. Simply pick a sample style or point to a magazine picture, choose your fabric, and submit to a few measurements. Return the next day and your new bespoke threads will be waiting, at prices you'd expect to pay for clearance duds at Kmart. In addition to bolts of luxurious silk, 41 Le Loi Workshop raises silkworms on-site and will explain the process of sericulture, from the care and feeding of silkworms (they love mulberry leaves) to spinning and dyeing. With multiple showrooms, Yaly Couture, the largest made-to-measure tailor in town, supplies the sample styles, the material, the tape-wielding clerks, and even a high-tech body-scanning machine to turn out custom-made clothes in a day. The original showroom focuses on menswear while a second outlet, at 47 Tran Phu Street, is geared to female clients. Price depends on style and fabric: A pair of bespoke men's trousers, in tropic-weight wool and cashmere, costs $45. It's easy to see why the firm has a national reputation for quality and service: Three fitting sessions guarantee that each garment hangs perfectly.

Kim Chi Art Gallery
37 Le Loi Street
Hoi An
Tel: 84 510 910 119

Cheesy galleries of schlock art clog tourist-oriented Hoi An. This small shop on busy Le Loi Street isn't immune to the genre, but you can also find hidden gems like fine Chinese-style screen paintings, as well as poems written in the elegant calligraphy that is Vietnam's preromanized script. Although shipping is available, the best pieces are small enough to roll up and put in a suitcase or duffel.

Open daily 7:30 am to 9 pm.

Reaching Out Handicrafts
103 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Hoi An
Tel: 84 510 910 168

A group of physically challenged artisans developed this Hoi An store in 2000 to train handicapped youths and to market a wide range of crafts at fair-trade prices. The two-story showroom stocks items such as quilts, tea sets, stationery, scarves, and embroidered handbags—all handmade by three dozen craftsmen from across Vietnam. The training workshop entrance is in the back of the building, on riverfront Bach Dang Street.

Open daily 7:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Viet Lac Jewelry
51 Phan Boi Chau Street
Hoi An
Tel: 84 510 914 471

Hoi An is well known for the quick turnaround of its talented tailors; this store offers the same speedy service for custom jewelry. Fancy a Tiffany-style silver bracelet, but at costume-jewelry prices? Or was there a bauble or bangle that caught your eye in Vogue? Simply browse the catalogs, or bring in a fashion-magazine page; Viet Lac will knock it off in a day.

Open daily 7:30 am to 9:30 pm.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.