PRINT PREVIEW
send to printer

Concierge.com

Vietnam Shopping

Apricot Gallery
40B Hang Bong Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 828 8965
www.apricot-artvietnam.com

The elongated colonial-era house that houses this respected gallery is a work of art in itself, especially the central atrium originally built for light and ventilation that now holds a fish pond and stand of pole vault–high bamboo. Hanoi's University of Fine Arts, founded in 1925, has produced more than its share of talented painters, and works by many of these artists are displayed, including the bright abstracts of Thanh Chuong and the streetscapes of Le Quan. The gallery can also custom-frame any painting, build a special crate, and ship the picture overseas via DHL or Federal Express.

Open daily 8 am to 8 pm.

Apricot Gallery
50–52 Mac Thi Buoi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 822 7962
www.apricotgallery.com.vn

While Vietnam's art scene rests in Hanoi, the walls of this spacious three-story gallery, originally a French colonial building, are filled with oil paintings by some of the nation's most prominent or promising artists. Among those featured are Bui Huu Hung, who specializes in haunting, classical portraits on lacquered wood, and Le Quan, whose bold brushwork found a customer in Bill Clinton. The gallery can also custom-frame the canvases, and crate and ship the art anywhere in the world via DHL or Federal Express.

Open daily 8:30 am to 8:30 pm.

Art Phong Lan
11 Hung Vuong Street
Hue
Vietnam
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
Vietnam
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.

Coconut Shop
100 Mac Thi Buoi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 823 0523

This cozy little storefront is all about bags—handbags, purses, and clutches—in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes. Most are made of silk, though a few come in denim; handles are fashioned from fabric or lacquered bamboo. All are intricately hand-embroidered with flowers, birds, and even dragons.

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

Craft Link
43 Van Mieu Street
Dong Da District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 843 7710
www.craftlink.com.vn

Retail with a cause, this not-for-profit shop overlooking the Temple of Literature helps Vietnamese artisans to market their crafts. The inventory includes handmade paper; lustrous lacquerware; and embroidered, indigo-dyed textiles produced by the Hmong and Dao, two hill tribes from the mountainous north. The store charges fair-trade prices and gives preference to producers who are economically disadvantaged, such as ethnic-minorities, street children, and the disabled.

Open daily 9 am to 6 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.

Gaya
39 Ton That Thiep Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 914 3769
www.gayavietnam.com

This is a one-stop design center for upgrading your style. Gaya reps some of Southeast Asia's top tastemakers, from dressmaker Romyda Keth to furniture designer Lawson Johnston, who uses traditional materials like water hyacinth to fashion mod "egg" chairs. You can also pick up elegant beds, tables, chopsticks, stoneware, and linens. Best impulse buy: a picnic basket woven from water hyacinth and equipped with bright-orange lacquered bowls and plates.

Open daily 9 am to 9 pm.

Ipa-Nima
17 Nha Tho Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 928 7616
www.ipa-nima.com

Former Hong Kong attorney Christina Yu traded in her briefcase a decade ago to design an ever-changing collection of whimsical and practical handbags and purses. Her accessories, which have been snapped up by Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, and Jamie Lee Curtis, combine materials such as silk, leather, or wicker with savvy style, cheery colors, and eccentric touches like mother-of-pearl, buffalo horn, and beads, a local accent. Most of the handmade bags neatly displayed on shelves inside this pocketbook-size Church Street boutique are priced at less than $150. End-of-season sales may net you a $70 twofer—perfect for stuffing with other souvenirs.

Open daily 9 am to 8 pm.

Khaisilk
113 Hang Gai Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 825 4237
www.khaisilkcorp.com

Hang Gai Street, an Old Quarter artery, retains its historic role as the city's silk center. The best of the bolts can be found in this showroom, the Hanoi outlet of Saigon-based Hoang Khai's fine-clothing empire. Men can choose silk ties in a variety of quirky prints, like penguins or toucans. Women have a wider selection of ready-to-wear silk or linen frocks and blouses; among the scads of arresting scarves are geometric patterns handloomed by the Tai, a northern hill tribe. Or choose a taffeta or silk fabric and order bespoke clothing; turnaround takes one week.

Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.

Khaisilk
38 Dong Khoi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 829 3968
www.khaisilkcorp.com

Khaisilk founder Hoang Khai has built a diversified corporation that includes Nam Phan (one of the city's top restaurants), an office building, and even a resort in Hoi An, but the company's foundation remains fine silk clothing. There are ready-to-wear men's and women's collections in linen and silk as well as cravats, cashmere scarves, and limited-edition handbags. Don't see what you want? The store can copy any shirt or dress you desire: Just pick out the bolt of fabric. Delivery takes two or three days; allow five days to a week if beading or embroidery is requested.

Open daily 10 am to 10 pm.

Kim Chi Art Gallery
37 Le Loi Street
Hoi An
Vietnam
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.

The Lost Art
99 Nguyen Hue Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 914 0108

Interior designers, design-driven expats, and quality-conscious Vietnamese all frequent Bao Toan's tasteful downtown showroom, which features his custom furniture and period reproductions. The graceful, high-end pieces, frequently made from mahogany or recycled old timber and fabrics such as cow skin, are often inspired by Art Deco styles. Made-to-order pieces take three weeks to build; the store can ship them worldwide. Bao also offers a full interior-design service, from concept through construction to installation.

Open daily 8:30 am to 6 pm; call ahead Sundays and holidays.

Lotus
25 Dong Khoi Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 824 8977

After years of obscurity, Vietnam War–era propaganda posters have become collectibles, thanks to their subtle graphics and dry, meet-the-quota slogans ("More seafood!''). Because of limited technology in North Vietnam, most works were handcolored monotone offset prints or were entirely handpainted. This long, narrow shop features a large collection of battle images and village vignettes. The unframed paintings are priced from $80 to $100; reproductions range from $7 to $18. A few doors up the street, Dogma stocks more irony, selling propaganda-poster reproductions printed on canvas ($25) as well as T-shirts and greeting cards (29A Dong Khoi St.; 84-8-825-6817; www.dogmavietnam.com).

Open daily 9 am to 10 pm.

Mai Gallery
113 Hang Bong Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 828 5854
www.maigallery-vietnam.com

A five-minute walk west from Apricot Gallery, this narrow, three-story showroom is the exclusive agent for up-and-coming young Vietnamese artists such as Nguyen Bao Ha, whose urban-themed abstract works have been exhibited in Singapore and Japan, and the moody, photolike portraits of Nguyen Quang Huy. The hushed, thoroughly modern space, with wall-to-wall carpeting, recessed and track lighting, and bleached-white walls, also shows works of more established artists, such as painter Tran Quang Minh, whose landscapes hang at the Vietnam Fine Arts Museum.

Open daily 9:30 am to 8 pm.

Mosaique
22 Nha Tho Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 928 6181

With scores of illuminated lanterns bathing the cozy display room's moss-green walls, the cheery mood inside Alan Duong's tasteful home-decor store is tempting, even if you don't need another hand-embroidered quilt or set of place mats. Of special note are the silk-covered lamps, in an astonishing array of profiles: tulip vase, temple stupa, and banana bud. Best impulse purchase? A string of ten miniature, handcrafted lanterns for $20.

Open daily 9 am to 8:30 pm.

NGA Art and Craft
49–57 Dong Du Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 823 8356
www.vietnam-art-craft.com

Just across the street from the Hotel de Ville, this small shop has piled up numerous awards for its shimmering lacquerware products, which include plates, bowls, picture frames, and bathroom sets. Another specialty is small, intricate boxes, often made from rosewood. Two blocks away, a second NGA outlet sells lighting fixtures, from Japanese-style square table lamps to floor lamps with shades fashioned from colored beads or handmade rice paper (103 Le Thanh Ton St.; 84-8-823-3288).

Open daily 8 am to 10 pm.

Old Propaganda Poster
122 Hang Bac Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 926 2493

Several Old Quarter stores have cashed in on the newfound appreciation of Vietnam War–era propaganda posters and their interplay of light graphics and hectoring messages ("Denounce the American Invaders" seems a recurring leitmotif). This long, narrow shop stocks more than 200 handpainted originals ($80–$100 apiece), like the image of gun-toting Vietnamese women ("The Southern Female Guerrillas Are Truly Full of Guts"), and nearly as many smaller copies ($10). Nearby Dogma is slicker—you can also get T-shirts and postcards—but the posters are all reproductions.

Open daily 8 am to 9 pm.

Reaching Out Handicrafts
103 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Hoi An
Vietnam
Tel: 84 510 910 168
www.reachingoutvietnam.com

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.

Red Door Deco
20A Thi Sach Street
District 1
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam
Tel: 84 8 825 8672
www.reddoordeco.com

Stroll into this store with a picture of the table, armoire, bed, or even chandelier of your dreams, and Pham Hoang Yen will make it a reality. If you prefer ready-to-use pieces, her two-story shop is cluttered with antiques and good-quality reproductions, as well as digital scans of vintage black-and-white photographs of Old Saigon. The furniture, which takes four to five months to build, is fashioned from acacia or muong wood, a shade tree utilized on coffee plantations. She can arrange for shipping all over the world.

Open Mondays through Saturdays 8:30 am to 7:30 pm, Sundays 10 am to 5 pm.

Thai Khue
1A Hang Manh Street
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam
Tel: 84 4 828 9469
www.thaikhue.com

Don't want to gift your family or friends with tacky Uncle Ho T-shirts? Nothing says "I thought of you" more than a handcrafted nose flute (or sao chim). Esoteric traditional Vietnamese musical instruments are spilling over at this fun Old Quarter shop, from mouth harps and chimes to three-stringed lutes and buffalo-horn bugles. There are also wooden rasps in the shapes of crickets, frogs, and rabbits, and, for those who want to be woodwind heroes, the saxophonelike hu-lu-si, handmade with a gourd chamber and bamboo pipes.

Open daily 7 am to 9 pm.

Viet Lac Jewelry
51 Phan Boi Chau Street
Hoi An
Vietnam
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.