Hanoi is one of the best stops for buying hand made gifts for friends and relatives on holiday. There are so many things in different styles for any kinds of clients.
Like other cities in Vietnam and any country in the world, the local people in Hanoi sell high-quality and low-quality products of the same items. How to find out the difference between them is not easy for many shoppers. Here we give you some tips and hope you can shop the gifts as you want.
Hang Gai in Hanoi Old Quarter is being called the silk street. Here you can shop many different gifts made of silk from scarves, bags, table-cloth, shirts, dresses.... to tailor-made clothes. Tailor-made service is less than 24 hours. There are so many, so many. However, the trouble is that many local shop keepers sell low quality silk made in China. You will find the design is the same and the price is different. If you do not have the knowlegde on silk and chase on the price, you will get Chinese silk of low quality. Vietnamese silk is glossy, cool and soft. You can wash it with washing powers without losing color.
Our friends and wives has shopped in following shops and find the quality is good. You can come and compare them with other shops nearby
Even Hoian is the place where most of travelers come to have their new wardrobe made, Hanoi offers a decent smattering of tailors for anyone on short Hanoi vacations. Bring your favorite suits or a photo and get it made here. There are all kinds of fabrics made in Vietnam, Australia, England...
Born in Ha Thai traditional lacquerware village and made lacquerware for almost 7 years, I have alot expereince on lacquerware quality. It will be so difficult for shoppers to see the differences of the high quality and low quality products. In my village, the local villagers make 2 different kinds of lacquer products: Low quality for selling to the shop keepers who want to make more money from tourists; the high quality ordered by the shop owners who want to earn their fame and returning clients for long time. The price between the good products and bad one may be 7 to 9 times because the low quality just have about 7 layers. The most terrible thing is that it does not have the waterproof layer and it can not wash in water. It may be crashed by itself after 3 to 5 months. In the mean time, the high quality has from 17 to 21 layers including the waterproof layer. For me, the high quality has deep shining color or look deeply glossy. For low quality lacquerware, you can buy in Hanoi Old Quarter, Dong Xuan market or Ben Thanh market in Saigon.
Embroidered Pictures & Goods
Hanoi is so famous with embroidered gifts. Most of them are made in Quat Dong village. Like lacquerware goods, the emboroidered goods are divided into 2 kinds: High quality and low quality. The color of high quality products will last for several centuries, but the color of low quality will get fade after 4 to 9 months. in the low quality shops of this kind, they just sell and no one to make. In the good one, you can see them making embroidered pictures. The most famous picture of high quality is XQ - Picture, but it really expensive. The next high quality you can buy are made from Quat Dong or come to a shop where you see they are making. You can find the low quality pictures in Hang Gai streets.
Paintings of oil, silk, lacquerware
Hanoi is the most famous place for seeing and shopping oil, silk, laquerware paintings. There are a lot of art galleries in Hang Gai, Ha Bong streets. You can come and see their paintings. Many paintings in these galleries are copied or painted by students and stamped with famous artists. Think carefully when buying from the galleries in this area. We highly recommend you visit the National Fine Art museum to see the best paintings of all kinds in Vietnam. In the museum shop, you can buy the origin paintings made by local Vietnamese artists. If you have time, visit the artists' home to see their paintings. Some artists who you can visit in Hanoi are Mai Hien and Dinh Thi Tham Poong - female artists, Pham Luc, Bui Duc, An khanh...
Come and see many silver shops in Hang bac street
The best places to shop these things are the craft-link shop(no-profit shop for ethnic people) at 43 Van Mieu street and a minority shop in the museum of ethnology. With 53 ethnic groups in Vietnam, you can shop so many kinds of hand-made crafts. They are made by a mixture of ancient techniques like batic printing with embroidery in garish neon colors. Besides these 2 no-profit shops, there is a commercial shop - 54 traditional gallery owned by an American man, Mr. Mark. Seeing his museum is a great way to get an overview of 54 ethnic groups in Vietnam. Buying here is more expensive, but you can save time to look for these products.
Vietnam is the second biggest coffee exporter to the world. After enjoying some Vietnamese coffee, you may buy coffee for home drink. Where to shop in Hanoi for this? Everywhere, but you should buy the coffee bean and ask the shop to ground it into power for you. Do not buy coffee power package because some Chinese people make corn, bean into power and they spread it with chemicals. It has taste like coffee but it will give cancer in the future.
Cheo and Tuong are the 2 famous types of Folk theater arts in Vietnam. These arts needs a lot of marsks for their plays, so Vietnamese artists are well trained to make them. Each of the marsks is painted in threatre makeup style and is meant to represent a single emotion. Nowadays, you can find them being hang in shops all over the Old Quarter in Hanoi
Some tourists to Hanoi try to look for the real propaganda. They are convined by the shop owners that it is a real one. I have to say that all the propaganda posters sold in the shops in Hanoi Old Quarter are reproductions with the blocky style and bright colors of the retro socialist campaigns from public health, American war era nationalism to everything.
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