Joy and Value in Ho Chi Minh City Shopping

Asia - Editor - 29 January 2007

Joy and Value in Ho Chi Minh City Shopping

Vietnam has always been a country of great allure and intrigue for world travelers. The people and sights are so magnetic in their appeals that considerable numbers of casual visitors and business people have even settled down on permanent bases in the welcoming embrace of this gracious land.

The name Saigon has certainly given way to that of Ho Chi Minh, but the spirit of enterprise which has always marked this urban settlement from its northern peer and national capital of Hanoi, has remained unscathed, even during the heights of anti-U.S. sentiment in the aftermath of their disastrous incursion of this verdant land.

Though all people in Vietnam display exceptional zest for life and industriousness, Ho Chi Minh City has always been marked by kinds of energy and drive not to be found to the same degrees in other parts of the country. Perhaps the legacy of providing for marauding hordes of American soldiers has left an indelible mark, though the vestiges of other foreign influences prove that Vietnam has never really resisted influences of exotic cultures.

A most delightful way of sampling the never-say-die spirit of Ho Chi Minh City, is simply to go shopping! I do not refer to the malls and elegant boutiques, which are no more than poor clones of the Singapore glitter, but the rows of small stores which line many of the city’s older streets. Women seem to be own and run most of them, and their exceptional courtesies adds a novel touch to every expedition to acquire mementos of a Vietnam trip.

Wall paintings and serving trays are top choices from the vast arrays of artifacts on display in each shop, for they will remind you of the special ambience of Vietnam for years after you have returned home. Yes, bargaining is possible, but even the first price quoted will represent exceptional value. Time, more than cash, is your most valuable resource when shopping in Ho Chi Minh City, because you need to browse through every store in the row before making final choices. Many of them seem to stock the same things at first glance, but you need to search in painstaking manner for exceptional pieces of art.


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