Travel Guide

What to buy in Hoian, away from the tourist traps

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You have had a great time in Hoi An and now it is time to purchase some souvenirs to match. With the impact of an on-going tourist number, shopping at some locally-owned businesses is a good way to avoid the mass-produced and the cliché.

Mekong Quilts

Mekong Quilts

Mekong Quilts bag and purses (Source: Internet)

The store offers an amazing range of skillfully made quilts by Vietnamese ladies. Local materials and techniques are infused to create unique and original designs that can blow you away. The clothing, quilts, bedding, and tableware are at a great price in comparison with their quality and expertise that goes into the products. All purchases are vacuumed packed to fit in your luggage and they even post them home for you if you wish. The proceeds of the stores are ploughed into supporting remote areas in Vietnam and Cambodia so you will buy something for the store with the knowledge that your purchases are helping a whole community.

Reaching Out

Reaching out cute stuffed animals

Reaching Out cute stuffed animals (Source: Internet)

If you wonder where to go in Hoi An to have unique souvenirs, Reaching Out will be an ideal spot. This is an excellent fair-trade gift shop that employs artisans with disabilities. All items on display in the store are handcrafted and have a Vietnamese sensibility. Reaching Out sells an array of goods from silver jewelry to children clothing. Visiting during working hours and you can see the artisans making the souvenirs. They even explain what they are making and the materials used if you ask.

Village craft Planet

A Hmong sling bag

A Hmong sling bag (Source: Internet)

Here you can find interesting homeware and fashion made in hill tribe motifs and with natural materials. Village craft Planet is another fair-trade shop that sells artisanal products sourced from the tribes of Hmong, Lolo and Black Thai.

The night market on An Hoi Islet

Silk lanterns at Hoi An night market

Silk lanterns at Hoi An night market (Source: Internet)

This is the cheapest place to pick up a souvenir in Hoi An. The prices there are so low that you barely need to bargain. Prepare to see miniature soup bowl key chains, hand-painted ceramics, and pop-up cards everywhere. Incense and green tea are also available at every turn. However, the star of the market is Tiger Balm. It seems like you cannot go anywhere without someone trying to sell you these tiny pots. If you have finished a Hoi An cooking class, it is time to put those skills into practice. Head to the market to shop for some clay pots, cooking utensils, and jars of Hoi An’s sweet and hot chili sauce. Getting out of the tourist zone before purchasing anything might be one of the best tips when traveling in Hoi An.

Simon the tailor

Grabbing a custom-made outfit might be one of the most exciting things to do in Hoi An. The town is well-known for tailoring and Simon the tailor is a go-for address. The tailors are extremely meticulous in measuring and even take customer’s standing posture, chest and bust types into consideration. The saleswomen are helpful and accommodating too as they will let you have all the time in the world to decide on types and colors. They are knowledgeable and speak excellent English so do not be hesitated to ask them for some suggestions.

Couleurs d’Asie Gallery

Couleurs d’Asie Gallery

Couleurs d’Asie Gallery (Source: Internet)

It is a sweet small gallery full of vibrant portraits and scenes from Vietnam, India, and Cuba. Each photo has its own interesting story on how the photographer first met the ethnic tribes, their tradition, and culture. Also in the same building is a museum that displays traditional costumes that the photographer has gathered in his various trips around Vietnam. Once you have stepped into the gallery, it is hard to resist the temptation to take home some photos and postcards. Paying a visit to this art oasis is a not-to-miss experience on your list of things to do in Hoi An.

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