Shopping Centres in Hanoi

Through the turbulent ancient history of Vietnam, its invasion by Mongolia, China, Japan, France and the USA has made Vietnam rightfully suspicious of foreign powers. However, in modern day Vietnam, communist ties are loosening and foreign companies are setting up huge projects in the form of shopping centres. The number amounts over 20 in Saigon and is a signal of the unbelievable rate at which symbols of capitalism appeared after Vietnam had, ironically, ousted the capitalists after the American War. The capital has been playing catch-up with Saigon’s modernity for a while, but with 15 shopping centres in Hanoi, it’s fair to say that it’s pretty even between the rival cities at the moment. Hanoi has opened up to the world of investment and a megacity is on the horizon. Here is our list of some of the best shopping centres in Hanoi.

Shopping Mall in Hanoi

Some Advice…

Bargaining - Hanoi’s shopping centres are a world away from the ladies selling fruit and fish on the street. While bargaining is intrinsic to Vietnamese culture, its shopping centres are products of Western countries where bargaining is non-existent. Stick to the fixed price on the label and don’t try your luck, it won’t go down well.

Parking – If you’re driving a motorbike to any of these malls, you’ll be parking it in a tiny section of the vast, dimly lit parking lots that roll on endlessly below. Every lot looks identical and there is very little to help you should you leave your bike and forget where it is. Spaces for about 1000 cars and 9000 motorbikes are usually guarded by a small group of parking attendants, many of whom like to nap, watch TV in the back office and generally take life as easy as possible. You’ll likely be on your own if you lose your bike, so take a picture of where you leave it.

Peak Hours – To avoid the mad rush of a country that has recently come into untold wealth, it’s best to avoid peak hours at all costs. Saturdays and Sundays can be manic from mid-morning to late evening, while lunch and dinner times throughout the week are the domain of rich families looking to splash as much cash as they can on high-end restaurant chains. Avoid mealtimes and weekends if you would like to take everything in at your own pace.

Vincom Royal City

The imperial appearance of Vincom Royal City makes it look somewhat like a palace of evil from the outside. It’s fair to say that the only design plan preceding this project by Vingroup was to make Royal City look as generically European and soullessly grandiose as possible. In all fairness, Vingroup has been very busy becoming Vietnam’s third colonial power, with a staggering 18 other subsidiaries of their company around the country, amassing assets worth about $9.2 billion. Still, they really could have afforded to pay the designers more.

Nevertheless, it’s the inside that counts, and Vincom Royal City has got plenty of great options within. A large ice rink is a major attraction, as is its art gallery (the largest in Vietnam), bowling alley, and huge arcade with state-of-the-art virtual reality games. Despite all of this, really what visitors notice first and foremost is the incredible size of the building; comprehensive visits of this Hanoi shopping centre’s many, many shops would take days.

Royal City

How do I get there?

Motorbike – About 25 minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake

Bus – The Number 1 runs through the Old Quarter and down Nguyen Trai Street, dropping you off outside for about 7,000 VND (¢33 USD).

Grab Taxi – Around 80,000 VND ($3.50 USD) from the Old Quarter.

AEON Shopping Mall

A product of the Japanese company AEON, you can see the country’s efficiency from one glance of the AEON Shopping Mall. As you might expect from its home country, everything is clean, modern and easily accessible to everyone; their motto of ‘Japanese Heart with Vietnamese Smiles’ seems pretty genuine. The food court is the real draw here, as its ‘Ngon Pho' (delicious street) is decked with some of the finest names in world food. The Japanese-oriented stalls are numerous and serve up traditional Japanese fare in the forms of sushi, ramen, takoyaki, okonomiyaki and many more.

How do I get there?

Motorbike – About 30 minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake, down Nguyen Khoai and over the Vinh Tuy Bridge.

Bus – You can walk to Yen Phu Street or Tran Nhat Duat Street to catch the 55B or the 98 from the Old Quarter to AEON Mall for 7,000 VND (¢33 USD).

Grab Taxi – About 90,000 VND ($4 USD) from the Old Quarter.

AEON Mall Long Bien

Lotte Centre

Rising high into the city skyline, the Lotte Centre is the tallest of all the buildings from the Lotte Company, coming from South Korea. Unfortunately, it fell short of another of South Korea’s Vietnam ventures, Landmark 72, the tallest building in Vietnam until the title was claimed back for the country with the cheekily named Landmark 81 (by Vingroup, of course) in Ho Chi Minh City.

The interior of the Lotte Centre is mainly residential apartments and a large department store, but it’s business up top for this shopping centre in Hanoi, as its Skywalk and Top of Hanoi observation deck are huge draws. With multiple ‘zones’ including the ‘Welcome Zone’ ‘Love Zone’, ‘Attraction Zone’ and ‘Experience Zone’, it’s clear where you can find the new-age of technological interaction in Vietnam; 272m above Hanoi. The rooftop is a great place to get those killer rush hour time-lapse shots and is free to attend as long as you buy a drink and look somewhat respectable.

The 65th floor of Lotte Center

How do I get there?

Motorbike – 25 minutes from Hoan Kiem Lake, directly west along Kim Ma Street until you see the Lotte Centre looming in front.

Bus – The number 09 runs from Hoan Kiem Lake for 7,000 VND (¢33 USD).

Grab Taxi – 60,000 VND ($2.80 USD) from Hoan Kiem Lake.

Trang Tien Plaza

On April 30th 2000, Vietnam celebrated the 25th anniversary of the banishment of capitalist rule by beginning construction of an incredibly opulent shopping mall in Hanoi, overlooking Hoan Kiem Lake in the centre of the city. With the irony apparently lost on those who were planning it, construction continued unabated until the next year, during which time the Vietnamese market that stood here was torn down and replaced with one of the biggest symbols of Western influence imaginable.

The two flags outside subtly remind visitors that they are in fact, still in a communist country. The insides, however, are nothing but pure opulence. Shiny gold walls and escalators surround the central floor space and shops like Dior, Prada and BVLGARI are dotted throughout. The outside area is a popular place to take wedding photos for the Vietnamese, perhaps convinced that posing for the happiest day of their life in front of a Louis Vuitton advert will somehow grant them financial prosperity.

How do I get there?

Trang Tien Plaza is located incredibly close to Hoan Kiem Lake. You can walk there, take a taxi or even a cyclo for cheap within the old quarter. 

Inside Trang Tien Plaza

Hang Da Galleria

Another of the Old Quarter smatterings of shopping centres in Hanoi, Hang Da Galleria overlooks one of the crazier ‘roundabouts’ (a tiny circle of plastic arrows that most drivers tend to ignore) and is, therefore, an adventure in itself to get to. Once inside, tourists can find exactly what tourists want to find, authentic souvenir stalls running in a vaguely organised row. 

The coconut bowls, silk scarves and lanterns give Hang Da Galleria a more genuine feel than some of the western mega malls around the city, and you will have time to shop with space, without a baffling amount of choice and to the background of traditional music or K-pop, as are the two CDs they seem to have on rotation. There are many food courts and café options offering a relaxing time and a view of the chaos around the roundabout outside. 

Hang Da Galleria

How do I get there?

If you’re on the other side of the road and manage to cross the round about between Hang Da and Duong Thanh streets, you’ve definitely earned yourself a relaxed seat at the food court. Take a walk to get the full experience, but a taxi or cyclo should be able to get you there safer.

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