Shopping in Hoi An – What to Buy in Vietnam’s City of Lanterns

Hoi An was never made for shopping, but it certainly feels like it is now. The UNESCO World Heritage site lying in the middle of Vietnam was built on a history of trading, born of its advantageous position along the maritime Silk Road. The walls of Hoi An are dripping with history (and a ridiculous amount of rainwater in the wet season) and a building can barely be entered without stepping into a world of a hundred different stories, through maritime, personal and now, retail ventures.

The incredible modern shopping scene of Hoi An grew out of the wealth accrued by traders, who plunged their money into the finer things in life, such as tailored clothes, art, and jewelry. The fruits of these ventures are seen today in Hoi An, sitting underneath swinging lanterns and blue skies, waiting for the discerning traveler to find a bargain within their walls. Shopping in Hoi An is now an unmissable experience in Vietnam, one that has garnered worldwide acclaim. Here at Incredible Asia Journeys, we have picked eight of the most fantastic and unique products to take home for yourself or gift to anyone unlucky enough not to be able to make it to this gorgeous and historic town.

Hoi An Silk

Tailored Clothes

We’ll start with the obvious here. Despite a history built on maritime trade, Hoi An nowadays is more popular for the tailors that claim to be able to produce any item of clothing you want. The incredibly low prices ensure a steady flow of business from tourists who want to stock up on their 8th or 9th suit before returning home, where they can expect to pay up to tenfold for a very similar item. Most of the town’s tailors are far from the common Asian idea of cheap knock-offs, using a great deal of skill taught over generations that has formed the backbone of Hoi An’s shopping scene.

Though suits are a very popular item for backpackers on a gap year before their accountancy internship starts up, really anything that you can think of can be made by Hoi An’s artisan tailors. Simply show them a picture, wait patiently while every corner of your being is measured, select your material and color and sit back for one or two days while the magicians do their thing. If you use a reputable tailor, you can expect a near-perfect replica for a fraction of the price.

Tuong Silk Tailor

Where to shop in Hoi An for tailored clothes? 

Where not to shop should be the question. The staggering amount of choice of tailored clothes shops in Hoi An can overshadow the beauty of the town, as competition for customers is fierce and sometimes verbally intimidating. Picking one of the respected tailors might give you a slightly higher price tag, but the increase in quality and the attentive but relaxed service you will receive is worth the price. Head to Tuong Tailor (67 Tran Hung Dao, +84 235 3863 573) or B’Lan Silk (23 Tran Phu Street, +84 510 386 1866) for reasonable prices and a complete absence of pushy service.

Ethnic Minority Products

For the most wholesome of Hoi An shopping experiences, head to some of the shops specializing in selling ethnic minority clothing and products that usually don’t make it to mainstream society. It seems a waste to confine the beautiful colors and geometric patterns of Vietnam’s 54 ethnic minorities’ clothing to the rural enclaves in which they were lovingly and arduously stitched. Hoi An is branching out into new avenues, and now tourists can buy clothing that will certainly set them apart from the crowd.

The vivid colors of the various H’mong tribes who reside in the north of the country are well represented here. The rainbow of colorful, patterned dresses and headscarves feature in the photos of so many travelers to Sapa, and they now have a market in Hoi An thanks to shops like.

Village Craft Planet in Hoi An

Where to shop in Hoi An for ethnic minority products? 

As mentioned above, VillageCraft Planet (59 Phan Boi Chau, +84 909 696 578) is a fantastic service that puts respect and fair trade at the forefront of their business philosophy. They sell everything from clothes and shoes to furnishings and jewelry, all at a reasonable price that goes a surprisingly long way to helping hill tribes around the country with low incomes.

Tuong Masks

It’s hard to think of a better place to buy one of Vietnam’s most culture-soaked products than in its capital of culture. The history of Tuong masks stretches back over 1000 years and its origins, like many other forms of traditional entertainment like water puppetry, are found in the rice fields. After a successful harvest, villagers would don elaborate and colorful masks (or sit still for upwards of 8 hours while a professional painstakingly painted one onto their face) and entertain the villagers with singing and scandalous storylines, known as Tuong Opera.

Of course, Tuong is a very rare form of art in today’s modern world, but Hoi An’s shopping scene has a small corner devoted to keeping the tradition alive. Though delicate and requiring a lot of care in getting home, these brazen and bold masks make a wonderful gift or a fantastic way to scare your kids into doing their homework.

Tuong Masks

Where to shop in Hoi An for Tuong masks? 

The fantastic staff at The Timing Masks Workshop (66 Bach Dang, +84 235 3959 159) are warm, patient and passionate when taking you through the history of some of the huge array of masks on offer. The owner, Phong Bui, offers workshops that are a great way for kids and adults to learn of a charming piece of Vietnamese history.


It is a mix of Hoi An’s beautifully evocative streets and its history of wealthy residents and art patrons that make it the best place to find fantastic art throughout the country. The classical, finely-painted Vietnamese scenes sit alongside more contemporary offerings in the galleries and art shops of Hoi An, meaning you will be spoiled for choice amidst centuries of artistic culture. Smaller pieces are obviously easier to transport home, so small ink-paintings on traditional do paper are among some of the more popular things to buy in Hoi An.

Art Gallery in Hoi An

Where to shop in Hoi An for art? 

Given the wealth of choice on offer, there is certainly not one specific place to satisfy your artistic sensibilities. Check out Gallery Dung (93B Phan Chau Trinh) for incredibly intricate ink paintings and postcards for cheap, while 155 Art Gallery (155 Tran Phu Street) provides those idyllic Hoi An motifs of palm trees, bicycles, and ancient house life. Phu Tam Photography (99 Nguyen Thai Hoc) is a great place to buy stunning photos by an internationally acclaimed artist, while Art House Vietnam Gallery (692 Hai Ba Trung) is the mecca for Vietnam’s contemporary artists, who sell their experimental pieces within its walls.


It shouldn’t take you more than one try to guess how Hoi An earned its moniker of the ‘City of Lanterns’. Any riverside stroll at night will be accompanied by the beautiful, calming light of hundreds of lanterns that has been present in Hoi An for centuries, lighting the late-night activities of tradesmen and sailors to the port town. Most tourists become rightfully enraptured by the lanterns and decide to buy several to take home and, if not for restricted luggage space and the delicate manner of the lanterns, they would probably bleed Hoi An dry, such is the love for one of Vietnam’s most beautiful decorations.

Lantern Shop in Hoi An

Where to shop in Hoi An for lanterns?

You can resist the urge to steal the lanterns hanging outside of shops; buying lanterns in Hoi An is very easy and very affordable. The shops aren’t hard to spot either, just look out for the collective blinding glow of hundreds of lanterns hanging in one small area. Places like Dé Lantana Silk Lantern & Lamp (35 Ly Thai To, +84 510 6288 789) offer a range beyond your imagination, with plain lanterns sitting alongside incredibly extravagant ones, all for a price that won’t break the bank.

Leather Products

Not far from the world of personally tailored clothing is one of similar depth – leather. A walk down the streets of Hoi An is sure to be one flanked by leather bags hanging outside of doors, enticing potential tourists in with their sleek, smart look that will accompany your new suit most delightfully. Aside from the typical bags, shopping around Hoi An a bit will reveal a whole world of other products such as shoes, notebooks, belts and watch straps. 

Quality varies wildly between a lot of these shops as a void in supply has harbored the standard cheap products tended by overly-pushy staff. Many of them will be all-too-quick to pull out their lighters and torch their products in a bid to show you that the leather is real. Though it might be, the handiwork might be shoddy and the quality of the leather might just be one tiny step above flammable.

Leather products

Where to shop in Hoi An for leather products?

Friendly Shoe Shop (18 Tran Phu, +84 935 211 382) have certainly done their research into what tourists want, as their big pull is the unassertive service that you’ll receive while perusing the shoes here. Along with this is their genuine top quality, one that is matched quite comfortably by Tu-Chi Leather Shop (24 Duong Phan Boi Chau, +84 905 216 515), who have a wider range of leather goods available.

Kim Bong Wooden Art

On the island of Cam Kim in Hoi An, you will find a village with a strong woodworking heritage, where wooden figurines, statues and furniture pile up in houses, awaiting shipment around the center of Vietnam. Kim Bong is the name of the village and it’s accessible on several day tours from Hoi An. 

The artisans of Kim Bong are experienced in the art of shell inlay, used to create incredible scenes with an iridescent beauty on wooden platforms. Once shells are selected, they are cut into various shapes and glued into fitted holes in a circular piece of wood before being polished. The result is a stunning piece of art, full of Vietnamese motifs and made of nothing but natural materials.

Kim Bong wood art in Hoi An

Where to shop in Hoi An for Kim Bong wooden art?

Heading straight to the source is really the best thing you can do here for the most authentic product. While there are bound to be several knock-offs, the craftsmanship that goes into a piece of wooden art from Kim Bong is monumental and should be fairly easy to recognize at first glance. A stroll or cycle around Kim Bong will open up the world of shell inlay for you.


Ostentatious jewelry historically lay at the heart of the good life for Vietnam’s richest merchants in Hoi An. Huge incomes from successful trading were transferred into items of gold, diamond, and pearl, worn enthusiastically by the elite to display their wealth. Things are different now, of course, and Hoi An’s many jewelers are open to the general public, offering quality items for cheaper than you may find them elsewhere. Following the modern traditions of Hoi An, shopping for jewelry is a tailored experience. Simply show your picture to the goldsmith and await the results.

Lotus Jewelry Shop

Where to shop in Hoi An for Jewellery?

This is one of the highest-risk ventures in Hoi An because of how hard it is for the untrained eye to tell the quality of precious metals. There are many trustworthy shops, however, if you know where to look. Try Bien Bac Jewellery Shop (55 Hoang Dieu Street, +84 5103 862 353) or Bac Viet Quality Jewelry (10 Pham Hong Thai Street, +84 905 550 062) for pendants, necklaces, rings, bracelets and beyond that can be tailored to your specifications at a fraction of the international price.

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