Hoi An was an important trading port during the Champa Kingdom in the 7th Century. It traded in spices with Indonesia even then and if you visit the Hoi An Central Market during your holiday in Vietnam you are likely to smell the herbs and spices much as the locals did all those centuries ago. Hoi An is in Central Vietnam and many Vietnam travel packages include time in Central Vietnam whether clients are heading north or south.
The city has a rich history and overseas tourists are certain to enjoy a visit. When it comes to shopping in Hoi An, the Central Market should be the first stop. As well as herbs and spices, shoppers will see lovely silk products and just a tip; the further you go into the market, the more likely you are to find a bargain. The Market has plenty of fresh food stalls and fish; it is actually located next to the Thu Bon River where they are caught. There is an early start with fishermen dropping off their catch early in the morning. As the day progresses the smell increases; live ducks and other livestock will be on sale as well.
There are tailors who can make things to measure if you are staying for 24 hours.
You should haggle without losing your temper and walk away if you are not happy; it is important to local Vietnamese that they do not lose face in negotiations and that everyone is happy at the end of the transaction.
The ancient streets themselves have plenty of traders in textiles, clothing, handicrafts and jewellery. Here are some recommendations for you to investigate further:
• Hoi An Silk Village offers the expensive end of the market and is especially interesting because you can learn more about the silk making process.
• Cocobox Farm Shop in the centre of the ancient town sells organic and fair trade goods only; coffee, jams and honey, sauces and lotions.
• Metiseko sells women’s clothing and accessories and is near the Japanese Covered Bridge.
• Aobaba Hoi An is a highly-recommended tailor’s shop, family owned.
• Lifestart Foundation Workshop helps poor and disadvantaged locals selling art, handicrafts, some clothing and handbags.
• If you are interested in jewellery pay a visit to Lotus Jewellery; there are two shops in Ho An.
• Reaching Out Arts and Crafts is a fair-trade establishment with proceeds again going to the disadvantaged. You can enjoy a quiet tea or coffee on the courtyard before or after browsing the many handicrafts on sale.
• Hoi An Fine Art Gallery is a refurbished colonial building and sells prints from the French photographer, Etienne Bossot. Once you order, that order will be sent to Australia for printing but you can expect the goods in 7 days to the address you provide.
• Friendly Shoe Shop makes shoes to order. There is plenty of stock on display and catalogues from which you can select the style you want.
Even if you are in the middle of your tour in Vietnam, you may see things that leave you unconcerned about carrying a little extra weight for the remainder of your holiday.
Read more: Shopping in Vietnam