GUIDE TO SOUVENIRS, GIFTS & TOURISTY THINGS
Hoi An hosts hundreds of souvenir and gift shops, selling everything from high-end ceramics and traditional Vietnamese textiles to made-in-china trinkets and artificially aged ‘antiques’. With such a vast number of options shopping in Hoi An can be overwhelming.
These thoughts are never far away: ‘Am I getting ripped off here?’; ‘Could I have gotten a better deal there?’; ‘Will I like this giant bronze gong as much back home as I do here?’; ‘Was this even made in Vietnam?’, and on and on.
The best way to shop in Hoi An is to take a few days to walk around the Old Town, comparing inventory and prices from shop to shop. Luckily, for those short on time and patience (or who simply don’t want to spend all their time shopping), we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite places for original souvenirs and higher-end arts and crafts.
This type of shop with set prices and a slightly better offering of touristy things is becoming increasingly prevalent in Hoi An. There’s books – best sellers, cultural and classics, all in English but you’ll also find many other interesting trinkets. There are two Art Books in Hoi An; for the largest selection head to 166 Tran Phu which is situated under The Chef restaurant. Inside the rustic interior nestled in copious little alcoves you’ll find ornaments, candles, bags, jewellery, Vietnamese tea, chocolate and much more. Even if you don’t buy, this shop is worth a visit just for the visual experience. And if you feel a little peckish, The Chef restaurant upstairs has a wonderful rooftop balcony with great views over Hoi An – perfect for a Sundowner or two.
Add: 166 Tran Phu Street
Blue Bamboo (Truc Thanh) $$
Step into Santa’s workshop in this harlequin of colour and simply irresistible and unique shop. Myriad hanging mobiles swirl from every imaginable crevasse. Even more amazing these hanging wonders made from felt are all made by owners Thao & Phuong. Either they are obsessive compulsive with a felt fetish or two sad girls in need of a life. Whatever the case, they’ve created a magic world that is hard to walk past. Apart from the countless mobiles there’s also lights, key rings, hats, bags, purses and so much more.
Price: Frog keyrings 80,000vnd and mobiles around 180,000vnd.
Hours: 9am – 9pm
Add: 98 Tran Phu Street
Cocobana Tea Room & Gardens $$$
Located in a 200-year old Ancient house, the simply breathtaking Cocobana combines unique, impressive traditional Vietnamese architecture with artistic colorful displays of authentic artefacts from all parts of the country. There’s local crafts, artifacts, candles, historic pieces and teas all beautifully packaged. This venue is quite unique in Hoi An so whether you are looking for something authentic to take home or not, this tranquil oasis is one place you should definitely visit.
Primarily a teahouse but just as much a museum, the teas are outstanding. Our favourite is the organic lychee tea!
Hours: 9am – 6pm (Tuesday – Sunday)
Add: 16 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
Gallery Dung $
Gallery Dung holds its own among higher priced galleries, with beautiful ink paintings depicting traditional Hoi An and Vietnamese motifs. Prices average about 150,000 vnd for a medium sized piece (pictured in the frames) and 30,000 vnd for postcards. Directly next door to the workshop and gallery is a gift shop run by the artist’s wife. Here you can browse through sun hats, cool magnets, and assorted typical souvenirs.
Add: 93B Phan Chau Trinh Street
To see more of Hoi An’s art galleries, check out our Best Hoi An Galleries
Hoa Champa ‘Coffee Craft Shop’ $$
Since its introduction by the French in the 19th Century coffee has not only been embraced throughout Vietnam, it has made the country very rich (they are now the second largest exporter of coffee in the world). So, if you are looking for an authentic piece of Vietnam to take back home venture in to one of the many coffee gift shops exploding all over the Old Town. We particularly like Hoa Champa which doubles as a craft shop. Inside this small and very pretty rustic setting you will find many possibilities for souvenirs to take back home. Ceramic dishes, ornate tea sets, old-style coffee grinders, Agarwood jewellery as well as all manner of coffee and teas. They also have an extensive coffee menu which includes Vietnamese drip coffee, Americano, Lattes and even Yoghurt coffee.
Add: 49 Phan Chau Trinh Street
Weasel Coffee. This is novelty coffee made from the droppings of Weasels. It all sounds very cute in the literature: “This little guy eats the coffee beans, out comes the poop, we have special coffee.” However, there’s a dark side.
Hoi An Craft Ships $$
Whether you’re a fan of aircraft, ships in a bottle or gigantic wooden replicas of famous ships, Hoi An Craft Ships is definitely worth a visit. The detail in the artwork is mind-blowing. There’s speed boats, old boats, boats in a bottle, replicas of the Titanic, France II, the Black Pearl, Cutty Sark, Vietnamese boats – big and small – and many, many more. Considering the artwork and detail, the prices are very reasonable. A one meter- (3.3 foot-) length Titanic sells for around $US 37; they also take visa and package with a guarantee.
Add: 145 Tran Phu Street
Hung Thai Artwork $$ - $$$
There’s some pretty impressive wooden sculptures in this shop along with some stately Vietnamese furniture and even though I was hurrying past, it pulled me in. Not exactly cheap but given the craftsmanship involved, reasonably priced.
Add: 100 Tran Phu Street
Tra My $$
Essential oils have long been part of our Western world but they have only recently exploded in to Hoi An. Now there are shops selling essential oils springing up all over the town. Tra My covers all bases however, so you’ll also find coffee, tea selections, wooden artefacts, vases and ornaments.
Add: 178 Tran Phu Street
Reaching Out Gift Shop $$$
Those looking for high quality souvenirs and who like to support local craftsmanship need only to head to Reaching Out Gift Shop. The shops mission is to train and employ people with disabilities. The result is a lovely selection of handcrafted gifts, jewellery, and home decor. The prices are higher than your average gift shop in Hoi An, but so is the quality of the inventory. We recommend asking for a tour of the workshop, where you can see the work that goes into producing the shop’s selection.
Add: 103 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street
The Timing Masks workshop $ -$$
The ancient tradition of mask making is alive and well in Hoi An thanks to artist Phong Bui and his family. On sale are masks of every shape and size. Reasonably priced with their own traditional stories, these masks would make memorable gifts to take home. Alternatively, do one of their 75 minute workshops and learn all aspects of mask making or simply do what we did: paint your own.
Price range: medium sized mask (face size) $US 10; paint your own under the guidance of Phong Bui and his family for $US 18
Workshops $US 18 (duration 75 minutes)
Times: 8.15am, 10.45am, 2pm & 3.30pm
Traditional concert every evening @ 5pm which combines folk dancing, classical opera, story telling. Price: 100,000vnd.
Add: 66 Bach Dang Street, Hoi An
+84 235 3959 159 & (+84) 905 404 495 – Ms Giang
Viet A $
We’re not talking Lock & Co. Hatters of London but there’s a fair range of little head warmers to be nabbed here. Yes, most might look better warming the teapot but ferret around – who knows what you’ll find. And if you feel like channelling Somerset Maugham pick up one of their nifty little ‘Panama Hats’ for 150,000 vnd. Hoi An has many similar hat stalls but this one has one of the biggest selections.
Add: 90 Tran Phu Street
Viet Made & Viet Made II $$
These shops are perfect for the young and the young at heart. Stocking only items that have been made in Vietnam, Viet Made is full of whimsical handmade toys, handbags, colourful children’s lights and trinkets. Our favorite items are the adorable patchwork stuffed animals that come in all shapes and sizes. Fairly priced at 150,000 vnd for a medium stuffed animal, you can stock up for the nieces, nephews, kiddos, or grandchildren in your life.
Add: 88 Tran Phu & 164 Tran Phu
Villagecraft Planet $$$
If you are in the market for high quality handmade, eco-responsible, and fairly-traded textiles look no further than Villagecraft Planet. This shop produces bedding, pillows, clothing and more using fabrics and motifs sourced from ethnic minority artisan communities across Vietnam. Their inventory isn’t huge, but the items they have are ethically made and on-trend.
Add: 59 Phan Boi Chau