Hoi An Now Travel Guide to Money Saving
Prior to coming to live in Vietnam I used to hear amazing money saving stories of people going to Thailand to have cosmetic surgery. Dubbed ‘Cosmetic Surgery Tourism’, it took off because it was so cheap. Doctors, we were told, ‘are highly skilled and trained’ and not only that, ‘it all costs a fraction of the price in Australia plus you get a holiday thrown in as well as somewhere to hide while you recover.’
My reaction to the whole idea was macabre fascination and incomprehension. Why would anyone take such a risk with their face? I was certain that the doctors couldn’t be comparable to Australian doctors and if things went wrong there would be no recourse – and, with the lack of hygiene, something had to go wrong.
Well having lived in Vietnam now for over five years, I realise how wrong I was. Now I cannot believe the money saving deals that are on offer here while people in Australia pay a fortune for the same services. Why they don’t come over here and get it done for quarter of the price with a holiday thrown in is beyond me.
Not that I’m saying everything is great, it’s not. If I needed a major operation, I’d be on the first plane home but for certain services, the standard is good:
Dentistry, optical, hair, eye laser surgery, permanent make-up, botox and fillers and even medication is much cheaper. So, leave your fears behind. As foreign residents we use these services and if they were sub-standard, believe me, we would be telling you.
But in the Hoi An Guide to Money Saving you will also find amazing deals on clothes, shoes, tailoring, massage and even eye-lash extensions and tattoos. When it comes to alcohol forget the airport’s Duty Free, it is far cheaper to buy your ‘grog’ in Vietnam. So here you are, we’ve done all the hard yakka for you. Just sit back, read and enjoy – this little Guide could save you a ‘fortune’!
Need a new pair of prescription glasses that are cheap but only in cost? Some sunglasses? Why not get a few? And if you haven’t got a prescription with you, no problem. See our list of optical shops for cost and details.
Bich Thuy is one of the cheapest shops in Hoi An for wine, spirits, cider, imported and local beer – though none can be considered expensive. Wine isn’t as cheap in Vietnam as other items and it may suffer from poor storage. However, some wine shops such as Red Apron are air- conditioned and care has been taken with storage.
Why pay over a hundred dollars to get your hair coloured or cut when you can get it done for a quarter of the price? There are three great money saving salons we recommend in Hoi An: Tuan Boy (negotiate the price up front before sitting down), Ba Le Well Spa and Salon and A. Nho. For more big savings Tuan Boy also offers Olaplex treatments. A. Nho offers a similar, cheaper product: Alphaplex & Wellplex.
There are not too many places in the world where you can pick up a custom-made suit for $US100 – 200. There are three strands of tailors in Hoi An: the high-end tailors such as Be Be, Yaly, Oche, Thu Thuy and A-Dong Silk , the mid-range tailors on every corner and the ultra cheap Cloth Market. You will find many reviews on TripAdvisor about people’s ‘favorite’ tailors. It’s pretty subjective.
On my last visit to Australia a one-hour massage was in the vicinity of a hundred + dollars ($US80 approximately). In Hoi An you can pick one up for $US 10.
There are three types of spa & beauty salons in Hoi An: the high-end hotel spas that offer all manner of luxury, the medium-priced Day Spas with great facilities (Citrus Health Spa, Magic Spa) and the cheaper, local Vietamese spas where you can negotiate the price. I’ve had glorious and terrible experiences in the cheaper end spas because unlike with the others who employ trained, permanent staff these spas use a pool of call-in girls – so it all depends on who answers the phone.
Hoi An has an abundance of cheap ‘brand name replica’ shoes. Check our Hoi An Travel Guide to Ready Made Shoes . If custom made shoes are your thing well see what’s available in our Hoi AnTravel Guide to Handmade Shoes. If your shoe fetish is out of control jump in the nearest taxi and head straight to Le Duan Street in Da Nang. Here the amount of shoe shops at heart stopping prices will make you wish you never had to board a plane back home again. My personal favourite is the German shoe outlet, Rieker. Combining comfort and style and prices you can only dream of ‘back home’, this shop is well worth a visit.
Tattoos are another service you can get in Hoi An for a fraction of Western prices. Several expats (including our Hoi An Now Office Manager) have been very happy with work done by Faifooink and new kid on the block 1984 Tattoo Studio Hoi An is starting to get rave reviews as well. See our guide to cheap Tattoos here.
This was a surprise. Certain medication such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol tablets, Celebrex, Madopar for Parkinsons, HRT drugs, Vastarel MR for angina and many others are a lot cheaper in Vietnam than in the West.
EYE LASER SURGERY
Eye Laser Surgery in Vietnam costs a third of the price it does in American and Australia. But would you trust a surgeon here getting to work on your eyes? Several years ago the answer would have been absolutely ‘no’. But my how the world is changing. See our section on Eye Laser Surgery to see a Hoi An Now family member’s first hand account and feedback of having the treatment done in Vietnam.
Eyebrow Tattoos and Permanent Eyeliner
Getting eyebrow tattoos seems to be the rage among some expats in Hoi An. Five expats I know have recently had their brows done; all are happy not only with the tattoo artistry but with the care, skill and cleanliness involved. Permanent Eyeliners are also in vogue. See our guide to Permanent Makeup.
I had eyelash extensions in Australia. Five years ago, they cost me over a hundred dollars ($US80 approximately). See our guide to Eyelash Extensions where the same service is being offered in Hoi An for a fraction of the price in the West.
Staff at Hoi An Now have no knowledge of how good cosmetic surgery is in Vietnam. However, we can tell you Vietnam has come a long way and many clinics/hospitals not only have highly trained Vietnamese doctors they also employ Western doctors.
To give you an idea of prices and surgeries available across the country, see our Cosmetic Surgery guide. For clinics in Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City that offer non-invasive surgery see our Botox, Fillers and Other Non-invasive Surgery.