Being a well established capital with neighborhoods centuries old, Hanoi offers a very parochial approach to shopping for hand made goods. In more ancient times streets were defined by the products which were sold and produced on them, such as iron, silk or copper.
Even today with a more integrated modern market it is possible to get the feel of certain products on certain streets of the historic part of Hanoi. We will list here what can be found and where.
These creations consist mostly of dinnerware and decorative pieces. While it is not the most world renowned ceramics, the products are of good quality and are a good price for the quality. Tea sets are especially popular with visitors. Bat Trang Ceramics village is a good place to compare variety as well as oversee and participate in the decoration of your own custom ordered ceramics. Minh Long is the most ornate producer of ceramic sets and they have three locations from which to browse their creations.
Due to the country’s variety of tropical forests and skilled craftsmanship it is common for tourists to get a hand carved Buddha Statue. They come in all shapes and sizes, but the type of wood is generally what determines the price. Most wood carvings are of long lasting quality and the harder woods are the most delightful of all.
What may have started out as serious campaign ads for the betterment of people under a new government has developed into its own art form that captures the spirit of a time and place in history. The old quarter is full of shops that sell reproductions on posters, hats and t shirts. The store on Hang Bac street is the most complete array of the reproductions available.
Drawing from the patterns and traditions of a spread out country, there are unique colors, designs, fabrics and jewelry produced in the old quarter from the most experienced vendors to the hand made products of over 35 minority groups. The place to get the most ornate and well developed cloths and quilts is Tan My. Mekong Creations is a well respected handmade operation with two shops in Hanoi.
Fashion and Accessories
The old quarter is a blend of every imaginable store selling knock off products, interwoven with some locally tailored goods for fashion, its all about what you want and how your budget goes. For silk Hang Gai street is the place to browse, many shops and qualities exist so if you are in the market for the best stuff go with someone who knows. Ha Dong Silk has one of the widest selections. Fashionable clothing outlets and boutique shops are also abundant, Chula, Hang Bong and custom tailors can get you dressed formal, funky or sporty.