Hanoi shopping area
Hanoi is like Bangkok for the sport shopper: a good choice for the last destination before flying home, if you want to easily buy and fill an extra suitcase in just a few days. Note that affordable, knockoff bags are for sale on the northeast end of Hoan Kiem Lake (where Lo Su St. terminates at lakeside). Most airlines on long-haul flights have high weight limits for each of your two check-in bags (some airlines allow as much as 36kg/79 lb. per bag), but do note that regional flights, particularly on Vietnam Airlines, impose more strict limits; you might be able to bring just two 20-kilogram (44-lb.) bags with you to Bangkok, while it's double that if you go on directly to Frankfurt. Just be sure to check.
Hanoi is a fine place to shop for silk, silver, lacquerware, embroidered goods, and ethnic-minority crafts. Silk is good quality and an easy buy. (If you're unsure of the quality, pluck a few strands and burn the fibers; if it smells like burned hair, it's silk.) Shops will tailor a suit in as little 24 hours, but allow extra time for alterations. Many of the shops are clustered along Hang Gai Street, whose name translates as Hemp Rope Street. It once housed ship-rigging shops but is now unofficially called Silk Street. A silk suit here will run from about $35 to $75, depending on the silk, and a blouse or shirt will cost $15 to $20. Virtually every shop takes credit cards (MasterCard and Visa). Bargain hard for all but the silk; offer 50% of the asking price and end up paying 70% or so.
What to buy in Hanoi ? There are top 5 things you must buy here
Silk and Embroidery : Tourists can not miss authentic traditional silk when visiting Vietnam, a typical Eastern country. There are some differences in the way locals make silk in each region of Vietnam but the Van Phuc village in Hanoi has been renowned for making the best silk in the country. You can buy draw silk, print silk or patterned silk with national decorations as a unique gift for friends and families in Hang Gai, a small street near the Old Quarter.
Ethnic Minority Products : Excluding the dominant Kinh people, Vietnam is home for 53 ethnic groups scattering mostly in the Northern mountainous region in Vietnam and each group has its own costume with distinctive designs. In this day and age, both handicrafts and clothes with unique decorations and special weaving from various ethnic groups are widely sold in souvenirs shops of Hanoi capital.
‘Do’ paper : Do paper is made from the bark of the Do tree, a wild plant commonly found around local riverbanks. It was in popularity for many years before the modern paper production these days has been invented. Now Do paper is only used to make Hanoi's ethnic greetings cards, water color, folk paintings and bamboo-bound notebooks. Do paper cards with embroidered squares cost more or less 2 USD, bamboo bound notebooks are from 1.50 USD and hemp covered notebooks from 2 USD. You can purchase Do paper related products in Hang Gai or Hang Bac Street.
Handicrafts : Handicrafts in Hanoi varies from lacquer ware, mother-of-pearl inlaid furniture, ceramics, sandalwood statuettes, watercolours, oil paintings, prints and assorted antiques (real and imitation). Hang Gai, To Tich, Hang Khai and Cau Go Street are significant shopping destinations. The price ranges from 3-7 USD depending on each item.
Designer Boutiques : Fashion lovers can purchase exquisitely crafted custom-tailored clothes with a bargain price when visiting Hanoi. You just need to bring magazine catalogue or the item of clothing you want to copy and provide the tailors your instructions. Ordering shirts, blouses, gowns, cocktail and especially Ao dai (the traditional long dress in Vietnam) made of Vietnam authentic silk is absolutely worth a try. Khai Silk shop at Hang Gai Street is one of many tailor-made boutiques. The cost is about 25-50 USD per outfit.