· Hoi An. Good place to buy original art, including oil and watercolor paintings, $2-up; wood statues, $3; lanterns, $5-up; silk scarves, $6-up; mats, $20-up. Hoi An also has tailor shops that will custom-make a beautiful suit or silk dress in one day for you for about $40 for a suit and $25 for a dress. The 41 Le Loi Fine Arts-Handicraft Workshop even makes its own silk from silkworms.
· Danang: The Tien Hieu 3 marble shop near Marble Mountain is a tourist shop, but it has good prices on beautiful marble statues and boxes, $8-up, and wood inlay boxes, $2-up.
· Near Halong Bay: Government-run tourist shops near the bay are overpriced, but clothes are reasonable at $10-up; conical hats, $2-up; lacquerware, $4-up, and teak furniture, $100-up.
· Saigon and Hanoi: Most tourists will find
After I lost my hair elastics, I asked my guide to take me to a shop where I could buy some new ones.
The store he stopped at, called Tim!, displayed each individual elastic and barrette on its own, in orderly rows in big glass cases. Three elastics and a barrette cost about $2.
· Airport shops. Buy a bag of Vietnamese coffee on the way out of the country, about $3. It is smooth, strong and cheap.