There wasn’t that much to see in Saigon – we spent most of our time shopping. We visited several of the markets in Saigon. We went to the Binh Thay Market in Cholon – but that was a mostly disappointing market, aimed really at the locals. We guess it was an interesting sight to see, but souvenirs could not really be found there.
Next we went to An Dong Market – also in Cholon – and although we suspect that this was maybe once an interesting market, at the time we were there, most of the stalls were empty – 2 entire floors were vacant.The most interesting shopping was at the main tourist market, the Ben Thanh Market. There was a wide selection of souvenirs, handicrafts, knock-off watches, food stalls, etc. The big problem with this market was that the “white person” prices started out insanely high, and it would take a LOT of back and forth to get them down to a reasonable price. We didn’t have that much time – so in fact we ended up doing most of our shopping around our hotel, in the Pham Ngu Lao area. Here, there were several fixed-price stores, and the fixed prices were more than reasonable – they were equivalent to the prices that you could get at Ben Thanh after 10 minutes of hard haggling. We’re sure if we were persistent we could have gotten better prices in Ben Thanh, but we’re just not that good at it, and we didn’t have the time. In addition, being able to browse the stores without hassled by any one was also worth a lot to us. In addition to the souvenir shopping we did at Pham Ngu Lao, we also did a lot of clothes shopping. She had a wonderful dress custom made for her in the Dong Khoi area at Khai Silk ($50). They were able to make the dress in one day. She also had several pairs of shoes made for her, and a handbag to match the dress. We also tried to see some sights – we visited the Giac Lam Pagoda – but – it wasn’t really that captivating for us.