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Souvenirs/Shopping in Vietnam/Cambodia

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Jun 30th, 2014, 02:16 PM
  #1
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Souvenirs/Shopping in Vietnam/Cambodia

Hi all,

I'll be in Hanoi/HCMC/Siem Reap(Angkor)/ Phnom Pehn and some smaller villages right on the Mekong in late October this year, I'm wondering what are some things I should plan on picking up and bringing back with me.

I won't be in Hoi An, nor do I need any suits/fancy dresses, so tailor shops are out. I'm thinking I'll be too tall for clothing/shoes (USWomens size 9.5) , so I'd like to focus on Jewelry and crafts- is there anything specific to these regions/cities I should try and pick up?
I enjoy filling my home here with crafts and souvenirs from my travels, so as long as I can carry it home, it has a place!

The only thing I really am looking forward to picking up is a Buddha head, I'm guessing near Angkor Wat, anything else I should put on my list?

Thanks!
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Jun 30th, 2014, 02:56 PM
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I didn't find a great deal in Hanoi in the way of nice crafts. I did like the reproduction posters (Uncle Ho, etc., great graphics) that you'll see in a couple of small galleries.

The things I bought that I like best I found at a sort of department/grocery store, 2 story (groceries ground floor, housewares upstairs) at the bottom of Hoan Kiem Lake on Trang Thi/Trang Tien (ask, not easy to find if you don't know where it is, south side of the main E/W street, entrance behind another building), lots of fun & inexpensive kitchen & housewares.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 02:59 PM
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(Not at the "bottom" of the lake. At the south end, bottom on the map)
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Jun 30th, 2014, 03:13 PM
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I liked the lacquerware in Hanoi, it's light and you can find contemporary designs. The old quarter also has many shops selling tribal woven pieces, handbags etc.

It's a shame about the clothes, many silk shops in Hang Gai St, I've worn out a black silk skirt from there, but you will find great scarves and silk purses.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 03:14 PM
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Meant to add, are you going on a Pandaw or similar ?
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Jun 30th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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Hanoi has a wonderful fair trade crafts shop called CraftLink, two branches, one at the Ethnographic Museum (a must-see, IMO) and one across the street from the Temple of Literature and next door to Koto. I found lots of interesting things there, especially textiles.
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Jun 30th, 2014, 10:47 PM
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In Siem Reap try http://www.artisansdangkor.com . Relatively expensive for Cambodia but very high quality. The polychrome items and lacquerware are amongst the best you will find anywhere.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 05:57 AM
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I brought home a beautiful sandstone statue of the head of Jayavarman VII from Artisans Angkor in Siem Reap, Cambodia. You can also find the Buddha head you mentioned that you wanted here. They offer a nice little tour that highlights the different genres like silk painting, wood and stone carving, etc. They have their own training program which helps these young workers. The quality of the craftsmanship is superb. They packed the items so well. I traveled for 2 more months before I arrived home. Everything was safe due to the careful packing by the store.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 10:00 AM
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Wow! Thank you all so much for the tips! My mom and I really appreciate it!!!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Another couple of things - we bought paintings from the gift shop at the Art Museum. They have originals by locals you can buy inexpensively. We also purchased "embroidery paintings" (really amazing work) from an art gallery in the old quarter.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 12:19 PM
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Kathie- that was in Hanoi correct?

Sartoric- Well be in Hanoi, fly to Siem Reap, Angkor for 3 days, board our boat at Kamong Cham, 1/2 day Phnom Pros/Srey and 1/2 day Wat Hanchey, go through Tonle Sap, 2 days in Phnom Pehn, Chau Doc, 1/2 day Sa Dec 1/2 day Cai Be and then HCMC for 3 days!
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Jul 1st, 2014, 12:59 PM
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Yes, it was in Hanoi.
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Jul 1st, 2014, 01:59 PM
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I asked because you expressed an interest in street food and thought you wouldn't get to try any on your cruise. We cruised with Pandaw in March 2011, and had several opportunities to sample small snacks on the streets. Any one for egg complete with chicken foetus ?

I'm sure if you let your guide know of your interest, there'll be snacks found !

Enjoy your journey....
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 12:24 AM
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Hi, i was just in angkor wat yesterday (where i forgot my camera lens,boo) anyway, I think one of the best things to buy there are the vaarious types of buddhist mantra beads which come in all types of woods such sandalwood. Google it and you can see. Depending on the material you can get them for about $3. If you want real sandalwood you may have to pay around 8 usd for them but be sure to smell them, if they dont have a nice fragrant smell they arent sandalwood. There are also some really cute wallets, cases and bags made from old cambodian cement bags. Sounds weird but they have cool designs with elephants and such. Harem pants are everywhere too. Also, i got a beutiful wood carving for the wall that was $5. There are four markets in siem reap and one is a craft market but the only one i had time to go to was the old market which was great and in walking dist of my hotel.
In ho chi minh city there is lots. You are right about sizes on shoes too, forget it. But if you like red coral jewelry you are in luck, or really and stone beads. ben thanh market is the most popular with tourists but there is still good stuff to be found if you look past all the junk. Vietnam is big in the leather industry so you can find really cool belts and wallets (and a lot crap too). There is tons of fabric too. be sure to move past the big isles into the weird small ones. The best thing for me was the Dai Quang Minh located at 31 – 33 -35 Châu Văn Liêm – Ward 14 – District 5. It is a craft market. Tons of beads, jewelry making supplies, ribbons, buttons, leather laces. It is in ho chi minh's chinatown so bring you camera there is tons to see.
In hanoi, there are a lot of folks selling rubber stamps but they are really special and very affordable. You can have on custom made or choose one of the pre made designs. I had hoped to find a wood one for a wall hanging but the rubber ones still look pretty once they have been inked.
I realize i am rambling now. If you want to know anything more, like about food or anything just let me know.
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 05:58 AM
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Thanks Sartoric, we'll be on Uniworld, I think I'll need to be grabbing snacks on my own as I'll be with a less adventurous tour (I've traveled with my parents on these tours before, and while lovely, they're not meant for people under 30)
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 06:49 AM
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Lbloggedin- WOW! Thanks so much for that in depth review!!! If you have any good tips on some food places (stands/restaurants/dishes) please share!
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Jul 2nd, 2014, 08:37 AM
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the black pepper at the artisan store is the best. absolutely.
btw, does aayone here know if i can buy the cambodian black pepper in bangkok?
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Jul 3rd, 2014, 12:07 AM
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Well done, food and especially spices is a good souvenir.
The pepper of Kampot is not hard to find but bring it from Cambodia is an excellent gift.
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Jul 8th, 2014, 07:20 PM
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Tag for later reference.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 12:15 AM
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There's an artist in a wheel chair in and about Siem Reap who does some simple but nice stuff. I know art is subjective but we've bought several of his works. Its a bit hit and miss as he moves around a bit. Some years I see him and some years i don't.

Also I brought some red Kampot pepper. I haven/t tried it yet but it had a different and rather nice aroma. They sell it in a shop one street north and parallel with pub street.

Also as others have said artisans d'angkor has some lovely stuff. Silk scarves maybe?
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