Sunday, August 16, 2009

HCMC Shopping Mishmash

Women and shopping, a habit hard to break huh? In many women's lives, shopping is a hobby and a must for some. When we're up, we shop. When we're down, we shop even more. It's like through shopping, somehow we found a new focus and our moods get uplifted. What we can't solve in real life, we solve it through retail therapy (RT).

Up market shopping area in HCMC

Ho Chi Minh City was our second RT destination this year. That trip to Jakarta in April was the first. My greatest appreciation to AA for its bargain tickets, and now everyone can fly!!! (and that saving on airfare can be utilized for shopping…ha..ha) As for now, I am restricting myself from going to Air Asia website gawking for other bargain tickets. Udah..udah lah tu kan…kot lah asyik nak berRT all the time??

Gucci and other branded stuffs

Pretty embroidered purses from Ben Thanh market. Almost made the sales girl cry coz she didn't quite take to my bargaining skills. In the end, we met half way on the price.

As corny as it sounds, HCMC is a paradise for shoppers. Beautiful handicrafts and deliciously tacky tourist junk are in endless supply. Popular market place like Ben Thanh in District 1, Binh Tay near Cholon in District 5 and Anh Dong in District 3 are favourite haunts for bargain hunters. If market place is not quite your fancy, streets shops that specialized in fine quality fabric, paintings and delicate embroidery are just waiting to be visited. Along Le Thanh Ton street where we stayed, these shops are just a few hundred steps away.

Beaded clogs

Bling-bling stilettos...kena marah for snapping this pic. They takut I'd sell design to other designers kot..hah..hah :)

We took the streets like ducks to water, venturing nooks and corners of the city, pushing doors of shops that captured our eyes. One could just go crazy!!! From a fellow shopper whom we met at the market place earlier, we discovered a shop that caters to mostly Malaysians, Singaporeans and customers from Brunei. It was at this shop that we saw the ever so familiar busana, the baju kurung on the window display mannequin. My oh my…even the patung had a tudung donned on its head!!! We later learnt that tudung Ikin and tudung Ariani were tailored in this shop. Even telekung bunga timbul pun ada…. So can you imagine how frenzied we became??

Hong Anh, a boutique owned by one industrious Vietnamese lady has apparently been receiving top visitors from our country. Pictures of her with Permaisuri Agong, Tengku Fauziah were proudly displayed at both her boutiques. There was also another one that showed her accompanying Tun Siti Hasmah when Tun was there. Three of the four floors at the boutique displayed racks of baju kurung. These are the kurungs that one would find on sale at Ramadan bazaars hare - fully lined chiffon kurung, heavy with bead works of various colours and designs. And she even had matching tudungs to go with the baju kurungs!! Look no further, her boutique was like a one stop centre for the family’s raya busana. Baju melayu pun ada. Nak colour sedondon for the entire family?? No worries…the sales assistants were more than happy to get them for you. Even as we spoke, her staff were busy packing baju kurung to be sent to KL. She said the earlier shipment, weighing about 1 tonne had landed safely in KL!! A few times, I had to like knock on my head to see if I wasn’t dreaming. I was in HCMC and not in KL, was I not??

Beading on Farah's baju kurung

Beading on Nissa's baju

We went to Hong Anh twice. Banyak juga lah damage here. Both Muni and I got baju kurung for our girls, real nice ones and for good price too I must say. The two Mamas instantly fell in love with the bajus. Why?? Not only were they pretty, they came with colourful beading as well!!! Yeah..tahun ni nampak nya tak perlu nak juling-juling mata menjahit manik.

Cotton bedsheets..I got only two pieces...berat nak carry wooo :)

The intricate embroidery

Couldn't get my eyes off this TERpaksa lah beli..hah..hah

It would take me days to talk about our shopping galore in HCMC. There were so many things that stole our interest. From fabric, to cotton and linen shirts, to beaded nyonya like clogs, to smocking dresses to laquerware, to trendy Kipling bags, to embroidered bed and table linens, to hand beaded dinner hand bags….fuuuhhhh the list is endless. In fact it was like our trade mark to come back to the hotel with bags from our purchase. Our acts were so noticeable that one day the bell boy tegur us with this cheeky line, “Are you tired Madam?” I mentioned to Muni that what he actually wanted to say was “Aren't you tired of shopping Madam?” We chuckled as this wasn’t the first time we received such remarks….heh..heh.

Nissa's cotton frocks with really attractive smocking (my last attempt at dressing up my lil one, think by next year she'd say NO to these gurly stuffs)

Our "adik angkat" who sold us beaded bags at a bargain. She's now learning BM. She said Malaysian customers come to her store by the bus load. However, she a little disappointed coz Ramadan is upcoming. No Malaysians coming, business won't be as good.

My all time favourite...the laquerware. Actually I wanted to give one to a "someone". Akan tetapi takut what will the wife say about my pemberian. Furthermore, Abe said these things should come in pairs. So gantung kat rumah sendiri je lah....

Jupe with the ole-ole we got her. She was supposed to go....but.......

HCMC for now, tops our destination list for RT. And when would that list be shuffled, am not too sure. Guess we will see what happens at our next RT trip…whenever, wherever, that destination will be.


Kak Teh said...

kay, I envy you your bargaining skills. I just dont know how to do it after years of not being allowed to haggle, where I am. Di Jakarta pun macam tu...I only went to two shps, I think - dah penat dengan ramainya manusia. Yes, HCMC is definitely on the list.

mamasita said...

Dear really tahu what RT means and it is always a good way to unwind..

Now let me see..for me RT means rumahtangga and its so glued into my head..nakgi jalan jauh2 tak sampai hati..unless the whole batallion tag along..and so I jarang terbang jauh2..

A very charming and delightful account of Kay's RT..hehe
Nissa and Farah betul2 modelling Raya ni!

Laracroft74 said...

bestnya least now i have an idea what kind of RT we can do kat sana... bukan that kasut je yg berbling2 eyes pun dah bling2jugak ni... the cotton bedsheet, Nisa's smoking dress...OMG!! OMG!!! next year gi HCMC angkut i sekali ye...

edelweiss said...

kak KAy...

amboiii sakan ur punya RT yer...

tak tahannn tengokkkkk nih.. esp the cotton bedsheet tuh


eh tudung ariani buat kat situuuuu yerrrr....hmmmmm

Queen Of The House said...

This is really shopping heaven! Must make it a target to go there for RT ....... wish i have your bargaining power, though. I boleh kawan ngan Kak Teh. Even my husband is better at it!

Naz said...

'Love those bedsheets and the gowns!..the gowns!
and the bags! and the shoes!
OMG...look what you've done to me :p

You ni dapat a cut from HCMC Tourism Council eh? I think so lah! :D

OK, added to my list now!

Kama said...

OMG! Tak letih ka? I nengok pun rasa penat! I am not so much into shopping - bukan apa, letih nak berjalan lama2, tang tu I kalah - tapi tengok kain bersulam berdetik juga hati..cantik sungguh.. and I do love lacquerware..

Madam Tai Tai No More said...

Kay, you made HCMC so interesting lah! I found it rather dull and boring when I was there last April. I guess tak de gang to do the RT with me, kot.

kay_leeda said...

Dear Kak Teh,

I wasn't at all good in the beginning. I must say with the many RT sessions I kinda got the hang out of it. Plus Abe is such a pro at bargaining. I just follow what he does :)

Yes Kak Teh HCMC in the next trip home yah :)

kay_leeda said...

Dear Mamasita,

You kena luku at home, me kena luku@work. Same thing...that's why must go RT. It was a good trip for both Muni & I. We jalan je kerja... If Forrest Gump had it like runnnn forrest runnnnn...we were like....walkkkkk girlsssss walkkkk :)

Ishh sekali-sekali gi ler honeymoon with Dato'. Yr kids dah besar daaaa...wink..wink

kay_leeda said...


Haaa..tau dah dikau akan mampir secepat mungkin :) No need to juling-juling disebabkan bling-bling, meh kita buat rombongan Cik Kiah ke HCMC. Gempaq pasti nyer :D

Ni tengah nak psycho Abe utk memberi kata laluan utk ke HCMC sekali lagi...boleh gitu?? Rasa nya hanya bini org T*B yg weng sebegini rupa!!!

kay_leeda said...


Sakan wooo...memang lepas geram punyer RT. I bet you juga akan terjebak pabila melihat itu cotton sheets. Kami almost kena kejutan gitu u tau!!! Tu yg KENA beli tu..heh..heh.

Weh..kita buat rombongan pi HCMC jomsss :)

kay_leeda said...

Dear QOTH,

Ohhh do make yr way there!!! Flight time is only an hour and a half. Try bargaining bit by bit first. Once you get better, you could almost bargain everything :)

However, back in KL or Shah Alam, jangan nak mimpi mem-bargain. I once tried to ask for a 20cent discount from the mak cik who sells vege at the Shah Alam market. She gave me one dirty look as if I came from some planet of a distance!!!

kay_leeda said...

Dear Naz,

I know you'd be jumping like me upon seeing them bedsheets. The lady at the shop took out like everything she had. And we were going like pleaseeeee stopppppp!!! Semua nyer cantik-cantik. Masalah betol lah coz didn't know how to make the final selection. Itu yg ader TERbeli tu!!! What to do lah kan....

Me promoting HCMC for Uncle HO?? Nahhh...I'm just one hyper RT enthusiast running on the loose..heh..heh :D

ms hart said...

Kay...!!!! ....


......... tak terkata gitu!

Anonymous said...

Ida....omang hai....i lihat gambar gambar HCMC,,and read your note,,,,,,macam tak sabar nak gi shopping disana.......sure mengiler...from KakBong Melawati

kay_leeda said...

Dear Kak Puteri,

Penattttt mau nyer tak penat. But the streets of HCMC were perpetually on our minds. Rasa macam rugi pula if tak pi keluar masuk kedai. Heh..heh...alasan je tu kan. Am not too sure how long kaki ni akan larat untuk ber-RT :) Hopefully sihat & kuat utk still berjalan-jalan.

If you love lacquerware, they are abundance in HCMC. Semua nyer cantik, rasa nak grab all and pack them home.

kay_leeda said...

Madam Tai Tai No More,

Yup I guess the company you are with does give a different feel to any trip that one embarks on. For RTs I'd go with my usual gang. No point going with the other half, not unless he's a real street enthusiast, like we are :)

There are actually not many places to do sight seeing in HCMC. That's why the shops were our main target..heh..heh.

kay_leeda said...

Ms Hart,

No need to say anything...just go to HCMC!!! Best lah :)

kay_leeda said...

Dear Kak Bong,

Poi..poi situ..dorgeh poi!!! If you need recommendations on shops to go to, I'd be very happy to give assistance. Kojo eh kek sano...kutip card kodai. Haa...bilo balik...buleh buek buku :)

Atiesya Baby said...

hi, cotton house tu kt mana? banyak jual baju budak2 yer? sy nk ke sana sep tgk survey2 ni....♥