Shopping in Halong Bay – Guidelines from A to Z: What & Where to Buy in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

One of the best and most exciting parts of your trip when traveling to halong bay, is shopping, right? After a few days exploring Ha Long Bay and falling in love with its splendid beauty, you definitely cannot miss buying souvenirs here that can remind you of this amazingly breathtaking bay with its islets and caves. If you are wondering what to buy and where to shop at the most reasonable prices in Ha Long Bay, see our guide to shopping in Ha Long Bay, Vietnam below.

I. What to Buy in Halong Bay?

1. Squid

Description: Halong Bay is renowned for its fresh seafood, and squid is one of the most popular items. Locally caught and often prepared in a variety of ways, squid is a staple in many dishes.

Squid in Halong Bay - Source: Collected
Squid in Halong Bay – Source: Collected

Uses: Fresh squid can be used in numerous recipes, from simple grilled or fried squid to more elaborate dishes like squid stuffed with pork or vegetables.

Buying Tips: When purchasing squid in Halong Bay, look for ones with clear, shiny skin and firm flesh. The squid should not have a strong fishy smell. It’s best to buy squid from local markets early in the morning when the catch is freshest.

Price Range: The price can vary depending on the season and size of the squid, but typically it ranges from 150,000 to 250,000 VND per kilogram.

2. Dried Sipunculus Nudus

Description: Sipunculus nudus, known locally as sá sùng, is a type of marine worm that is dried and used in various culinary applications. It is considered a delicacy and is often used in soups and broths for its rich umami flavor.

Dried Sipunculus Nudus-Source: Collected
Dried Sipunculus Nudus-Source: Collected

Uses: Dried sá sùng can be rehydrated and added to soups, stir-fries, and rice dishes. It is especially prized in traditional Vietnamese medicine for its purported health benefits.

Buying Tips: When buying dried sipunculus nudus, look for products that are free from mold and have a consistent color. The worms should be thoroughly dried and slightly brittle.

Price Range: Due to its delicacy status, dried sá sùng can be quite expensive, often costing between 1,000,000 to 1,500,000 VND per kilogram.

3. Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine

Description: Hoanh Bo soaked rice wine is a traditional Vietnamese alcoholic beverage made from sticky rice. The rice is fermented and then soaked with various herbs and fruits to create a flavorful and aromatic drink.

Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine- Source: Collected
Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine- Source: Collected

Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine- Source: Collected
Hoanh Bo Soaked Rice Wine- Source: Collected

Uses: This rice wine is often consumed during meals or festive occasions. It is also used in cooking to add depth to sauces and marinades.

Buying Tips: When purchasing Hoanh Bo rice wine, check the clarity of the liquid and the integrity of the seal. Good quality rice wine will have a balanced, slightly sweet taste with a pleasant aroma.

Price Range: Prices vary depending on the brand and the aging process, but generally, a bottle costs between 150,000 to 300,000 VND.

4. Seashell Jewelry

Description: Seashell jewelry is a popular souvenir in Halong Bay, made from locally sourced shells. The jewelry often includes necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and decorative items.

Seashell Jewelry-Source: Collected
Seashell Jewelry-Source: Collected

Seashell Jewelry-Source: Collected
Seashell Jewelry-Source: Collected

Uses: These items make for beautiful and unique gifts or personal accessories. They can also serve as decorative pieces to remind you of your trip to Halong Bay.

Buying Tips: When buying seashell jewelry, look for craftsmanship quality. The shells should be smooth and free from cracks or chips. Also, check the strength of the attachments and clasps.

Price Range: Depending on the complexity and materials used, prices can range from 50,000 to 200,000 VND for most items.

5. Handicraft Coal Statues

Description: Halong Bay is known for its coal mining industry, and handicraft coal statues are unique souvenirs made from this local resource. These statues often depict various cultural and natural elements of Vietnam.

Uses: These statues serve as unique decorative items for your home or office, and they also make interesting conversation pieces.

Buying Tips: Ensure that the statue is well-crafted with attention to detail. The coal should be polished and free from loose particles.

Price Range: The price of coal statues varies based on size and intricacy, generally ranging from 200,000 to 500,000 VND.

II. Where to Shop in Halong Bay?

1. Halong I & II Markets

1.1. Halong I Market

Description: Halong I Market is one of the largest and most bustling markets in Halong Bay. It offers a wide range of products, from fresh seafood to local handicrafts.

Location: Located in Bai Chay area, near the tourist wharf.

What to Buy: Fresh seafood, local snacks, clothing, and souvenirs.

Shopping Tips: Bargaining is common here, so don’t hesitate to negotiate the price. Visit early in the morning for the freshest produce and seafood.

1.2. Halong II Market

Description: Halong II Market is another popular market known for its variety of goods and vibrant atmosphere. It is slightly less crowded than Halong I, offering a more relaxed shopping experience.

Location: Situated near the city center, making it easily accessible.

What to Buy: Dried seafood, fresh fruits, vegetables, and local crafts.

Shopping Tips: Similar to Halong I, bargaining is expected. Take your time to explore the different stalls and compare prices before making a purchase.

2. Hon Gai Market

Description: Hon Gai Market is a traditional market that provides an authentic Vietnamese shopping experience. It is less touristy compared to other markets, offering a genuine glimpse into local life.

Location: Located in Hon Gai District, which is the commercial heart of Halong City.

What to Buy: Fresh produce, seafood, and household items.

Shopping Tips: Be respectful and polite when interacting with vendors. Early morning is the best time to visit for the freshest goods and to experience the market at its liveliest.

3. Halong Night Market

Halong Night Market-Source: Collected
Halong Night Market-Source: Collected

Description: Halong Night Market is a vibrant market that comes to life in the evening. It is a favorite spot for both locals and tourists looking to shop, eat, and socialize.

Location: Situated in the Bai Chay area, near the Bai Chay Bridge.

What to Buy: Handicrafts, clothing, accessories, and street food.

Shopping Tips: This market is perfect for evening strolls. Enjoy the lively atmosphere, try some local street food, and haggle for souvenirs.

4. Bai Chay Shopping Center

Bai Chay Shopping Center-Source: Collected
Bai Chay Shopping Center-Source: Collected

Description: Bai Chay Shopping Center is a modern shopping complex offering a variety of goods from local products to branded items.

Location: Centrally located in Bai Chay area.

What to Buy: Clothing, electronics, cosmetics, and souvenirs.

Shopping Tips: Fixed prices are common in the shopping center, so there’s less room for bargaining. Look out for promotions and discounts.

5. Early Halong Seafood Market

Description: This market specializes in fresh seafood and is the best place to buy the day’s catch directly from fishermen.

Location: Near the fishing ports in Halong City.

What to Buy: Fresh fish, shrimp, crabs, and other seafood.

Shopping Tips: Arrive early, as the market operates in the morning and the best seafood gets sold out quickly. Bring a cooler or insulated bag if you plan to transport your purchases over a long distance.

Conclusion

Shopping in Halong Bay is an adventure in itself, offering a blend of traditional markets and modern shopping centers. Whether you’re looking for fresh seafood, unique souvenirs, or local delicacies, Halong Bay‘s markets have something for everyone. By exploring these markets and shopping centers, you not only get to purchase unique items but also experience the local culture and lifestyle. Remember to bargain politely, shop early for the freshest goods, and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of this beautiful region.