On our third day in Hanoi, we wanted to check the local market out before our super long bus trip to Ha Long Bay, so our tour guide brought us to see the Dong Xuan Market!
We went down the bus on a street adjacent to Dong Xuan since large vehicles could not possibly fit into the narrow alleyways.
As you can see. The road to the Dong Xuan market proper is pretty small so it's best to get there by foot. Also, it's a great way to take in the Vietnamese market culture! :)
Pretty art as souvenirs!
Of course, what market is complete without the little eateries?
Finally, the Dong Xuan Market!
It almost felt like a train station from the outside if you didn't count the fruit and snack vendors outside.
At the front, you can see all the local delicacies. My mom bought a lot of cashew nuts because they were apparently cheaper there.
The inside of the market is a different story. A lot of online reviews say it gets rough inside. Although this is true, it's nothing I haven't experienced right here in Manila. If you've been to places like Greenhills in San Juan or 168 in Binondo, it's pretty much the same thing, only the people are a lot more rude. (Sad to say.)
As for the contents of the market, the first floor mainly consists of counterfeit designer labels. You can get your Salvatore Ferragamo and YSL for a little less than 2000php. Still expensive. If you're into this kind of thing, I suggest you try your luck at Ho Chi Minh City's Saigon Square. The bags are extremely good quality, not to mention a lot cheaper, compared to the fakes in Dong Xuan which are less than well-made and the vendors practically want to scratch your eyes out.
All in all, the Dong Xuan market is a bit of a let-down as there is really nothing much of interest there other than the delicacies, maybe. Not long after, we boarded the bus and started making our way to Ha Long Bay!
The trip was everything a long bus ride would be. Incredibly boring, especially if you didn't take short naps periodically. It's in these times that I envy people who can sleep through a long ride without as much as waking up once.
We made a quick stop at this little workshop where disabled people create incredible works of art. A recreational center of sorts.
Everything here was crafted by their amazingly talented hands.
However, once inside the workshop, photography isn't allowed anymore, because the artists felt uncomfortable which was understandable. To be honest, you can do a lot more shopping here than in Dong Xuan. Here, you can buy clothes, wallets, bags, artwork, and a lot more! Also, if you're buying a lot of stuff, I suggest you haggle a little to get a better deal. :)
While the others continued to shop, I went back to the bus and was pleasantly surprised to find that the workshop had free wi-fi! This is also a good thing to keep in mind if you want to post your travel photos! Haha!
We had dinner at Kinh Do Am Thuc which was already in the city near Ha Long Bay. It was quite dark already at the time, especially since the city itself wasn't well-lit at all.
We ended our day at the Lotus Hotel, and explored Ha Long Bay the next day! Also, it's a bit colder in Ha Long Bay so don't forget to bring a jacket when you visit!
More travel posts to come! 'Til next time! :D