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You are here:      Home News Shop till you sink.
Shop till you sink.
MarketFrom “floating shops” to “snail supermarkets” Ha Long City features a wealth of bizarre shopping options.

Trade, mining and tourism have brought wealth Ha Long City, and the town’s residents have found interesting ways to spend money and encourage visitors so. Few places in Vietnam offer as many kinds of marketplaces as Ha Long.

Each morning, fishermen pull up n the beach to sell freshly-caught fish. Peddles sell snacks on the beach or in the streets, and rows of beach-front kiosks offer caps, drinks and sweets. But this is just the start of shopping and the round Ha Long City. Take a boat out to sea and you’ll soon be surrounded by floating shops, small boats, usually propelled by women, which weave between the larger tourist boats. These vendors congregate around popular sites like Sung Sot Cave and Thien Cung Cave. Cua Van, a floating fishing village, has become a much – visited spot, as curious tourists come to see how they survive on the sea. Here, kids as young as five or six row themselves around in tiny basket boats, helping their parents to sell beer to thirsty visitors. But it’s not just cold drinks that are in these floating shops. Everything from cabbages to needles, instant noodles and postcards is on offer.

While few tourists actually buy stuff from these floating general stores, they’re often keen to try the fresh seafood. At floating fish-farms visitors can feast on recently-live squid, shrimp, crabs, fish, and even French fries – all at decent prices, if they know how to bargain! The floating seafood markets in Cua Van and Van Gia villages get a lot of business.

Back on land, people head for their local “snail supermarket” which, as the name suggests specialize in raw snails. Set up beside busy roads, these small stands sell a huge variety of locally – caught sea snails, ranging from humble ones like paludine snails to expensive ones like areola Babylon, plus special shellfish like scallops.

In the Hon Gai Commercial Center, visitors and locals mill around tanks housing live seafood. Products from all over north-east Vietnam are sold here, marking Hon Gai a popular stop tour groups. Giant squids, strange-looking fish and aggressive mud crabs can be found along with vegetables and medicinal herbs from the mountains.

Outside, near the recently restored Tien Long Pagoda, restaurants offer a well-known local specialty – squib pie. Few passerbies can resist the tantalizing smell of frying squid and spaces.

After the sun has set behind Bai Tho (Poem) Mountain, busy Vuon Dao Street is transformed into a night market. In this well-planned shopping complex visitors will all sorts of souvenirs, from plastic bangles to hand-carved hardwood statues, Most of the vendors at very young and many of them can speak several languages, or at least enough to bargain and chat. Along with English and French, Chinese is very popular, and some vendors have picked up bits of Korean Japanese and Thai.
When the night market closes at midnight, Ha long’s shopping options are temporarily suspended. Come dawn, however, the wheeling and dealing will resume with fresh vigor.

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