Friday, July 18, 2014

Outdoor gear Shopping in Vietnam

Ben Thanh Market & Outdoor Shopping

A wet armpit after walking around and between Ben Thanh and Dan Sing Markets and no The North Face or whatever.

I have heard a lot about Ben Thanh Market as the place for The North Face Factory overruns in Vietnam, and I once asked an officemate travelling to vietnam for a North Face Bag.

The quality of the bag she bought was very good. And, Now that I am in Ho Chi Minh, I just can't miss seeing what they sell in this market.

Before arriving, I had the image of a huge market with nothing but (or perhaps at least 90%) North Face everywhere; from gloves, caps, shirts, shoes, bags, and tents. 

When I got there, It felt nice to see food stalls, souveneir shops, and a lot of other stuff sold like shades, clothes, coffee, dining ware.

I looked around for those selling the backpacks, and not everyone has those high-quality (or at least as I thought overruns of the North Face factory in vietnam). They were the same ones being sold in Greenhills in Manila, Philippines.

There were only 2 shops in the whole benh thanh market that sold nearly original bags; They had the Deuter Futura, Act Lite, North Face, Jack Wolfskin, and a single piece of Berghaus bag).

I kept walking around the market and saw some more stalls in the streets outside. There were the jackets, but looking closely at the stitches, it does not seem like it will last for a while. 

Then, I asked for where I can get the tents, and a stall owner recommended the Dan Sing Market. I walked towards dan sing, and it was a market for Men - military supplies, hardware, helmets, plumbing, motor parts, etc.

Unable to see any good quality tent, I sat on a highlands coffee in front of Ben Thanh for wifi to look for where in Ho Chi Minh i can probably find it.

I had a chat with my friend back in the Philippines who bought me the bag before, and asked her where she got the bag. She said, she norrmally buys from Siagon Square; But that saiggon square is not the same saigon square next to the benh thanh market. I looked up on wikimapia, and indeed there's another saigon square near the river.

Meantime, that same afternoon, I went walking around Pham Nglao, and came across an outdoor shop that had the North Face Bags, and other stuff such as raincoats, jackets, shoes, etc. They had other brands too, but their Deuter bags were clearly copies. The 25 Liter bags are around 20$, as well as the jackets and raincoats. The 45L Terra bag was at $60 though there was a 10% discount offer at that time.

The following day, I went to the other Saigon Square; This depot is comparably smaller than the first saigon square I visited. Then again, there a re about 3 stalls selling the north face items; 1 sells the bags, another sells jackets, and another sells bags (but fake ones). Meantime, asking for the prices though, it seems that that one in Pham Nglao is actually cheaper; They don't exactly have the same stock though. There was a cool backpack cum beltbag that was not sold in the Pham Nglao store

Days after, I visited Nha Trang ang checked out some of the outdoor shops I passed by. There was a Deuter bag sold for 900VND and the North Face Terra 50 was sold for 1.1M VND.

In Hanoi, there will be more shops selling the same, and more from the other brands such as Deuter, Columbia, and Coleman, but prices are significantly higher, ranging from $40 for the smaller (30L) North Face bags; about (30% higher).

This post is part of the #limbonisASIA tripSee link for more stories, detailed expenses and itinerary

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