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54 Traditions

Mark Rapoport, a former New York pediatrician, and his wife moved to Hanoi in the early 2000s and immediately started collecting the cultural antiques of the ethnic tribes. Their gallery, 54 Traditions, is now the only one in Vietnam devoted to the arts and crafts of the country’s fifty-four ethnic groups. Visiting their multi-storey shop, co-owned with Nguyen Thi Nhung, is like shopping in an Ali Baba’s cave of treasures, except that this one comes with an incredibly knowledgeable and passionate collector guide who will tell you the story and pedigree of each object and provide a detailed fact sheet to go with it. (He will also package, ship or mount your object and have it delivered to your hotel or the airport.) Many of their original finds are now in museums including the Metropolitan and American Museum of Natural History in New York, Musée Branly in Paris and the Ethnology Museum in Hanoi. Among their specialties: tribal textiles and costumes, Buddhist statues, tribal jewelry, power swords, ritual scrolls and ceramic boxes salvaged from shipwrecks that are more than 500 years old. Be sure to look out for the Chimera jewelry, which incorporates ancient beads. Prices range from under $25 to many thousands and pieces are marked with colored dots to indicate the ranges. Just be sure to give yourself plenty of time here as Mark is true to his motto of offering “an education not just an object.”

Read Local Legends: Mark Rapoport

Statue at Art Vietnam Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam

Art Vietnam Gallery

Expats and collectors agree that this gallery run by Suzanne Lecht showcases the best selection of emerging artists.

Beo Boutique

Silk is sold in boutiques all over the Old Quarter but this little shop just up the street from the French Cathedral specializes in linen and cotton.

Apparels at CoCoon, Hanoi, Vietnam


For women who like dramatic, colorful statement pieces, CoCoon offers exquisitely made silk pieces, ranging from evening dresses and wrap jackets to long tunics and even fabric chokers. Hand made embroidery work and vivid colors are their trademark. They do couture work as well.

Craft Link

If you’re visiting the Temple of Literature, come to this nonprofit cooperative, located right across the street, for a selection of Vietnamese crafts, including products handmade by ethnic minorities like the Hmong. The small two-story space is packed with products like lacquerware, silk notebooks, beaded handbags, blankets and cushion covers, making it great for one-stop gift shopping. Plus, you can feel good about supporting local artisans: the store is quite selective about whom it features, focusing on craftsmen and -women who are economically disadvantaged or socially marginalized.

Interiors at Do Anh Tuan Photography, Hanoi, Vietnam

Do Anh Tuan Photography

Just around the corner from the Sofitel Metropole is a lovely small gallery of photographer Do Anh Tuan who captures Vietnamese traditional life in a poetic way.

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Green Palm Gallery

Opened almost twenty years ago, Green Palm Gallery is one of Vietnam’s most prestigious art galleries and sells the work of both established and up-and-coming artists. There are two locations: this one right around the corner from the Sofitel Metropole and another in the Old Quarter. Among the artists that they carry are Van Tho, Du Duc Khai and Hong Viet Dzung.

Dresses at Hadong Silk, Hanoi, Vietnam

Hadong Silk

The owners of this silk shop on Hang Gai Street will proudly tell you that Hillary Clinton has shopped here as well as many other foreign dignitaries. As the name suggests, silk is their specialty, and you will find tons of scarves, ties, dresses and blouses in silk prints as well as linen and embroidery. The styles are quite traditional but their real strength is the their custom tailoring so it is best to bring in a design that you love and have it copied in their silks, but, of course, that will take a few days.

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Hanoi Moment

This lovely shop specializes in traditional Vietnamese crafts but with a contemporary design. The owners supply many companies in France, Japan and the US with ceramic, brass, rattan and bamboo products. Look for horn necklaces, rattan bags and baskets, lacquer trays and boxes, bamboo bowls and deliciously delicate ceramic bowls and pitchers.

Editors' Picks

Indigo Store

A fair trade boutique with multiple branches in Vietnam, including in Ho Chi Minh City and Sapa, Indigo sells the crafts of different ethnic minorities. It was founded in 2001 by a Japanese visitor, Mr. Yoshizawa, who wanted to help preserve traditional crafts, especially the rare, hand-woven indigo textiles for which the store is named. The offerings have expanded to include clothing, accessories, jewelry and souvenirs. When you purchase here, know that you are helping to support diverse communities and ancient craft techniques. There are locations in the Old Quarter as well as in the Sheraton and Nikko hotels.

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The whimsical bags of designer Christina Yu, a Hong Kong native who worked as an attorney before launching Ipa-Nima in 1997, are now internationally known, with outlets like Anthropologie in the U.S. But to see her newest lines, visit this girly boutique; its walls are lined with Yu’s glitzy creations. The selection ranges from wallets and slender embroidered clutches to oversized leather bags. Yu is known for mixing and matching materials and colors, then embellishing the results with rhinestones, mother-of-pearl, brass, horn, embroidery or beads. The look is flashy and eclectic not understated.

Editors' Picks
Merchandise at Khai Silk, Hanoi, Vietnam

Khai Silk

Definitely the most sophisticated of the shops on Silk Street, Khaisilk brings a distinctly European flair to their designs and to their boutiques. In addition to a huge range of patterned and pleated silk scarves, the men and women’s fashions include ready-to-wear and custom pieces as well as silk and cotton knits.

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Marie-linh Couture

The Vietnamese owner of this well-regarded boutique, My Ha, recently hired a French designer, Rebecca Bargas, to inject new spirit into the label. Opened more than ten years ago in the Cathedral quarter of the Old Town, Marie-linh has always merged a vintage French sensibility with a modern Asian touch to reflect her own heritage of French and Vietnamese parents. The light cotton fabrics evoke delicate Liberty prints and are finished with lovely embroidery and motifs for a timeless, feminine look. There are two boutiques on Hang Trong, so be sure to check out the stock in both shops.

Editors' Picks
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Moniq by M

In a similar vein to the styles at Marie-Linh, Moniq by M merges a French vintage aesthetic with an Asian twist. The owner collects vintage fashion from Europe for inspiration.

Merchandise at MU Accessories, Hanoi, Vietnam

MU Accessories

Behind the lilac colored façade on Nha Tho street is a jewel of an accessories shop. MU sells fun and inexpensive jewelry including wrap bracelets with gold beads and tiny rings with symbols.

Merchandise at  Nagu, Hanoi, Vietnam


Nagu means comfort in Japanese and the owners of this shop, which also has an outpost in Ho Chi Minh City, focus on comfort clothes and accessories. Their most popular item is the cloth teddy bear (in many fabric patterns), but they also sell women’s clothing and accessories and delightful children’s fashion. The aesthetic has a vintage, country French feeling that is perfectly mirrored in the colonial two-story shop.

Interiors at Rue des Chats, Hanoi, Vietnam

Rue des Chats

Some of the country’s stylish designers, Anhuong Tran and Le Minh, have made this two-story boutique a chic stop for those looking for Eurasian fashion in slim sheath dresses and silk blouses

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Tan My

This silk and embroidery shop carries lovely traditional silks and embroidery and since it was founded as a modest little shop by the mother of the present owner, it has spawned the much more sophisticated Tan My Design across the street.

Editors' Picks
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Tan My Design

If you visit only one boutique in Hanoi, it should be this one, which carries exquisite embroidery plus a well-edited assortment of decorative objects, jewelry, fashion and gifts. In the many decades since Tan My was founded as a modest little shop by the mother of the present owner, designer Do Thanh Huong, across the street, the empire has grown to occupy three bright floors in this most modern of shops in the Old Quarter. (There is even a café in the back on the ground floor, making it feel like a mini department store.) On the various light-filled floors, you can find beautiful lacquer boxes and modern takes on the traditional ao dai costumes in stunning silks and brocades. The housewares section features Vietnamese cottons and linens embroidered with images ranging from subtle flower blossoms and delicate feathers to bold dragons and Vietnamese landscapes, in a huge spectrum of colors. Don’t miss the upper floors with a selection of designs by the country’s cutting-edge fashion designers such as Lolo Zazar’s T-shirts, Bianco Levrin and Song.

Editors' Picks
Painting at Thanh Binh Gallery, Hanoi, Vietnam

Thanh Binh Gallery

Another reputable dealer on art gallery row, right around the corner from the Sofitel Metropole, Thanh Binh carries some of the country’s top artists.

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Things of Substance

With the motto “…Western sizes…Vietnamese prices…”, it is no wonder that visitors come in here and scoop up the super soft t-shirts and dresses by the armful. The most popular items are their staple pieces—linen and silk blouses and short sleeve fine cotton t-shirts in neutral colors and jewel tones but they also sell scarves, jewelry and belts. They will do custom alterations for free and make bespoke items within a week.

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Three Trees

This fine jewelry shop, which also has an outpost in the Hilton Hanoi Hotel, has a distinct Vietnamese aesthetic. The owners are a Belgian/Vietnamese couple and the designs mix a delicacy (floral motifs and teeny weeny diamonds) with bold, chunky pieces and yet both are organic and alluring. In fact, Three Trees is considered to be one of the country’s first homegrown luxury jewelry talents. A Vietnamese Elsa Peretti if you will. The sleek gallery space features gold and diamond jewelry in the front rooms and silver and wood pieces in the back. Prices range from hundreds of dollars to under $50 for fun wooden bangles inlaid with stones or animal motifs.

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