To live in Saigon for any amount of time is to appreciate the sheer number of shops available to buy all sorts of items, from traditional clothes through to food, appliances, electronics… you name it, they sell it! And amongst them are dozens upon dozens of arts and crafts stores. Tong Duy Tan Street has been known as ‘stationery street’ for many years now, although that term might be a little deceiving considering it’s basically just a bigger than average footpath. Was surprised at how many stores there actually are on this little strip. It’s packed with over 30 different stationery stores, and arts and crafts shops.
Because of the sheer number of shops, it’s impossible to give them all attention in one article! Instead this will just be a short introduction on what to expect, then maybe take some time to explore the area yourself and find something that catches your eye.
The area itself is not limited to just Tong Duy Tan street, the whole block has about 30 arts and crafts stores! The sides along Tran Hung Dao and Hai Thuong Lan Ong are also full of places that sell notebooks and office supplies.
Price-wise, arts and crafts stores are very competitive. As the saying goes ‘buy from where you can find cheap’ then it would be safe to say that these shops offer reasonable prices. At the same time, don’t expect any deals or discounts unless stated otherwise – most arts and crafts stores in Vietnam run their business this way. Most arts and craft items seem to be mass produced for school crafts, or events like weddings. This perhaps explaining the low price – but make sure you check what kind of materials were used before buying anything you’d like (or at least expect!) to use regularly.
You can find all sorts of stationery supplies here, ranging from the simple things like pens, notebooks to more complicated items that are quite popular in Asian arts and crafts stores – exotic dried leaves or flowers (or at least plastic versions!) that can look quite unique when shaped into decor for home or even DIY fashion accessories.
Other great finds include handmade jewelry (although be careful with what kind of metal, wood, or plastic was used as some can cause skin allergies – again, these don’t look like they were designed for day to day use).
There were also some components for random trinkets to decorate your house with, like dreamcatchers, photo frames, and craft paper.
If you’re looking for arts and crafts supplies in Saigon this would be a good place to start hunting! It’s especially great if you’re visiting with kids as they’d definitely love exploring all the different stores – just a warning though, you might loose them in the crowd. It can get packed.
It’s located in Cho Lon (aka Chinatown) relatively close to other popular tourist attractions like Ben Thanh Market or Bui Vien street. An interesting detour would be the Ong Bon Pagoda – Nhi Phu Temple complex, followed by a snack of dumplings at any of the local Chinese restaurants. Just get a Grab, or (for a more unique experience) drive down the busy part of Tran Hung Dao.
Not necessarily a major tourist destination, but if you’re looking for something in the realm of arts and crafts, or just need a nice notebook and a few pens, then make the trip down to Chinatown and make a day of it. If you’re looking specifically for stationery stores in Saigon, then this should be your first stop.