If you find yourself inspired by the vibrant colors, colonial architecture, and cultural traditions of Vietnam, you may find the urge to pick up a paintbrush and take out some of the creative energy on a canvas.
It can be daunting, and a bit overwhelming trying to find decent art supply shops, or even venues in which to hone your creative skills; especially if you don’t speak Vietnamese, or have difficulty navigating around the city.
Here are a few of my favourite picks for where to find and what to expect when looking to perfect and evolve your creative skills:
Art Friend, 24 Le Thi Rieng, D1
Go for: Fine Arts and Printmaking supplies
Art Friend is my personal favorite. Offering a wide variety of products, and well-stocked with premium, fine arts supplies. They host top-notch brand names, at decent prices.
You’ll find all you need here when it comes to oil paints, acrylics, watercolours, canvasses, paintbrushes, textile paints, and more. They even offer sets of woodcarving tools and linocut supplies in case a more 3D-approach to your creativity aligns with your style.
Le Loi art shops, 47 Le Loi & 54 Le Loi, D1
Go for: Drawing, Paint, Calligraphy
Several of the art shops on Le Loi offer good art supplies products at budget prices. They have a wide selection of markers, papers, calligraphy pens and brushes, and acrylic paints.
Handcraft Stuff, 55A Pasteur
Go for: Crafts, scrapbooking
Handcraft Stuff is a crafty person’s dream. This little store is packed with everything from felt, to decorative papers, to ribbons. Prices are very competitive and their smaller space at 64 Lê Lợi Street also sells antique souvenirs and niche art stuffs.
Taipoz, 150/7/2 Nguyen Trai, Ben Thanh ward, D1
Go for: Calligraphy, Fine Arts supplies, Illustration
Located down a small local alley, Taipoz is a new addition to the art shopping scene. It has hit the ground running with a very impressive selection of local and imported premium supplies, especially in calligraphy. The owner lived in the US for some time, speaks great English, and is happy to place special orders for specific products from the States that you can’t find in Saigon.
Industrial market, Hoa Hao St, Ward 7, Dist 11
Go for: Leather, Hardware, Industrial textiles, Copper
If fine arts isn’t really your thing, the industrial market running the length of Hoa Hao street is a great option for leather working, or any soft goods. The shops are packed with endless varities of different products. Items are usually sold in bulk, or by the kilo, and include anything from high-quality leather, various strings of fabric, velcro, hardware, to craft appliques (bejewels, clips, iron on patches, etc). They even offer soles of shoes if you want to try your hand at shoemaking.
Adina Weinand is an arts educator. Check her classes at: facebook.com/saigonleatherworkshop