by Phuong Mai
Handmade items back in vogue at Dai Quang Minh Trading Service Centre
Located in HCM City's District 5, the Dai Quang Minh Trading Service Centre provides the most diverse selection of accessories in the southern region. It's a great source of inspiration for anyone who loves handmade products.
Inside the three-storey building are 600 shops selling everything from leather, feathers, ribbons and lace to colourful threads and buttons.
Tong Van Mai, a veteran seller at the market, says the centre once sold many kinds of items, but after 1975, it chose to sell accessories only.
Most of the market's customers are owners of handmade shops in the city and neighbouring provinces.
Nguyen Thuy Tien, owner of an online handmade shop, says she visits the centre once a week to buy materials to make handbags, bracelets and necklaces.
"The market's products are beautiful and unique," she says.
The accessories are affordable, from only a few thousand dong and up, much cheaper than shops outside.
The market, located at 31-33 Chau Van Liem Street in District 5, is open from 8am to 5pm every day.
New HCM City tours help busy singles find their soulmates
Several HCM City tourism agencies have launched tours that offer busy, time-strapped single men and women a chance to find a partner.
Vu Trong Tuan, director of Thien Lam Travel Company, says the market for such tourism has a lot of potential.
Six tourism companies in the city are offering tours to famous destinations such as Da Lat, Nha Trang, Binh Thuan Province and other scenic places in the northwest.
Each 2-4 day tour costs VND2-8 million (US$91-364). Singing and sitting around a campfire are two of the many activities offered.
When registering for the tour, people list their habits, likes and dislikes, and the traits they desire in a partner. Based on the information, the agency then designs an appropriate tour for each group, Tuan says.
Phan Le Thanh, a resident in District 1, says she was lucky and found someone on her trip to Kien Giang Province.
Nguyen Thanh Chung, who took a trip to Da Lat, says he has made many new friends but has yet to find a romantic partner.
Most of the people who sign up for the tours for Thien Lam Travel are women.
Tuan says that many people, particularly men aged 30 and over, are still hesitant to sign up for the tours. But because the tours are new, he believes the number of registrants will increase in about six months. — VNS