With its regal history and current artistic infusion provided by the University of Hue, the foremost Vietnamese arts institution, Hue is full of fine culture and precious art. It may not have Hoi An’s reputation for fulfilling shopaholics, but there is enough here to peruse to make it worth your while.
Start shopping in Hue with a souvenir standard, the Non La or conical hat constructed of bamboo. Hue is said to be the birthplace of these ever-present accessories and the local markets are full of them. Also try shops featuring ceramic replicas and lacquer paintings, cultural reminders that fit easily into your luggage.
For a more sophisticated keepsake, head to one of the two major galleries in town, Du Ca or New Space. Both shops showcase a mixture of the avant-garde and tradition, making for spectacular pieces sure to liven up any residence. The twin brothers who run New Space also dabble in performance art installations, community outreach and lacquer painting.
You can find galleries in any city, but Hue’s original arts scene can’t be beat. To see who and what are breathing life into Vietnam’s creative side, start with the thriving blend of old and new in Hue.