After visiting any country, especially a beautiful country – Vietnam, it is nice to have a souvenir to bring home as a reminder of an unforgettable trip or gifts for family and friends.
Shopping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture during your holiday, where you can find unique handicrafts, food items, and apparel at relatively affordable prices and Vietnam is a famous tourist destination for its diversity of culture features, alongside with thousands of specialties. It has a wide range of choices for souvenirs, including the decorative and the food ones. These kinds of souvenirs have their own charms that are really worth purchasing.
Whenever perusing through Vietnam’s local markets, art galleries, and craft centres, it’s wise to take your time searching for good Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends. Bargaining (at least 75% lower than the retail price) is a must for better deals as vendors often charge higher for tourists.
This article will give you 10 things to buy in Vietnam, followed by the useful information. Check it out!
Ao dai (long dress) is perhaps extremely well-known over all the world as the traditional clothes of Vietnam. Its elegant and beauty are loved by plenty fashionable tourists and obviously Vietnamese woman. It is the combination of elegant tight fitted dress and long stylish pants. Ao dai is a highlight in Vietnamese fashion, which follows both traditional and temporary styles, symbolizing for Vietnamese feminine beauty.
Because ao dai is available at many stores through the country, you can easily find a suitable one for yourself or for gifts. Normally, this outfit is already in the ready-to-buy form, but if you want to make some priority with the material and the design, you can buy the cloths first and then order at some tailor’s, but it does certainly cost higher. Moreover, tailors only need about 24 hours to complete an ao dai.
Although ready-made ao dai can be found in tourist-friendly markets and fashion boutiques, some travellers may require the service of a local tailor to get your costume fitted according to their body type. Hoi An is renowned its professional tailoring services, where you can choose from an extensive collection of fabric and have your very own custom-made ao dai.
Hanoi, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh are the 4 places that are the most famous for Ao dai. Ao dai is suitable for all women at all ages. It will be such a surprising gift for your mother, your sister or your grandmother. The price of a set of Ao dai may vary, depending on different designs, materials, quality, and colors.
Price: VND 500,000 – VND 2,000,000/set
Conical hat also known known as non la, has long been the symbol of Vietnam, it stems from a legend related to Vietnam’s rice-growing culture. For 10 or so years ago, the conical hat (or straw hat) was a familiar garment to Vietnamese. It provides not only a protection from the heat but also added to the charm of the wearer.
Being in the shape of a circular cone, conical hats are made of palm leaves, bamboo cataphylls and is an ideal souvenir for tourists traveling to Vietnam. This stuff is kinda versatile when can be used in any weather conditions to help users feel more comfortable. Also, nowadays, there are a variety of types, varying in designs, alongside with sizes and quantity, which makes it easier to select.
Conical hat is the most suitable for those who enjoy outdoor activities such as gardening. You can find this souvenir at almost all souvenir shops along the country with a cheap price. But it is highly recommended for you to buy conical hat directly at some villages such as Chuong conical hat village (Hanoi), Phu Cam conical hat village, Tay Ho conical hat village (Hue).
Price: VND 10,000 – VND 50,000
If you are a fan of coffee, it will be a mistake not to try (and buy) Vietnam’s coffee beans and grounds because they are the popular things to buy in Vietnam. In fact, Vietnam has long been well-known for being one of the biggest coffee exporting countries in the world and its coffee is distinctive from any other kinds of coffee in the world.
Coffee is one of the most popular and high-quality product in Vietnam, selling almost everywhere from local markets and quaint cafes to shopping malls and international airports.We suggest you buy directly at retail stores, or order at some coffee shops if you find theirs good. However, be careful when buying because there may be fake coffee. The price may vary due to different types and quality. And as you may know, Buon Me Thuot coffee, which is produced in the Highland area, is such a well-known brand in the world’s coffee market.
With numerous branches in Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City, Trung Nguyen is one of the most popular local coffee brands in Vietnam. However, if you want to avoid the slight chance of scam and cheaper price, it is possible to buy great coffee in Hanoi, Da Lat or Tay Nguyen (Vietnam Central Highlands). Otherwise, you can find this type of souvenir in any big cities without much trouble. Just ask the local or your tour guide for the trusting providers.
Price: VND 100,000 – VND 500,000/kilogram
When it comes to Vietnamese silk, you can easily get access to some traditional villages where silk is still made on conventional handlooms and hence gives the best textiles. Vietnam was once very famous for silk as one of the main trading product in South East Asia. Silk, or “lụa” in Vietnamese, which used to be considered as a luxurious material, was worn by the Imperials and high class. Also, ao dai, which is the traditional costume, is often handmade of silk.
Silk in Vietnam is made from the cocoons of silkworms using manual looms, and comes in a variety of patterns and colours. You can find plenty of fashion boutiques and souvenir shops selling shirts, ties, accessories, and dresses at relatively affordable prices.
Nowadays, Vietnamese designers use it to create high-fashion items which are to appear in famous fashion shows. Though Italia, Chinese, Japanese silks have good reputations, Vietnamese silk gains its own distinctive charm in the area and it is absolutely one of the best things to buy in Vietnam.
It is highly recommended that you buy it at Van Phuc silk village in Hanoi. However, as silk is sold widely in Vietnam, you can also find it in any markets or silk stores, especially on Hang Gai Street of Hanoi Old Quarter, Hoian Ancient Town and Ho Chi Minh City. Normally, these stores sell silk fabric, but sometimes and other silk items such as scarf, bag, tie, etc are available.
Price: VND 150,000/meter
Lacquerware is a traditional form of craftsmanship commonly used on furniture, dishes, bowls, vases and paintings, which takes up to four months to produce. Vietnam has long traditions of lacquer work. Indeed, lacquerware-making in Vietnam has been a unique art form for many years.
Lacquer products in Vietnam are jewelry boxes, photograph albums, dishes, bowls, vases, which all have distinctive styles and quality, compared to those from other Asian countries. Normally, it takes 20 stages and 100 days to make high-quality lacquer products, followed by hard and careful work of the lacquer makers. There are some galleries featuring this art where you can find really great collections.
These products are the most suitable for some senior family members, as well as your friends. Though lacquer art is highly developed in Hue, Hoian, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, you can find this souvenir at many tourist sites such as Hang Bac Street in Hanoi and An Dong Craft Market in Ho Chi Minh City selling high quality lacquerware at reasonable prices, many of which depicting mythical creatures and the daily lives of the Vietnamese. However, be careful when purchasing lacquerware because they maybe in low quality and condition.
Price: VND 180,000 – VND 1,500,000
Pottery is another ideal kind of Vietnamese souvenirs that you can bring home. There are a variety of ceramic products, including vase, bowl, dish, cup, etc, which are appealing and beautiful in different colors and patterns. All of these ceramic items are hand-crafted based on traditional methods.
Several countries are selling Vietnamese traditional pottery which shows the great influence of the once pottery center in Asia. A huge number of stores offer this type of product since pottery is still being used in the everyday life of Vietnamese people.
In Vietnam, pottery can be found at many stores, but if you have a chance, we recommend that you should pay a visit to some traditional villages such as Bat Trang (Hanoi), Phuoc Tich (Hue), Thanh Ha (Hoian) to buy them directly, as well as experience these products’ making process. The price is affordable, but sometimes high because of the quality and size. By the way, be careful when handling them because they are rather fragile.
Nevertheless, if you travel to Hanoi, it is advised to get to Bat Trang traditional village in which the art has been passed down for a thousand years. In the South of Vietnam, high-quality ceramic is available in Ho Chi Minh shops or Binh Duong province.
Price: depending on different products (vase, bowl, dish, cup,etc), ranging from VND 20,000 to VND 10,000,000
Vietnam is famous for embroidery art. Hand embroidery in Vietnam often depicts natural scenes and wildlife, though travellers can visit prominent craft centres and embroidery shops to have their very own personalised designs. The products include embroidered quilts, bed sheets, pillowcase, table runners, bags, clothes, scarfs, purses, nightdresses, etc.
Hanoi is a great place to purchase this kind of product because there is a wide range of in selection, quality, and price. Also, if you have a chance to visit Sapa, you can get access to different villages of the valley, where you can see how handmade embroidery products are made and buy them in the local markets. The best items are usually found on special cotton and linen and the best designs. Anybody who appreciates hard work and culture will definitely like these beautiful handmade gifts. This is an ideal option for gifts to those who are passionate about culture or just simply the special ones in your life (mother, wife, girlfriend).
Our favourite place for quality embroidery is XQ Hand Embroidery in Nha Trang, which specialises in silk apparel and hand-embroidered portraiture. It is built to resemble a Vietnamese village home (complete with a garden courtyard), where you can see locals in traditional clothes working on new pieces around the store.
Price: depending on different products (bags, clothes, pillowcase, bed sheets, etc), ranging from VND 50,000 to VND VND 1,000,000
Bamboo and wood products
Bamboo and wooden products in Vietnam are two of the most popular things to buy in Vietnam that are sold in almost every tourist sites in this country. They are all handmade and available in a wide range of designs and colors.The typical bamboo items are baskets, strays, bowls, hats, decorative things (especially the cute dragonfly that can stand on its mouth), chopsticks or even furniture.
Timber products are quite the same. These two products are not also cheap, but also eco-friendly. They are such the smart choices for your family. But remember to choose to authentic ones.
Price: depending on different items (clothing items, decorative things, furniture,etc)
Vietnamese musical instruments
Musical instruments are also favourite kinds of souvenir in Vietnam for their sweet tones and other feature of Vietnamese music. Among them, bamboo flutes, Vietnamese violin (dan Nhi), and mini t’rungs are the most popular choices. They are occasionally hand-craft and easy to handle.
Vietnamese musical instruments are widely used and it is not difficult to find a musical instrument store. But by the way, check the instruments carefully when purchasing because there are many products not good as they may seem.
Price: depending on the kind of instruments (flutes, Vietnamese violins, t’rungs, drums,etc), ranging from VND 50,000 to VND 1,500,000
Ethnic handicraft products
Ethnic handicraft is a type of art that includes products made by minority groups living in Vietnam. Each group has its own distinct culture, which is depicted in their patterns and clothing styles. The most popular items are scarf, bag, textiles, paintings, clothing items, and even woodworks, all of which are unique and impressive things to buy in Vietnam.
In the modern day, you will be surprised at the huge number of traditional sedge tools in every household. They are extremely cheap, durable and have multiple uses for Vietnamese people. Tourists may not particularly find them helpful, but sedge products are definitely the most iconic items in this South East Asia country.
This is an ideal gift for whom are into exotic cultures. Normally, these products are widely sold in almost every site, but if you want to buy the authentic ones, find some stores that provide the true handmade items, though they may be more expensive. If you have an opportunity to travel to the Northern region or the Highland region, you can observe the making process and then buy these products directly. Traveling, basically, is experiencing.
Price: depending on different items (scarves, bags, painting, clothing items, woodworks,etc), but in general it ranges from VND 30,000 – VND 500,000