1. Ao DaiAo Dai is one of the few traditional costumes of Vietnam that has stood the test of time. Today, most Vietnamese wear western clothes, but the Ao Dai is worn on special occasions. Some schools and workplaces also have Ao Dai as their formal uniform. It is an elegant clothing item with a long, flowy, tight-fitting top and stylish pants suitable for women of all ages. It has now become the symbol of Vietnamese culture. The Ao Dai can be bought from stores ready-to-wear, or you can choose to get a custom-made Ao Dai by buying your own cloth and availing of the 24-hour tailoring services. The former is, however, a less expensive option. You can buy an Ao Dai in any important city: Hoi An, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, or Hanoi. An Ao Dai can cost anything between VND 500,000 and VND 2,000,000.
2. Vietnamese SilkSilk was once regarded as a luxury, and only the elites, such as the royal family and the nobles, wore silk. In fact, the Ao Dai is traditionally made of silk. However, Vietnamese silk, which has a name for itself in the international market along with Chinese and Indian silks, is now used to make various designer clothing that is showcased in famous fashion shows. Silk is best bought in traditional villages where it is still woven on conventional handlooms. Some great places to buy silk in Vietnam are the Van Phuc silk village in Hanoi and Hang Gai Street in the city’s old quarter. Some of these stores also sell scarves and bags made of silk along with plain fabric. Vietnamese silk costs around VND 150,000 per meter of fabric.
3. Non LaThe conical hats, originally used by Vietnamese farmers, has now become the symbol of Vietnam and is an ideal souvenir to bring back home. It is usually made from palm leaves, bamboo cataphylls, or straws and is available in various designs and sizes. Finding your fit is hence very easy. Non La can be bought in almost all souvenir shops across the country but is best bought in villages like Chuong (Hanoi), Phu Cam, and Tay Ho (Hue).
Non La can be bought at prices as cheap as VND 10,000 to VND 50,000.
4. Vietnamese Fruit ShirtsJust like Thailand is famous for its shirts with giant elephant prints, Vietnam is known for shirts with fruit patterns. These unisex shirts are available in all sizes and in various patterns, from bananas, watermelons, pineapples, or mixed fruit patterns. However, the most popular ones are the banana shirts. You can also buy shorts, maxi dresses, or shoes with the same patterns to go along with them. These shirts will be quirky yet memorable souvenirs to take back home from a trip to Vietnam.
The fruit-patterned shirts are available in all tourist markets in Vietnam and can be bought at around VND 100,000.
5. JewelleryVietnam has a wonderful collection of metal and woven bead jewelry at very affordable prices. Rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings are some of the articles one can find being sold here. Woven bracelets with beads and charms are also a specialty here in Vietnam. Jewellery is very easy to purchase and carry and hence a good choice to buy as a souvenir for your friends and family.
The jewelry articles cost between VND 30,000 and VND 50,000.
6. War MemorabiliaThe Vietnam War is something everyone has heard of, and it was an important milestone in the history of Vietnam and aided in the reunification of North and South Vietnam. Today, there is a museum commemorating the war. The souvenir shop in the museum sells various articles such as photographs, books, flags and medals, and propaganda posters from during the war.
The price of the memorabilia depends on the kind of thing you are buying and whether it is an original or a replica.
7. Vietnamese ChocolateIt might not be very well-known to people, but Vietnam also produces Cacao. The French set up chocolate-making factories, and fine-quality chocolate has been available in Vietnam. Two major chocolate companies in Vietnam are Marou and Alluvia Chocolatier. Vietnamese chocolate has a distinct flavor and will leave you wanting more. There are also options for chocolate tours you can explore.
Chocolate bars in various sizes, and the cost of it differs according to that. The chocolate factory and Cacao garden tour cost about VND 700,000.
8. Sim Wine from Phu Quoc IslandSim Wine is a specialty of the Phu Quoc Islands and is made from one of the locally grown fruits called Sim or Rose Myrtle. The wine is pink in color and has a sweet and sour flavor with a concentration ranging between 10% to 29% of alcohol.
The price of a bottle of Sim wine ranges between VND 150,000 and VND 250,000.
9. Woven HandicraftsEthnic minority communities, especially women, weave different handmade goods to make a living. You can find purses, wallets, backpacks, scarves in bright colors, and intricate and creative designs being sold in villages. You can get a guide or a translator to accompany you so you can converse with the women and learn all about making these beautiful handicrafts. By buying their products, you can also help these communities financially.
These products are popular in the Da Lat regionand near the Cat Tien National Park. The price of these handicrafts range between VND 10,000 and VND 25,000.
10. LacquerwareLacquer is another art form that is unique to Vietnam. It involves a painstaking 100 days and 20 phases to produce one good quality lacquerware product, and the number of hours the craftsmen of Vietnam put in is clearly seen in the artifacts. Lacquer products include jewelry boxes, photo albums, dishes, bowls, and vases in myriad designs and colors.
The best lacquerware products can be bought in any of the popular cities of Vietnam. Prices start from VND 180,000 and can reach up to VND 1,500,000.
11. Hand Embroidery ItemsThe talented artisans in Vietnam roll out one of the best embroidery art. Hand-embroidered quilts, pillowcases, bedsheets, tablecloths, bags and purses, nightdresses, and scarves are a few products you can buy. Hanoi offers a variety of products of great quality differing in designs and sizes at reasonable prices. Sapa valley is also a great place to buy hand-embroidered products where you can also see the craftsmen at work. The best embroidery is found on products made of linen or cotton.
The prices depend on the kind of product you are buying but they usually range from VND 50,000 to VND 1,000,000.
12. Bamboo and Wooden products
Handmade and colorful, these souvenirs are also eco-friendly and are found in almost every tourist site in Vietnam. The common bamboo products are hats, bowls, baskets, and decorative ornaments. One of the popular showpieces are the bamboo dragonflies which can stand on their mouths. Chopsticks and furniture made of bamboo are also sold. Similar items made of timber are also sold at extremely low prices.
The prices of bamboo items depend on the products you wish to buy.
13. PotteryTraditionally hand-crafted ceramicware is something that Vietnam is famous for. One can lay their hands on beautiful ceramic pots, bowls, dishes, and vases of colorful patterns. Although they are available in the whole country, the best places give you the experience of watching the potters mold these pretty pieces from literal dust. You should visit villages such as Bat Trang (Hanoi), Phuoc Tich (Hue), and Thanh Ha (Hoi An) for fine-quality ceramic goods.
The ceramicware is very fragile. The prices for these products are usually reasonable but they might be expensive if they are of high quality. Vietnamese pottery can cost anything between VND 20,000 and VND 10,000,000.
14. Vietnamese PaintingsThe paintings in Vietnam are unique due to their color and technique. Various paintings are sold depicting the everyday life of the common people with different materials such as silk, sand, oil, etc. The silk paintings are popular worldwide due to their distinctive characteristics and french influence. Wooden block paintings are also another art form unique to Vietnam.
Paintings are slightly more expensive than other souvenirs but are nevertheless worth collecting. Vietnamese paintings are a great way to decorate your home for their bright colors and simple subjects. Prices range from VND 250,000 to VND 1,500,000.
15. LanternsWhen the Vietnamese celebrate a whole lantern festival, one can imagine how important lanterns are to Vietnamese culture. Hoi An is especially famous for Vietnamese lanterns. They are available in different colors and shapes and are usually made of brocade or silk. The fabric lanterns are mostly used as decorations, whereas those made of rattan are used in households along with lamps to light up the house.
The best place to buy lanterns is in Hoi An, which can be bought at around VND 10,000 to VND 200,000.
16. Dried fruit (O mai)A specialty of Hanoi, dried fruits here are a healthy snack option and a gift given on special occasions to be savored with a cup of piping hot lotus tea. Fruits such as apricots, plums, kumquats, mangoes, and peaches are sweetened or salted, dried, and mixed with spices to give them a lip-smacking taste. The most popular O mai brands are Hong Lam and Tien Thinh.
The prices of the O mai vary according to brands and fruits, but they usually are between VND 40,000 and VND 150,000 per box.
17. Fish Sauce
If you feel like cooking up a Vietnamese dish at home after you finish your Vietnam trip, you might want to take home a bottle of authentic fish sauce with you. Fish sauce is made from fermenting salted fish and is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine. The best quality fish sauce can be bought from Phu Quoc Island and is a bit more expensive than other fish sauce brands.
A 650 ml fish sauce bottle can cost between VND 150,000 and VND 180,000.
18. 3D - Pop Up CardsAs the name suggests, these are greeting cards with intricate and colorful designs that pop up when opened. These can be found being sold by vendors on the streets of Vietnam. The pop-up greeting cards are apt for all occasions, birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, or New Year’s! There are also blank cards with a famous Vietnamese landmark cut out. The amount of detail that goes into making these cards is sure to mesmerize you.
These pop-up cards can cost anything between VND 12,000 and VND 35,000.
19. PostcardsPostcards might seem very old-fashioned and cheesy souvenirs to take back home. However, it is a great way to show your family and friends that you care about them by sending a Vietnamese postcard with a handwritten note. You could also send a postcard to yourself. The postal service in Vietnam is very slow, so do not expect the postcard to reach its destination before 2-3 weeks.
It is also a great idea to send your postcard from the iconic Saigon Central Post Office in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City.
20. CalligraphyVietnamese calligraphy plays an important role in its long-standing culture. This art form is practiced in three different scripts. Modern calligraphy is, however, done only in the Quoc Ngu script. All households and workspaces have calligraphy hung up on their walls since they are considered good luck signs. Calligraphy hangings are specially bought during the Lunar New Year (Tet) holiday.
Hue and Hanoi are the best places to buy calligraphy and the prices range between VND 200,000 and VND 500,000.
Do let us know if you know of other souvenirs to pick up from Vietnam in the comment section!