Best Souvenirs to Buy in Vietnam: A Comprehensive Guide

When you travel to Vietnam, shopping is an excellent way to immerse yourself in the local culture. Vietnam offers unique handicrafts, delicious food items, and beautiful apparel at very affordable prices. Exploring local markets, art galleries, and craft centers allows you to find the best Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts to bring home to your family and friends.

Remember, bargaining is a must, often negotiating prices down by 30-50% from the initial offer, as vendors typically charge higher prices for tourists and locals alike. From Vietnamese coffee and conical hats to silk and lacquerware, here’s a detailed guide on the best souvenirs to buy in Vietnam.

1. Vietnamese Silk

Vietnamese silk is a highly sought-after souvenir, known for its quality and beauty. Made from the cocoons of silkworms using manual looms, it comes in various patterns and colors. You can find silk products such as shirts, ties, accessories, and dresses in fashion boutiques and souvenir shops at affordable prices. To avoid counterfeit goods, visit reputable places like Hoi An Silk Village and Van Phuc Silk Village near Hanoi. Regular Vietnamese silk typically costs around VND 70,000 per meter, while premium fabrics are priced over VND 100,000 per meter.

2. Vietnamese Coffee

Vietnamese coffee is a must-buy for coffee lovers. Available in local markets, quaint cafes, shopping malls, and even international airports, this coffee is famous for its rich flavor. Hanoi, known for its café culture, offers a 1kg bag of whole or ground Robusta beans for about USD 4. One of the most popular local brands is Trung Nguyen, which has numerous branches in Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City.

3. Pearl Jewelry

With over 3,260km of coastline, Vietnam is home to many pearl farms in places like Ha Long Bay, Van Phong Bay, Nha Trang City, and Phu Quoc Island. Saigon Pearls, located in Nha Trang, is renowned for its authentic pearls and jewelry. Their showrooms offer a range of necklaces, bracelets, pendants, earrings, and rings starting from VND 3,000,000. If pearls aren’t your preference, you can also find accessories made with gold and colorful gemstones.

4. Conical Hat (Non La)

The conical hat, or non la, is a practical and iconic Vietnamese item. Handwoven using bamboo, palm leaves, and the bark of Moc trees, these hats are perfect for protection from the sun and rain. Souvenir shops sell conical hats for between VND 30,000 and VND 100,000, depending on the quality and patterns.

5. Lacquerware

Lacquerware is a traditional Vietnamese craft used to create furniture, dishes, bowls, vases, and paintings. This intricate art form can take up to four months to produce. Galleries along Hang Bac Street in Hanoi and An Dong Craft Market in Ho Chi Minh City offer high-quality lacquerware depicting mythical creatures and daily Vietnamese life. Prices start at VND 200,000 for small items, while larger pieces, such as paintings, can cost VND 2,000,000 or more.

6. Hand Embroidery Painting

Hand embroidery is a beautiful Vietnamese art form that often depicts natural scenes and wildlife. Shops like XQ Hand Embroidery in Nha Trang offer high-quality embroidered silk apparel and portraiture. The store, resembling a traditional Vietnamese village, allows visitors to watch locals working on new pieces. Pre-made items are available for about VND 500,000, and personalized designs can also be commissioned.

7. Vietnam Propaganda Posters

During the Vietnam War, propaganda posters were used to rally troops and uplift the local population. These posters, featuring colorful imagery and powerful slogans, are now popular souvenirs. Reproductions can be found in art galleries along Hanoi’s Hang Bac Street, costing between VND 500,000 and VND 800,000.

8. Traditional Ao Dai Costume

The Ao Dai, Vietnam’s national costume for women, consists of a long, tight-fitted dress worn over contrasting slacks. Ready-made Ao Dai can be found in markets and boutiques, but for a custom fit, visit a local tailor. Hoi An is renowned for its professional tailoring services, offering custom-made Ao Dai for about VND 700,000 to VND 1,500,000.

9. Vietnamese Lanterns

Vietnamese lanterns are a beautiful souvenir influenced by Chinese designs. These lanterns, often found in Hoi An and Hanoi, add a charming touch to any home. They come in various shapes, colors, and sizes, symbolizing the integration of Vietnamese and Chinese cultures. Prices vary based on the size and intricacy of the design.

10. Snake Wine (Ruou Ran)

Snake wine is a unique and exotic Vietnamese souvenir. Made by infusing whole snakes in rice wine, this item is popular among adventurous travelers. It is believed to increase virility and alleviate rheumatism, though these claims are not scientifically proven. Snake wine can be found at markets and tourist shops for about USD 25.

When shopping for souvenirs in Vietnam, it’s essential to explore and enjoy the process. Each item carries a piece of Vietnamese culture, history, and craftsmanship, making your travel memories even more special. Whether you’re looking for traditional crafts, delicious coffee, or unique items like snake wine, Vietnam offers a rich variety of souvenirs that reflect its vibrant heritage.

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