One of the things that some travelers would look forward to on their trip is shopping. Shopping in Vietnam is fun because most products are very affordable especially if you know how to haggle! If you’re looking for some souvenir items to take home that will remind you of your wonderful memories in the country, here are some of the best recommendations.
1. Conical Hat
In Vietnam, you’ll surely notice those conical hats that most a lot of locals would wear in the streets. This hat is called Non La and has become a traditional symbol of the country. The style and the material tend to vary from one region to another. You can find the hat being sold in various markets all over the country. The price would vary depending on the style and material, but it should not cost you more than $5 each.
2. Vietnamese Traditional Dress
The Vietnamese traditional dress known as Ao Dai is another interesting souvenir to take home on your trip to Vietnam. This consist of a long dress worn by local women and serves as the country’s national costume since the 18th century. The dress is available in different styles and designs. You’ll find the dress being sold in big markets like the Ben Thanh market in Saigon. Some local tailors can also have the dress specially made for you at a reasonable price.
Silk is a big business in Vietnam. In fact, there’s a street in Hanoi that’s dedicated to silk. Also known as the Silk Street, the Hang Gai Street in Hanoi is a 300-meter long street lined with tailor shops and boutiques that sell high-quality silk and tailored dresses and suits made of silk. This is the best place to shop for high-quality handmade silk fabrics in different colors, patterns, and designs.
Embroidery is an important skill in some regions in Vietnam that has been passed down from generations. Here, they follow the Chinese method of embroidery and it could take 8 – 10 years worth of learning before one can become an embroidery master. The best way to buy embroidered items in the country is in the mountainous town of Sa Pa. In the markets of Sa Pa, you’ll find beautifully embroidered scarfs, purses, clothes, bags, and more. You even have the opportunity to witness locals doing the embroidery by hand!
5. Hand Fan
Hand fans in Vietnam are made from a bamboo frame and colored paper. This is another interesting item to take home and give to friends since they are cheap and won’t occupy much space in your luggage. These handmade fans have also played an important role in the culture of the country. In fact, the fans are used on some traditional dance performances. There are fans made of colorful silk paper and you can find them in various markets all over the country.
6. Wooden Clogs
Known as Guoc Moc, the traditional wooden clogs in Vietnam are being worn by both men and women. In the olden times, local women would wear these wooden clogs along with their Ao Dai dress. Nowadays, it’s rare to find locals wearing Guoc Moc, but you can still buy these clogs in various shops and markets all over the country. This is another interesting souvenir item to take home and give to friends and family.
7. Silk Lanterns
Colorful silk lanterns can make for a great decor in your home and you’ll find these being sold in various markets all over Vietnam. They are usually used in festivals, rituals, and other important celebrations to light up the streets. Originally from China, they were brought by Chinese merchants to the country and have now become an important part of the Vietnamese culture. They are available in different sizes, shapes, and colors, and can be bought for as low as $1 each!
If you’re into paintings, you’ll surely have a great time visiting art galleries in various cities all over Vietnam. The Vietnamese paintings are incredibly beautiful. Best of all, they are very affordable! You can find sand paintings, rice paintings, silk paintings, woodcut paintings, and more. They can make for a perfect wall decor in your home that will surely remind you of your wonderful travel memories in the country!
So these are some of the great stuff to buy when shopping for souvenir items in Vietnam. If you want to save money, avoid shopping in tourist places. Instead, head to local markets or other places that locals shop. And don’t forget to negotiate or haggle the price when shopping in the markets of Vietnam. Some vendors are very persistent especially if you inquire the price but be firm and don’t be pressured into paying something you find expensive. Take time to look around before you decide to make a purchase. Happy shopping!