A trip to Vietnam gives you the rare chance of capturing the spectacular scenery, enjoying mouth-watering exotic cuisine, exploring the unknown and bringing home Vietnam souvenirs. You also get to know the locals closely and their way of life. Boasting an interesting history, beautiful landscapes, and rich culture, a trip to Vietnam is certain to leave nostalgic memories behind.
From the capital Ho Chi Minh City to Ha Noi and Hoi An, Vietnam is an amazing blend of culture, tradition, and packed with diverse markets. With such a mix, each place you are likely to visit in Vietnam offers a unique experience that you will not want to forget soon.
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Your Vietnamese experience will not be complete without taking home something to remind you of this South Asian nation. What’s the best way of doing that? Make sure that before leaving you get one or two souvenirs from Vietnam.
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17 Best Souvenirs from Vietnam - Contents
Vietnamese Souvenirs Suggestions for You
Every country has something special which visitors can buy and take home for memories’ sake. Vietnam is not any different and when you travel there, be ready to be thrilled. This country makes a deep impression on all visitors.
Shopping in Vietnam can only be described as a cultural experience. Not only you'll get the rare opportunity of experiencing breathtaking beauty, meeting new cultures, and clicking memorable pictures but also shopping for unique souvenirs from Vietnam.
So, as you enjoy what this land of diversity has to offer, why not take home a piece of Vietnam with you? But truth be told, the sheer number of excellent souvenirs available in this land is mind-boggling. On your shopping list, we recommend the following items and we promise you will never regret these beautiful, exotic and sometimes weird Vietnam souvenirs.
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The Classic Conical Hat (Nón Lá)
Known as Nón Lá locally, this classic conical hat is arguably the country’s most recognizable symbol. Going back 3,000 years, these make for unique souvenirs from Vietnam. Rich with historical significance and cultural sentiment, the Nón Lá is also practical. Handwoven using palm or bamboo leaf, its light and durable – designed to protect you from the rain or sun.
How can you say you visited this exotic country without adding Nón Lá to your list of Vietnam souvenirs to buy? Back home, people may think you are into some new fashion design.
Ao Dai and Ao Ba Ba Dresses
We cannot forget some unique attire designs from Vietnam. For long, Ao Dai has been the Vietnamese traditional male and female costume. This is a tight-fitted long dress designed to be worn over your long pants. Nowadays, the Ao Dai has changed slightly in length for various uses. It, however, has retained the same design.
In the south of Vietnam, we discovered the Ao Ba Ba. This is a traditional garment associated with rural parts of the south, particularly around the Mekong Delta. While it may not be so common today, if you have an interest in the cultural diversity of this nation, the Ao Ba Ba makes a great item to include in your souvenirs from Vietnam list.
Guoc Moc, the Wooden Clogs
Also known as wooden clogs, Guoc Moc are traditional Vietnamese footwear for both males and females. Like Non La or Ao Dai, Guoc Moc has been used by the Vietnamese for thousands of years. This form of traditional footwear is good for the humid and hot weather of a tropical country like Vietnam. To boost their beauty, females wear these wooden clogs with the traditional Ao Dai.
Today, Guoc Mocs are made with diverse materials, designs, and colours. While their traditional usage might have declined we found them as lovely Vietnam souvenirs and you can get yours at many traditional stores across the country.
Try the Unique Vietnamese Green Rice
In terms of unique foods, you cannot fail to notice Vietnamese Green Rice. Our interest was piqued and decided to explore it further. We discovered Green Rice to be an indispensable speciality cuisine of the Vietnamese. What about surprising your guests back home by serving them Green Rice products? These are available in many forms such as candies, cakes, or even drinks with Cốm flavour.
Surprise them with Snake and Scorpion Wines
Of course, you can always take home Vietnamese Rice Wine but what about something more unique, if not a little weird? Snake or Cobra Wine! You won’t believe it but it’s estimated that there are over 100 forms of 'medicine wine' or 'Ruou thuoc' available in Vietnam.
Typically, this rice or grain alcoholic beverage is infused with whole snakes or scorpions. For snake wine, the Vietnamese use the venomous cobra snake but the poison gets cancelled out by the strong alcoholic content of the wine.
Homemade Traditional Musical Instruments
Handmade musical instruments from this South Asian nation also make excellent souvenirs. Our favourite pieces are the mini T’rungs and Bamboo flutes. And know what? You can easily disassemble the T’rungs while the flute is simply a small bamboo pipe. This makes them convenient to carry home as they use little space in your baggage.
Either of these instruments makes a perfect souvenir if you love music. Their sweet tones will thrill and soothe, reminding you of memorable moments from your Southeast Asian trip.
The Uniquely Prepared Vietnamese Coffee
Vietnamese coffee is famous for its preparation method (drip). Even more interesting is that beyond using condensed milk, the Vietnamese at times put an egg into their very strong coffee. You, therefore, have the option of either taking iced Vietnamese milk coffee or egg coffee. Robusta coffee is more common in Vietnam and carries a stronger caffeine content compared to Arabica and has a somewhat more bitter taste.
If you love coffee, you may want it as one of the Vietnam souvenirs to bring home. With a Vietnamese coffee recipe and a good filter, you could surprise folks back home with a taste of Vietnam. We found some very handy Vietnamese coffee recipes online.
The Distinct Lacquerware Products
The work of lacquer has for centuries been part of the Vietnamese heritage. Their lacquerware is distinct in style as it uses resin from the Son tree. When applied in multiple layers, typically on wood, it forms a weather-resistant and strong surface. Lacquerware in Vietnam traces its history to the French occupation during the 1930s.
Local craftsmen decorate different objects inlaid with gold leaf, mother-of-pearl or gold shells. We found all kinds of objects such as trinkets that are easy to carry home. Items come at different prices to match your pocket. If you are interested in something truly pro, you can find some galleries that are exclusively dedicated to this delicate art and get yourself some really great Vietnam souvenirs.
The Highly Popular Silk or Paper Lanterns
Made with stunning silk patterns, these lanterns are very popular in Vietnam. You will see them illuminating along the pavements. To transform your backyard or brighten the home, these would be ideal. Besides being souvenirs, these lanterns are excellent gifts and can be bought at the local market in most Vietnam cities. If your tours take you to Hoi An, these silk lanterns are literally everywhere.
Want another closely related yet equally unique souvenir from Vietnam? Paper Lanterns! Flat, easily packable and literally ready-to-go, paper lanterns are available in a broad range of materials and spectacular colours from as little as $4. They will bring a touch of soft Vietnamese style to any bedroom or garden back home.
The Trademark Vietnamese Hand Fan
In the past, the Vietnamese people used hand fans in their homes to cool off during the hot and humid summer days. Nowadays, you can see these colourful hand items used in a variety of traditional Vietnamese dances.
The materials used in making traditional hand fans were typically paper on a bamboo frame. The modern hand fan may be made using silk or some other type of fabric. Why not pick up one to remind you of elegant Vietnam?
Fresh Flavors of Vietnamese Herbs and Spices
Most Vietnamese cuisine is rich in herbs and spices, and nothing can be a more perfect gift for foodies back home. Vietnamese cuisine is world-famous for its unique balance, mouth-watering aromas, tantalizing textures, and fresh flavours.
To make it even more exciting, why not take advantage of the regional cooking classes offered at nearly every tourist destination from Sapa to the Mekong Delta? Mesmerize guests back home with your master chef skills that will leave them truly awed.
Puppet Depicting Vietnamese Lives
We got enthralled by the water puppet performances that seem to depict the daily life of farmers in Vietnam. These performances have now grown into some kind of cultural entertainment that has a great appeal to both the heart and mind. If this aspect of the cultural life of the locals appeals to you, consider buying a puppet as it will remind you about beautiful Vietnam.
You can easily get a puppet in local markets in Vietnam, but if in Hanoi why not try the souvenir stores in the Hanoi Old Quarter.
Bamboo and Coconut Products
Bamboo plays a significant role in the cultural and daily life of the Vietnamese people. For that reason, bamboo and its products are common features among the local people and they make remarkable souvenirs to bring home. We recommend items that will not only remind you of Vietnam but which can also be used at home. Consider bamboo kitchenware such as bowls, spoons, chopsticks, and straws.
For coconut products, we found the bowls created out of the coconut shells to be awesome. Imagine serving your guests with dessert in a coconut bowl? You can also get a small hand purse made using coconut shells!
Lots of coconut products can be bought along the Mekong Delta, which is an excellent place for a one day trip. If heading out to the Mekong Delta area doesn’t appeal, check out souvenir shops or the local markets. These Vietnam souvenirs are light and won’t be adding too much weight to your luggage.
Choose from Diverse Silk Products
Vietnamese silk is renowned for its brilliance and is still being made on the traditional handloom. You will find gorgeous silk scarves for both men and women in Vietnam. Silk paintings in this land of cultural diversity are very unique, depicting an iconic form of art practised by artisans since olden times. The poetic, mystical and simple themes used make these paintings particularly attractive.
Making use of the natural silk textiles and colours as the backdrop, you cannot get more colourful mementoes than these. Such paintings can be on scarves, wall hangings, and even on the traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai dresses. In Hanoi, the best place to buy your souvenirs is at the silk village named Van Phuc as well as in Hoian.
The Artistic Handmade Embroidery Items
In Vietnam, embroidery has been passed down through the ages as an art. We found that often the Vietnamese use Chinese techniques to bring out their masterpieces. If your tours ever take you to Sa Pa, you can get great embroidered clothes, purses, scarves, and bags from different villages within the valley.
Vietnam War Propaganda Posters
Reminiscent of the Vietnam War, the propaganda posters are sold in many gifts and souvenir shops. Because they are not bulky, you will find it easy to transport them home as special souvenirs from Vietnam. Their graphics are not only very unique and impressive but intriguing as they remind you of the nation’s ideological and patriotic history.
If in Hanoi, you will find these propaganda posters everywhere. And guess what? You can get these pieces of history for as little as $7.
The Uniquely Vietnamese Bamboo Dragonfly
One souvenir item that can only be found in Vietnam is certainly the bamboo dragonfly. Talk of a fun and unique souvenir item to bring home. If you want to surprise some young folks back home, this is the ideal gift. The cool thing about the dragonfly is that it stands by its mouth no matter the surface it’s placed on, even on your small finger.
Remember, prudence never hurt anyone. It may be necessary to haggle over these Vietnam souvenirs before purchasing. We recommend you shop around, compare prices and confirm authenticity before committing.
Which of these souvenirs from Vietnam will you take home with you? Let us know in the comments section below.