When visiting any local Vietnamese market, there are a variety of unique items that bring out the iconic and traditional Vietnamese cultures. In this blog, we offer a guide to some popular Vietnamese souvenirs that you can purchase to remember your Vietnam trip.
Known as one of the most gorgeous and beautiful traditional Vietnamese dresses, the Ao Dai is often worn on special occasions in Vietnam such as Tet (Lunar New Year), weddings, and national holidays. In the past, Ao Dai was a luxury attire dressed for formal meetings and weddings. Nowadays, some Vietnamese choose Ao Dai as casual or fashionable wear.
When visiting the Central Post Office and the Notre Dame Cathedral in Ho Chi Minh City, you will sometimes see Vietnamese women wearing Ao Dai getting their photos taken for a photo shoot for weddings or school graduation. You can find an Ao Dai at the Ben Thanh Market or get one tailor-made in Hoi An.
Traditional Vietnamese Scarf – Khan Ran
Another Vietnam souvenir to buy is the traditional scarf that is still used by local farmers. This Vietnam shopping item is popular with people who reside in the countryside working on ride paddy fields, particularly in the Mekong Delta region in the Southwest of Vietnam. This customary shawl is derived from Cambodia’s chequered scarf with many usages to cover the face, neck, and head, or wrapped around the shoulders or waists. Traditionally, these scarves are worn around the neck to protect from heat, wind, and rain. Nowadays, people also wear it as a fashion item. You can find this souvenir at Vietnamese local markets.
Vietnamese conical hats have appeared in many Vietnamese stories, myths, and wars throughout several hundreds of years. It is worn and kept on the head by a chin strap made of cloth. The conical hat is made of straw and is light in weight; it is primarily used as protection from the sun and rain. Not only widely used by farmers in the rice paddy fields, but it is also popular among homemakers for doing their daily grocery shopping at the local markets. Today, this leaf hat has become part of Vietnam’s national costume.
Vietnam Landscape Paintings
With a vast number of travelers coming to Vietnam each year, they cannot help but be in awe by the breathtaking landscape and natural wonders, like the UNESCO World Heritage site at Halong Bay. When visiting the north of Vietnam, you should take home a landscape painting to remind you of the terraced rice fields and beautiful topography.
Tropical Vietnamese Fruits
Vietnam is not only famous for many picturesque views and the friendliness of the people, but it also has a tropical diversity of fruits. When you visit, try locally grown Vietnamese fruits, such as jackfruit, rambutan, dragon fruit, plums, etc.
A great Vietnam shopping item to get is dried jackfruits or coconut candy. It usually has an expiry date of up to six months so it will make a great souvenir gift. You can find this at the local markets and supermarkets.
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Drinking coffee is part of Vietnamese culture. Throughout the day, you can spot locals drinking coffee on the streets or at local cafes. On your trip to Vietnam, especially to the highlands, you should bring home some freshly roasted Vietnamese coffee as souvenirs. Read more on our guide to drinking Vietnamese coffee.
One of the common and affordable Vietnamese souvenirs is t-shirts inspired by local cultures and lifestyles, and they can be found in most local markets. The price of the shirt is about VND 55,000 (approximately USD 3). The designs vary from funny ones to ones showing national pride, and bringing home a t-shirt makes a memorable souvenir from Vietnam.
This is not only a toy for children but a common sport among adults doing light exercises at the parks. The rule of the game is to kick and pass the shuttlecocks from one player to another without letting them touch the ground. Occasionally, you will see tourists take part in a game with the locals at the public parks. If you want to bring home games for the children to play outdoors, this shuttlecock makes a great souvenir from Vietnam.
Vietnamese Paper/Silk Hand Fan
When traveling in a tropical country like Vietnam, paper hand fans come in handy and can help with the heat. This paper fan is a work of art that is made from bamboo wood and paper or silk. The skillful workmen handcraft most of the fans. Some creative artists sometimes draw amazing natural Vietnamese landscapes onto the paper fan that enhances the value and uniqueness of the handy fan. This traditional work of art is still a familiar and popular item in Vietnamese daily life which makes it a great souvenir from Vietnam.
Wooden Vietnamese Statues
Another charming Vietnamese souvenir you can buy is the hand-carved wooden statues. Sculpturing the figures is an ancestral art that depicts the local lifestyle and culture. A special tiny wooden Vietnamese statue makes a great souvenir for your family members from Vietnam.
Summary of the Things to Buy in a Vietnamese Market
There are other exciting things you can find at the Vietnamese markets, but these souvenirs above make great memories and remind visitors of their Vietnam trip. To check out other things to buy in Vietnam, visit our Vietnam travel guides.