When traveling to Vietnam, you may wish to bring home some signature memorabilia from this country full of rich culture. There are varieties of unique items representing Vietnamese traditions that you can choose from, but the souvenirs below are the favorite gifts to buy in Saigon.
Vietnamese Coffee and Tea
Cultivated from the highlands in Tay Nguyen, Vietnamese coffee is famous for its wonderful and rich taste after every sip. The enormous success of coffee also makes Vietnam the second most significant coffee exporter in the world. If you have visited Saigon and fallen in love with the iced coffee with condensed milk here, make sure to bring home some amount of coffee beans. Sipping on a cup of coffee will immediately bring you back to the days sitting in your familiar open-air cafe street-side shop. If you are not a coffee drinker, Vietnamese tea also makes a great flavorful alternative of getting fluid into your body each day and boosting your immune system. The coffee and tea make a great gift to buy in Saigon.
Vietnamese propaganda art was vigorously active at the very beginning of the Vietnamese August Revolution with the aim of raising the people’s spirit to work and fight for liberation. These days, this form of art has become a new art trend with its unique retro style and is favorably featured on T-shirts, handbags, posters, and so on. Many artists mostly use national symbols such as lotus, flag, or the face of Ho Chi Minh and troops with weapons as a central theme. Regardless of their looks, it is the meaning behind every propaganda item that throwbacks the dark but resounding times making it one of the most popular souvenirs to buy in Ho Chi Minh City.
Through centuries of changes and development, ceramics have been a notable part of Vietnam’s diverse culture and pride to the locals from one generation to the next. It is the clean and soft soil – the main ingredients and the skillful techniques of the craftsmen that create the sophistication and beauty of the products. The patterns commonly featured on ceramics are dragons, phoenixes, trees, and animals that reflect the spiritual and daily lives of the Vietnamese. There are a variety of options to choose from for your souvenir ranging from vases and cups to paintings. The rapid development of technology and society is causing many villages to die out. However, ceramics still exist with the original beauty and art. You can buy this in specialty Vietnamese souvenir shops.
Sand painting is one of the unique Vietnamese souvenirs to buy in Saigon, and it would amaze you at the very first look. The delicate gift starts with 2 glass panes, glass mugs, or vases, and then artists pour different colors of sand into forming stunning art. What makes this art form valuable is the constant effort of concentration and meticulous craftsmanship of the artists that transform ordinary sand into a magnificent piece of art. These sand paintings are usually of the landscape, people working, portraits, and traditional calligraphy. The very iconic image of a farmer harvesting crops or a beautiful woman dressing in ao dai has attracted many shoppers to immediately include this on their Saigon shopping list as the ideal Vietnamese souvenir for their dear friends and families to display at home.
- Where to buy sand paintings in Saigon: Bookstores in Saigon like Fahasa on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street
Silk is a delicate product with thousands of years of culture and the used-to-be scarce resources for the Vietnamese. Fortunately, the traditions of using the cocoon silkworms to get the silk haven’t died out, so we are still able to get high-quality fabric today. This souvenir gift is for anyone who likes luxury and the satisfying feeling of silky, smooth fabric. You should add to your Saigon shopping list if this is the case, and we suggest only buying from specialty shops specializing in silk.
- Check out Vietnamese silk and where to buy it
Hand Fan – Paper Fan
Made of paper and some bamboo sticks, the paper fan has been a familiar and irreplaceable image in the culture as well as the lives of locals. It still appears in folk dance, traditional festivals, and on many hands-on hot days as a tool to cool off, regardless of the usefulness of electric fans in the modern world. While you are walking around the city, especially near big markets, don’t forget to grab your favorite paper fan from street vendors for a variety of patterns and colors. Bringing this hand fan, one of the most delightful souvenirs to buy in Saigon, to your home you would also bring a reminder of this unique culture.
Handmade musical instruments are great Vietnamese souvenirs to take home if you are attracted to the soft and fantastic sound they produce in traditional performances. There are numerous types of instruments in Vietnam. However, bamboo flute, ukulele, and small traditional bamboo xylophone called t’rung are popular choices for travelers due to their convenience of packaging to bring home.
- Where to buy: Dien Bien Phu Street (Districts 1, 3, and 10) is famous for several musical instrument shops. They mostly sell Western musical instruments but there are some shops with Vietnamese string instruments or Vietnamese as well.
This Vietnamese national costume is famous for its unique design praising the pure beauty of women. Ao dai is designed to fit the curves of the body with a long tight dress worn over long pants. From traditional festivals, essential ceremonies, and weddings to public school uniforms, this favorite clothing item has proved to be a significant cultural tradition remaining throughout time, despite rapid changes in modern society. You should not miss an opportunity to admire the beauty of the ao dai and, of course, to acquire an ao dai of your own as a unique Vietnamese souvenir. Visit the local market to pick your favorite fabric, choose a reputable tailor shop to get your body measurements, and after a few days, you get a unique signature souvenir from Saigon that we highly recommend!
- Check out bespoken tailors in Saigon that can make custom suits and dresses for you.
The conical hat first appeared in Vietnam in the middle of the 13th century and had become everyday wear for the Vietnamese, especially farmers working in the rice paddy fields to protect them from rain and sunlight. The conical hat, a circular cone made of bamboo, also helps contribute to the gracefulness and feminine charms of a woman when wearing the ao dai. Notably, this beautiful but straightforward hat is recognized as a cultural symbol. If you ever wonder what to buy in Saigon, the conical hat is an ideal choice for your Vietnam souvenirs.
- Where to buy: Ben Thanh Market, Binh Tay Market
Summary of the Vietnamese Souvenirs to Buy in Saigon
Vietnam has many shopping items to choose from and picking out the right gift can be overwhelming. When visiting Saigon, check out our travel guides on the local day markets and night markets to pick out your favorite Vietnam souvenirs.