Vietnam’s markets offer a wide selection of merchandise, in which one can’t help but mention traditional handicrafts such as bamboo and rattan household items, coffee, lotus tea… Here are some of Vietnamese unique specialities that tourists should buy as souvenirs when visiting here.
Vietnamese souvenirs are extremely diverse
Vietnam is the largest exporter of Robusta coffee worldwide. If you ever visit here and taste Vietnamese coffee before, you will never forget the following best coffee flavor in the world: iced coffee (black coffee), milk coffee, egg coffee… The list of coffee drinks is getting longer and longer. The way to make this coffee is very special: you can use a filter (coffee filter) or a bag of local coffee that just costs less than $10.
Lotus, the national flower of Vietnam, can be found in many parts of the country, but it is believed that lotus flowers in Ho Tay, Ha Noi are the best varieties with a more long-lasting fragrance.
Over the years, tea manufacturers in Ha Noi have been constantly developing and preserving the art of making green tea with lotus scent. This sophisticated and time-consuming process requires 1500 lotus flowers as ingredients for every kilogram of lotus tea. That’s why a kilogram of lotus tea could cost up to hundreds of dollars.
Lotus tea - speciality drink of Ho Tay, Ha Noi
However, when tasting this type of royal tea, you will have to acknowledge that it’s absolutely worth it. A cup of high-quality green tea combined with the slight scent of lotus would bring us a feeling of sweetness and lightness after enjoying.
This is one of the best gifts you can give yourself or your family when travelling to Vietnam. The price of lotus tea fluctuates between 5 million VND ($220) and 8 million VND ($352) per kilogram. This price seems to be quite high, but in fact you just need a teaspoon (3.6g) to make a 180 ml teapot.
Where to buy:
Café Huong Mai at 58 Ma May, the Old Quarter, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi or 15 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
vn at 169 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Ha Noi
Minh Cuong Tea at 65 Cu Chinh Lan, Thanh Xuan, Ha Noi
Diep Lien Lotus Tea at 77 Ton Duc Thang, Ha Noi
When it comes to Vietnameses silk, Ha Noi is considered as the best silk and textile village. Van Phuc silk village (also known as Ha Dong silk village) with thousands of years of history is renowned for the highest quality silk.
This village is only 8 km southwest of Ha Noi. This is an ideal place for a half-day sightseeing tour and learning Vietnamese culture.The tour will help you find out about the weaving process and buy premium silk products at reasonable prices. If you are too busy to come here, you can go to silk stores on Hang Gai street instead (silk road of Ha Noi).
Silk products for sale include raw fabrics and accessories, silk clothing such as scarves, dresses, skirts, ties, cosmetic bags.
Suggested gift: a tie is a good choice for men and a scarf would be a better gift for women.
Price: from 150.000 VND (6.5 USD) for every meter of silk fabric; 480.000 VND ($21) per scarf; 240.000 VND VND (10.50 USD) for each cosmetic bag
Where to buy:
Duc Loi Silk at 77 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Le Minh Silk at 79 - 111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
O Mai (salty/sweet fruit jam)
O Mai is Hanoi's traditional specialty, which is dried fruit mixed with sugar, salt, lemon, chili and ginger to get a pleasant taste of salty, sweet, sour and spicy. The most common fruits used to make O Mai are plum, apricot, peach, star fruit, tamarind, kumquat, pineapple and mango.
To Hanoi’s people, dried apricot is a sophisticated snack to enjoy and welcome guests on Lunar New Year. The unique taste of dried apricot and lotus tea for weight loss is considered to be a wonderful combination. In Ha Noi, we can see dried apricots sold a lot along Hang Duong street.
This gift is suitable for foodies who love trying new food and snacks.
Price: Approximately 40.000 VND ($1.7) per 200g box; 90.000 VND ($4) per 500g box
Where to buy:
Hong Lam Store at 11 Hang Duong, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Tien Thinh Store at 21 Hang Duong, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Toan Thinh Store at 15 Hang Duong, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Propaganda posters of nation-building
Propaganda posters and prints are all over Vietnam, but the graphic bears a sharp imprint of Vietnam’s political ideology and a time when the whole nation united to build up the country as well as courageously overcome the consequences of war. A historic poster just costs you $7.
Where to buy:
You can buy this poster in any souvenir shop in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.
When you return home from the trip to Vietnam, a set of chopsticks might be an iconic souvenir to buy at the cheapest price. This item will evoke your unforgettable memories with Pho, bun nuoc, bun cha (kinds of noodle soup). You can buy a set of chopsticks for as little as $1.
Giay Do (Vietnamese traditional paper)
Giay Do is handcrafted paper made from the bark of many different agarwood varieties. Traditionally, Vietnamese Dong Ho paintings depicting ancient folklore are printed on that kind of paper. This sophisticated folk art is created from Vietnamese historic factors, imagination and craftsmanship. Pricing varies depending on the print.
This is suitable for children, women or family members.
Price: from 35.000 VND ($1.50) to 45.000 VND ($2) for each item
Where to buy:
Craft Link at 43 & 51 Van Mieu. Dong Da, Ha Noi, Vietnam
Souvenir shop in Hang Gai and Hang Bac, the Old Quarter, Ha Noi
Non la (conical hat)
A handcrafted conical hat is the most recognizable and classic symbol of Vietnam. The craftsman, with their skillful hands, meticulously knit each palm leaf. People use conical hats to protect themselves from sun or rain. Up to the present, conical hats have also been known as the symbol of Vietnamese history as well as the elegance of women here. This hat is appropriate for both men and women and indispensable for Vietnamese farmers when working.
Conical hat - Symbol of Vietnamese culture
This is the most suitable gift for friends or family members who enjoy outdoor activities like gardening.
Price: From 30.000 VND ($1.30) to 150.000 VND ($6.50)
Where to buy:
Souvenir shop in the Old Quarter, Ha Noi
Dong Xuan market in Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi.
Each of 20 ethnic minorities living in mountainous villages in Northern Vietnam has their own distinctive culture, which can be easily recognized by their weaving patterns and clothing styles.
Products made by ethnic minorities such as scarves, bags, clothing, textiles, paintings, woodwork and ceramics are really impressive and imprinted with their own cultural uniqueness. You can easily find street vendors with baskets full of colorful and hand-embroidered brocade items when visiting Sapa or other travel destinations in Northwest Vietnam.
This gift is appropriate for those who love new cultures.
Price: the minimum fabric pricing ranges from $15 to 350.000 VND
Ao Dai is a national symbol and a unique feature in Vietnamese tradition. It has maintained a close association with the feminie and delicate beauty of Vietnamese people. Traditional Ao Dai has long sleeves, a standing collar and tight seams to the waist. It is usually matched up with wide-leg silk trousers. Vietnamese women can wear Ao Dai in their daily life. However, these days they often wear it on special occasions such as weddings or Lunar New Year.
Ao Dai - the essence of Vietnamese culture
This gift is a perfect choice for yourself or your mother and sister.
Price: From 700.000 VND (30 USD) for a set of Ao Dai
Where to buy:
For ready-to-wear items: Stores on Bach Mai street, Kham Thien Ward and Hang Da market
For customized items:
Vietnamese Ao Dai at 40 Trang Thi, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Ao Dai Design store at 23 Luong Van Can, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi
Tips for shopping in Vietnam
It is highly recommended that you should go with a local guide when shopping in Vietnam. However, shopping is not difficult at all. The secret to bargaining is a friendly smile and a polite attitude. In this way, you could get what you want at a reasonable price that you and the seller are both happy with. If you have spare time, it would be better if you shop around and look at items at many different shops. It is cheaper to buy things from street vendors than in malls. It would also be better if you take your time and enjoy finding the best souvenir for your family and your friends.
Tourists go shopping in the Old Quarter, Ha Noi
Tags: shopping tips in Vietnam, travel in Vietnam, Vietnamese souvenirs, Vietnamese market, Vietnamese souvenir price, traditional products in Vietnam, travel abroad, travel experience