This article will show you the top 5 souvenirs to buy in Vietnam, whether you are on holidays or on a business trip.
Apart from the excitement of discovering a new culture, taking photos or tasting the exotic flavors of Vietnam, shopping is known as a good way to bring more opportunities to get in touch with local habits. Most of tourists say that shopping tour is usually the last step of a trip and it is always a bit tricky and you will be cheated if you do not have any suggestions and tips for this step.
Hopefully, some of below Vietnamese souvenirs are suggested for you as top special ones if you set foot to this beautiful Asian country.
- CONICAL HAT (NÓN LÁ)
Nón Lá (Conical leaf hat) is a circular cone made of bamboo cataphylls, notable for its romantic adornments. The non la is more than an indispensable tool for people in Vietnam: it has been known as a cultural symbol. Anyway, the style differs by region, so for example those of the Tay people have a distinct color, and while in Thanh Hoa they use only a 20-hem frame. Hue’s one is thin and elegant, while Binh Dinh’s cone hat is thick.
Vietnamese wear the non la all year. The shape protects the wearer from the downpours of the rainy season like an umbrella, and provides shade and protection from the heat during hot and sunny weather, when temperatures climb to unbearable levels.
At a workshop, you can get a hat for only VND 5,000 – VND 10,000. However, depending on the quality, price at souvenir shops range between VND 30,000 and VND 100,000.
2. AO DAI (LONG DRESS)
After the Non la, Ao Dai is ranked second position. Since the 18th century, the áo dài (long dress) has been Vietnam’s national costume. There are three main styles of ao dai nowadays.
“Trendy” ao dai reach to the floor and fit the curves of the body by using darts and a nipped-in waist; the “hippy” ao dai is brightly colored and very popular among young teenagers; and the “mini” ao dai have slits extended above the waist and the panels reach only to the knees.
The usual way to acquire ao dai would be to pick the fabric first. Usually there are two different colors, one for the long dress itself and a second contrasting color for the trousers worn underneath. After the fabric is chosen, you can bring it to a tailor specialized in creating ao dais. Usually it takes around one week until you can pick up the finished product, but please bear in mind that during the preparation for Tet (lunar new year), it can take significantly longer.
An ao dai costs at least VND 700,000. If you can spend the time and have experience finding decent cloth and a good tailor, you might have your stylish ao dai at a reasonable price of VND 1,500,000
Silk is woven from the cocoons of the silkworm. Thus, it has always been considered extremely luxurious and only available to the nobility. In the past, silk had only been manufactured for Vietnamese royalty but that day has been long gone, and the fabric has become widely used throughout the country. Silk and its beautiful products are affordable nowadays, so tourists have a chance to choose their favorites and gift them to friends and family.
The price for regular Vietnamese silk is at least VND 70,000/m and over VND100,000/m for premium kinds. Silk below that price is originating from China with questionable quality.
4. HAND EMBROIDERY
The art of hand-embroidered pieces of clothing and framed silk pictures is an old handicraft tradition in Vietnam. You will mostly encounter picturesque natural scenes like flowers, trees, animals and birds, patiently stitched one colorful thread at a time. But also daily life scenes, even portraits can be created with this ancient technique. Tourists are frequently baffled by the vast variety of designs, offered in hand embroidery shops, the vibrant colors and the intriguing depth of the artwork.
In some shops, tourists can explain or sketch their individual idea to the artist, who creates a personalized gifts for friends and family.
If you visit Da Lat, there is a workshop & gallery for marvelous and artful hand embroidery images upstairs in the central market.
You can buy a small hand embroidered product for around VND 500,000. For bigger pictures, the price can be VND 2,000,000 and even much higher.
5. SAND PICTURES (TRANH CÁT)
Sand painting of Vietnam is the art of pouring colorful sand and powdered pigments on a sticky surface and fixating it later with spray, so it doesn’t come off again. However, there is a second art form called sand painting, which is practiced in Saigon: The artist pours the colorful sand between two glass panes or in a specially designed mug or vase. The layers of sand form an enthralling piece of art that looks stunning on every shelf and makes an excellent souvenir.
Vietnamese sand picture art comprise 4 categories: Landscape, portrait, labor scenes and the traditional art of calligraphy.The price for artful sand pictures ranges from VND 300,000 to VND 700,000.