Shopping is one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local culture during your Vietnam holiday, where you can find unique handicrafts, food items, and apparel at relatively affordable prices. Whenever perusing through Vietnam’s local markets, art galleries, and craft centers, it’s wise to take your time searching for good Vietnamese souvenirs and gifts for your family and friends.

1. Traditional Ao Dai Costume

     Ao dai, widely regarded as Vietnam’s national costume for women, consists of a long tight-fitted dress that’s worn over slacks in contrasting colors. Although ready-made ao dai can be found in tourist-friendly markets and fashion boutiques, some travelers may require the service of a local tailor to get your costume fitted according to their body type.

Hoi An is renowned its professional tailoring services, where you can choose from an extensive collection of fabric and have your very own custom-made ao dai.

2. Silk

         Silk in Vietnam is made from the cocoons of silkworms using manual looms and comes in a variety of patterns and colors. You can find plenty of fashion boutiques and souvenir shops selling shirts, ties, accessories, and dresses at relatively affordable prices. Unfortunately, counterfeit goods are very common in Vietnam, so the best places for authentic silk products are Hoi An Silk Village and Van Phuc Silk Village (about 10km southwest of Hanoi). A regular Vietnamese silk typically costs VND 70,000 per meter while premium fabrics are priced over VND 100,000 per meter.

3. Conical Hat 

     Buying a conical hat may seem a novelty, but it’s one of the most practical items for traveling, especially during Vietnam’s downpours and scorching summers. Also known as non la, these hats have been around since the 18th century and are typically handwoven using bamboo, palm leaves, and the bark of Moc trees.

Depending on the quality, conical hats sold at souvenir shops cost between VND 30,000 and VND 50,000.

4. Hand Embroidery

     Hand embroidery in Vietnam often depicts natural scenes and wildlife, though travelers can visit prominent craft centers and embroidery shops to have their very own personalized designs. You can purchase a premade item for about VND 500,000, but if you have time, you can also have your portrait embroidered at the shop.

5. Vietnam coffee

     Vietnamese coffee beans can be found just about anywhere in Vietnam, from local markets and quaint cafes to shopping malls and international airports. Hanoi is arguably the epicenter of Vietnam’s café culture, where you can get a 1kg bag of whole or ground Robusta beans for about USD4. With numerous branches in Hanoi, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh City, Trung Nguyen is one of the most popular local coffee brands in Vietnam.


Further readings