Top 20 Exotic Things to Buy in Vietnam
Vietnam is a wonderful destination that offers visitors unforgettable experiences with extraordinary souvenirs. Along with unusual foods and fruits, you can purchase artistic mementos to reminisce about your trip to Vietnam long after you return home. Let’s discover the best things to buy in Vietnam under our local tour guide's recommendations.
- Vietnamese Snacks – Things You Must Buy
- Vietnamese Drinks – Things You Must Taste
- Vietnamese Souvenirs – Things You Must Purchase
- 8. Nuoc Mam - Must-Taste Sauce
- 9. Tailored Clothing
- 10. Elephant Print Pants
- 11. Vietnamese Coffee Grounds and Phin Filter
- 12. Handmade Lanterns
- 13. Non La - Iconic Symbol of Vietnam
- 14. Ethnic Handicraft Products
- 15. Jewelry
- 16. Musical Instruments
- 17. Pottery and Ceramics
- 18. Silk - Best Thing to Buy in Vietnam
- 19. Embroidery - Great Vietnam Souvenirs
- 20. Ao Dai - The Vietnam National Costume
Vietnamese Snacks – Things You Must Buy
1. Fresh Fruit
Vietnam is a heaven of tropical fruits with the best lychee in the world, sweet and tasty mangos, amazing bananas, jackfruits, watermelon, and hundreds of different fruits that are so mouth-watering.
Buy Fresh Fruits in Vietnam
- Where to have it: So when you hit Vietnam, one of the things that you need to do first is just walk to any street corner and buy the best fruit from the first vendor you see.
- Price range: For many foreigners, one of the greatest delights to come to Vietnam is they can taste several delicious seasonal fruits at an amazingly low price, only from 1-3$ per kilogram (except durian).
- What you should buy: In case you are used to the famous tropical fruit, let’s try some Vietnamese unusual ones like rambutan, mangosteen, custard apple, soursop, or durian. There are several kinds of fruit you can only try and buy in Vietnam that you will never regret.
2. Coconut Candy
Among all the tropical fruits, coconut is special as it can carry the most tropical vibe. When speaking about coconut, people might normally think about coconut juice, but in Vietnam, people can also have sweet coconut candy.
Besides the original coconut candy, there are several flavors for you, from basic ones like cocoa, ginger, peanuts, coffee, pandan, or taro, to strong flavors like durian if you dare to try them. For a better taste, you should enjoy your coconut candy with a cup of tea.
Many Kinds of Coconut Candy to Buy in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: Almost all coconut candies are made in Ben Tre, but you can find them in every supermarket, grocery store, or tourist souvenir store.
- Price range: A reasonable price is only from 1.5-4$ per pax. Don't forget to try if you have a chance.
3. Mung Bean Pastry
A sweet mung bean cube that melts in your mouth, Banh Dau Xanh is a delicacy of the Hai Duong province. Typically, mung bean powder, pomelo essence, sugar, and fat are used in this buttery pastry. Locals eat it while drinking afternoon tea.
Banh Dau Xanh - An Ordinary Snack in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: As Banh Dau Xanh is the most common type of snack in Vietnam, you can find it in supermarkets or at famous brands like Nguyen Huong, Minh Ngoc, Hoa An, etc.
- Price range: A small box (180-200gr) only costs about 1$.
4. O Mai
O Mai is the name we call the Vietnamese-style candied fruits. The fruits, after a preliminary process, will be marinated with sugar or salt, and occasionally some gingers or licorices. The fruits would be cooked until all sugar is condensed, and covers the whole fruit. O Mai also appears in every Viet family during Tet (the Lunar New Year) as a favorite Tet snack.
- Where to have it: There are so many places selling O Mai that you can buy in Vietnam, but Hang Duong street is the most recommended. The place is famous for O Mai family producers as they maintain the work from generation to generation.
- Price range: The price range is from 7-10$/kg according to the types of fruit and the complexity of cooking, but they will publicize the price of the products, and you can taste everything before making the decision.
Taste Dried Fruit Before Buying
Vietnamese Drinks – Things You Must Taste
5. Snake Wine - Must-Drink Wine
A lot of Asian men believed that snakes are so nutrigenetic, and can provide strength and longevity for men. In Vietnam, men normally drink snake wine, and snake alcohol for physiological enhancement, and health improvement. Vietnamese people normally infuse the whole snake into rice wine or whisky according to the high alcohol content to make sure that the snake is “reserved” well.
The fact is that this snake wine doesn't taste scary as it looked, only a bit fishy compared to regular rice wine or whisky. So don’t hesitate, just give it a try.
Snake Wine in Vietnam
- Where to have it: Snake wine is widely sold in a lot of convenience stores and markets.
- Price range: The cost of a 350ml bottle might only take 20$. In tourist souvenir shops, the price will be a little bit higher. But depending on different laws in different countries, it may be illegal to bring snake wine to your country so this can be something you should buy and try in Vietnam rather than bringing it back home.
6. Vietnam Rice Wine
Parties and feasts are essential parts of traveling. When the Europeans are proud of wines, France is famous for Champagne, and Japanese people drink sake, you certainly should try Vietnam rice wine - the Vietnamese traditional alcohol.
Coming to Vietnam, you can easily hear a group of people raising their glasses and yelling as loud as possible “1,2,3 DZO”, which means “1,2,3 cheers”. So if you travel to Vietnam and meet the locals, it’s often a sign of friendship when offered a small shot of rice wine. If you love it and know that you will miss the Vietnamese cheering culture, you certainly should note this traditional alcohol in the list of “Things to buy in Vietnam”.
Vietnam Rice Wine to Buy
- Where to have it: You can buy rice wine at supermarkets or trustworthy wine retailers.
- Price range: The most famous rice wine in Vietnam is Vodka Nep Moi of HALICO (Hanoi Liquor Joint Stock Company) with a starting price of 2.61$ for one 500ml bottle.
7. Tea - Must-try Things to Buy
Tea has been a fundamental beverage and a very distinctive part of Vietnamese culture for three thousand years. Tea and its related rituals are inextricably linked to ideals of hospitality, respect for elders, and calm communion with nature in Vietnam at family reunions, meetings, and celebrations.
Vietnam people favor tea over coffee as a preferred beverage. Vietnam also produces a variety of fine wild-grown teas in addition to plantation tea.
Vietnamese Tea - Typical Drink that You Must Try
- Where to buy it: You can find many tea brands with various flavors in supermarkets and convenience stores. Some well-known local tea brands in Vietnam that you should try are Tra Thai Nguyen, Tra Sen Tay Ho, Tra Tan Cuong, Tra Phuc Long, etc.
- Price range: The prices may vary due to the brand's popularity and quality. The average cost can vary between 2-11$ for 100gram.
- What you should buy: If you are confused about what to buy, we recommend you try the special Lotus tea, made by marinating the green loose-leaf tea inside a lotus flower. The tea has absorbed all the fragrances, making you feel comfortable when enjoying or buying it. The price is only around 20$/kg.
Vietnamese Souvenirs – Things You Must Purchase
8. Nuoc Mam - Must-Taste Sauce
Nuoc Mam (fish sauce) plays a significant role in Vietnamese people’s meals and can be considered the soul of Vietnamese food. Fish sauce is included in nearly all dishes I can think of. It can be the spice, or dipping sauce for the food, making Vietnamese food so outstanding and unique.
Nuoc Mam to Buy in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: If you ever come to Vietnam and fall in love with this lovely sauce, there are some places and brands where you can find the best fish sauce to buy like fish sauce from Cat Hai island, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc island, and fish sauce from the Chinsu brand.
- Price range: A 520ml bottle cost can range between 3-8$.
And don’t forget to check the airline’s policies, and prepare some zip bags for your Nuoc Mam if you want to bring some of them back to your homeland.
9. Tailored Clothing
In 2019, Vietnam's textile export reached 31,48 billion USD, then got a 9.19% downfall compared to the number in 2020 due to the pandemic. However, that’s still an impressive number that can partly show the execution skills of Vietnamese tailors.
Tailored Clothing - Qualities and Cheap Prices Things to Buy in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: As tailoring and buying clothes in Vietnam are quite affordable, it is not difficult to find a tailored clothing shop in any city. Some recommended places are:
- Minh Quang Bespoke Tailor at 175 Phung Hung, Hoan Kiem, Ha Noi.
- PAUL Bespoke Tailoring at 17 Hung Vuong, Hai Chau 1, Hai Chau, Da Nang.
- Nhut Tailor at 106 Ly Tu Trong, Ben Thanh Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
- Price range: When buying clothes in Vietnam, the price is only around 50$, but it can cost much more if you want a tailored full set. A lot of tourists tried, and were satisfied, how about you?
10. Elephant Print Pants
Vietnam is narrow, and the land is lengthened from North to South, splitting the regions by different weather. From around October to March next year is the winter in the North and Northern Centre. But the rest are still crazily hot. Maybe super comfortable and breezy long pants will match your need for the trip. And elephant print pants are indispensable that you must buy in Vietnam.
Elephant Print Pants in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: Because this cloth is quite common, you can buy it online or at any small market.
- Price range: With the price range only from 4-6$, it’s worth buying a pair of pants that are not only cool and comfortable in the heat, but also bring a perfect SouthEast Asia vibe. And don’t forget to practice some bargaining skills because some small vendors will charge foreigners a little bit higher price.
11. Vietnamese Coffee Grounds and Phin Filter
Vietnamese coffee is the most amazing thing that every Vietnamese person is proud to bring globally.
Using local coffee grounds with a special mental filter called “phin”, it takes a while of waiting for the coffee-soaked in hot water, then the coffee water drops slowly into a glass below.
The strong, thick, dark color and super fragrant liquid adore many foreigners at first try. Vietnamese coffee ground is also the favorite item that Korean tourists buy a lot on every visit to Vietnam.
Vietnamese Coffee Grounds and Phin Filter - Amazing Things to Buy
- Where to buy it: Don’t forget to buy a Phin filter and Vietnamese coffee grounds to have real Vietnam drip coffee at home. All of them can be found in any supermarket.
- What you should buy: There are some outstanding brands that you should buy coffee grounds from them: Trung Nguyen, Vinacaffe, Art Coffee, etc.
- Price range: With only 4-5$, you can buy a 500g pack of Trung Nguyen coffee grounds, the most well-known coffee brand that you can buy in Vietnam.
12. Handmade Lanterns
From the 3rd century BC, Chinese traitors and businessmen came to Hoi An and brought beautiful and luxurious Chinese lanterns here to light up their houses. The poor locals couldn't afford to buy one so they learned to make it themselves. They invented the affordable lantern on their own, known as the symbol of Hoi An ancient town.
Nowadays, the lantern is popular widely in Vietnam and has become a sort of spiritual transportation that can send their wishes to the right address and make them come true. A traditional handmade lantern is one thing you should buy for your friends or family as a meaningful gift.
Handmade Lanterns in Hoi An Vietnam
- Where to buy it: In Hanoi, you can find it on Hang Ma Street, and in Hoi An, the Hoi An Night Market on Nguyen Hoang street is the best place to buy various types of lanterns.
- Price range: The prices are flexible, from 5-10$ for one lantern.
13. Non La - Iconic Symbol of Vietnam
Non La or Vietnamese conical hat is an iconic image that reminds people of the farmers working on the paddy fields or Vietnamese girls wearing Ao Dai strolling down the streets.
Made mainly of palm leaves and bamboo, Non La was used to protect the farmers working under the sun burning all day long, or sudden rainfalls of the summer. Nowadays, Non La is only popularly used in rural areas and sold to tourists as souvenirs. The authentic Non La for farmers is thick and a bit heavy. But for the souvenir, it is made thinner so that tourists can bring it easily.
Non La - Most Recommend Souvenir Things to Buy
- Where to buy it: In Hanoi, you should visit Lang Chuong, a village with the 3-century tradition of making Non La. In Ho Chi Minh City, the popular shopping addresses for buying Non La are Saigon Square and Nguyen Trai street.
- Price range: With the price ranges around 2-5$ depending on the quality and size of the hat, Non La is one of the most recommended souvenirs that you should buy at any tourist attraction in Vietnam.
The shape of Non La makes it quite difficult to carry in your luggage, the tip for you is just to wear it to the airport and everything is solved.
14. Ethnic Handicraft Products
Ethnic handicraft is a type of art that includes products made by minority groups living in Vietnam. Each group has its own distinct culture, which is depicted in the patterns and clothing styles.
Buy Ethnic Handicraft Products
- Where to buy it: No matter which ethnicity, you can easily buy some scarf bags, textiles, paintings, clothing items, and even woodwork, all of which are unique and impressive. Some places that provide these unique gifts for you:
- Ho Chi Minh: Duy Tan Saigon Artisan at 84 Le Loi, District 1.
- Hanoi: Craft-Link at 43-51 Van Mieu Street.
- Sapa: Ha Bac market
- Da Nang: Thanh Vinh Traditional Handicrafts Shop at 54 Nguyen Thai Hoc, Hai Chau District.
- Price range: Normally, these products are widely sold on almost every site for only 2-10$ depending on the product, but if you want to buy authentic ones, find some stores that provide true handmade items, though they are maybe more expensive.
If you are a jewelry lover, Vietnam seems to be a treasure trove full of glittering bracelets, necklaces, earrings, rings, and especially pearls produced here at attractive prices. Also, pearls are considered to be local jewelry in Vietnam, at reasonable prices.
Buying Vietnam jewelry might be usually not too expensive which makes the total product a really good deal to buy.
PNJ - A Famous Jewelry Brand in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: Some famous Vietnamese jewelry brands have many stores in Vietnam. You can look for PNJ, DOJI, and Bao Tin Minh Chau for a variety of designs and high-quality pieces of jewelry. If you look for more affordable choices, Hang Bac is an option for gorgeous jewelry of the highest quality also finest craftsmanship, and The Weekend Nightmarket Hanoi is also the best opportunity to find the cheapest jewelry. If you are looking for local high-quality pearl souvenirs, you can find the best products in Halong Bay and Phu Quoc.
- Price range: The jewelry price in Vietnam mostly depends on the gold price while the cost of jewelry in the Nightmarket can start only at 2$.
16. Musical Instruments
Vietnam has 54 ethnicities with different cultures, and each one has different traditions, costumes, and spiritual activities. So they invented several types of local musical instruments from any materials that are close to their life from wood, bamboo sticks, bronze, or even rocks.
If you are a musical instrument lover, or just interested in Vietnamese culture, you can probably buy some of these instruments as a memory of Vietnam.
Musical Instruments in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: If you'd like to buy a traditional musical instrument, you can look for your favorites on Hao Nam Street in Hanoi, which is home to a wide variety of instrument shops and provides a variety of traditional Vietnamese instruments due to its proximity to the Vietnam National Institute of Music. If you are in Ho Chi Minh city, you can visit Dien Bien Phu Street to check out some big musical stores.
- Price range: If you don’t have enough space in your luggage as a traveler, BestPrice suggests purchasing the instrument miniatures or a simple flute at the price of only around 5-10$.
17. Pottery and Ceramics
Pottery and ceramics are not just a form of art but also significant sources of income for Vietnamese people. Vietnamese ceramics have advanced throughout the nation's history to the point where they now meet worldwide standards and adorn homes across Asia, Europe, Africa, and other continents.
Buy Pottery in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: In Vietnam, there are 3 traditional pottery villages: Bat Trang in Hanoi, Thanh Ha in Hoi An, and Phuoc Tich in Hue. You should visit these places to pick up the most suitable souvenirs.
- Price range: The price for pottery to buy in Vietnam is reasonable, it's only about 3-4$ for a fine water cup.
18. Silk - Best Thing to Buy in Vietnam
As one of the tourist’s top things to buy in Vietnam, silk used to be a high-end product in Vietnam that only rich people can afford but now, it is becoming more popular.
Silk in Vietnam is used in many Vietnamese costumes, including the traditional Ao Dai. The extremely diverse and beautiful colors and patterns of Vietnamese silk will satisfy all customer’s needs.
Silk is a Special Thing to Buy in Vietnam
- Where to buy it: There are 2 best places for buying silk in Vietnam: Van Phuc silk village in Hanoi, and Hoi An silk village in Hoi An ancient town.
- Price range: The price is affordable ranging around 3.5-5$ per meter.
19. Embroidery - Great Vietnam Souvenirs
Embroidery is one of the things to buy as a gift back home since they don’t seem to take up much space in your suitcase. The embroideries in Vietnam are mostly about natural scenes and wildlife.
Embroidery - Spectacular Vietnam Souvenirs
- Where to buy it: Hand embroideries can be found easily in most tourist souvenir shops and art galleries with the products varying in terms of selection, quality, size, and content of the embroidery.
- Price range: The cost might depend on the complexity of the size and content of the embroidery. For example, the price of a small Vietnam flag patch is only 2.5$.
20. Ao Dai - The Vietnam National Costume
Ao Dai, the Vietnamese national costume, is the pride of Vietnam fashion and also Vietnamese women. It is an outfit that embodies the beauty, grace, and elegance of the woman with two parts–a long-sleeved, curve-hugging tunic and a pair of trousers. The costume will show all the beautiful curves of a woman but it is still polite enough to wear at important events.
Ao Dai - Vietnam National Costume
- Where to buy it: If you want a perfect-fit costume that is customized for you, the addresses here might help.
- Hanoi: Ao dai Minh Duc at 41 Dang Tien Dong Street, Trung Liet Ward, Dong Da District
- Hue: Ao dai Bich Thuy at 47 Vo Thi Sau Street, Phu Hoi Ward
- Ho Chi Minh City: Ao dai Ngoc Chau at 148 Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, Ward 3, District 3
- Price range: The easiest place for you to have Ao Dai is all the popular tourist markets with only 15-30$.
Vietnam, from North to South is full of diverse markets and an amazing mix and match of culture and tradition. As a result, each place offers a distinct experience and spectacular distinctive souvenirs. Therefore, any traveler should pick up some things to buy in Vietnam and enjoy wonderful times in the best places.
So, don't wait to sign up for a Vietnam Tour and pick the best things to buy in your pockets list.
(Image source: Internet)
Questions & Answers (22)
I am looking for a good tailor shop for men's suits in Hoi An. Do you have any suggestions?
Hi, you can try:
- Bebe Tailor, 05-07 Hoang Dieu street, Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An
- Yaly Couture, 358 Nguyen Duy Hieu street, Cam Chau Ward, Hoi An
Where to buy original pearls and red corals with certificate?
Hi! You can buy original pearls with certificate at some famous jewelry brands in Vietnam, such as PNJ or Doji which has many stores in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Da Nang, v.v.
About the red corals, it isn't popular in Vietnam and also has many fake versions, we recommend you shouldn't buy corals here.
is liquor cheaper in duty-free stores than local supermarkets?
Yes, usually it's much cheaper as there is no tax applied in duty-free store (tax for liquor in Vietnam's quite high).
Hi, do you think buying silks in Hanoi or Hoian is better? Thanks!
Both places are ok for buying silk. However, for the real Vietnamese silk, you must visit Van Phuc Village in Hanoi or silk village in Hoi An. Most of silk stores on streets are selling silk from China or sell fake silk made from polyester.
Is there any lantern or nonla workshop located in hanoi old quarter?
They are sold by locals on every streets in the Old Quarter. However, prices are quite high, you should try to bargain (25% - 50% off) before buying.