Vietnam is a beautiful country located in SouthEast Asia with a long coastal line, stunning nature, and diverse culture that can adore all travelers at the first sight. Let’s discover Top 20 Things to Buy in Vietnam under a local tour guide's recommendations.
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With the tropical climate and long, narrow land with a 3444km coastline, Vietnam is blessed for really good weather to grow several kinds of vegetables and fresh herbs. This country has a huge food culture with diverse types of ingredients, and ways to cook change according to different regions. You can easily find fresh greens and herbs served with many different foods in a fine dining restaurant, or small vendors that make the food much more delicious and healthy. If you already know about Pho, Banh mi, Bun cha…, that’s wonderful. But Vietnam has a lot more amazing food that even a master chef like Gordon Ramsey felt in love with. Vietnam Foods are perhaps a thing to buy and try in Vietnam, not to take away. However with only 1.5$ for a bowl of Pho, 1$ for a delicious Banh Mi..., let's try it.
Vietnam food - must buy things
In 2020, Vietnam textile export reach 35,29 billion USD, got a 10.91% downfall compared to the number of 2019, however, that’s still an impressive number that can partly show the execution skills of Vietnamese tailors. From formal suits to casual dresses, or traditional Ao Dai, you can all find the Taylors that customize the product for you by the best price you can find in the area. If you have an idea of how you want your suit to be, or a picture to show to the tailors, they will be very happy to adapt your requirements. Buying in Vietnam, the price is only around 50$ or above for a full set. A lot of tourists tried, and satisfied, how about you?
Tailored clothing - qualities and cheap prices things to buy in Vietnam
Vietnam is narrow, and the land is lengthened from North to South, split 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 a super comfortable and breezy long pant will match your need for the trip. If that’s it, elephant print pants are indispensable that you must buy in Vietnam. With the price range only from 4-6$ VND, it’s worth buying a pair of pants not only cool and comfortable in the heat, but also brings 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.
Elephant print pants in Vietnam
Besides food, Vietnamese coffee is the most amazing thing that every Vietnamese people proud to bring globally. Using local Robusta coffee grounds with a special mental filter called “phin”, it takes a while of waiting for the coffee-soaked in hot water, then dropping slowly into a glass below. The strong, thick, dark color and super fragrant liquid adore many foreigners at first try. For the locals, we can enjoy this magic drink every day and consider this is the best coffee in the world. Vietnamese coffee is also the most favorite item that Korean tourists buy a lot on every visit to Vietnam.
If you never tried one, I recommend you to start with “cà phê cốt dừa”, the lightest one with coconut milk, or if you like a stronger coffee, you may love to try a “nâu đá” or “cà phê sữa đá” that we mix the coffee with some condensed milk and a lot of ice, this is the most favorite of Vietnam locals. And the black one might keep you awake for over 24 hours, and your heart is gonna beat like your forever-crush is proposing to you. Trust me, having a coffee is such an experience in Vietnam that you can never forget. With only 4-5$, you can buy a 500g pack of Trung Nguyen, the most well-known coffee brand that you can buy in Vietnam. And don’t forget to buy a Phin filter with your coffee ground to have a real Vietnam drip coffee at home.
Vietnamese coffee grounds and phin filter - amazing things to buy
From the 3rd century BC, the Chinese traitors and businessmen came to Hoi An and brought beautiful and luxury Chinese lanterns here to light up their house. The poor locals couldn't afford to buy one, learned to make it themselves and invented the affordable lantern on their own, and became a beauty, and one of the symbols of Hoi An ancient town. Vietnamese people believe that the lantern is a sort of spiritual transportation, that can send their wishes to the right address, make them come true. Because of safety reasons, we are not making the flying lanterns anymore. But a traditional handmade lantern is one of the things to buy for your friends or family as a meaningful gift with the price only from 5$.
Handmade lanterns in Hoi An 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 for 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. 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 plane and everything is solved. 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 you should buy in Vietnam.
Non La - Most recommend souvenirs things to buy
A lot of Asian men believed that the snakes are so nutrigenetic, and can provide men consumed its strength, and longevity. Either in Vietnam, men normally drink snake wine, 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 is widely sold in a lot of convenient stores and markets only from 20$ for a 350ml bottle. In the tourist souvenir shops, the price will be a little bit higher. But depending on different countries laws, it may be illegal to bring snake wine in your country so this can be something you should buy in Vietnam and try here rather than bring it back home.
Snake wine 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, one of the tourist’s top things to buy in Vietnam, and the price is absolutely affordable ranging around 3.5-5$ per meter. 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. There are 2 places in Vietnam that are best to buy silk: Van Phuc silk village in Hanoi, or Hoi An silk village in Hoi An ancient town. In case you don’t have enough time to visit this village, here are some suggestions:
|Destination||Silk shop recommended|
- Thuy An Silk, 179 Hang Bong Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Ngoc Diep Silk, 9 Hang Hanh Street, Hoan Kiem District
- Silky Vietnam, 43 Hang Hom Street, Hoan Kiem District
|Hoi An|| |
- A Dong Silk, 40 Le Loi Street, Hoi An
- Yaly Couture, 47 Nguyen Thai Hoc Street, Hoi An
- Be Be Tailor, 11 Hoang Dieu Street, Hoi An
|Ho Chi Minh|| |
- Nhasilk, 149 De Tham Street, District 1
- Viet Thanh Silk, 129 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, Near Norfolk Hotel, Ho Chi Minh
Vietnam is a popular place to buy jewelry, especially for those involved in the international jewelry trade. 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. Pearls are local, reasonable price and the jewelry price in Vietnam mostly depends on the gold price, not the jewelry, and jewelry work is usually cheaper that makes the total product a really good deal to buy. Even if you buy it to use, you can easily find beautiful items, or if you want to trade, that’s a good investment. Jewelry is also one of the buy things of so many tourists.
Vietnam has 54 ethnicities, with 54 different cultures. Each culture has different traditions, costumes, spiritual activities, and of course, they invented several types of local musical instruments by 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, or if you don’t have enough space in your luggage, with the price only around 5-10$, the instrument miniatures or a simple flute are worth considering to buy in Vietnam.
Musical instruments in Vietnam
Of all the tropical fruits, coconut is the thing that can bring the most tropical vibe. People normally only think about coconut juice, but in Vietnam, we can also create a sort of amazing candy that is so sweet and yummy. Coconut candy originated in Ben Tre Province in the Mekong Delta, where coconut trees thrive. Besides the original coconut candy, there are several flavors for you, from basic ones like cocoa, ginger, peanuts, coffee, pandan, or taro… to strong ones like durian if you dare to try. For a better taste, you should enjoy your coconut candy with a cup of tea. Almost all coconut candies are made in Ben Tre, but you can find them in every supermarket, grocery store, or tourist souvenir store at a reasonable price, only from 1.5-4$ per pax. Don't forget to try if you have a chance.
Many kinds of coconut candy to buy
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. For a lot of foreigners, one of the greatest delight to come to Vietnam is they can taste several delicious seasonal fruits at an amazingly cheap price, only from 1-3$/kg (except durian). So when you hit Vietnam, one of the things that you need to do first is just walk to any street corner and buy the best fruit from the first vendor you see. And in case you are used to the famous tropical fruit, let’s try some Vietnamese unusual ones like rambutan, mangosteen, custard apple, soursop, or durian… If you love to discover every new thing, why don’t make a Vietnam fruit adventure, there are several kinds of fruit you can only try and buy in Vietnam. I’m sure you will never have to regret it.
Buy fresh fruits in Vietnam
From hundreds of years ago, Vietnam was so famous in Asia for 3 things: pottery, textile, and rock carving. But the most famous and appreciated one is pottery. In Vietnam now, we have 3 traditional pottery villages: Thanh Ha in Hoi An, Phuoc Tich in Hue, and Bat Trang in Hanoi. A Bat Trang pottery village tour normally includes a story of the root of ceramics and the village, Bat Trang village famous attractions, overviewing the production procedure of the product and finally, you can buy some lovely items as a souvenir. The price for pottery to buy in Vietnam is really reasonable, it's only about 3-4$ for a fine water cup.
Buy pottery in Vietnam
Parties and feasts are absolutely essential parts of traveling. If the Europeans are proud of wines, French is famous for Champagne, Japanese people drink sake a lot, so coming to Vietnam, a country with a long Wet Rice Civilization, you certainly should try our 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 “mot, hai, ba, DZO”, which means “ 1,2,3 cheers”, that’s how the locals cheer. And of course, we normally drink our favorite rice wine. 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 so much, you certainly should note it in the list of “things to buy in Vietnam”.
Vietnam rice wine to buy
The embroidery art is abundant in Vietnam and makes for great souvenirs and certainly 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. 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. For example, the price of a small Vietnam flag patch is only 2.5$. What is better than capturing a corner of Vietnam in your living room only with handmade embroidery.
Embroidery - great Vietnam souvenirs
Ao Dai, Vietnamese national costumes, is the pride of Vietnam fashion. It is an outfit that embodies beauty, grace, and elegance, made of two parts–a long-sleeved, curve-hugging tunic and a pair of trousers. The costume will make you look so sexy with all the beautiful curves shown, but still polite enough to wear in the important events. I believe that you, especially the women, may not want to leave Vietnam without one of the top things to buy in this country as an Ao Dai in your luggage. You are wondering where to buy Ao Dai, aren't you? The easiest place for you to reach is all popular tourist markets with only 15-30$. But if you want a perfect fit Ao Dai, that is customized for you, the addresses here might help.
Ao dai - Vietnam national costume
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 its patterns and clothing styles but no matter from which ethnicity, you can easily buy some scarf bags, textiles, paintings, clothing items, and even woodworks, all of which are unique and impressive. Normally, these products are widely sold on almost every site with only from 2-10$ depending on the product, but if you want to buy the authentic ones, find some stores that provide the true handmade items, though they are maybe more expensive. Another option that you might consider is to go traveling to the Northern region or the Highland region, where most ethnic minorities live, experience their culture, and directly see how they make it. You will fall for them.
Buy ethnic handicraft products
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 sometimes some gingers or licorices then cooked until all sugar is condensed, and cover the whole fruits. O Mai also appears in every Viet family during Tet - the Lunar New Year as a favorite Tet snack. There are so many places selling O Mai that you can buy in Vietnam, but I recommend you to come to Hang Duong street, the place is famous for O Mai family producers that they remain the work from generation to generation. The price range is from 7-10$/kg according to types of fruit and the complexity of cooking, but they will publicize the price of the products, and you can totally taste everything before making the decision.
Taste dried fruit before buying
Nuoc mam (fish sauce) plays a significant role in Vietnamese people’s meals and can be considered as the soul of Vietnamese food. Fish sauce included in nearly all dishes I can think about, can be the spice, or dipping sauce for the food, make Vietnamese food so outstanding and unique. If you ever come to Vietnam and fall for this lovely sauce, there are some places and brands that you can find the best fish sauce to buy like fish sauce from Cat Hai island, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc island, and fish sauce from Chinsu brand only from 1.5$/small bottle. And don’t forget to check the airline’s policies, and prepare some zip bags for your nuoc mam.
Nuoc Mam (Fish Source) to buy in Vietnam
Tea is not only good for health, helps ease the stress but also is a beautiful art of Vietnam culinary. A good tea must be grown in a certain region, with restricted cultivation and processing procedure. Traditionally, people use the water on lotus leaves that condensed from the fog in the early morning to make the true tea art. Even though you can find good tea elsewhere in the world, the tea marinated with the odor of flowers that are considered as Vietnamese signature would touch your senses with bitter-sweetness and alluring smell. If you are confused about what to buy, we recommend you to try the special Lotus tea, made by marinating the green loose leaf tea inside a lotus flower, so that the tea can absorb all the fragrance, make you feel really comfortable when enjoying it and comfortable when buying it too, the price is only around 10$/kg.
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 that can go along with its souvenirs collection. Therefore, stop by when on your shopping fare to have a chance to admire the exotic and beautiful yet distinct delights that await you as top Vietnamese souvenirs.
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(Image source: Internet)