Whether you are shopping for a special occasion, looking for a great gift to bring home, or looking for something uniquely Vietnamese to decorate your home with, look no further - we have gathered a list of beautiful Vietnamese souvenirs for you.
Ho Chi Minh City has endless souvenir shops, shopping malls, and markets filled with beautiful goods and products made in this wonderful country. From Vietnamese coffee to creative greeting cards, from green tea to the classic conical hat, we will make sure you leave Ho Chi Minh City with at least one cool souvenir.
In this guide, you will find first our top 5 picks for special gifts only to be found in Vietnam, then a list of 10 Vietnamese souvenirs that fall into the categories of things to wear, Vietnamese food and drinks, and lastly decorative products.
Unique Vietnam Souvenirs - Our 5 Top Picks
1. The May Brand - bags, earrings, necklaces
The May Brand incorporates modern design for bags, earrings, and necklaces with traditional hand embroidery elements giving birth to beautifully hand-made accessories.
The May Brand hires weavers from the Ba-Na (central highlands) and Cham (central coast) minority groups, giving them a stable source of income and a way to practice their ancient arts in a modern context. Weaving is an ancient handicraft tradition, generally done by women. Often, ethnic minorities have to seek work in major cities, making them migrant labourers far from home. Hence, reviving weaving as a source of income means that the Vietnamese women can earn while still staying in their villages, allowing them to take care of both their land and their families.
The beautiful patterns featured on The May Brand's collections are weaved on traditional handlooms and are simply stunning. Supporting livelihoods and showcasi34ng Vietnamese culture, this is definitely ones of the best Vietnamese souvenirs to buy in Ho Chi Minh City.
- 298 Hai Bà Trưng, Tân Định, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
- Price range: Mid-end
- Instagram: @themaybrand
2. Kho Mục Studio - paper products
You are shopping for propaganda posters or paper postcards but you do not want something tacky or run-of-the-mill? We have just the place for you.
Kho Mục Studio is a Saigon-based creative risograph studio. They are essentially cool personified. Kho Mục's main goal as a print house is to be the point of inspiration for the local art community, revive and foster the art of printmaking, and provide creatives, artists, and designers with the necessary means to produce the artwork be it on a small or large scale.
Quirky, fun, creative - here, you will find tongue-in-cheek designs and traditional art styles with modern twists.
We highly recommend their art prints and greeting cards capturing typical scenes of Vietnam, bottles of Bia Hanoi, of locals lounging in coffee shops, at traditional markets, riding motorbikes, and going about in Bui Vien street. All of them make great Vietnamese souvenirs!
- 58/12 Phạm Ngọc Thạch, District 3, HCMC, Vietnam
3. Coconut Religion - Vietnamese coconut butter
Fresh coconut water, coconut candy, coconut oil - you can't come to Vietnam and not have anything to do with coconut. Coconut is intrinsic to Vietnam's culture and it has so many health and beauty benefits!
Coconut Religion is a 'jungle to jar' concept - the lip and body coconut butters are organic and hand-made directly in the coconut jungles of Mekong Delta, Vietnam. Luxurious and useful, they come in various scents, made from locally sourced botanical essential oils native to Vietnam, such as lemongrass, pomelo and lychee rose.
Not only made from lush, natural, simple materials, this coconut butter has endless uses. According to their website 'each Jungle to Jar is made to replace 13-15 different beauty products. Coconut butter has naturally occurring anti-fungal, anti-viral and antibacterial properties, and is rich in fatty acids, making it the best natural moisturizer which absorbs quickly into your skin and hair. Packed with nutrients such as lauric acid, it leaves skin, hair and body instantly glowing, radiant and nourished'.
Made in Vietnam, travel friendly, and a modernised traditional product, what's not to love? Be sure to bring this insanely useful Vietnamese souvenir back to your home country, we assure you that it will be popular with your pals back home!
Address: (Stocked at L'Usine and other places)
- L'Usine Thao Dien: 24 Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC, Vietnam
- L'Usine Le Thanh Ton: 19 Le Thanh Ton, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
- L'Usine Dong Khoi: 151 Dong Khoi, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
4. MULO Coffee - speciality beans
In Vietnam, life revolves around coffee, from drip coffee, iced coffee with condensed milk, to black strong coffee, the day starts and ends with coffee. You can even see locals hanging out at their favourite coffee shop late at night. Here, there is always time for coffee.
MULO coffee is a speciality coffee, roasted in Italian style, with three offerings, Vietnamese arabica coffee, robusta coffee, and a blend of the two. All three versions are masterful Vietnamese souvenirs, they come in whole coffee beans, and ground beans made for drip coffee filter, French press, or moka pot. Take your pick, you will not be disappointed.
Address: (Stocked at Le Square Epicier Fin)
- 186 Nguyen Van Huong, Thao Dien, District 2, HCMC, Vietnam
5. Couleurs Fine Art Photography Galleries by Réhahn
Réhahn, one of the 10 most famous portrait photographers in the world, offers some of the most captivating and beautiful photographs of Vietnamese people.
Known as the photographer that 'captures souls', Réhahn is based in Hoi An and famous worldwide. In 2011, Réhahn started the Precious Heritage Project - Capturing images and documenting the stories of different cultures of all 54 officially recognised ethnic groups in Vietnam. According to Réhahn, 'the most efficient way to preserve their tribal culture is to value it outside of their community, to create a sense of pride for their heritage and ancient customs'.
To complement this goal, in 2017, Réhahn opened the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum to preserve the artifacts and costumes he had been given by the chiefs of many tribes as well as to share the portraits, stories and musical traditions of the minority groups. Free for all to enter, be sure to stop by if you are in the ancient town of Hoi An.
While in Saigon, visit Réhahn's gallery to view his breathtaking work from stunning shots of people in wearing their traditional dress, or landscape views of golden rice paddies. You might be tempted to purchase a photograph to take a piece of Vietnam home with you. Prices for these incredible Vietnam souvenirs start at US$200 for a print.
- Floor 1, 151/1 Dong Khoi Street, District 1, HCMC, Vietnam
- Price range: High-end
- Website: https://www.rehahnphotographer.com/fine-art-galleries-saigon/
- Instagram: @rehahn_photography
10 Typical Delightful Vietnamese Souvenirs
Apart from the above unique gifts, you may very much like to fill your pockets and luggage with more typical and well-loved Vietnamese souvenirs as well. Widely recognised, these cheerful Vietnam souvenirs will delight your friends and families as the perfect gift for special occasions or simply as a fun present.
Moreover, many of these Vietnamese souvenirs are easily found no matter where you are in Vietnam, they are stocked by many street vendors, in various local stores, traditional stores, at local markets, night markets and so on.
In fact, the best places to start looking for such Vietnamese souvenirs would likely be the local market. Check out the iconic Ben Thanh Market, or Tan Dinh Market in Ho Chi Minh City. While in Hanoi, you may wish to stop by Dong Xuan Market, Hang Da Market, or Cho Hom Market.
Apart from the markets, close to Hanoi is also the Bat Trang pottery village, where pottery has been crafted for 7 centuries. 10km away from Hanoi's Old Quarter, is Van Phuc Village, a silk village renowned for high quality Vietnamese silk products. Do go by there to buy silk products and silk scarves at reasonable prices.
Overall, local markets are your best bet, they often have many souvenir shops with a vast variety of goods on offer. Be sure to bargain to get a good price and make sure to check your goods, as some are of questionable quality.
Here we have a list of 10 best Vietnam souvenirs that you can easily find!
Clothing Items: Ao Dai and Beyond
1. Ao Dai
The áo dài is Vietnam's national garment worn by both men and women, and commonly worn during formal occasions and special events. It has multiple layers; for women, the ao dai set is a tight fitted long dress that has slits at the waist and paired with long pants underneath. For men, it is a long dress with pants.
The ao dai is also a cool fashion item, embraced by modern designers and stylist. You can get yours tailor made, and perhaps made with silk patterns or hand embroidery for that extra special touch!
Buy ao dai on Hang Gai Street in Hanoi, also known silk street, where there are many Vietnamese boutiques and tailor shops for you to find your dream outfit.
2. Conical Hats
Conical hats have become the icons of Vietnam. Called the nón lá hat in Vietnamese, it translates to leaf hat. Traditionally worn by rice farmers, and made from palm leaves, the hats are weather resistant, light, eco-friendly and used as a sun protector.
They are a symbol of charm and unity in Vietnam, beloved by all regardless of class, ethnicity, or background.
Conical hats are classic Vietnam souvenirs - get yours at any souvenir shop in Ben Thanh Market in Saigon or Dong Xuan Craft Market in Hanoi.
3. Wooden Clogs
Wooden clogs are a novelty item; a rational footwear rarely used in daily life anymore. In the past, men and women would wear bamboo clogs when attending festivals or visiting friends. While, at home they wore wooden clogs with vertical straps.
Traditional wooden sandals are still available and can be bought in the markets, you can even select your strap to customise the clog to your taste.
Food and Drinks: Vietnamese Tea and Snacks
4. Sweet Treats and Snacks
Who doesn't love a cheeky snack? Vietnamese snacks travel well and make a tasty, unique souvenir for your foodie friend.
Our top favourite snacks for the sweet tooth are coconut candy (yummy Mekong creations), or get some rice paper snacks (savoury mixed banh trang) and deep fried rice cakes (crispy com chay cha bong). If you are in town during the mid-autumn festival, you are in luck! Be sure to bring home some of the seasonal mooncakes.
Any of these make for a tantalising treat!
5. Dried Fruits
Fruits are a big deal in Vietnam - they are the most eaten snack in the country. Of course the fresh, juicy fruits are hard to pack and bruise easily. It is much easier to bring home dried fruits.
You will find a wide variety of dried fruits to choose from. This includes banana, mango, jackfruit, passion fruit, papaya, guava, and even soursop!
You can also find dried fruits mixed with nuts. We recommend going for cashews or sunflower seeds.
6. Vietnamese Tea
Tea has been an integral part of the Vietnamese lifestyle for almost two thousands years. First introduced by Chinese occupiers, tea has been encapsulated into Vietnamese culture. It is believed that tea can be a means to escape from the chaos of life. However, it is the French colonials that established the first tea growing region in Vietnam, in the 1880s.
A popular drink, tea is usually drunk after meals to help digestion. Green tea is a top choice for its immune system boosting properties, while black tea is chosen for its strong taste and to make milk tea with. Tea (and Vietnamese coffee) are top Vietnamese souvenirs for the discerning drinker.
Decorative Products: Posters, Pottery, Conical Hat and Other Things
7. Tableware and Vases
Vietnam is know for its beautiful lacquerware products, as well as ceramic and pottery products. They usually come in the form of tea trays, serving platters, salad bowls, vases, dining plates, and more. Such handmade products will lend a touch of elegance to any table setting.
Many souvenir stores will sell such products, the prices vary depending on the quality. Be sure to check the lacquerware skill and do ask if the products are food safe. Our top pick for ceramic products is Amai, they have uniquely designed pieces with a strong focus on local craftsmanship.
8. Old Propaganda Posters
For history buffs, communist themed posters and tote bags are a must-buy! These unique pieces of Vietnam's history can serve as a talking point or a great piece of art at home.
9. Vietnamese Paintings
If you have space in your suitcase, you will not regret taking home a Vietnamese painting. Moreover, supporting local artists is always a lovely thing to do.
Vietnamese oil painting is one of the most recognisable local styles. They often feature bold colours and do not shy away from contrasting colours.
Try to visit fixed price shops and reputable galleries such as Nguyen Art Gallery, or visit Tran Phu Street in Saigon for more affordable options.
10. Musical Instruments
Musical instruments are truly special Vietnamese souvenirs to take home with you, especially if you are a fan of music and appreciate different musical styles.
Consider bringing back a bamboo flute or a miniature Trong com (Vietnamese drum). Bamboo flutes are easily found and very popular - every Vietnamese kid has to learn it in school! Perhaps ask your friendly neighbourhood kid to teach you how to play the musical instrument, and you will also have a cute memory to treasure.
Vietnam Souvenirs for the Soul
Whether you are in Vietnam visiting for a short time or you have lived here for many years, we can bet that Vietnam has left an impression on you. A souvenir from Vietnam is a must-have, and we hope you will choose something to hold dear from our list.
If you're looking for more local and expert travel guides, including how to have the best experiences, check out our guide to Ho Chi Minh City.
P.s. While you are having fun shopping, you might need to have on hand a list of useful Vietnamese phrases - we got you covered here.