Vietnamese Souvenirs: Treasures of Vietnam’s Rich Culture

tl;dr: Vietnamese souvenirs are unique and make great gifts

When it comes to finding the perfect gift or keepsake from your travels, Vietnamese souvenirs are a fantastic choice. With a rich cultural heritage and a wide variety of traditional crafts, clothing, and artwork, Vietnam offers a unique selection of souvenirs that are sure to impress. In this article, we will explore the traditional and popular Vietnamese souvenirs, where to buy them, tips for choosing the best ones, and some unique options that you may not have considered before.

Traditional Vietnamese souvenirs

Vietnam is known for its exquisite handicrafts, traditional clothing, and beautiful artwork. These items not only reflect the country’s rich history and culture but also make for meaningful and unique souvenirs.


Vietnamese handicrafts are renowned for their intricate designs and attention to detail. From lacquerware to bamboo products, there is a wide range of options to choose from. Whether it’s a hand-carved wooden statue, a delicate ceramic vase, or a beautifully woven basket, these handicrafts showcase the skill and craftsmanship of Vietnamese artisans.

Traditional clothing and accessories

Vietnamese traditional clothing, known as Ao dai, is a symbol of elegance and grace. These long, flowing dresses are often made from silk and feature intricate embroidery. Along with Ao dai, you can also find traditional accessories such as conical hats (Non la) and silk scarves, which add a touch of Vietnamese charm to any outfit.

Artwork and paintings

Vietnam has a thriving art scene, and its paintings are highly sought after by art enthusiasts. From traditional Vietnamese silk paintings to contemporary works, there is something to suit every taste. These artworks often depict scenes from nature, daily life, or historical events, and they make for stunning souvenirs that can be proudly displayed in your home.

Popular Vietnamese souvenirs

While traditional souvenirs are timeless, there are also some popular items that have gained recognition both locally and internationally. These souvenirs capture the essence of Vietnam and are often associated with the country’s unique cultural heritage.

Non la (conical hat)

The Non la, or conical hat, is an iconic symbol of Vietnam. Made from palm leaves, these hats provide shade from the sun and are commonly worn by farmers and workers in rural areas. Non la has become a popular souvenir choice due to its distinctive shape and cultural significance.

Ao dai (traditional dress)

As mentioned earlier, the Ao dai is a traditional Vietnamese dress that is both elegant and timeless. It is a popular souvenir choice for those looking to bring a piece of Vietnamese culture back home. Whether you choose a ready-made Ao dai or opt for a custom-made one, this dress is sure to make a statement.

Water puppets

Water puppetry is a traditional Vietnamese art form that dates back centuries. These puppets are made from wood and controlled by puppeteers who stand waist-deep in water. The performances depict scenes from Vietnamese folklore and history. Owning a set of water puppets allows you to bring a piece of this unique cultural experience into your own home.


Lacquerware is a traditional Vietnamese craft that involves applying layers of lacquer to wooden objects, such as bowls, vases, and trays. The result is a glossy and durable finish that showcases intricate designs and vibrant colors. Lacquerware is not only visually stunning but also functional, making it a popular choice for souvenirs.

Silk products

Vietnam is renowned for its silk production, and silk products make for luxurious and elegant souvenirs. From silk scarves and clothing to silk paintings and home decor items, there is a wide range of silk products to choose from. The smooth texture and vibrant colors of Vietnamese silk make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Where to buy Vietnamese souvenirs

Finding the perfect Vietnamese souvenir is an adventure in itself. Here are some places where you can find a wide selection of authentic and high-quality souvenirs:

Local markets

Vietnam’s bustling local markets are a treasure trove of souvenirs. From the famous Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City to the Night Market in Hoi An, these markets offer a vibrant atmosphere and a wide variety of traditional crafts, clothing, and artwork. Bargaining is common in these markets, so be prepared to negotiate for the best price.

Specialty shops

If you prefer a more curated shopping experience, specialty shops are a great option. These shops often focus on specific types of souvenirs, such as lacquerware, silk products, or artwork. They offer a wider selection and higher quality items compared to street markets. Look for reputable shops that source their products directly from artisans to ensure authenticity.

Online stores

In today’s digital age, online stores have become a convenient way to purchase Vietnamese souvenirs. Many local artisans and shops have established online platforms to reach a wider audience. When shopping online, make sure to read reviews, check for secure payment options, and verify the authenticity of the products before making a purchase.

Tips for choosing and buying Vietnamese souvenirs

When selecting Vietnamese souvenirs, keep the following tips in mind to ensure you choose the best ones:


Look for souvenirs that are handmade by local artisans using traditional techniques. Authentic souvenirs not only support the local economy but also have a unique charm that mass-produced items lack.


Inspect the quality of the souvenirs before purchasing. Check for any defects or signs of poor craftsmanship. High-quality souvenirs will not only last longer but also serve as a reminder of your trip for years to come.


While it’s important to find souvenirs within your budget, remember that quality and authenticity often come at a higher price. Be wary of overly cheap souvenirs, as they may be mass-produced or of inferior quality.

Size and weight

Consider the size and weight of the souvenirs, especially if you have limited luggage space. Opt for smaller, lightweight items that are easy to transport without compromising their beauty or functionality.

Unique Vietnamese souvenirs

In addition to the traditional and popular souvenirs, Vietnam offers some unique options that you may not have considered before:

Handmade jewelry

Vietnamese artisans create stunning jewelry pieces using a variety of materials, including silver, gold, gemstones, and natural materials like bamboo and coconut shells. These one-of-a-kind pieces make for beautiful and meaningful souvenirs.

Embroidered items

Vietnamese embroidery is known for its intricate designs and vibrant colors. From embroidered clothing to decorative wall hangings, these items showcase the skill and creativity of Vietnamese artisans.

Hand-painted ceramics

Vietnam has a long history of ceramic production, and hand-painted ceramics are highly valued souvenirs. From delicate tea sets to decorative plates and vases, these ceramics add a touch of elegance to any home.

Traditional musical instruments

For music enthusiasts, traditional Vietnamese musical instruments such as the dan bau (monochord) or the dan tranh (16-string zither) make for unique and culturally significant souvenirs. These instruments not only serve as decorative pieces but also allow you to explore the rich musical heritage of Vietnam.


Vietnamese souvenirs are not only unique and beautiful but also carry the essence of Vietnam’s rich cultural heritage. Whether you choose traditional handicrafts, popular items like conical hats and water puppets, or opt for more unique options like handmade jewelry or traditional musical instruments, these souvenirs are sure to bring joy and memories of your trip to Vietnam. So, the next time you’re looking for a special gift or a keepsake, consider Vietnamese souvenirs – they are truly something special.

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