When you’re heading to Vietnam on business, you’ll likely want to pick up a few souvenirs to commemorate your trip. Cool things to buy in Vietnam aren’t hard to find, as the country is famous for beautiful, handcrafted items. Some, like the conical hat, reflect the local culture. Others, like tailor-made clothing, are significantly less expensive than they are in the U.S. Here come six things to put on your Vietnam shopping list.
Made from silkworm cocoons using manual looms, silk is one of the top things to buy in Vietnam. While prices are very affordable for silk shirts, dresses, and accessories, faux silk products are also prevalent. Make sure you get the real deal by shopping for silk at places like Van Phuc Silk Village (near Hanoi) or Hoi An Silk Village.
Coffee fans can perk up their shopping spree with Vietnamese coffee beans. Trung Nguyen ranks as one of the most celebrated local coffee brands throughout the country, and you can find bags of beans at shop branches in major cities. If you’re not specifically seeking out Trung Nguyen coffee beans, you can opt for other Vietnamese coffee beans sold everywhere from shopping malls to local markets. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you could also try a bag of cà phê Chon, a luxury coffee bean that is harvested from the feces of civets.
Fun and functional, the conical hat is a Vietnamese staple that has been around since the 1700s. Officially known as nón lá, the hats are usually handwoven out of palm leaves, Moc tree bark, and bamboo. Perfect for keeping the searing sun and pounding rain off your head while traveling, conical hats are widely available at markets and souvenir shops across Vietnam. Cost of the hats tends to reflect their quality.
Intricate, gorgeous, and gracing items that range from furniture to dishes, vases, and paintings, lacquerware tops the list of cool things to buy in Vietnam. Lacquerware is a traditional form of craftsmanship that involves sealing artistic creations with the natural sap from a lacquer tree.
Each piece of authentic lacquerware is handcrafted, taking months to produce. Ensure you score high-quality lacquerware by shopping at galleries known for authentic pieces, such as Ho Chi Minh City’s An Dong Craft Market and Hanoi’s Hang Bac Street.
Ever wish you could affordably purchase the exact style of clothing you wanted in the exact materials you wanted in your exact size? You certainly can in Vietnam. Highly reputed tailors abound in Hoi An and across the country, ready to create your customized garments at extremely affordable prices. You can come armed with your images of clothing you want to be made, or browse through the magazine pics most tailors have available for your perusal. Turnaround times can range from 24 hours to one week, depending on the shop and your desired garment.
Craft centers and embroidery shops may be another stop you want to make while shopping in Vietnam, as you can purchase exquisite hand embroidery throughout the country. If you’re looking for off-the-rack hand embroidery, you’ll find a lot of wildlife and nature scenes. Another option is to search for a hand embroidery shop that specializes in personalized designs, where you can often have your portrait embroidered.
Whether you head to a certain destination to purchase specific items or browse the wares at the local markets, you’ll find plenty of cool things to buy in Vietnam that provide fond memories of your business trip. Feel free to contact Swift with additional questions leading up to your trip. We’re always happy to help!
Laurie Lee is co-founder and CEO of Swift Passport and Visa Services. A Chicago native, Laurie loves adventure travel, especially to the Caribbean. She enjoys writing for the Swift Post, as well as for her personal blog, Spare Parts- www.sparebodyparts.com.