What to Take Home from Vietnam: A Guide to Authentic Souvenirs and Gifts

Last Updated on 8 May, 2024 by admin

Vietnam, a land steeped in ancient traditions and vibrant culture, offers travelers a uniquely enriching experience. From its bustling cities to tranquil countryside, every corner of Vietnam presents an opportunity to discover something new. When the time comes to return home, carrying a piece of this enchanting country with you in the form of souvenirs and gifts not only keeps the memories alive but also shares a slice of Vietnamese heritage with loved ones. This guide will walk you through the best gifts and souvenirs to buy in Vietnam, offering practical advice on where to find them and how much you should expect to pay, ensuring you bring home something truly special.

Vietnamese Tea

Vietnamese tea, an integral part of the nation’s culture, is celebrated for its exquisite array of flavors and types. Whether it’s the fragrant lotus tea or the robust black tea from the northern highlands, each variety offers a glimpse into the local traditions and practices. Specialty tea shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City are the best places to explore a wide selection of teas. Here, a kilogram of high-quality tea, lightly infused with floral or herbal essences, might cost around $8.00 US, while plain varieties are about $5.00 US per kilogram. When purchasing tea, look for shops where locals buy their tea, as this is often a sign of quality and authenticity. Additionally, ask for vacuum-sealed packaging to maintain freshness during transport.

Vietnamese Coffee

Coffee in Vietnam is more than just a beverage; it’s a way of life. Known for its strong, robust flavor, Vietnamese coffee, particularly from brands like Trung Nguyen, can make a delightful gift. A kilogram of top-grade Robusta coffee beans typically costs around $4.00 US. For those seeking something truly unique, Weasel Coffee, made from beans passed through the digestive tract of civets, offers a rich, smooth flavor. It is advisable, however, to inform gift recipients about the coffee’s unconventional production method after they have tried it. Purchase these coffees from reputable stores to avoid counterfeit products, and consider how you will transport them home, as coffee’s aroma and flavor can diminish if not properly sealed.

Ethnic Handicrafts

Vietnam’s ethnic diversity is reflected in its array of traditional handicrafts, which include beautifully woven scarves and intricately embroidered garments. These items are typically made by members of various ethnic groups and are available in tourist markets and shops near ethnic communities. While these products are affordable and attractive, it is crucial to consider ethical purchasing practices. Buying directly from the artisans not only ensures authenticity but also helps support local communities. Prices for a handwoven scarf can start as low as $2.00 US, with more complex designs costing more. Always check the quality of craftsmanship and inquire about the use of natural dyes, which may require special care when washing.

Vietnamese Lacquerware

Lacquerware is a distinctive Vietnamese craft involving the application of lacquer on wood or papier-mâché to create items ranging from small dishes to large decorative panels. Originating from ancient techniques, these items combine utility and beauty, making them perfect gifts. Small dishes start at $1.00 US, and larger pieces like a set of table mats can cost around $10.00 US. The price of lacquerware often reflects the number of layers and the intricacy of the designs applied. Shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer the best variety, and it’s advisable to ask about the care required to maintain these items, as the tropical climate of Vietnam can affect their longevity.

Ceramics and Pottery

The ceramic villages around Hanoi, particularly Bat Trang, are renowned for their high-quality ceramics, ranging from daily-use items to artistic pieces. A good-quality ceramic plate might cost around $2.00 US, while more decorative or intricately designed items will be priced higher. When shopping for ceramics, look for kiln marks and uniform glazing as signs of quality. Wrapping these items securely for travel is crucial, so consider asking the shop for packing services to ensure they survive the journey intact.

Embroidered Goods

Embroidery is a traditional Vietnamese craft with a wide range of applications, from household linens to clothing. Hand-embroidered pillowcases might cost around $6.00 US, while more extensive sets, such as bed linens, can cost up to $25.00 US. These items often feature intricate patterns that tell stories or symbolize local myths and traditions. When purchasing embroidered goods, examine the stitch quality and the material’s durability. Markets and shops that work directly with artisans often provide the best options for high-quality embroidery.

Vietnamese Silk

Vietnamese silk is prized for its quality and texture, often found in more muted tones, which are typical of genuine local silk. Prices for good-quality silk start at about $3.00 per metre, with variations depending on the silk’s weight and weave. When buying silk, feel the texture and pull lightly to test the strength; genuine silk will be cool to the touch and have a slight give. Silk shops in Hanoi’s Old Quarter or Ho Chi Minh City’s markets are ideal places to find authentic silk products.


Vietnam’s art scene is as vibrant as its landscapes, offering everything from traditional Vietnamese paintings to contemporary pieces influenced by global art movements. Prices vary greatly, depending on the artist’s reputation and the artwork’s size and medium. When buying art, especially paintings, it’s important to negotiate and ensure authenticity. Many galleries offer shipping services, which can be a convenient option if you’re purchasing large or multiple pieces.


Selecting souvenirs in Vietnam is an opportunity to dive deeper into the country’s rich cultural tapestry. Each item not only holds a story but also supports local artisans and preserves traditional crafts. Whether it’s the robust flavor of Vietnamese coffee or the intricate designs of lacquerware, each souvenir you choose will bring a piece of Vietnam back home with you, keeping the memories of your journey alive and enriching your understanding of this fascinating country.

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