A trip to Vietnam leads you to discover a new culture, taste exotic flavours, see beautiful landscapes and meet one of the most hospitable people in the world.
The experiences there will surely stay in your memory forever, but I believe you want to bring a souvenir to make this connection even more meaningful.
If you are leaving for Vietnam, here are some suggestions from some of my favourite souvenirs to buy in the country.
The nón lá, the conical hat is undoubtedly a cultural symbol of the country. Being worn by the Vietnamese throughout the year, this hat made of bamboo protects from both rain and sun. Across the country, you can get yours, and there are small variations in the model in the various regions.
Carefully crafted with silk and bamboo, Vietnamese lanterns are available in a wide variety of sizes, colours and shapes. Traditionally hanging on Full Moon, it is believed that these lanterns attract good luck to the house where they are at as well as to its inhabitants. The ideal place to buy yours is at the night market in Hoi An.
There is a myriad of unique and beautiful ceramic products, in shapes, sizes and colours, accompanied by the most varied cultural meanings. However, my highlight goes to the tea sets and other handmade pieces that can be purchased from the Reaching Out organization in Hoi An. You take something with you, but you also leave something good behind!
Vietnam is also known for its ethnic minority tribes and their textiles of original patterns. Rugs, handbags, skirts, trousers, handkerchiefs, among others are carefully hand woven, being the supply huge in designs and colours. I highlight the textiles produced by the White Thai tribe in the Mai Chau valley.
For those looking for real works of art, oil paintings, mostly depicting four main themes – landscape, architecture, portraiture and abstract – are definitely a great choice. Hoi An, once again, is the city where we find several galleries with stunning works.
Through the streets of Hoi An, you can find artists, a kind of urban sketchers, with delightful portraits of the city and its day-to-day life.
This is one of those works that leave us merely jaw-dropping. The hand-embroidered pieces are an art passed through generations and are therefore an ancient tradition of Vietnamese handicrafts. The embroideries, which represent mostly stunning natural landscapes with birds, flowers or trees, as well as animals and birds or even the daily life of the places and also portraits, are so perfect that they look more like a painting. Throughout the country, you can see the locals embroidering live in galleries for that purpose. As it could not be, the city of Hoi An is one of those places.
The postcards, which abound throughout the country, are one of the souvenirs I always advise. Depicting the daily life of the country, as well as its idyllic landscapes, they are an excellent souvenir to send to anyone who could not venture through the country.
The Central Post Office in Ho Chi Minh City is the ideal place to send postcards to friends who on average, take 15 days to reach Europe. The shipping cost is about € 0.50.