What Are The Best Vietnamese Souvenirs? A Top 10

Where are the best Vietnamese Souvenirs?

When you are visiting Vietnam or just looking for recommendations, maybe you wondered about what to buy in Vietnam? 

There are many typical options like a Vietnamese hat, Vietnamese coffee, or something related to food. But there is much more when it comes to Vietnamese gifts. 

Today, we’ll share with you the top 10 Vietnamese souvenirs suggested by a Vietnamese local!

So, let’s check it out to find the best Vietnamese gifts to bring home from Vietnam.

1. Old Books

Vietnamese Souvenirs

I remember it like it was yesterday. Wandering through the backstreets in the mid of July in Hanoi, when I found a treasure trove of old Vietnamese books. As I flipped through the pages, I noticed the price marked on one of the covers—650 VND (~0.027 USD). My heart skipped a beat. 

Actually they are sold with the modern price, from 50,000 VND (~2.06 USD) to 150,000 VND (~6.18 USD). But what amazed me is the price gap. The books were yellowed with age, and the scent of old paper and ink filled my senses, transporting me to the 80s when my parents’ monthly salary couldn’t afford a book like that. But to me, they were not just ‘old things.’; they are the testament to our huge leap! And as I left, clutching the treasured books I had found, I felt a quiet resolve within me. 

These books, so cheap yet so rich in history, would be my way of keeping the spirit of Cá Chép Bookstore Hà Nội (closed in 2022 but other branches are still available)—alive within me.

2. Dó Paper - Giấy Dó

Dó paper, or giấy Dó as we call it, comes from the bark of the Dó tree—a species that is as sturdy as the Vietnamese spirit. I learned from the Museum of Vietnamese Literature that the making of Dó paper is a labor of love and patience. The bark must be harvested, boiled, and then beaten into pulp. It was as if the paper absorbed the essence of our land, the purity of our waters, and the diligence of our people.

As I grew older, I carried the tradition of using Dó paper with me. It became a part of my livelihood. I started crafting Dó paper journals and letters and sending them to my friends. Each journal was more than a place to jot down thoughts; it was a piece of heritage, a piece of Vietnam in me. Check out this local store if you want to buy some Vietnamese souvenirs: Zó Project.

3. Cao Sao Vàng - Golden Star Balm

Having a stuffy nose? Take a sniff. Having a bruise? Take a rub.”, said my mom. Since I was a little child, Cao Sao Vàng was our national medicine for external use, especially in winter days. As an adult, the presence of Golden Star Balm in my life faded, replaced by more modern medicines and the busy rush of life. But I never forgot the little tin that seemed to hold remedies for more than just physical ailments. 

Now, I have my own tin of Golden Star Balm, again (it helps a lot when it comes to backache). It is a small tribute to my mom and the countless little ways she took care of those around her. In a world that’s ever-changing, it’s a tradition of comfort that I intend to pass on, one that goes beyond its practical uses to something deeply personal and filled with love. If you’re in “survival mode”, this balm as Vietnamese souvenirs may want to be your bestie in pocket!

4. Gốm Bát Tràng - Bát Tràng Pottery

I swear, it’s not as easy as it looks!!! I mean, the process of making pottery. Under the patient guidance of a master potter, me and my friends learned to coax the spinning lump of clay into shape. Our first attempts were lopsided, awkward—but the laughter and enjoyment that surrounded me were heartening. After “the moment of creation”, we asked the owner to finalize our “arts”. And 10 days later, our own Vietnamese souvenirs came home to us. And where is the perfect place to try becoming an artist?

In the heart of Vietnam and along the Red River lies the ancient village of Bát Tràng—a famous village for where the Earth breathes life into the hands of those who shape it. If you’re looking for a cultural experience that allows you to get hands-on with Vietnamese traditions, then a trip to Bát Tràng Pottery Village should be at the top of your list when visiting Hanoi. The mud from the Red River surely hits different, if you want to check it out and what’s more interesting, you can take it as a Vietnamese gifts.

5. Tranh Trống Đồng Đông Sơn - Bronze Drum of Đông Sơn Painting

The ancient village of Đông Sơn is renowned for its mystical bronze drums. My father was given this painting and he “worshiped” the beauty and the meaning of it. Even though this is not the actual size of an authentic Bronze drum of Đông Sơn, the painting as one of the most unique Vietnamese souvenirs is still framed elegantly on the wall. It exudes a grandeur that captures the essence of ancient Vietnam.

The beauty of this Đông Sơn bronze drum lies not just in its visual appeal. But it is the ability to transcend time. It is a bridge between the modern viewer and the ancient artisans whose hands once forged the bronze drums, whose rhythms laid the foundation for a culture that thrives to this day. I hope you will find these painting very charming. So, if you are wondering what to buy in Vietnam, you can consider buying these paintings as Vietnamese gifts.

6. Socola Đen Mekong - Mekong Black Chocolate

Vietnamese Souvenirs

These chocolate bars are meant for cultural lovers who want their mouth and ears to work at the same time! Socola Đen Mekong bars are not just chocolate but a story—a story of heritage, taste, and music. Each bar is accompanied by a card, a gateway to the cultural essence of the province that they present. The cards introduce:

;all common arts forms of the region (sadly that I only have 3 of them). 

These music, with their melodies and rhythms, has been the soundtrack to life of many Southerners for generations, echoing through the fields and across the waterways. I think they’re perfect Vietnamese souvenirs to others that offers a taste and understanding of a place where art and agriculture have coexisted for centuries. For some reason, these bars are always out-of-stock in supermarkets so I recommend you order these Vietnamese gifts online.

7. Nón lá - Conical Hat

Vietnamese Souvenirs

More than just a shield from rain and sun, this conical hat contains a treasure trove of history from the Vietnamese wet-rice civilization. The origin of the hat is through the story of a tall woman who always wore a hat made from four round leaves. Wherever she appeared, the clouds would quickly scatter, and the weather became favorable. After teaching the locals to cultivate rice and other food crops, this goddess vanished. Since then, Vietnamese people are grateful for her teachings and built a temple to commemorate her benevolence.

I was so inspired by this story and I love wearing this hat, no matter if it’s sunny or rainy. It is perfect for various purposes, sometimes worn by moms to the market or by farmers working in the fields. It is also famous as a symbol of the gentle Vietnamese people since the agricultural era. Moreover, I think people treasure the conical hat and see it as a memorable Vietnamese souvenir. My hat was mid, but these silk hat as Vietnamese gifts are “fire”. If you are an international tourist visiting Vietnam, you will also find plenty of fellow tourists shopping for this Vietnamese souvenir.

8. Áo Dài - National Dress

When one thinks of the beauty inherent in Vietnamese cultural traditions, the Áo Dài invariably comes to mind. This attire has deep roots in our nation’s heritage. Each era has left its mark on the Áo Dài, introducing new elements while preserving the garment’s Vietnamese soul. Despite historical challenges, the Áo Dài has maintained its national identity and never lost its unique vitality since its inception.

Perhaps the Áo Dài is an inevitable part of a Vietnamese woman’s life. Vietnamese women are most fully expressed in the flowing Áo Dài, made from light, airy fabrics. The Áo Dài is like a companion to women throughout their lives, especially on their most significant days. My Áo Dài version is customized from a very low-key shop, but I recommend you to check these spots. I also recommend you to buy Áo dài as Vietnamese Souvenirs if you are thinking about what to buy in Vietnam.

9. Ô Mai - Sweet Fried Fruits

Vietnamese Souvenirs

To this day, whenever I share Ô mai with someone, I am sharing more than a treat. I am passing on a piece of Hanoi’s heart, a tradition that withstands the test of time, and a testament to the resilience and warmth of its people. Each time the familiar blend of flavors unfolds on our tongues, we remember the enduring power of simple gifts to evoke the deepest of human connections. A small chatty-party with tea and these fried fruits, I’d be living in the moment!

Ô mai – the traditional Vietnamese delicacy made from sweetened dried fruits, imbued with a blend of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy flavors. Each piece is not just a treat, but a bite-sized vessel of history and nostalgia. It is a culinary journey through the senses, one that transports me to my childhood memories while anchoring me firmly in the present moment. My mission is clear: I have to give this gem to every friend of mine as one of the best Vietnamese gifts.

10. Vòng tay chỉ đỏ - Red-string bracelets

‘Vòng tay chỉ đỏ,’ had long since been a symbol of good fortune and spiritual significance. It is crafted from delicate red threads woven into a band. As the legend goes, it holds the hopes and beliefs of those who wear it close to their skin. I learned that the bracelet had origins steeped in tradition, with each knot and twist charged with positive energy and intentions.

Then, I was particularly drawn to the ritualistic aspect of the bracelet. Before being worn, it was often blessed with charms or prayers at temples, infusing it with even greater meaning. The choice of the hand on which to wear the bracelet was significant, too. Tradition suggested that wearing it on the left hand, the side closest to the heart, would attract good fortune and repel negative energies.

There were, however, certain superstitions to heed. To avoid bad luck, we should never boast about the bracelet or use it with arrogance. After all, it is a humble guardian, not a trophy. So, you are wondering about this bracelet as a Vietnamese souvenir already? That’s cool!

A Recap of the Best Vietnamese Souvenirs

One doesn’t visit the place everyday and especially one cannot visit the foreign country all the time. Therefore, whenever you visit a country, you should make the most of it. However, many people just like to visit historical and popular places and take lots of pictures. As a tourist, however, you should also look for the souvenirs and gifts that you can take home.

As it is apparent from our discussion, Vietnamese souvenirs are unique gift ideas that represent the diverse cultural and some legendary history behind these souvenirs. After all, you cannot buy the best souvenirs everyday either.  

If you love exploring souvenirs from around the world, I have already covered Berlin souvenirs, Ethiopian souvenirs, and Turkish souvenirs, among others. Also, let me know how you liked Vietnamese souvenirs recommendations.

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