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Updated by Joanna James on Nov 25, 2019
Headline for 10 Things to buy in Vietnam – Taking memories home
Joanna James Joanna James
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10 Things to buy in Vietnam – Taking memories home

Vibrant, ancient and enchanting, Vietnam is a dreamlike holiday destination. Here is a list of things you can buy to remember your journey to that stirring land.


Traditional long dress – Ao Dai

Ao Dai is an elegant creation, well-known all over the world as Vietnam's own. It is a tight-fitting dress that fashionistas find fascinating. Vietnamese women wear the dress over long pants in contrasting colours. There are different types of Ao Dai including mini versions and hippie versions. You can find readymade dresses at boutique stores or even tourist-friendly markets. But, if you have time, try to get a tailor to make you one. It will take at least 24 hours to finish making an Ao Dai. Once you have the beauty in hand, try it out at your serviced apartment Ho Chi Minh City or your hotel.


Vietnamese Coffee

Strong and flavoursome, Vietnamese coffee is sublime. The chilled delight of the Vietnamese version of iced coffee called café da is addictive. You can taste these almost anywhere in the country. Perhaps, you had some at the breakfast lounge at the Somerset Ho Chi Minh City? But if you are looking for coffee to take home with you, try Hanoi or Tay Naguyen. You can even find good quality coffee at souvenir shops in the main cities.


A conical hat

Not too long ago, Vietnamese nationals wore conical hats to paddy fields or when they simply took to the roads, fields or rivers. Today, these handy, wide-brimmed conical hats are mere décor. But the hat not only beat the sun's harsh rays but also adds charm to those who sport them. Don't forget to secure your own hat before you leave Vietnam.


Exquisite pottery

You can buy pottery at many local stores in Vietnam as locals still use their pottery to cook delectable meals. You can bag a few for your collection at the Bat Trang village in Hanoi. These villagers have perfected the art of pottery making over thousands of years.


Silky riches

Rich, soft silk used to be the main trade of Vietnamese people. Their silk is 'fairy' light yet durable. You can buy raw silk from Hi Chi Minh's Ben Thanh market. But if you invest in a few artistically appealing silk products like hand-embroidered pieces, you'll be able to impress friends back home.


Jewellery made of pearls

There are pearl farms in Ha Long Bay as well as Van Phong Bay. Pearls from Ho Chi Minh City are known to be the best in the country. Buy a few dainty earrings, a sleek bracelet or an intricate necklace to take back home.


Folk art – Sedge

Sedge products are some of the most iconic Vietnamese items you can buy. Local people use sedge products daily for their practicality and beauty. Expertly crafted bowls, handbags, vases baskets, picnic mats and even shoes are pleasing to the eye and environmentally friendly. You can even buy eco-sedge carpets to add a bit of Vietnamese charm to your home.


Puppets made of wood

Wooden puppets are used in great water puppet shows in Vietnam. An art practised over the centuries, water puppet shows tell stories of the country. If you go to the theatre for a show, you can buy some to take home. Otherwise, explore the Hanoi old quarter for a wooden puppet shop.


Exquisite lacquerware

Lacquerware products take meticulous craftsmanship drawn out over months of hard work. But the end results are enchanting. You can buy small bowls, dishes or even vases depicting mythical creatures of Vietnam. If that is not your cup of tea, there are lacquerware products depicting everyday scenes from the country. Try the 'An Dong' Craft Market in Saigon.


Dipping sauce – Nuoc Cham

One of the reasons that Vietnamese food tastes heavenly is the accompanying dipping sauce that comes with most meals. Nuoc cham is made to suit all sorts of palates. You can get its spicy, sweet or salty versions depending on your preference. The most common version is a succulent blend of fermented fish sauce, a several squeezes of lime, sugar, garlic and the flavourful bird's eye chilli. You can get bottled nuoc cham from any local market.

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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