Not everyone loves carrying tons of souvenirs to bring back home. But buying a small piece of art for home decoration or getting small gifts to surprise friends when being back home worths the effort. During this article, I will you some ideas about the top souvenirs to buy in Ho Chi Minh City of Vietnam and the places to get them.
The Vietnamese locals enjoy the leisure art of making a cup of condensed milk iced coffee “ca phe sua da” or tasting lotus and jasmine tea. Tea and coffee is a part of Vietnamese lifetime and the country is listed among the top producer of tea and coffee in the world, which makes them the great souvenir to bring back home for travelers.
Where to pick?
To hunt for well-packaged coffee, there are some reliable brands that have shops covered throughout the city you can stop by. Go to Google Maps then input one of the names The Coffee House, Phuc Long, Trung Nguyen, Highlands then choose the nearest places for your convenience. Most of them sell Vietnamese coffee kit which includes a stainless steel single-cup filter, a packed roasted coffee and sometimes a sweetened condensed milk bottle which is an all-in-one package to take home.
For tea, Phuc Long shops are recommended for the reason that their chains cover widely in the city. Another good choice is Sense Asia which you can find when landed in Tan Son Nhat airport or at An Nam gourmet at 16-18 Hai Ba Trung, Ben Nghe, District 1. They have 25 tea collection from the classic back, green teas to rare, exotic herbal ones.
The New York Times Magazine features Marou “The best chocolate you’ve never tasted” for its Mekong Delta origin and the interesting story of this handmade chocolate. The two French travelers Samuel Maruta and Vincent Mourou pinned the country in the worldwide chocolate map before the locals truly appreciate this. I can’t recommend this chocolate enough for the great quality. Try it yourself then pick some for friends at home at 167-169 Calmette, District 1
Among the top souvenirs to buy in Ho Chi Minh city, Ao Dai stands out since the outfit is the traditional costumes. With its grace and elegance, this long-sleeved, worn over trousers outfit reflects the body beauty of the person wearing it.
Ao Dai is said to cover everything but hide nothing.
The dress appears often during festivals, special days like Tet holiday, wedding. High school girls also wear it once a week to school which creates a mesmerizing image for those to watch.
Given that you don’t have much time for the waiting of 7 days before the tailor can finish your Ao Dai. Don’t get upset early as some places in town can make it quick within 4 hours. Ask the shop before you give it a go.
Where to pick?
Below is some reliable places to get your tailored Ao Dai:
The hand embroidery art never lost its charm. You can choose from the natural scenes like flowers, trees, birds to the people’s daily lives or even sketch your idea to the artist for a personalized version for yourself. The latter will cost you higher than the normal ones. You can buy a small hand embroidered product for around 500,000 Dong to 2,000,000 Dong and above.
The time that silk is only for the royalty seems to fade away. Now in Vietnam, you can buy silk for the luxurious price to the affordable one depending on the quality it deserves. The price for regular Vietnamese silk is at least 100,000 Dong per meter and you can find it in the local market like Tan Dinh, Tan Binh or Soai Kinh Lam Fabric market. Ben Thanh market is in the not-to-go list for the bad reputation.
For a hassle-free experience, you can approach the stores where all the prices are fixed, no need for bargain games. Trust brans Toan Thinh silk and Thai Tuan silk.
Where to pick?
Non La is a circular cone made of bamboo cataphylls, notable for its romantic adornments. The hat is more than an indispensable tool for people in Vietnam: it has become a cultural symbol.
Vietnamese wear Non La very often, especially in rural areas where there are less modern transportations.
The shape protects the wearer from the downpours of the rainy season like an umbrella and provides shade and protection from the heat during April and May when temperatures climb to unbearable levels.
At a workshop, you can get a hat for only VND 3,500 – VND 10,000. Depending on the quality, the price at souvenir shops ranges between VND 30,000 and VND 100,000.
More than pieces of art, Vietnamese propaganda posters are history books and documented information of the era. The posters were used to spread communication, raise morale and invite patriotism throughout the country.
You might also easily find the propaganda posters that depict powerful and strong women who not only take care of family but also take up arms to defend their homeland. Ho Chi Minh who was the leader of the country also one of the main themes for the posters.
Where to pick?
It comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors, ceramics is a long-time Vietnamese souvenir to take home. It can be an idea to buy a small teacup set then pack well since it’s easily broken goods.
Ever heard about the famous Japanese street ninjas who cover from bottom to top and protect against common street crimes? Now, you can see them in Vietnamese style. The motorbike fashion produces thousand of street ninjas. Local ladies drive their bikes when wearing long jackets, a face mask, a pair of long gloves, and sunglasses.
This fashion comes from the obsession for light skin of Asian women. When the sun is hazy and people don’t own a car to shield themselves from the UV rays, covering themselves is a good choice.
The colorful face masks, mostly fabric can be a lovely souvenir to remember about the motorbike phenomenon in Vietnam. The design is varied from the tiny flowers, the zig-zag pattern to the cute animals design on the fabric. The locals sell it on the street pavements and in the local markets. If the motorbike long jackets are a bit clumsy for ya, a lovely facial mask can be a good pick when traveling to Vietnam.
White rice wine, banana wine, snake wine is on the list. You can find them in the local market like Tan Dinh or Cho Lon market
Above are the top souvenirs to buy in Ho Chi Minh city I want to suggest. Feel free to share your thoughts or tell us what souvenirs you picked in Vietnam that most travelers don’t know.
Saigon Kiss Tours is the women-led tour operator in Vietnam. If you want to have a fun day tour combined with the souvenir hunting in Ho Chi Minh City, check out Saigon Kiss Half Day City Tour.