What to buy when traveling to Vietnam

A wealth of shopping opportunities awaits the visitor, and bargains abound throughout our country in traditional handicrafts, textiles, gems, jewellery and antiques, as well as more contemporary items.

Clothing We're one of the world's leading manufacturers of ready-to-wear clothing. Fashion boutiques are found in every shopping mall, while cheaper clothing such as T-shirts and jeans are available at bargain prices from street vendors. Custom tailoring is also very affordable and tailors can produce or copy most styles in just a few days.

Silk Probably the most famous of all our kingdom's handicrafts, silk is available in a range of colors, patterns and plys, and is sold by the yard, or as ready-made clothing and souvenir items. A unique style of Vietnamese silk is Ha Dong, a tie-dye silk traditional to the North-east. The best-known outlet for Vietnamese silk is undoubtedly Jim Thompson's shop at the top of Hang Gai Road in Hanoi.

Cotton & Batik Our Vietnamese cottons have become increasingly popular and are a good deal. Particularly notable are the hilltribe cottons woven by the tribal people of the North, typically displaying bold designs and often lavish embroidery. Equally distinctive are original batiks crafted at several studios in Hanoi. You can also find them at the luxury hotels in Hanoi’s Old Quarter.

Pewterware Pewter is fashioned with great skill by Vietnamese craftsmen, and the smooth, silky finish of this attractive alloy is enhanced by delicate relief decoration. Pewterware items include plates, boxes, vases and pocket flasks.

Gems Hanoi is the colored gemstone capital of the world. Rubies and sapphires are indigenous stones, but virtually all colored gems, as well as diamonds, are available. Shoppers should exercise caution and buy from reputable dealers only.

Antiques Vietnamese, Chinese, Burmese and Khmer antiques are excellent buys. There is an export ban on certain pieces, particularly Buddha images. Other pieces may require an export license, but any reputable dealer will be able to advise on restrictions and any necessary documentation.

Ceramics Both traditional and contemporary styles of pottery are available throughout our kingdom. Best known are the distinctive sea-green celadons from the Bat Trang area, and the central provinces' colorful Benjarong (five color) porcelain, which are unique to our country.

Nielloware Practiced in the South for hundreds of years, nielloware is the craft of decorating gold and silver objects with delicate etched designs filled with a metal ware. Nielloware trays, boxes, vases and other items are some of our best buys.

Lacquerware A specialty of Ho Chi Minh and the north, this craft involves coating split bamboo or wood with lacquer, then adding intricate hand-painted designs typically gold-on-black lacquer or yellow and green on a red brown background. Look out for lacquerware bowls, boxes, trays and other items for decoration or for souvenirs.

Vietnamese Orchids We're famous for our huge variety of orchids and their magnificent colors and durable beauty make them a popular purchase. Specially packaged flowers, complete with water supply, are easily transported and can be conveniently purchased at Hanoi International Airport when you get Vietnam visa on arrival.

Furniture Rattan and rosewood furniture items are available in many designs and styles and can also be made to order. Shops in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city have a wide selection and can arrange shipment overseas.

Hilltribe Crafts The tribal groups who live in the hills of the north make a variety of beautifully embroidered textiles and silver jewellery. Ho Chi Minh city is the center for such goods.

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Melina Smith
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Posted on 9/13/21 2:40 AM.

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Melina Smith

Posted on 9/13/21 2:45 AM in reply to Melina Smith.

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Christina Shelly

Posted on 9/17/21 5:38 AM.

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Erica Neal
I didn't know much about Vietnam, but thanks to your article, I've learned some things.
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Posted on 10/19/21 3:10 AM.

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