Top 10 Souvenirs in Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam with more than a thousand years of history, won’t disappoint any travelers when they come to look for souvenirs for gifts to bring home. Most of the best souvenirs that Hanoi has to offer are able to found in the Old Quarter, the heart of old Hanoi. If convenience is what you value, you just look for the souvenirs for your loved ones there.  Let me share with you the Top 10 Souvenirs in Hanoi that many travelers usually choose.

1. Ao Dai (Vietnamese traditional long dress)

The Ao Dai or áo dài (/ˈɑːʊzɑːi/, ao-zai in the Northern accent; /ˈɑːʊjɑːi/, ao-yai in the Southern accent) is a Vietnamese national garment, worn by both sexes but now most commonly worn by women. In its current form, it is a long, split tunic dress worn over trousers. Áo translates as a shirt. Dài means “long”. If you really want to make a girl who is passionate about fashion in her hometown, an Ao Dai set is a souvenir that will surprise her. Designs, colors, and quality, the choice is abundant. You can buy a ready-to-wear Ao Dai for around USD 30 or choose to have a customized one for USD 70 and above.

Best gifts for: Yourself or your mother and sister.

Prices: From 700,000 VND ($30) per Ao Dai set.

Portable level: Easy to manage. Just fold this two-piece costume up and put it into the luggage like any of your other clothes.

Where to buy:

– Hang Da Market is a good place to shop for ready-made Ao Dai.
– Shops on Bach Mai Street, Kham Thien Street, and Hang Da Market for ready-made Ao Dai
– Ao Dai Designer Boutiques at 23 Luong Van Can Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi for customized Ao Dai
– Ao Dai Viet Nam at 40 Trang Thi, Hang Bong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi for customized Ao Dai

2. Non La (Vietnamese conical hats)

Non La or palm-leaf conical hat is a traditional symbol of Vietnam, which shows the rice-growing culture of the country through the images of both men and women wearing these hats working in the paddy fields or doing a lot of other kinds of outdoor activities. In the past, people usually saw high school girls in white Ao Dai (traditional long dress) wearing Non La walking the streets from home to school and vice versa. This is one of the most pretty and romantic pictures of Non La seen in real life. In the present, Non La is still a good friend of people in every part of Vietnam who work under the sun. The hats serve them as a rain and sun protector or even a basket. To others, it can be a cultural decorative ornament.

Best gifts for: A friend or family member who enjoys outdoor activities such as gardening.

Prices: From VND 30,000 ($1.30) – VND 150,000 ($6.50).

Portable level: Hard to manage because of its conical shape.

Where to buy:

– Dong Xuan Market in Dong Xuan, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– Souvenir shops in Old Quarter, Hanoi.

3. Laquerware

Lacquerware-making in Vietnam is an art handed down for generations. The hard-working process goes through 20 stages and takes over 100 days to complete. Vietnamese lacquerware got to recognize around the world through international exhibitions in the 1930s. It is known for its superior quality compared to lacquer products from other Asian nations. Products are suitable for bringing home consist of jewelry boxes, trays, plates, bowls, vases, and photograph albums. You should be careful when buying lacquerware in Hanoi because the market is in chaos with fine quality and low quality, mass-produced lacquer items. For top-quality products, buy at Marena Hanoi where has a wide range of colors and designs.

Best gifts for: A senior family member or friend.

Prices: From VND 180,000 ($8) to VND 1,250,000 ($55) per item.

Portable level: From manageable to hard to manage.

Where to buy:

– Minh Tam at 2 Hang Bong, Hanoi Old Quater.
– Anh Duy Lacquer at 25 Hang Trong, Hanoi Old Quater.
– Marena Hanoi at 28 Nha Chung, Hang Trong, Hanoi Old Quater.

4. Vietnam silk products

Famous Van Phuc silk village (or Ha Dong silk village) with a thousand years of history is where all the finest quality silk brought to life. This village is just 8 kilometers south-west of Hanoi, which makes it convenient for a half-day visit. Come to learn about the weaving process, and buy the products your heart desires at the original prices. If you can’t make the trip, you can buy silk at specialty shops on Hang Gai like Khail Silk and Duc Loi Silk. Things to bring back consist of raw fabrics and ready-to-use stuff like scarves, Ao Dai, dresses, ties, cosmetic bags, and underwear bags.

Best gifts for: The ties make the great gifts for the males while the scarves are something the females will love.

Prices: From VND 150,000 ($6.50) per meter of silk fabric; VND 480,000 ($21) per scarf; VND 240,000 ($10.50) per cosmetic bag; the famous Khaisilk ties are from $30 to $50 per item.

Portable level: Easy to manage.

Where to buy:

– Le Minh Silk at 79 – 111 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– Khai Silk at 113 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– Duc Loi Silk at 77 Hang Gai, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.

5. Vietnam hand-embroidery

Hanoi is a wonderful place to buy embroidered products. Available products consist of embroidered bed sheets, quilts, bed throws, pillowcases, table runners, napkins, placemats, cosmetic bags, lingerie, nightdresses, and a lot of other things. Pay attention to the different materials that the embroidery pieces are created. Some of the best items are found on special Vietnamese cotton and linen. And some of the best designs to look for are the lotus flowers and majestic dragons. Anybody that appreciates hard work and culture will definitely enjoy these beautiful handmade items.

Best gifts for: The special ladies in your life – mother, and wife or girlfriend.

Prices: From VND 100,000 ($4.50) to 300,000 VND ($13) per handkerchief; from VND 30,000 ($1.30) to VND 130,000 ($5.70) per cosmetic bag; from VND 180,000 ($8) per napkin set (two pieces).

Portable level: Easy to manage.

Where to buy:

– Ngoc Van store on the 2rd floor of Hang Da Market, Hang Da, Cua Dong, Hoan Kiem Hanoi.
– Tan My Designs at 61 Hang Gai Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi.
– Chi Vang store at 17 Trang Tien, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
May store at 7 Nha Tho, Hang Trong, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.

6. Products of the ethnic minorities

Twenty ethnic minority groups living in the northern mountain villages of Vietnam have different cultures, which can be recognized through their weaving patterns and clothing styles. The products made by those groups like scarves, bags, clothing items, textiles, paintings, woodworks, and ceramics are skillful and impressive. The travelers can not make a trip to Sapa or other destinations in the northwest of Vietnam are capable to get the products of the ethnic minorities in Hanoi easily.

Best gifts for: Someone who is into exotic cultures.

Prices: From $50 per item.

Portable level: From easy to hard to manage.

Where to buy: Craft Link at 43 & 51 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Hanoi.

7. Do paper products

Do paper is a traditional kind of paper made from the bark of the Rhamnoneuron balansae (a wild plant found on the local riverbanks). This type of durable paper has been used in folk art for hundreds of years. The well-known Dong Ho pictures are often made on this type of paper. Going for a walk along the streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter, you will see various craft stores where Do paper products like greeting cards, postcards, notebooks, and stationery shine their beauty.

Best gifts for: Children and female friends or family members.

Prices: From VND 35,000 ($1.50) to VND 45,000 ($2) per item.

Portable level: Easy to manage.

Where to buy:

– Souvenir stores on Hang Gai and Hang Bac, Old Quarter, Ha Noi.
– Craft Link at 43 & 51 Van Mieu, Dong Da, Ha Noi, Vietnam.

8. Bamboo souvenirs

Bamboo, which a plant that has long been considered as a symbol of Vietnamese traditional old villages, is now can be widely found in Hanoi in the forms of souvenirs of many kinds. They could be chopsticks, bowls, baskets, trays, hats, decorative items, or even furniture. One of the lovely presents made of bamboo so as to take home is the pretty dragonfly that can stand on its mouth on any surface, making them the ideal little ornament.

Best gifts for: Bamboo dragonflies are cute keepsakes for children.

Prices: From VND 15,000 ($0.70) per item of dragonflies.

Portable level: Manageable.

Where to buy:

– Stores along Quang Trung Street.
– Bamboo Shop at 4B Hang Hang Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– Bamboo Village Shop at 108 Xuan Dieu street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi.

9. Lotus tea

Lotus, which is the national flower of Vietnam, can be seen in many parts of the country. However, it is believed that the ones in Hanoi’s West Lake are the best kind with a more lasting scent. The tea makers of Hanoi have skill in flavoring green tea with lotus stamen fragrance. This meticulous and time-consuming process takes 1500 lotus flowers to make 1kg of lotus tea. That is why the prices of Vietnam’s traditional tea can go up to hundreds of dollars per kilogram. However, when you enjoy this noble tea, you will know that it is worth the price. A cup of high-grade green tea combined with lotus’s luscious fragrance gives us a crisp, sweet, vanilla hinted flavor with the scent of Lotus flower lingering in the mouth.

Best gifts for: Yourself or someone really special in your life.

Prices: From VND 5 million ($220) to VND 8 million ($352) per kilogram. But don’t worry! It takes only a teaspoon (3.6g) to make a 180ml pot of tea. A 125-gram box is good enough to be a nice gift.

Portable level: Easy to manage.

Where to buy:

– Che Minh Cuong at 65 Cu Chinh Lan, Thanh Xuan, Hanoi.
– Huong Mai Café in the Old Quarter at 58 Ma May, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi or at 15 Hang Manh, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– at 169 Nghi Tam, Tay Ho, Hanoi.

10. O Mai (Salted or sugared dried fruit)

O Mai is a traditional specialty of Hanoi, which was dried fruits mixed with sugar, salt, lime, chili, and ginger to obtain a harmonious taste of salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. The most common fruits used to make O Mai are peach, plum, apricot, star fruit, tamarind, kumquat, mango, and pineapple. For Hanoi people, O Mai is a quintessential snack in order to enjoy and to welcome guests during Tet holiday (Tet, Vietnamese New Year, Lunar New Year). It is wonderful to taste it along with a cup of lotus tea.

Best gifts for: all those people who love trying new foods and snacks.

Prices: Around 40,000 VND ($1.7) per box of 200g; 90,000 VND ($4) per box of 500g

Portable level: Manageable

Where to buy:

– In Hanoi, o mai is abundantly sold along Hang Duong Street.
– Toan Thinh store at 15 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– Hong Lam shop at 11 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.
– Tien Thinh shop at 21 Hang Duong Street, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.

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