An Ultimate Guide To Souvenir Shopping In Vietnam (Part 1)

No matter where you travel to in Vietnam, a keen sense of adventure follows you everywhere you go. Whether you are crossing the road in Hanoi, joining on a culinary adventure in Hoian, or even shopping in the busy market and being enchanted by all the beautiful souvenirs. It’s full of the unexpected but we can be certain about one thing: you won’t return home without stock up on souvenirs to bring back home.

Don’t worry, we got you covered. This 2 part series will help you go on adventure with your shopping but like a responsible shopper.

The Ultimate 6 Ways

On the first part of the guide, we will guide introduce to you Footprint 6 ways to become a responsible shopper. And some of you may ask why should we care about this – being responsible while shopping? For most of us, the answer seems obvious enough: we want to protect our home. For others, just think again, after all, the benefits of socially and environmentally responsible consumption all go to the future generations.


 An Ultimate Guide To Souvenir Shopping In Vietnam (Part 1)

1. Buy local

You can have a far greater impact to the local community by simply deciding where to shop. Buying directly from local merchants and craftspeople can contribute more positive impact than the buy from large retail chains. You not only strengthen the economic base of the community but also encourage them to recover their traditions and customs.


2. Ignore unethical medicine and products

In Asia, there are some traditional medicine using ingredients derived from endangered animals such as snake wine, bear bile for the purpose of treatment of physical and mental illness. These assumptions are not scientifically supported.

Other than that, products such as elephant ivory, tortoise shell and product made from animal skins are normally sold as souvenirs. These animals captured in the wild are disposed of in cruel ways. Some are even listed as endangered species so when you come across them, a red flag should go up.

3. Bargain

In market or small shop, you can always negotiate price in advance before accepting any offers. Don’t be afraid to bargain as Vietnamese people are very friendly. If you start the conversation with a big smile and little attempt in saying “hello” in Vietnamese (“xin chào”), the merchants will appreciate you more and be happy to give you a nice discount. Just simply use body language and have fun with it.

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4. Hard sell

Be prepared to be approached or consistently followed by street sellers; especially in Hanoi, HCM City and Sapa and other major tourist attractions. If a street seller approaches you, be firm but polite and calm in turning them away, even if you are irritated by a day filled with similar approaches.

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5. Shop thoughtfully

It’s to buy less but the best quality products for low maintenance, durability, and longevity. Chinese mass produced, low quality products which are sold widely at cheap price is one of those traps that you really need to void.

So go for local authentic products with stories behind them whether you buy the souvenirs for yourself or friends/relatives back home.

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6. Upcycle

You can consider purchasing products that can be recycled or reused instead of ending up in the landfill. And if you are not into recycling thing, there are several businesses in Vietnam selling recycled products as souvenirs. Don’t limit your choices with just typical souvenirs.

With the right information, it’s very easy to become a responsible shopper. So stay tuned for more suggestion on what to shop in Vietnam


Author: Hong Anh

Hong Anh is a true story-teller. For her, travelling is about stepping out of your comfort zone. Each of her stories is a unique travel experience that is told and illustrated by her own distinctive style.

Hong Anh