Looking for some Vietnam gift ideas? Whether it’s to gift someone who loves this country or figuring out souvenirs to bring back, I’ve got you covered!

As someone who had sixteen months plus other trips (and an upcoming trip!) to get to shop around, I’m rounding up all my favorite recommendations below.

13 Unique Vietnam Gift Ideas

1. Vietnamese Coffee

The absolutely number one thing I had to put on any Vietnam gifts and souvenirs list is coffee. While coffee was introduced by the French, it’s become an integral part of Vietnamese culture. Seriously – you can’t walk more than foot in HCMC without seeing at least one cafe. And nothing quite brings me back than a steaming bowl of pho phở and a sweating plastic cup of cà phê sữa đá.

Outside of Vietnam, I recommend getting 88 Coffee. They gifted me a coffee bean and filter set, and I’ve loved making myself a lil iced coffee when I need an extra pick me up. They use beans from Buon Ma Thuot (where the world coffee museum is), Dak Lak and Cau Dat in Vietnam’s Lam Dong province and use a traditional butter roasted process which makes the coffee really nice and rich.

I also just love that they have a gold phin instead of the usual tin color.

2. Anything to Learn Vietnamese

As someone who loves learning languages (but isn’t particularly fluent in any beyond English and Spanish), I really enjoyed learning Vietnamese. I took classes while in Ho Chi Minh City and I still have some workbooks I fully intend to do someday.

I found it to be a really fun language because its grammar is both simple and rarely has exceptions. The hardest part is nailing the tones. But honestly, once you master them, I dare say Vietnamese is easier to figure out than Spanish (which requires you to literally change the end of your verb for every subject).

Anyway, if your Vietnam loving friend is also interested in the language, I highly recommend looking into courses or workbooks so they can start practicing. A really fun option would be looking into local classes that you could both attend. But otherwise, check out these options:

The Mountain Sings by Nguyen Phan Que Mai | Book Challenge 2021

3. Any of These Books Set in Vietnam

I’ve been slowly making my way through as many books as possible set in Vietnam. I feel like a lot of Vietnamese literature translated to English is mainly focused in the war, so I’ve been actively trying to find books that do more than just that (though there’s still a few in here).

Below are books I’ve read or want to read:

4. Mulberry Silk

Vietnam is one of the top producers of silk in the world and silk weaving in general has been a tradition here for thousands of years. If you’re looking at what to get, I would specifically look for mulberry silk, which is one of the highest qualities you can find and is used often in Vietnamese silk products.

If you’re interested in clothing, Metiseko always produces such gorgeous silk collections! I have a custom piece from them as well as a silk scarf I had cut down to a square size. They hand print their designs and they’re so beautifully delicate and luxurious.

Another option is Dreams of Hue on Etsy. It was founded by Michelle Dang and uses all Vietnamese mulberry silk with the aim of helping sustain the industry. She does really lovely loungewear as well as pillows and sleep masks. (Unfortunately the clothing only goes up to a large!)

Red Dzao Tribe, Sapa, Vietnam

5. Textiles from Vietnam’s Ethnic Minority Groups

One of the coolest aspects to Vietnamese culture is the existence of ethnic minority groups all throughout the country. There are officially 54 different groups, and they all have their own traditions and practices – often influenced by their geographical location. Each tribe also has specific textiles and designs, and they’re really intricate and gorgeous.

If you want to find a way to incorporate them with your Vietnam gift, I’d recommend looking at a small business like Mai Chau Colors on Etsy. She’s Hanoi-based and often collects fabrics while traveling and will then repurpose them into accessories. I’m quite partial to the cute cup holders, it’s like another nod to a classic Vietnamese item!

6. A piece from Reaching Out

One of my favorite places in Vietnam is Reaching Out Teahouse. It was actually shut down the entire time I was there but I managed to go on a first trip in 2016, and I’m so relieved to see it’s back now that the world is back to normal! It’s both a teahouse in Hoi An and a craft store. Both aspects of the social enterprise focus on providing opportunities for people with disabilities.

Not only that but the products in their craft shop are really quite beautiful. I personally want to get one of their ceramic tea or coffee sets.

Goodies including some Vietnamese food art from Ohquao in HCMC

7. Vietnamese Food-Themed Illustrations

I don’t know what it is about Vietnamese food but of all the different cuisines I’ve tried over the years, it’s easily one of the most photographable (not to mention one of my favorites). That’s probably why so many people wind up with food illustrations whether it’s canvas art or a T-shirt. I’m quite literally staring at a fun phin coffee graphic hanging on my wall as I write this!

Etsy is full of artists, but I quite like the modern, abstract take Bobjellyart has. Kind of obsessed with the colors and shapes in his banh xeo piece.

If you want something a little more literal, Luciles Kitchen has super pretty watercolor illustrations on her shop. I’m absolutely in LOVE with the Vietnam food map.

via Marou’s Facebook

8. Vietnamese Chocolate

While I was in Vietnam, there was one chocolate brand that dominated the artisan chocolate scene – Marou Chocolate. They had a cafe in Saigon I’d visited a few times, and their colorfully patterned chocolate bars were on every shelf and every apartment counter.

Like coffee, cacao was introduced to Vietnam by the French but it didn’t really start flourishing until the last decade or so. There’s something really unique about getting chocolate that’s made 100% in its country of origin from planting the seeds to wrapping the finished bar.

Marou is especially great if you like dark chocolate, and you can even get it right on Amazon, which is kind of a wild thought. There are other brands I haven’t tried, but it’s on my to-do next time I visit, so I’ll update when I do.

9. Vietnamese Ceramics & Pottery

Vietnam has a long ceramics and pottery history that spans from the north near Hanoi all the way down to the Mekong Delta. When I visited Vinh Long, I got a chance to see exactly how they made their creations, and I knew someday I’d want to have some in my own home.

There’s not a ton online that I could find, but I also won’t pretend that I’m well-versed in the pottery or ceramics world! I have managed to find some cool pieces with LutusLiving, BatTrangVietnamGoods, and GomsuBoutique.

From Propaganda in HCMC

10. Propaganda-themed products

I know it sounds odd – but Vietnam propaganda has become its own genre of art even as they still use it for marketing today. (All the pandemic billboards and posters used this style!)

Below are some vintage posters you can get:

via VietHerbal

11. Woven Bamboo & Palm Goods

Like other Asian countries, you can find a lot of products made from either bamboo or palm leaves. Both forms are really sturdy and lightweight, so they’re used quite often for things like baskets, hats, cutlery, and more.

The most obvious thing to buy would be some sort of nón lá conical hat. While you’ll probably get some funny looks if you wore it out, I will say they actually do work really nicely for sun protection. The conical shape keeps them from sitting on your head, preventing hat hair, but the shape provides enough shade to keep you protected. I didn’t think much of it until I desperately needed them in Vinh Long and during a rainy day in Hue.

Pandan Market and Viet Herbal on Etsy also have great options in terms of baskets, bags, fans, coasters, bowls, and more.

Need some photos to inspire you to visit Vietnam? Here are 25 snapshots of this beautiful country from my trip last February.

12. Hoi An Silk Lanterns

Hoi An, once a sleepy fishing village in central Vietnam, is known for a lot of things but one of the most prominent has to be their silk lanterns. They were first introduced to the area by Chinese and Japanese merchants in 1300s, and for centuries locals have been making these by hand. Quang Binh tourism actually has a cool slideshow that goes through the process here.

Luckily, because they’re so popular, you can find them aplenty online. They’re on my list to buy a few next time I visit as I’ve never had room for them before!

Hoi An E-Shop and Macy N Vintage on Etsy are located in Hoi An and Da Nang respectively and have a ton of lantern options if you want to do some browsing.

13. Donate to a Vietnamese charity

As with any gift guide I do, I always like to end with recommending charities or businesses that have some sort of social enterprising aspect. I’m personally a huge fan of R House and Meow House and have donated to them in the past. They’re an animal rescue based in HCMC and have built both a restaurant and cafe space where their rescues can roam around.

I love getting their updates on Facebook, and you can tell how much of their hearts and souls they put into helping every single animal they save. It looks like they’ve set-up a Patreon, which I think would make such a nice gift especially if someone is an animal lover!

And there you have it – some unique Vietnam gift ideas whether you’re visiting and need souvenirs to bring back or want to get something for someone who loves the country. Any to add? I’ll be back soon, so I can’t wait to look for more ideas!

For more gift guides, read these posts next:

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