Apart from the joy of discovering a new culture, taking photos and tasting the exotic flavors of Vietnam, shopping might bring you more opportunities to get in touch with local habits.
Conical hat/ Straw hat
Non la (leaf hat) is a circular cone made of bamboo cataphylls, notable for it’s romantic adornments. The non la is more than an indispensable tool for people in Vietnam: it has become a cultural symbol. The style differs by region, for example those of the Tay people have a distinct color, while in Thanh Hoa they use only a 20-hem frame, Hue’s is thin and elegant, while Binh Dinh’s is thick.
Ao Dai in Vietnam
Trendy” ao dai reach to the floor and fit the curves of the body by using darts and a nipped-in waist; the “hippy” ao dai is brightly colored and very popular among young teenagers; and the “mini” ao dai have slits extended above the waist and the panels reach only to the knees.
Local Insight: An ao dai costs at least VND700,000. If you can spend the time and have experience finding decent cloth and a good tailor ao dai, you might have your stylish ao dai at a reasonable VND1,500,000.
The art of hand-embroidered pieces of clothing and framed silk pictures is an old handicraft tradition in Vietnam. You will mostly encounter picturesque natural scenes like flowers, trees, animals and birds, patiently stitched one colorful thread at a time. But also daily life scenes, even portraits can be created with this ancient technique. Tourists are frequently baffled by the vast variety of designs, offered in hand embroidery shops, the vibrant colors and the intriguing depth of the artwork.
A handmade musical instrument can also make a nice keepsake. Bamboo flutes and mini t’rungs are very popular among visitors. Since the flute is just a small bamboo pipe and the t’rung can be easily disassembled for transport, they are convenient to carry home and don’t use up too much space in your already stuffed luggage.