What to think of when buying souvenirs in Vietnam

What to think of when buying souvenirs in Vietnam

Whether you’re already on vacation in Vietnam or you’re going, you’ll most likely want to bring home a few souvenirs or so. That’s great because Vietnam certainly has a fair amount of beautiful things (and tasty!) to bring back home to your family and friends. But as tempting it is to just go and buy whatever you think is interesting, it’s also important to think about where that souvenir came from and if it’s ethical or not to buy it. So if you want some guidance on what to think of when buying souvenirs in Vietnam, continue reading.

When you buy souvenirs, try to buy it locally

When something is locally produced, the prices may be a bit higher than the “regular” souvenirs. But it’s also hard work that’s been put into this particular souvenir you’re buying, and when you get it from locals, you’re also supporting their economy. Sure, souvenirs that are very cheap and probably made in China can be tempting to buy, but will a few cents really matter to you in the end? Will you really remember that extra dollar you spent on a nice souvenir when you come home? So before you buy, think about how you can help make a difference in the local community. Sometimes, just purchasing a small souvenir from them can make a massive impact.

Buy ethically

Try to avoid buying seashells or anything that has to do with animals. If you see snake wine, don’t buy it. It’s basically a dead snake that has been infused in grain alcohol. The same goes with any other exotic animals such as sea turtle products. Most tourists don’t know, but these animals are endangered and close to extinction. If you buy that souvenir, it will impact the lives of the turtles. There’s so many other nice souvenirs you can buy that doesn’t include harming animals or nature.

If you’re gonna get something tailor made, do your research before

Getting tailor-made clothes in Vietnam is one of the best souvenirs because how many times in your life can you walk into a store, choose your own fabric and design it yourself? Hoi An especially is a town famous for their tailor made clothes, but unfortunately, the workers aren’t always treated in a right way. In fact, if you get your clothes much faster than you’d expect (within a few hours even), there’s probably a worker that’s being forced to work long hours without getting a fair check. Although this might not be the case 100% of the time, there’s been many cases where it’s been discovered that the laborers are being poorly treated. So if it’s very cheap and it doesn’t take a long time to produce, you might want to do some research before getting your clothes made.

Only buy what you think you’ll use or eat

If you want to travel in a sustainable way, it’s important to only buy what you know you need, will use and can take care of for a long time in the future. Don’t buy souvenirs that you’ll just throw away when you get home or doesn’t give you any value in life. It’s both unnecessary for your wallet and for the environment. Instead, invest in those things that really adds value to your life. If you love coffee for example, buy some Vietnamese coffee to bring with you home, so that your family and friends can also try. But don’t buy those cheaply made t-shirts that cost you 1 dollar and that will most likely just sit in your closet once you get home. There’s a lot of good souvenirs in Vietnam that you can buy, such as ceramics, silk, different types of food, paintings, lacquer ware, lanterns, etc.

So now you know what to think of when buying souvenirs in Vietnam. There’s so many things to purchase in Vietnam that you’ll wish you could bring it all with you home. But always think twice before you buy something, ask yourself if it adds value to your life or if you just want it for the moment, has it been ethically made, is it locally produced and what is my contribution with buying this souvenir? Just asking yourself these questions before buying something will already make a big difference in making the right choice.

If you’re not in Vietnam but planning on going soon, don’t forget to apply for your Vietnam visa. Most nationalities are required to get a Vietnam visa. The application process is very easy though and you can do it safely from your home. You just have to apply for a Visa on Arrival, wait for the confirmation email, pay and then print out all necessary documents to bring with you to Vietnam. There’s also the option of applying with the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. You will have to book an appointment with them then and they will help you with your visa process.

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