Buyers Guide: Hoi An Best Souvenirs
This is a town with a fantastic history. For instance, it was one of the biggest trading ports in the 17th century with the Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese, and Japanese all trading here. Hoi An has a colourful history, given its many invasions and their leftover influences on the town. It is from this interesting past that the resulting artistry here is so diverse. Therefore setting Hoi An apart from its neighbouring cities for buying unique, quality, authentic souvenirs.
Consequently, due to the constant flow of tourists in Hoi An, souvenirs are in high demand. But the sheer amount of shops and souvenirs available can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. So in this guide, we’ve narrowed down where to shop for the best Hoi An souvenirs, both for budget shoppers and those seeking a one-of-a-kind quality piece.
- Hoi An Souvenirs: What To Buy?
- Some Traditional Products:
- Leather: Custom or Pre-Made
- Silk: Custom or premade
- Jewellery: Silver, Crystals, and Unique Designs
- Art: Lacquer Paintings, Embroidery, Pottery, and More
- Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate
- Charitable Souvenirs in Hoi An
- Hidden’s Thoughts
Hoi An Souvenirs: What To Buy?
This handicraft city’s location on the central coast of Vietnam, in addition to its fair prices, make Hoi An a hub for international and domestic tourists to get their souvenir shopping fix. A lot of souvenirs are made here in Hoi An and shipped around Vietnam. Therefore in many cases, it may pay to wait to do your souvenir shopping here in Hoi An. It’s likely to be cheaper too, because you are sourcing them directly, and there will be a wider variety on offer.
So in narrowing down your search, you first need to consider what souvenirs would be most memorable, to you personally, from Hoi An. For instance, the most commonly shopped items here are: lanterns; leather, silk, and other tailored goods; coffee and tea; jewellery; as well as dried fruits and meats.
From here, determine if you want a cheaper generic souvenir, a one-of-a-kind and therefore naturally higher-priced souvenir; a charitable keepsake; or a souvenir made with memories or experience (i.e., one you make yourself in a workshop). For a more in-depth guide on craft workshops in Hoi An, read this article.
One-Stop Shops: Hoi An’s Markets
A one-stop shop is a place that offers all Hoi An’s most-frequently-bought items in one, compressed space. Hidden’s go-to one-stop shops include the Hoi An Night Market (5 p.m. – 10 p.m. Daily) and the Central Market ( 5 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daily), and its surrounding stalls and shops. Expect to find anything from faux leather and silk, to fruit shirts, paper lanterns, dried fish and shredded pork, ground coffee, and even custom-shoe tailors. So the prices for souvenirs here are generally lower than elsewhere in Hoi An (less than 100,000 VND or 4.30 USD). Because the items are mass-produced, bargaining is highly encouraged. You can read more about the markets in our article here.
Where prices are not fixed, start bargaining at half the price offered, anticipating the final price will meet somewhere in the middle. But don’t be scared to walk away if the price is not right, knowing the same item will likely be at the next shop over.
Bargaining can be viewed as a foreign, uncomfortable process for Westerners, but don’t forget this is how the Vietnamese have been operating successfully for centuries. Above all keep the process light-hearted, and you’ll both get what you desire. Also remember what you’re bargaining over, too—for instance, the price of a cup of coffee back home could likely feed a whole Vietnamese family here.
Some Traditional Products:
Xu Dang Trong
Named after the traditional Vietnamese plays featuring painted masks, this is the largest home and original trading centre of the Old Town. The shop puts on workshops for mask painting and lantern building. But it also sells all sorts of cultural, locally-made and unique to Hoi An souvenirs for a reasonable price. Although more expensive than the mass-produced options in the markets.
Jade musical instruments, natural hygiene products, silk scarves, modern Swedish and tribal pottery, traditional masks, and more await the lucky shopper who gets to take home an item. The shop also puts on art exhibitions and has a beautiful cafe in the courtyard.
While lanterns can be purchased on just about any corner and every market in Hoi An, Lantern Alley (located on Nguyen Hue Street, to the left of Miss Ly Vietnamese Restaurant) is the most pleasing in terms of avoiding crowds and allowing a non-rushed, one-on-one interaction with the seller and reasonable prices for your iconic Hoi An souvenir.
The smaller selection, compared to larger lantern stores, makes the searching process less overwhelming. Bargaining is highly encouraged here as initial prices can be very high. The fabric and structure are good quality, and the lanterns break down for easy transportation and shipping. For an in-depth guide to buying lanterns, check out our article here.
Leather: Custom or Pre-Made
Friendly Shoe Shop
Address – 18 Tran Phu – Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. daily
Friendly is reputable for having 100% genuine leather. Their slogan is “No Like, No Pay,” a reassuring promise if you choose to have a bag or shoes tailored. The prices are also reasonable, around 3,000,000 VND (130 USD) for a duffel bag and 1,200,000 VND (52 USD) for a small bag or purse. So if you want a tailored leather bag or shoes, bring in any photo or design, and the staff will negotiate a price with you. The company has three locations situated close together in the Old Town district.
Address – 22 Tran Phu – Hours: 8:30 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. daily
Buffalo Leather Shop offers a wide selection of belts, jackets, bags, and shoes. in addition, the sellers are patient and helpful. They will custom-make an identical copy of any leather item you choose from a photo—in just one day. Not to mention, the price is a quarter of what you might find back home for the same, if not better quality and durability.
Silk: Custom or premade
Hoi An Silk Village
The Silk Village is a unique opportunity to witness and learn about the production of silk making. Although their primary purpose is to take visitors on tours through the step-by-step process, they also have a colourful, reputable and luxurious gift shop filled with authentic, locally-made goods straight from the factory. The prices are relatively high, but customers can ensure that their purchased goods, be it tailored or premade, are high-quality and long-lasting. Read more about the tours and gift shop in our dedicated Silk Village article here.
BeBe Tailor specialises in custom-tailored silk and cashmere products. We visited BeBe 1, the largest of the three stores in the Old Town, which had a large selection of fabrics and styles. The staff is welcoming, guiding you through the production process, and is only too happy to adjust to your designs and interests. High-quality materials are sourced locally for your bespoke attire. BeBe Tailor has a strong customer service focus—you are guaranteed to leave their shop 100% happy with your purchase. Read our article about their custom Ao Dai.
aN also displays a simple design but with a Japanese twist. Although the designer is Vietnamese, he is inspired and influenced by traditional Japanese styles. He also sells hand-stitched leather bags. His unique fusion fashion ensures that you won’t find his style anywhere else. Thus making it the perfect place to shop for a unique Hoi An souvenir. Through the dimly lit store and the courtyard lies Tadioto, a popular Japanese restaurant and whiskey bar.
Address – 107 Tran Cao Van – Hours: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily
Le Mi is a favourite boutique for those who value simplistic design, linen, and locally-made goods. The owner is frequently on-site, which is rare in the case of boutiques. She is has a genuine interest in making a connection with her customers, as she is in selling her items. She designs both the men and women’s clothing and has two Vietnamese tailors that share her vision and are very skilled in their work. You can get any of her designs specially tailored in any colour of your choice.
Jewellery: Silver, Crystals, and Unique Designs
Cotic Art Gallery
Address – 60 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Hours: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Cotic Art Gallery is not only enjoyed by art lovers but also by jewellery seekers. Located in the back of their store are tables decorated with unique, handcrafted brass-like jewellery with varied crystals and designs on them. The sales ladies are traditionally dressed, ready to serve you tea as you browse the selection or relax in the courtyard, and there’s no pressure on customers to buy, you can take your time choosing.
Gemstones Art Museum (GAM)
GAM is a must-see, regardless of what is on the shopping list. The museum showcases breathtaking, massive gem clusters in its most natural state. Accompanying the two-story gallery is a cocktail bar, then followed by a high-security, shimmering “gift shop” catering to high-end budgets. Here you can buy rings, bracelets, earrings, and necklaces, as well as handcrafted gemstone paintings. Anticipate high costs, but expect to find some smaller pieces priced as low as 500,000 VND (23 USD).
Lac Viet is a custom-made jewellery store mostly known amongst expat locals but is growing in popularity around Hoi An’s silver enthusiasts. The prices are competitive, the staff is patient and helpful, the process is quick, and the options are extensive. They use silver, gold, and diamonds to craft your ideal souvenir just in the back of their Hoi An shop, and it’s almost as if the workers are on display for the customers. If you bring a design (on paper or in your mind), the shop can have it made in just a couple of days.
Art: Lacquer Paintings, Embroidery, Pottery, and More
The March Gallery is an expat-owned gallery representing local, modern artists, both Vietnamese and foreign. The gallery offers a refreshing change from the famous traditional Vietnamese styles displayed in most other galleries. It holds a varied range of souvenirs here from earrings, necklaces, paintings, illustrations, scarves, and calendars of Hoi An. All of which can be purchased at the shop. Anyone interested in getting creative during their travels can even find travel-size watercolour kits and other mediums.
Art Space is a creative collaboration between the luxury Anantara Hotel, the March Gallery, and the Precious Heritage Museum. The art (curated by Bridget March of the March Gallery) is original and varied with local and resident international artists. Paintings, etchings, photography, and tribal sculptures adorn the walls—and all the works are for sale. It’s here that you can find that unique high-end souvenir from Hoi An to treasure back home. The space also holds regular events including creative writing classes, painting, and art and wine initiatives.
Art Space has a menu that is diverse and innovative as the art it houses. The indoor space, home to the art, houses a large airy restaurant. The outdoor terrace area houses Hoi An’s only wood-fired pizza. The area provides covered street-side dining. When it does rain, you can still eat “al fresco.” Art Space is well-managed with excellent friendly staff and room to move.
Fine Arts Handicraft Workshop
Address – 41 Le Loi – Hours: 8 a.m. – 9:30 p.m. daily
Fine Arts Handicraft Workshop mixes tailoring with visual art. It is a unique site because the gallery not only displays the embroidered art, but the artisans work diligently in the centre of the gallery so that you can watch. The intricate detail can raise a large image to an understandably high price, but this Hoi An gallery also sells smaller images for 800,000 VND (35 USD), which are still very impressive souvenirs.
Address – 124 Tran Cao Van – Hours: 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. daily
Nam Tran offers a wide selection of antiques and modern ceramics scattered throughout the store with no apparent organisation. The search for the perfect item is exciting, like a treasure hunt, and you’re sure to leave with a piece or set that fits any collection back home. There are no set prices, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to bargain with the sales lady, who is quite reasonable. She even has a pile of vintage pottery for under 20,000 VND (.85 USD).
Coffee, Tea, and Chocolate
Hoa Champa Coffee and Tea
Hoa Champa imports all their coffee and delicate chocolates from Da Lat. Their tea comes from various regions of Vietnam, with the most famous being the green tea from the North. The workers are all helpful, allowing you to take in a whiff of each product. The shop sells local chocolate other than Marou for those chocolate lovers who want something new.
A one-stop shop for those looking for a coffee filter or tea set to accompany their aromatic goods. They sell weasel coffee here, for those who want a unique souvenir while shopping in Hoi An. Teas are paired with dried herbs like ginger, and flowers, such as chrysanthemum and rose. The health benefits of each tea clearly displayed on the walls.
Cocobana Tea Rooms and Garden
Address – 16 Nguyen Thai Hoc – Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Closed on Mondays)
Cocobana – a quiet, serene place, hidden in the outskirts of the Old Town, far from the daytime hustle and bustle. It’s an authentic experience to enjoy tea tasting here and an excellent opportunity to taste the product before you purchase it. The owner has travelled all over Vietnam sampling teas and ensures that the shop’s customers are not disappointed. Various brands and herbal teas, decorated in smiling faces, line the walls. The shop also sells a unique chocolate brand.
Charitable Souvenirs in Hoi An
Villagecraft Planet is a store dedicated to supporting the hill tribes of Vietnam. They purchase their beautifully designed textiles and transform them into modern souvenirs like pillowcases, scarves, and toddler’s clothes.
Reaching Out Arts and Crafts
Even if you don’t drink tea but want to support a good cause, Reaching Out Tea House in Hoi An’s Old Town sells all sorts of souvenirs, from tea sets to jewellery, clothes, journals, and more. The proceeds go to people with disabilities. Their slogan “Gifts that give twice,” shows this organisation gives back to the disabled community and also supports fair-trade, sustainable and locally owned products too.
Hidden Hint: The exterior of this building is stunning and worth standing outside for a post-purchase photograph.
Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum
Address – 26 Duong Phan Boi Chau – Hours: 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. daily
Resident French photographer Réhahn created the Precious Heritage Art Gallery Museum. It is arguably one of the greatest collections of Vietnamese culture in the whole country, with brilliant portrait photographs and traditional costumes from the remaining tribes.
To ensure the preservation of these cultures, Rehanh established the “Giving Back” program, in which his proceeds help sustain these tribes. Postcards of the photographs are the cheapest route for a souvenir of Hoi An to send to friends and family during your travels or frame for personal home decoration. He also has a gallery in the centre of the Old Town, where he sells large-scale original prints for a heftier price. Read more about the gallery in our article here.
There’s no better way to remember an experience than with a souvenir, and there’s no better souvenir to remember than an experience where you actually create your own while in Hoi An. Thankfully, Hoi An is very conscious of this, and a collection of artisans from all artistries are ready to share their skills with you to create the most memorable souvenir.
The most commonly booked workshops involve building traditional bamboo and silk lanterns, which you can read about here as Hidden’s already narrowed down the best lantern workshops for your time and money. Hoi An also offers workshops including pottery, bamboo and wood sculpting, leathercraft, Vietnamese masks, painting, sedge mat making, and photography.
This artisan city is not only inspiring to the creative mind but unforgettable. The glowing lanterns and locals are sure to make this trip one you’ll never want to forget. We at Hidden know that the perfect souvenir can go a long way to capturing those memories of Hoi An forever.
Whatever your budget, our guide makes it possible for you to take home a quality memoir of your time here in beautiful Hoi An, while having fun doing it. Using our guide, explore the shops and galleries of Hoi An a little further, indulge in a workshop, stop for a drink or bite to eat, and enjoy your time hunting down those perfect souvenirs.