While souvenirs are a fun way to remember your travels, mass-produced trinkets have a negative environmental impact. Vietnam, with its rich artisanal traditions and a growing focus on sustainability, offers fantastic alternatives for the conscious traveler.


What to Look For

  • Handcrafted: Goods made by skilled artisans preserve traditional techniques and directly support local communities.


  • Natural Materials: Choose products made from bamboo, recycled wood, sustainably sourced textiles, or natural fibers like water hyacinth.
  • Upcycled Treasures: Items ingeniously repurposed from discarded materials give a second life to waste, diverting it from landfills.
  • Social Enterprises: Businesses focused on empowering marginalized communities or employing traditional craft villages.



Where to Find Conscious Shopping

  • Craft Villages: Visit villages specializing in lacquerware, ceramics, silk weaving, or wood carving. Buy directly from the artisans.
  • Ethical Boutiques: Shops in major cities curate collections of sustainably-made fashion, homewares, and accessories. Seek out fair-trade certifications.
  • Social Enterprise Projects: Find unique crafts made by disadvantaged groups or those employing traditional techniques in at-risk areas.
  • Markets (with Discernment): Ben Thanh Market and similar places have local crafts, but be prepared to bargain and ask about the origin of products.



Standout Sustainable Finds

  • Handwoven Baskets: Colorful baskets from ethnic minority groups are practical and stylish.
  • Lacquerware Home Decor: Vibrant bowls, trays, and decorative objects elevate any space.
  • Upcycled Accessories: Jewelry crafted from old coins or bags made from recycled materials.
  • Bamboo Everything: From straws to kitchen utensils, bamboo is a versatile, eco-friendly alternative.
  • Organic Coffee & Chocolate: Support sustainable farms and bring home a taste of Vietnam.


Tips for Responsible Shopping

  • Ask Questions: Engage with shop owners or artisans about materials and production methods.
  • Price Check: Truly handcrafted items with quality materials shouldn't be dirt cheap.
  • Leave No Trace: Choose packaging-free items or bring your own reusable tote.


Your Purchases Make a Difference

By choosing sustainable souvenirs, you directly support local communities, preserve Vietnamese craft traditions, and promote a more responsible approach to travel.