I am a practitioner of the travel motto: “Take nothing but pictures; leave nothing but footprints; kill nothing but time“. The added version is “Bring back nothing but memories“.
As a global village, China had become the world factory of consumable goods. In many tourist spots throughout the world, you won’t be surprise that a fair amout of seemingly local souvenirs are actually made-in-China.
So one has to take extra cautions to when buying authentic local souvenirs and handicrafts. Vietnam does have few famous handicrafts and arts, such as silk, laquerware, clothing, war souvenirs etc. Personally, I just look and take ‘photo-memory-gifts’ into my SD card.
I love local market and not fond of tourist shops because they often sell the same goods mass produced elsewhere. All look alike, price differentiated by the store front renovation.
If you have been traveling arond ASEAN countries, you would notice a fair amount of tourist goods are identical.
I do enjoy looking the colorful merchandizes and the texture and artworks of the handicrafts.
In Hanoi, many of the shopping streets are selling similar items. The more interesting area will be the 36 streets in Old Quarter. I stayed near the street that sells musical instruments. There are many musical instruments that I have never seen before. I was a treat when the shop owner demonstrate who some of the instruments sounded. The colorful tubes in the picture below are one of the flute.
The most iconic souvenirs have to be the cone hat and water puppets.
Every where I turned to there were nice colors and textures.
To me, many of the souvenirs and handicrafts are on the expensive end. One of the reasonable chain of gift shops is “Craft Link”. It is non-profit organization helping the craftmen to earn a living without loosing the profit unnecessary to the traders instead of the artists.
Next, I will share with you some artifacts showcase in the museums.