Buying a souvenir may seem like a trivial task, but it requires a certain level of finesse to fully understand the recipient in order to get the perfect gift for them. And when it comes to a truly cultural destination like Vietnam, the task becomes exponentially more difficult.
But fret not, for there is one iconic Vietnamese souvenir that will surely be appreciated by most people back home.
The Iconic Nón Lá
If you’ve ever travelled to Vietnam, you would have undoubtedly come across this highly recognizable headwear — particularly during the return leg of your trip, where most tourists will be carrying a few of these conical hats on the plane ride home.
Referred to as leaf hat or Nón Lá by the locals, the conical hat is one of the country’s most enduring cultural symbols. The appearance of the hats date back at least three millennia and is truly steeped in cultural and historical significance. Plus, they’re hella practical too as the handwoven bamboo- or palm leaf-based Nón Lá may be used for protection against rain or shine.
As a fashion item, Vietnam’s traditional dresses (called Áo Dài) are the perfect accompaniment to Nón Lá. And the traditional leaf hats are also used as a fashion accessory when attending festivals or visiting places of worship.
Certainly, the humble Nón Lá does indeed make for a worthy and novel Vietnamese souvenir.