Many friends of mine, when they travel to Halong Bay or even they are planning a trip to explore Halong Bay, all come up with the same question: “What should we buy as gifts for our friends and family?”. Souvenirs are tough to buy. As well, so much of the stuff that grabs the eye is too heavy and too big for transport.
In Halong, there are souvenirs of a diverse variety: local arts and crafts from coal, wood, horn items, brocade and embroidered items, glassware, porcelain and sea products (pearls, sea shells etc.). You will of course find the classic Halong Bay pictures, photographic accessories, and postcards.
However, everyone loves something unique and extraordinary. Therefore, in this blog I’ll try to bring you the most interesting Halong Bay souvenirs you’ve never seen before.
Fine handicraft coal statues
Traditional souvenirs of Quang Ninh are porcelain, ceramics, embroidery and arts and crafts from coal. These products are made of Anthracite coal which is extremely hard, and tough in formation. However, Quang Ninh craftsmen gently turn them into valuable artworks.
Creating fine handcrafted coal products is a sophisticated process including many stages. First of all, craftsmen have to find qualified materials which is Anthracite coal then saw into different forms based on the size of outputs. Next step also the most intense step is perforating and hewing coal. It’s pretty similar to what you saw in wood design process but coal is more crunchy and hard to adjust. Therefore, just a tiny mistake would make the products broken. The final step is grinding the raw outputs to make it more dazzling and gentle.
Most popular products are Fighting Cock Islet coal statues and Ancient Vietnamese junk boats – two symbols of the UNESCO Halong Bay World Heritage site. There are many types of designs for you to choose such as a Buddha statue, Trong Dong statue – Traditional Vietnamese bronze drum, buffalo, etc. The awesome point is that you can choose shapes and order your own statue! You can easily find this kind of Halong Bay souvenir in Halong Market, the night market, or any souvenir kiosk nearby.
Spirivalve and seashell jewelry
You will immediately wonder why i put these things as unique souvenirs, right? “This is not extraordinary, I’ve seen it many times at other sea tourism spots in Vietnam. Nothing special!”. Hold on, hold on. Normal things expressed in an impressive way will work just fine.
You know what I mean after taking a glance at the picture above, don’t you? When you’re cruising in Halong Bay, Bai Tu Long Bay or Lan Ha Bay, or even visiting the floating villages among the three bays, you’ll end up at this kind of unique souvenir shop. Big pearl shells, amazing conch shapes and keychains are great gifts for your friends and family.
Pearls and pearl art
The destination of these exclusive stuffs is Pearl Farm in Halong Bay. If you would like to know how a cultured pearl is created, this is a good place to visit as it clearly demonstrates how this is done from beginning to end. It also shows jewellery being created using the pearls. There is a shop with a wide range of products. The only negative point is that it may cost you too much. Therefore, remember to bring your wallet!
Vietnamese Rice grain painting
Rice is an indispensable part of every Vietnamese. It’s one of the most important food crops in the world and an important part of Asian culture. By the creative and intelligent mindset of Vietnamese artists, they have created a one of a kind masterpiece made of rice.
Rice grains are selected carefully according to colors and size. Masters can achieve subtle transition from one color to another by frying rice grains under the proper heat. Creating a beautiful rice painting requires lots of devotion and patience. It takes from six to twelve days to create a rice grain painting of 80cm x120cm. Of course, the larger picture, the more time is spent on it.
Otherwise, you can buy many beautiful items as usual at souvenir shops, kiosks in Halong Market, the night market or any tourism spots such as Thien Cung Grotto, Bai Chay Port. In conclusion, I hope that you will find perfect and meaningful gifts from our country, Vietnam.