This 3D paper cut-out of One-Pillar Pagoda from Vietnam makes for a compact and lightweight souvenir.
When souvenir hunters die, they don’t go to heaven—they go to Vietnam. Trust me, I’ve seen souvenir action in Vietnam—not once, but twice. In tourist traps all over the country, kiosks groan under the collective weight of a million enticements—there’s a lot of handicraft, paper lanterns, some stunning artwork, crocodile leather bags, belts and wallets, the now ubiquitous civet coffee, as well as outliers like snake wine. Souvenirs have their seasons and they rise and ebb like the tides. The bring-me-backs of the moment seem to be these gorgeous 3D paper cut-out greeting cards and I found them popping up all over Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Subjects include iconic objects (like cyclos), scenes (Christmas) and attractions (like this one I snagged of Hanoi’s One-Pillar Pagoda, the original dating from 1049). Don’t insult the peddler by not bargaining: it’s a national sport. I paid just a dollar for mine. It’s compact and lightweight too, which can be an important consideration when you’re a recovering souvenir addict like me.