Famous for quilts that blend ancient techniques like batik printing with embroidery in garish neon colours, Vietnam's ethnic minority handicrafts have become a big hit in recent years. To ensure the craftspeople are earning a fair wage for their products, buy from one of Hanoi's fair trade shops. The gift shops at the Ethnology Museum and Craftlink on 43 Van Mieu have particularly good selections.
Excluding the dominant Kinh, Vietnam is home to 53 ethnic groups living mostly in the northwest mountains of the country. Each group has its own distinctively designed costumes and crafts. In Hanoi, you can find handicrafts and clothes for sale from many of Vietnam's ethnic groups. Goods such as cushion covers, caps, embroidered wall hangings, batik patches and shoulder cloths made from thick, dyed cotton and hemp are readily available.