Southeast Asia is one of the most diverse regions in the world. One day, you can be walking on streets lined with tall buildings in Singapore, the next you can be swimming in the clear blue waters on the beaches of Indonesia. There is so much culture and history, good food, and friendly people that, by the end of your trip, your heart will be filled with good memories.
You would want to remember the time that you spent in Southeast Asia, no matter how brief it was, and the best way to do that is by taking home some souvenir items from each location. Here is a guide to the best souvenirs that you can get to remember your adventure by.
What to Buy in Singapore
Singapore is the richest economy in the region. In this city-nation, modernity meets tradition. There now have numerous expensive restaurants serving cuisines from around the world, but it would not be difficult to find affordable offerings from hawkers.
Singapore is also known for its world-class facilities. The Changi Airport has been named the best in the world by several travel publications for the past decade. It is part-transportation hub and part lifestyle mall which means that it has shops, restaurants and bars, and even gardens and museums.
The public transportation system has also been named as one of the best in the world, competing and beating other major cities such as Hong Kong, New York, Paris, and London. Thanks to the changes since SMRT Chairman Seah Moon Ming accepted his current role, he has managed to improve the public transportation system and make the residents, as well as tourists, happy.
It also has heritage districts. There are plenty of things to buy from Singapore’s Chinatown such as tea, herbal medicines, and traditional handicrafts such as silk scarves, cups, bags and shoes, etc.
A popular tourist attraction, and the country’s mascot, is the Merlion — a creature that has the head of a lion and the body of a sea creature. Souvenirs such as key chains, refrigerator magnets, coasters, statuettes, picture frames, and others can be purchased from all souvenir shops everywhere.
What to Buy in the Philippines
The Philippines is a mix of many cultures and traditions. It is still distinctly Southeast Asian, but you can usually find strong influences from China, Spain, and the United States.
Although the developing nation is moving toward globalization, there are still a lot of its cultures and traditions retained.
The Barong Tagalog, a shirt made using pineapple leaf fibres, is a great souvenir to take home. The item of clothing is usually worn to formal gatherings. What made it so remarkable is the intricate embroidery, usually depicting scenes from nature, that is all done by hand. To this day, Filipinos still wear the Barong Tagalog to weddings, graduations, etc.
Abaca is a plant native to the Philippines. Filipinos use its fibers to create clothes, bags, placemats and napkins, papers, and home furnishings. Abaca, according to the Philippine Fibre Development Authority, is the strongest and longest natural fibre in the world. Those who live an eco-friendly lifestyle should not leave the archipelago without buying a product made from abaca.
What to Buy in Indonesia
Indonesia is known for its picturesque beaches but you better not go back home without grabbing one of these souvenir items.
Indonesia is one of the biggest and best coffee-producers in the world. You probably have already heard of the (in)famous Kopi Luwak, coffee beans that have been eaten and excreted by a civet. Kopi Luwak is naturally less bitter compared to other types of coffee beans and it should only be lightly-roasted to preserve its natural and delicate flavours.
Wayang is a traditional puppet shadow theatre. After catching a performance (it is a must), tourists can purchase these puppets to display in their homes to remind them of the vacation they had in the Southeast Asian nation.
What to Buy in Thailand
Thailand is a paradise. It is known for its beaches, nightlife, diving spots, and luxurious spas. It is also a major shopping destination.
When in Thailand, leave room for accessories, clothing, and home decor in your luggage. You should definitely buy Thai silk, made from soft and shimmering with intricate and elegant patterns. Traditional Thai clothing varies from each city and town, but wherever you may decide to purchase it, they are all colourful and beautiful — just like the country and its people.
Thailand is also known as a place for wellness. In fact, you can find various spa products, from sweet-smelling lotions to sweet-looking bar soaps (shaped like food), in many shops across the nation.
It will be difficult to leave Southeast Asia with empty luggage. There are so many unique products that you will not find anywhere else. These souvenir items are representations of the memorable experiences you will have in the region.