What Should I Bring When Traveling to Vietnam? A Comprehensive List

Last Updated on 28 April, 2024 by admin

Vietnam is a vibrant destination known for its lush landscapes, bustling cities, and rich history. The country stretches over a thousand kilometers from north to south, leading to a variety of climates. Northern Vietnam experiences all four seasons, with a chilly winter and a hot summer, while southern Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate with a wet and a dry season. Central Vietnam, meanwhile, is subject to the wind patterns of both the north and the south, which can lead to heavy rainfall, particularly during the monsoon season.

The cultural norms of Vietnam are deeply rooted in respect and community, often reflected in local customs, such as dress codes at religious sites and traditional festivals. To fully enjoy and respect the diversity of experiences Vietnam offers, it’s essential to pack appropriately. Whether trekking in the rugged terrains of Sapa, exploring the ancient architecture of Hoi An, or sunbathing in the serene beaches of Phu Quoc, having the right items in your suitcase will ensure a comfortable and respectful interaction with both the environment and the local people. This guide will help you prepare for your journey across Vietnam’s distinct regions, catering to both the weather you will encounter and the activities you plan to enjoy.

Essential Travel Documents

When traveling to Vietnam, carrying the correct documents is crucial to ensure a smooth experience both upon arrival and throughout your stay. Here’s a detailed guide to the essential travel documents you should bring:

  1. Passport and Visa: Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date from Vietnam. Depending on your nationality, you may need a visa to enter Vietnam. Visas can be obtained from Vietnamese embassies or consulates before travel or through various online visa services that provide a visa on arrival approval letter. Always check the latest visa regulations specific to your country before traveling.
  2. Travel Insurance Documents: Having comprehensive travel insurance is vital for covering unexpected medical expenses, trip cancellations, or baggage losses. Carry copies of your insurance policy and the contact information for your insurance provider. Ensure your policy covers health care abroad and any specific activities you plan to engage in, such as motorbiking or water sports.
  3. Flight and Accommodation Bookings: Print or save electronic copies of your flight tickets and accommodation bookings. These documents are often required at immigration checkpoints to verify your travel plans within Vietnam. They can also be helpful when arranging transport from airports or train stations to your place of stay.
  4. Health and Vaccination Records: Depending on the time and your travel itinerary, certain vaccinations may be recommended or required for entry into Vietnam. Carry a record of your vaccinations, especially for diseases such as Yellow Fever, which is required if you are traveling from a country where it is endemic. Additionally, if you have any particular medical conditions, carry a letter from your doctor describing your condition and the medication, including their generic names, as some medications might not be readily available in Vietnam.

Having these documents organized and easily accessible will help mitigate most bureaucratic hurdles during your travel, allowing you to focus more on enjoying the diverse and rich experiences that Vietnam has to offer.

Clothing and Footwear

When packing for Vietnam, selecting the right clothing and footwear is essential to comfortably navigate its varied geography and respect local customs. Here’s a detailed guide on what to include in your suitcase:

  1. Lightweight and Breathable Clothing: Vietnam’s climate can be hot and humid, especially during the summer months. Opt for lightweight, breathable fabrics like cotton or linen to stay cool. Include long-sleeved shirts and long pants to protect against the sun and mosquitoes, especially if you’re visiting rural areas or going on nature treks.
  2. Footwear for Different Activities:
    • Hiking: If your itinerary includes trekking in places like Sapa or Ha Giang, durable, comfortable hiking boots are a must. Ensure they are well-broken in to avoid blisters.
    • Walking in Cities: Comfortable walking shoes or sneakers are ideal for exploring cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The streets can be uneven and busy, so good support and cushioning will help you keep up with the pace.
    • Beach: For coastal areas such as Nha Trang or Phu Quoc, bring flip-flops or sandals suitable for sand and water activities.
  3. Cultural Considerations: Vietnam is a culturally conservative country, especially in rural areas and religious sites. When visiting temples or pagodas, dress modestly by covering your shoulders and knees. A scarf or shawl can be useful for quick cover-ups when entering such sites. In rural areas, it’s respectful to avoid overly revealing clothing to align with local norms.

By packing appropriately for the weather, activities, and cultural settings you anticipate, you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy everything Vietnam has to offer, from its bustling cities to tranquil countryside.

Weather-Specific Items

When traveling to Vietnam, it’s crucial to pack weather-specific items to handle the diverse climatic conditions you might encounter across different regions:

  1. Rain Gear for the Monsoon Season: Vietnam’s monsoon season can bring heavy rainfall, particularly from May to October. Equip yourself with a durable raincoat or a waterproof poncho that covers you adequately. Waterproof bags or backpack covers are also essential to protect your electronics and personal items from getting soaked.
  2. Sun Protection for Tropical Southern Regions: The sun in Vietnam can be intense, especially in the southern parts and coastal areas like Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta. To guard against sunburn and heatstroke, bring high SPF sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and UV-protection sunglasses. Reapplying sunscreen regularly and staying hydrated are key to enjoying your time outdoors.
  3. Warmer Layers for Cooler Northern Regions: If you’re visiting the northern regions, such as Hanoi or the mountains of Sapa during the winter months (November to February), the weather can be quite cool, and temperatures can drop significantly in the evenings. Packing warmer layers such as sweaters, a lightweight fleece, and a windproof jacket will help keep you comfortable. Consider also bringing a warm hat and gloves if you plan to explore the outdoor landscapes during these colder months.

By preparing for these weather conditions with the appropriate gear, you can ensure a comfortable and enjoyable trip, whether you’re navigating the bustling city streets or exploring Vietnam’s stunning natural landscapes.

Health and Safety Supplies

When planning a trip to Vietnam, prioritizing your health and safety is essential. Here are some key supplies to include in your packing list:

  1. First Aid Kit: Prepare a travel-sized first aid kit that includes antiseptic wipes or creams, a variety of band-aids for minor cuts and scrapes, and insect repellent to ward off mosquitoes, especially important in rural or forested areas. Also, pack any personal medications you need, along with general pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
  2. Vaccinations and Preventative Medicines: Consult your doctor about necessary vaccinations well before your departure. Common recommendations for Vietnam include Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, and tetanus. Depending on your itinerary, you may also need malaria prophylaxis, particularly if visiting rural areas. Consider bringing medication for altitude sickness if you plan to hike in high-altitude regions like Sapa.
  3. Hydration and Food Safety: Staying hydrated is crucial in Vietnam’s warm climate. Carry a reusable water bottle that you can fill with bottled water. To avoid food poisoning, be cautious with street food; opt for vendors where you can see food being cooked at high temperatures and where there is a high turnover of fresh produce. Avoid raw vegetables, shellfish, and any food that has been sitting out in the heat. Always wash your hands before eating and consider carrying hand sanitizer for times when soap and water aren’t available.

By packing these health and safety supplies, you’ll be better equipped to handle minor health issues on your own and enjoy a safer travel experience throughout Vietnam.

Tech and Gadgets

When packing tech and gadgets for your trip to Vietnam, it’s essential to consider both functionality and convenience. Here’s a guide to the essentials:

  1. Mobile Phone and Charger: Your mobile phone is likely your most crucial gadget. Make sure to bring an appropriate charger, and consider a phone case that protects against drops and water, given the variable weather conditions in Vietnam.
  2. Power Bank and Universal Adapter: A reliable power bank can be a lifesaver on long bus rides or when exploring remote areas. Vietnam uses Type A, C, and D plugs, typically at 220V. A universal travel adapter will ensure you can charge your devices anywhere.
  3. Camera Equipment and Memory Cards: If you’re planning to capture the stunning landscapes and vibrant street life, bring a good quality camera along with spare batteries and memory cards. The humidity can affect equipment, so consider a waterproof or resistant bag to protect your gear.
  4. Optional Travel Apps: Enhance your travel experience by downloading helpful apps before you depart. Maps.me or Google Maps can help you navigate the cities and countryside, while translation apps like Google Translate can break down language barriers. Additionally, apps for ride-sharing services like Grab can simplify transportation.

By organizing your tech and gadgets effectively, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable travel experience, keeping you connected and ready to capture every moment of your adventure in Vietnam.

Money and Financial Tools

When traveling to Vietnam, managing your finances efficiently is crucial for a hassle-free experience. Here’s what you should consider:

  1. Cash in Local Currency: It’s essential to have some Vietnamese Dong (VND) on hand, as cash transactions are common, especially in smaller towns and local markets. While major cities have currency exchange facilities, better exchange rates might be found in your home country or upon arrival at the airport.
  2. Credit Cards and ATM Availability: Major credit cards are accepted in hotels, restaurants, and many shops in urban areas. However, always have cash as a backup, especially when traveling off the beaten path. ATMs are widely available in cities and can be found near tourist areas, but they may have a withdrawal limit and sometimes run out of cash or incur transaction fees. Check with your bank about international withdrawal fees.
  3. Tips on Handling Money Safely: Always keep your money in a secure place, such as a money belt or a lockable luggage compartment. Be cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs and do so during the day in well-populated areas. It’s also wise to distribute your money in different places to avoid losing everything in case of theft. Be discreet when handling cash in public to avoid drawing attention.

By preparing your finances and knowing how to handle money safely in Vietnam, you can avoid many common travel inconveniences, ensuring a more enjoyable and secure journey.

Personal Items and Toiletries

When packing for Vietnam, including personal items and toiletries in your luggage is essential to maintain comfort and hygiene during your travels. Here’s what you should consider bringing:

  1. Personal Hygiene Products: Essentials such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, and skincare items like moisturizer and lip balm are must-haves. The humid climate can affect your skin, so products suitable for humidity are advisable. Also, include any particular hygiene products you rely on, as specific brands might not be available locally.
  2. Eco-Friendly Toiletries: Opt for environmentally friendly options such as biodegradable soaps and shampoo bars. These products are not only better for the environment but also take up less space in your baggage and reduce the risk of liquid spills.
  3. Optional: Travel-Size Laundry Detergent: Bringing a small packet of laundry detergent or soap leaves can be very handy, especially if you’re traveling for several weeks. Many hotels offer laundry services, but doing a quick wash in your room can save time and money.

By packing these essential personal items and toiletries, you’ll be better prepared for the everyday hygiene needs while traveling in Vietnam, contributing positively to environmental conservation efforts.’


For those venturing to Vietnam, it’s wise to pack some miscellaneous items that will enhance your travel experience and ensure convenience during your explorations. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Lightweight Backpack: A durable yet lightweight backpack is crucial for day trips and excursions. It should be comfortable to carry and have enough space for your essentials like water, snacks, camera, and travel documents. Opt for a water-resistant material if possible to protect your belongings during sudden downpours.
  2. Reusable Water Bottle: Carrying a reusable water bottle is not only environmentally friendly but also practical in Vietnam’s hot climate. You’ll find many hotels and restaurants that can refill your bottle, helping you stay hydrated and reduce plastic usage.
  3. Books or E-Books about Vietnam’s History and Culture: To gain a deeper understanding of the places you visit, consider bringing along some reading material about Vietnam’s rich history and diverse culture. Whether in print or on an e-reader, these resources can provide valuable insights and enhance your appreciation of your travel experiences.

Packing these items will prepare you for a more comfortable and informed journey through Vietnam, allowing you to make the most of your trip while contributing to sustainable travel practices.


As you finalize packing for your adventure in Vietnam, take a moment to review this checklist to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything important:

  • Essential travel documents (passport, visa, travel insurance, and bookings)
  • Suitable clothing and footwear for various activities and cultural settings
  • Weather-appropriate gear such as raincoats and sun protection
  • Health and safety supplies including a first aid kit and any necessary medications
  • Tech gadgets like your mobile phone, camera, and chargers
  • Financial tools including cash in Vietnamese Dong and credit cards
  • Personal items and eco-friendly toiletries
  • Miscellaneous essentials like a lightweight backpack, reusable water bottle, and reading material on Vietnam

Remember, traveling with an open mind and respect for local customs will greatly enhance your experience. Vietnam is a country rich in history and culture, offering unique experiences from its bustling cities to serene landscapes. Embrace each moment, whether you’re exploring ancient temples, tasting local cuisines, or simply enjoying the stunning natural scenery. Enjoy your journey in Vietnam, a land of breathtaking diversity and charm.

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