What to Pack for Vietnam?
Vietnam is a beautiful country that thousands of people flock to every year. This Southeast Asian country is a popular tourist destination thanks to the tropical islands, rich history, and beautiful beaches.
Another significant aspect is that Vietnam is a great spot for those looking for a vacation on a budget, as the touristy elements come in many different styles and at different prices. However, you’ll still need to be prepared on your end.
It is almost always hot and humid, as it is a tropical island, and there are some cultural expectations that everyone needs to be aware of when they visit specific locations. Luckily for you, we come recommending some specific items you’ll want to pack for a trip to Vietnam.
Essential Vietnam Packing List
Much of Vietnam’s sightseeing is done on foot or by public transport, so you’ll want to keep a thick-strapped backpack on-hand and ready to go at all times. Keep your essentials in there, like your sunscreen, water bottle, a spare change of clothes, some snacks, and some spare change while walking around.
Be sure to also leave some room for some of the items you buy from local shops and vendors on the road so that you can safely store them in your backpack until you reach wherever it is you’re staying.
When you aren’t walking through the streets of Vietnam’s cities and towns, you’ll likely be taking some form of transportation to get to destinations that are further away. If you aren’t lucky enough to land yourself a car for personal use on the roads, you’ll likely want to use the very popular public transport system.
While they often offer air conditioning and comfortable seating, a travel pillow goes a long way towards keeping your head and neck comfortable, and you might even be able to catch a few winks of sleep during those hours-long trips.
Vietnam is a busy city with a busy nightlife, so light sleepers should bring with them a good set of earplugs to block out the general noise pollution you might experience. This can also be a great help should you be sharing a hostel with others who might be loud sleepers.
With how popular hostels and hotels are in Vietnam, you can understand from a business standpoint why they don’t offer towels, as they can make quite a bit of money from charging you extra for those amenities.
However, it remains an annoying factor for tourists, so a quick-dry towel is recommended for when you’re taking showers in your hostel. It can also be a significant benefit during the monsoon season when the rain pours for days on end.
In line with the monsoon season, where rains fall unending for a few days and can soak everything to its core, a lightweight and waterproof jacket is a must should you be visiting around this time of year.
Even then, rain can come and go at random intervals around the year, so it may be handy to do as the locals do and keep a plastic poncho on hand for when the rain starts to fall out of nowhere.
There’s no avoiding it, unfortunately. Whether it comes from a stomach bug from unclean water or a different cuisine you haven’t experienced before, diarrhea can be a problem you’ll have to face.
Most of the time, it will pass in a short while, once whatever is causing it has flushed from your system. Some medication or treatments will be beneficial, especially when on the move, and bathrooms or drug stores might not be close by.
If you’re interested in more cultural aspects and want to visit the various temples and pagodas around Vietnam, modest clothing is a must to gain entry.
Even with the heat, it is more culturally appropriate to dress conservatively, with skirts and pants that go below the knees, and keep your shoulders and legs as covered as possible. Avoid cotton clothing, as this will make you uncomfortable in the hot and humid climate.
Different Types of Shoes
You’ll want two types of shoes generally. First, you’ll want a pair of durable walking shoes that are closed-toe and comfortable for walking around for many hours. You’ll need to keep your feet blister-free and protected from the various elements.
Additionally, a pair of nice flip-flops can serve you well should durable shoes not be your style and should the heat not be so accommodating. You’ll be able to let your feet breathe and keep cool, and they are easy to take off when in temples, bars, or restaurants where it’s more acceptable to do so.
During the day, when the sun is beating down on you, you’ll need protection from those harmful UV rays. Get some high SPF solution sunscreen, light clothing, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face and neck.
Malaria isn’t a common issue in Vietnam, but insects are pests in the hot and humid climate. A more common viral infection is Dengue fever, which has regular outbreaks in urban environments thanks to insects being attracted to hot, sweating humans. Keep some repellent on you at all times, and put some on each morning before setting out and each night before going to bed.
Tiger Balm/Cortisone Cream
Even with repellent, insect and mosquito bites can’t be 100% prevented. For this reason, keep some tiger balm or cortisone cream on hand to prevent these bites from getting infected with something worse. Gently apply and rub over the bite, and soon, any itches, pain, swelling, and discomfort should subside.
Vietnam is a beautiful location with beautiful beaches and oceans, lively urban environments, rich culture and history, and interesting touristy spots to enjoy. Sure, it may not be the fanciest of places to visit, but still, the exotic feel of some of the locations and tourist traps can be more than enough to entice anyone looking for a good vacation to someplace unlike anything they’ve experienced before.