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The Ultimate Packing List for Vietnam

The Ultimate Packing List for Vietnam

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Packing for travel is always a bit of a pain. After all, there’s a fine line between being prepared and lugging around a heap of stuff that you don’t end up using. This packing list for Vietnam will prepare you for any situation, without needing to pay for overweight fees at the airport.

This packing list for Vietnam includes:

1. A weather guide so you know what weather to expect

2. What to bring to Vietnam for both men and women, regardless of when you’re visiting

So let’s get started, my friends!

Packing List for Vietnam - train st

Vietnam weather guide:

Vietnam has a reputation for hot, humid weather, but the truth is the weather here can vary depending on where you’re going. The length of Vietnam is so long, temperatures can really vary depending on the time of year and place you’re visiting.

For most of the year, there is some part of Vietnam that is experiencing wet season, but to make packing for Vietnam easier for you, I’ve put together a weather guide!

Check out the regions below and pack accordingly!

Packing List for Vietnam - weather table

Now you’ve figured out what the weather’s like when you’re visiting, I’ve put together the ultimate packing list for Vietnam. There’s also a packing list if you’re traveling during the wet season!

Clothing packing list for Vietnam:

Men’s Clothing list:

  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • T-shirts or singlets
  • Shorts
  • Shorts/pants that cover your knees
  • T-shirts or tops that cover your shoulders
  • Light top/sweater (to keep you warm when the air conditioning is a tad too strong)
  • Swimwear
  • Boardshorts/cover-ups for the beach

Women’s Clothing packing list:

  • Underwear
  • Bras
  • Socks
  • T-shirts
  • Shorts and/ skirts
  • Dresses
  • Long skirt or pants that cover your knees
  • T-shirts or tops that cover your shoulders
  • Light top/sweater (to keep you warm when the air conditioning is a tad too strong)
  • Swimwear
  • Beach cover-up

Packing List for Vietnam - my son

  • If you plan on visiting temples in Vietnam: make sure you bring clothes that cover your shoulders and hit below your knee. Many temples require more conservative dress out of respect. If you are traveling to other countries in South East Asia make sure you’re prepared for this, as this is not a Vietnam specific rule!
  • Beachwear: Vietnam is a conservative country, so unless you’re staying at a resort it’s not socially acceptable to walk around in your swimwear unless you’re at a beach. It may be helpful to also bring along a coverup or something you can easily throw on if you need to go for a walk around beach areas.
  • Getting your laundry done: paying to get your clothes washed is pretty affordable in Vietnam. Many hotels offer a cleaning service (which once you account for the exchange rate is pretty affordable considering you’re paying for your clothes to be washed, folded and delivered to your room!) for budget conscious travelers, there are cheaper options where you can take your clothes to a local laundry and they will clean them for you-you just need to pick them up! For this reason, when we visited Vietnam we made the decision to pack less, and take advantage of affordable laundry services.

 

Accessories packing list for Vietnam:

  • Sun hat/cap
  • Sunglasses
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Flip flops

Packing List for Vietnam - ha long bay kayaking

  • Footwear: in order to enter some temples, you may be required to remove your footwear. While I never had anyone steal my shoes in Vietnam, you may want to keep this in mind if you have shoes that you love or would not be able to handle losing.
  • Sun: It can get really sunny here, especially around mid-day to mid-afternoon. Make sure you bring along a cap or sun hat, or if you want to purchase souvenirs, you can buy a “nón lá” which is the traditional conical hat made from straw. They’re also waterproof, so suitable for when it’s sunny or raining!

 

Halong Bay packing list: 

If you’re planning on visiting Halong Bay (regardless of whether this is through an overnight cruise or a day trip) here are some packing suggestions:

  • Bring a set of clothes and shoes you don’t mind getting wet – most cruises offer kayaking as an activity
  • Bring plenty of sunscreen and a hat, as it can get sunny here!
  • If you’re planning on kayaking, it may also help if you have a dry bag for your electronics. Some tour companies provide this, but not all do. We recommend this budget friendly Earth Pak to keep your phone and cameras dry!
  • Bring something that will keep you cold in the evenings – it can get cooler when you’re out on the water!
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:  Bai Tu Long Bay: A Sustainable Halong Bay Alternative

 

Wet season packing list for Vietnam: 

Packing List for Vietnam - hue rain

Traveling during the wet / rainy season: In the past, I’ve made the choice to avoid travel during the local wet season when possible. This time, however, I was swayed by cheap flights ($320 AUD return y’all!) and couldn’t say no. While we were lucky and only experienced a few days where it rained heavily, it was such an experience to see how locals deal with heavy rain.

I know in my home of Melbourne, Australia we often make a big deal of heavy rain, but attitudes are different in Vietnam. You could say they would need to be because heavy rain is such a fixture for many months of the year. What I loved though, was people just got on with things – at home, we would take an uber (instead of public transport) or complain for hours about the rain.

In Vietnam? People still hop on their motorbike, poncho in hand and get on with it. Needless to say, it was somewhat enjoyable seeing a glimpse of this positive attitude.

Packing List for Vietnam - bai tu long bay

 

Far north cold weather packing list for Vietnam: 

  • Warm winter jacket
  • Long sleeved sweaters/jumpers
  • Long (warm) pants
  • Long sleeved tops for layering
  • Hiking boots
  • Hiking socks
  • Beanie/ warm hat (if it’s snowing when you’re going)
  • Gloves (if it’s snowing when you’re going)

The weather in the far north can be really different compared to southern parts of Vietnam. If you’re planning on hiking, you’ll need to make sure you pack accordingly (some tour companies supply specific items so check if you’re heading on a tour!)

The trick to packing for colder weather (and warm weather) is to bring items you can layer. Long sleeved tops you can wear under sweaters or jumpers are also great when you’re in the south and need something warmer if it’s colder in the evenings.

 

Electronics packing list for Vietnam:

On packing power adaptors: Vietnam uses a variety of 2 and 3 prong electrical outlets, so a universal adapter will have you covered for all scenarios. This’ll also save you for future travel adventures – just think, you’ll never need to buy another power adaptor again!

 

Toiletries packing list for Vietnam:

  • Toothpaste + toothbrush
  • Tissues/toilet paper (take some from your hotel so you always have some when you visit the toilet!)
  • Deodorant

 

Health packing list for Vietnam:

  • Diarrhea remedies
  • Feminine hygiene products (tampons can be difficult to source in SE Asia)
  • Any particular medication you might need
  • Insect repellant
  • Sunscreen
  • Cream for bug bites

Packing List for Vietnam - hoi an bridge

  • If you have medication you might need: bring it, along with any supportive prescriptions, doctors letters and your doctor’s phone number. Vietnam has a different market for pharmaceuticals, making it difficult at times to source medications you can quickly get at home. Also, there’s nothing worse than feeling unwell and needing to look for a pharmacy!
  • If you menstruate: tampons can be difficult to find in Vietnam (this is applicable to Southeast Asia more generally). Particularly tampons with applicators are challenging to source. If you know Aunty Flo is visiting, bring what you need!
  • Insect repellant and sunscreen: Vietnam can be hot, humid and sunny. Bring sunscreen to protect your skin and make sure to slather on insect repellant – especially around dusk and dawn. While malaria is not super common in Vietnam, it’s still a possibility! Dengue fever is also common (I had an aunt who had dengue – it’s worth slathering on insect repellent to avoid this). Regardless of the time of year, it’s worth bringing along both sunscreen and insect repellant – look after yo-self!
  • If purchasing new sunscreen: make sure you buy reef friendly sunscreen, as the ingredients in traditional sunscreen can result in the bleaching / the death of coral reefs around the world!
  • If purchasing new insect repellant: opt for DEET free where possible. DEET is a common ingredient in insect repellant which has a somewhat controversial (i.e. mixed!) reputation for the impact on human health.

 

For my environmentally conscious friends, add the following to your Vietnam packing list:

Packing List for Vietnam - zero waste

Treating the environment as kindly as possible is one of my side passions. If you want to reduce your environmental impact when traveling, it’s a lot easier than you’d think – especially in Vietnam! Plastic is pretty standard here, but by refusing plastic bags and straws, you can have a significant impact (even as an individual!) For those who want to learn more about traveling responsibly in Vietnam, check out my guide to responsible travel in Vietnam here!

I always say for people who are planning trips overseas and having issues with packing, make sure you check the weather forecast right before you leave. Estimated seasons are guidelines, and sometimes seasons run a bit longer or even shorter compared to the previous year.

Also, everyone is used to different weather – what I find cold, you might not find cold! So adopt my Vietnam packing list to your preferences.

And there you have it – my ultimate packing list for Vietnam.

Are you traveling to Vietnam? What time are you visiting?

What will you be adding to your Vietnam packing list?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

Psst – are you planning a trip to Vietnam? Here are some helpful links for you…

Heading to Vietnam?  Book your accommodation now!
Don’t forget to pick up a guidebook: this is my favorite Vietnam guidebook
Want more Vietnam tips?
 Check out my posts here

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1 Comment

  1. January 11, 2019 / 8:28 pm

    Great tips! And, also very true. I went to Vietnam in December and had cold and rain in Hanoi and Sapa, and by the time I made it south to Ho Chi Minh City, it was hot and humid! So you really do need to know about the weather for the regions you’re visiting. And, yes, the locals don’t let the weather bother them at all. Thanks for sharing!

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