Packing For Vietnam: Smart Traveler’s Tips And Tricks

So, you’ve booked your flight. You’ve got your visa. You’re excited and counting the days and hours to the moment your plane takes off and brings you to the unknown. And here the luggage question crops up. But worry not! With this list of tips, there won’t be anything easier than packing for Vietnam!

1. Choose the right bag

You can’t packing start if you don’t have a bag to pack, right?:)

When it comes to packing for Vietnam, our general advice is: travel light! Unless you have a personal driver who will bring you from point A to point B, C, D, E, etc. Throughout your whole trip, and unless you stay in serviced hotels, your motto should be “less is more”. Expect to squeeze your way through the people, bikes, and chairs on the narrow sidewalks and take the stairs up in guesthouses. A suitcase of “essentials” won’t be too helpful if it’s twice your size and three times your weight.  

Therefore, you might want to consider a roomy travel backpack or a compact suitcase, which won’t be a burden when you are moving from place to place.

packing for Vietnam tips

2. Clothing

When packing for Vietnam, consider the time of the year, the season (read more about the climate and weather), and the kind of activities you’re planning to take up. Here are some general tips.


Summer. Be ready for scorching hot days, humid and literally sticky air and regular rainfalls. So, pack light, quick-dry breathable clothes. Make sure to have enough shirts and underwear for the length of your stay, because you might want to change them more often than usual.

Winter. It can get actually chilly, but luckily drier than summer. A sweatshirt and a dawn jacket are a must.


Appearance is very important for the Vietnamese – you will notice a lot of stylish people, especially in the big cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City. However, they are still modern dressers, and you won’t see much bright colors, massive jewelry or too revealing outfits.

what to wear in Vietnam


For city tours, prepare casual and comfortable outfits, which would look nice, but wouldn’t turn you into a stew.

Nature, sports and off-the-grid activities. You will hike the mountains, explore the caves, walk on muddy paths in villages and go kayaking. You can get dirty. Avoid white and pack lightweight, quick-drying clothes. Even if the summers are hot, don’t neglect at least one long-sleeve shirt and long pants. In highlands, it can be cool at night, and mosquitoes come out for a hunt!

Beaches and swimming pools. These are in abundance in Vietnam, and especially in the summer you will not skip them! Don’t forget your swimsuit.

Visiting temples. Respect the tradition, and make sure to pack clothes that cover knees and shoulders. Another tip is hygiene-related. Sometimes, you will have to take off your shoes to come inside, so a spare pair of socks in your bag will be handy.

clothing packing for Vietnam

3. Shoes

Comfort and practicality are the first thing you should think of when packing for Vietnam.
Consider these:
1 pair of sneakers/walking shoes (though we wouldn’t recommend you to ballast your luggage with heavy hiking boots);
1 pair of flip-flops/sandals; and
1 pair of nice go-out shoes.

packing for Vietnam - shoes

4. Essential accessories

Light raincoat. Again, the tropical rainfalls can’t be overestimated. If you don’t fancy getting soaked through, we’d recommend you have one with you.

Hat/cap in summer seasons. Sunstroke creeps over unnoticed. Protect yourself and cover the most vulnerable body part. Toss a cap in your bag, or, as you’re packing for Vietnam, you can but of those traditional conical hats from the street vendors here!

Sunglasses will protect your eyes not only from the dazzling sunshine, but also from the dust that is not infrequent on the roads during the hot summer days. Have a pair of shades in your bag. And if not, you can always make your way to one of the local markets when already in Vietnam.

vietnamese conical hat

5. Toiletries and medicines

UV-cream and skincare. You can, of course, find these items in the shops in Vietnam. But keep in mind that the fashion trends here are a little bit different. Most of the skincare products are whitening, and if you don’t manage to read the Vietnamese words on the package, so you can easily end your holidays with a pale face instead of that summer blush. Therefore, you might consider bringing your regular products with you.

Personal hygiene. Avoid the wasteful travel-size packaging and instead buy a reusable toiletry container kit. These compact containers help you save three things at once: the environment, your money, and room in your luggage!

toiletries packing tips

First aid kit. Cuts, wounds, burns, and bruises are travelers’ faithful companions. But in the hot and humid climate of Southeast Asia, the risks of any infection increase tenfold. Make sure you have at least band-aids and disinfectants, when packing for Vietnam, especially if you’re planning active holidays in nature. Medicines. The same advice applies to medicines. The basic kit can include fever-reducing drugs and upset stomach medicines for gastrointestinal ailments and infection. If you ‘re currently taking prescription medicines, make sure to have enough and to spare. There are pharmacies in the big cities but most probably you won’t find all the same drugs as you get from your local pharmacy.

6. Electronics

Power bank. You’re traveling, so you are definitely into adventures. But being lost in the middle of nowhere without a chance to charge your phone, to check the map and look for transportation is highly unlikely the adventure you’ve dreamt about.

Waterproof case. There are two major dangers for your smartphone. First, it’s unpredictable rains in [this climate]. Second, it’s your possible carelessness when doing water-related activities. Take care of your main means of communication and invest in a waterproof case.

Camera/smartphone. Live the moment and capture it too! Some places can be pretty, some can be charming, but Vietnam is nothing less than magnetizing for photographers. Even if you’ve only mastered your smartphone camera, you won’t want to leave without a few great shots!  

Action camera/GoPro. Kayaking in Halong Bay? Clambering into the caves in Phong Nha National Park? Hiking on Cat Ba Island? You will have a trip to remember, a good action camera won’t go amiss!

gadgets for travelers
packing for Vietnam: first aid kit

7. Miscellaneous

for comfortable traveling

Travel pillow and mask – this essential travel-kit will ensure your princess-sleep on the road.

Earplugs. Imagine: you’re locked in the airplane with a good dozen crying babies, or in a bus surrounded by deafening car hooters. But you zone out and relax, thanks to this pair of little life-savers.

Travel towel. It weighs almost nothing, folds small and will serve you in a lot of cases. A real must-have for a pool, beach or a hostel.

Toilet paper. If you’ll visit small towns and rural areas, don’t expect radiant white fully serviced toilets. Have a roll in your backpack.

Reusable water bottle, straws and forks. We hope that these items have already become a part of your daily life. Don’t forget your reusables and travel guilt-free.Insect repellant. You can find it here in the shops, but if you don’t want to spend time on the local convenience stores, just throw one in your luggage.

A lock is as handy as the towel. You might need it for safety boxes in hotels and hostels, and lockers in public places like swimming pools or gyms.

bamboo spoons and forks
Now zip up your bag and you’re ready to go!

About Spoton Vietnam

A blog covering all things Vietnam: from itinerary planning to destination highlights and handy travel tips & tricks. Wander wisely with our travel articles!

Authentic Vietnam Hanoi Voyages


Wanna get the newest Vietnam travel updates?