What to Pack for a Vacation in Vietnam

Planning a trip to Vietnam? The country is very diverse in terms of landscape and climate so figuring out what you should pack for your vacation can be incredibly challenging.

We’ve spent about 6 months traveling around Vietnam and encountered extreme heat, a lot of rain, and a few chilly days. We spent time trekking through the mountains, lounging on beaches, and exploring big cities. And that meant we needed to pack a lot of different types of clothing options.

We have compiled a list of everything you’ll need to pack for your vacation in Vietnam so you’re prepared for anything and everything this amazing country has to offer. Enjoy!


What to Pack for Vietnam

Baggage for Packing for Vietnam

Navigating the streets and the traffic of Vietnam can be quite challenging – sidewalks are filled with motorbikes and just crossing the street seems death-defying. Your bag will have to be carried by a motorbike taxi in smaller towns. Plus if you are staying in any Airbnbs, you’ll likely have several floors of stairs to climb to get to your apartment.

Travel Luggage

A durable duffel bag that you can carry rather than roll is ideal for this country because of those crazy uneven streets in Vietnam. We prefer to travel with a bag that can be worn either over-the-shoulder or as a backpack.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Marmot Long Hauler Large Travel Duffel Bag

Compression Packing Cubes

Keep your bag organized in a set of compression packing cubes. You’ll be able to easily find what you need, when you need it. Plus the compression capability allows you to save space in your duffel bag!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Compression Packing Cubes

Carry-On Bag

If you have Sapa on your itinerary, you’ll likely be doing some trekking through remote villages. You’ll want a smaller day-pack like this one by Osprey that has padded straps and lots of room for all of your goodies. It’s also the perfect size to be your airplane carry-on.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Osprey Packs Daylite Plus Daypack

Travel Jewelry Organizer

You should always leave your valuable jewelry at home when you travel, just in case. But if you bring fun costume jewelry to spruce up your outfits, invest in a travel jewelry organizer to keep everything detangled and easy-to-find!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Travel Jewelry Organizer

Travel Pillow

If you are coming to Vietnam from the United States, you’ve got an unbearably long travel schedule ahead of you. And you’ll have a big time difference which usually leads to jet lag. Don’t let that ruin your trip! Bring a travel pillow on your flight so you can get some shut-eye during that flight.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Trtl Travel Pillow

Electronics to Pack for Vietnam

Camera

You’ll absolutely love taking photos of the stunning landscape in Vietnam! We travel with a Nikon DSLR, a zoom lens, a wide-angle lens, and a lightweight travel tripod – ideal for avid photographers. Check out all of our favorite travel photography gear here!

Universal Travel Adapter

The power outlets in Vietnam are of type A, C and D. The standard voltage is 110/220 V and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. Meaning you won’t need an adaptor if you are coming from America, China, Japan, Europe, or India. Regardless, I always find that having a universal adapter with multiple USB ports comes in handy so that I can charge multiple gadgets all at once.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Universal Travel Adapter

Power Bank

You’ll need your phone pretty much all day, every day in Vietnam. From calling Grab, to mapping your way around, reading restaurant reviews, and taking photos of the lush landscape – you’ll be bummed if your phone runs out of juice. Invest in a small, lightweight power bank like this one by Anker and throw it in your bag when you head out for the day.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Anker Portable Travel Bank

Wireless Earbuds

Vietnam is a very long country so you will have some flights and/or bus rides in your future. Be sure you keep yourself entertained with your favorite music and/or podcasts and a set of earbuds. These earbuds by Focuspower are super small and comfortable, fast-charging, and can connect to two mobile devices at once!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Toiletries to Pack for Vietnam

There are plenty of pharmacies and beauty supply stores in Vietnam where you can buy many products that are popular in the states. However, there are a few things that are difficult to find and/or quite expensive. Tampons (especially those with applicators) are uncommon and many of the lotions in Vietnam contain “whitening” agents (i.e. bleach). Bring your own favorite lotions from home if you’d rather leave with a tan.

Travel beauty Essentials for Vietnam

Hotels generally provide hair dryers for their guests but it’s best to bring a travel hair dryer and a 2 in 1 travel curling iron and straightener, just in case.


What to Pack for Trekking in Sapa

If you are planning to visit the town of Sapa you’ll most likely do some trekking through the mountains to the small, remote villages. Bring clothes that are comfortable for hiking long distances and won’t take up a ton of room in your luggage. 

Workout Gear

Bring a few pairs of stretchy pants, several comfortable sports bras, and tanks tops to wear while trekking around Sapa.

Hiking Shoes

These hiking shoes by Merrell are lightweight, super durable, and have a breathable mesh lining to keep your feet cool. They also have great traction which is perfect for the slippery trails in Sapa.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Merrell Hiking Shoes with Traction

Other Trekking Gear to Pack for Vietnam

  • A hat to shield your face from the sun
  • Sweat-wicking socks
  • Candy to give to the cute little kids you see along the way!
  • A warm jacket if you visit in the winter months

What to Pack for Exploring the Cities

Vietnam isn’t necessarily conservative when it comes to clothing, but you’ll find that many of the locals have their shoulders and knees covered (regardless of the temperature outside). You can pretty much wear whatever you’d like around town (although I’d stay away from half-shirts) and you should make an effort to cover-up when visiting religious sites.

Comfortable Walking Shoes

The streets of Vietnam can be very uneven and absolutely filthy. And if it’s rained recently you’ll be in danger of getting “swampfoot” if you walk around in flip flops. I’ve been traveling for the past 2 years with a pair of Sorels that I wear almost every day. They are incredibly sturdy, comfortable, and even water resistant!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Comfortable Walking Shoes Sorel Ankle Boots

Long Dresses

You’ll likely be visiting a few religious monuments during your trip to Vietnam. And while the country isn’t nearly as strict about enforcing a dress code at temples, it is respectful to keep your shoulders and knees covered regardless. Bring a few long, comfortable dresses that will keep you cool and covered.

Rain Jacket

If you visit Vietnam during the rainy season you’ll want to pack either an umbrella or a rain jacket to keep you dry. You won’t want to spend your entire vacation indoors!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Columbia Sportswear Rain Jacket

Other Clothes to Pack for Vietnam

  • Several pairs of shorts
  • T-shirts and tank tops
  • A pair of jeans (weather dependent)
  • One pair of underwear per day
  • One pair of socks per day
  • Bras
  • Pajamas

What to Pack for Lounging on the Beach

While Vietnam isn’t exactly known as being a beach destination, Da Nang, Hoi An, and Phu Quoc all have sandy white beaches, perfect for relaxing. You may also want swimwear if you visit Halong Bay as there are opportunities for kayaking or if you stay in a hotel that has a pool.

Swimsuit

You probably won’t spend a ton of time at the beach so just bring one swimsuit that you love with you to Vietnam. If you plan on visiting Dark Cave in Phong Nha, avoid bringing a white suit since it will get covered in mud!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: One Piece Swimsuit

Flip Flops

Not only will you want flip flops for the beach, but you’ll probably want to wear them while wandering around town when temperatures are scorching hot. Bring a durable pair that will be comfortable to walk around in all day. We love Ipanemas!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Ipanema Flip Flops

Swimsuit Cover-Up

This cute cover-up is not only perfect for the beach, you can also throw it on over shorts and a tank top to wear around town! I’ve been wearing mine all over Vietnam!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Swimsuit Cover-up

Accessories to Pack for Vietnam

Sunglasses

Keep those eyes protected from the harsh rays in Vietnam with a pair of polarized sunglasses and a sturdy case to keep them safe in your carry-on bag.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Aviator Polarized Sunglasses

Cross-Body Bag

Vietnam is a reasonably safe country but, as with anywhere else, opportunistic crime can happen. And purse snatching is probably the most common problem that tourists encounter during their vacation.

Pack a cross-body bag and keep your hand on it when traveling in crowded areas of larger cities. This particular bag is one that you can purchase on Amazon or at any of the markets around Vietnam – the style is really popular there right now!

What to Pack for Vietnam: Vietnam Packing List: Round Rattan Crossbody Bag

Don’t Forget to Pack

  • Your passport!
  • To get your Vietnam e-visa sorted out ahead of time.
  • A credit card with no international transaction fees (we use and recommend the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card).
  • A Debit Card that will refund your ATM fees (we use and recommend the Charles Schwab Debit Card).
  • A backup credit card in case you have any issues with your primary.
  • To call your credit card company and release your card for use in Vietnam.
  • To upgrade to an international cell plan during the month that you’ll be gone.

Apps and Entertainment for your Trip to Vietnam

  • Don’t forget to download offline maps of the cities you’ll be visiting in Vietnam.
  • Download Grab, the Uber of SE Asia (iPhone | Android).
  • Get a subscription to Amazon Audible for access to a huge selection of audiobooks to listen to while at the beach or on the plane.
  • Check out the must-visit destinations in these Vietnam travel guides:

Are we missing anything that would be important to pack for Vietnam? Let us know in the comments so we can add it to the list!


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Vietnam Packing List / What to Pack for Vietnam

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