The subtropical climate in Vietnam can make your packing list a little more difficult. During the months of December, January and February, the North of Vietnam is at the coolest time of the year. While in the South and Central of Vietnam, it’s cooler and dryer. Generally, casual clothes are recommended. Loose fitting, lightweight cotton materials are the most comfortable for hot weather. Layers of warm clothes for cold weather and a warm water/windproof jacket is really useful for the North in winter. At the special occasion such as banquets and shows, smart casual dress is expected.
If you use Vietnam Airlines of Indochina Voyages for domestic flights, their luggage allowance is 20kg for check in and 7 kg for hand luggage.
Here is the short must-bring list:
- Your travel documents and passports: make a few photocopies of your passport (main page) in case it’s lost/stolen. Or simple you can give this for the receptions if they insist on keeping your passport. On day trip, you should leave your passport at the hotel and bring the photocopy one along. However, on any overnight trips, original passport is essential.
- Luggage padlocks: lock up your luggage while you are out on day trip. I often have some Zip ties and it comes handy when you have an extra luggage by the end of the trips (excess shopping, no surprise!!!). They are light and small so it does not hurt to throw some into your bag.
- Day bag: a smaller bag to carry with on day trip.
- Clothes: depend on your trip length so you can decide how many you will bring. Though consider about laundry is generally cheap here so you don’t need to bring too many. Going into temples, pagodas require a more conservative dress code.
- Walking shoes and socks: sturdy and comfortable shoes. For those who goes on trekking trips in rainy season, consider the water-proof shoes.
- Sun protection: hat, sunscreen and lip balm.
- Personal medical kit including insect repellent. Please remember to bring some Imodium Loperamide HCl just in case you had a bad tummy react to the local food.
- Antibacterial wipes: very useful for more remote areas.
- Scarf or bandana: useful to protect your face against dusty wind at high altitude.
- Small bath towel: the quick dry one is useful on overnight train trips.
- Spare glasses: unless you are in big cities, it’s not easy to get your prescription glasses to be replaced.
- Energy bars/ munchy foods that you cant live without: Granola bars is useful for long trek or save you on a long drive. Buy some of your favorite in case you couldn’t find them in Vietnam.
- Tech stuffs: Laptop, Camera, batteries, memory cards, Ipad, Kindle or any electronic devices you are bringing, you should bring extra batteries cause the batteries is not as good quality in Vietnam.
Either in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, there are many minimarts/supermarkets cartering for travellers so you can easily find stuffs you need for the day trips. It’s good to pop into these store and buy a few things before you go to the more remote areas like toilet papers, wet napkins, insect repellent (very limited choices), energy bars and snacks.
Pack light and enjoy the trip!