Vietnam is a country with an interesting history, rich with culture, magnificent beaches, and coastlines, hundreds of spiritual temples, breathtaking landscapes, buzzing cities, delicious food, and wonderful people.
Having backpacked all over Vietnam myself, I have a pretty fair idea of what you need to add to your Vietnam packing list and why!
FIRST TIME IN VIETNAM – WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW
Being one of the most popular countries in Southeast Asia for backpackers, honeymoon destinations, and family trips, this is one destination you do not want to miss.
Let’s dive into the most important factors to know when visiting Vietnam for the first time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT VIETNAM
Vietnam can be visited year-round, however, the recommended time to visit is in Spring (February to April) and in Autumn (August to October), this is when the temperatures are more moderate and the rainfall is light. That being said, you should know that Vietnam is actually a massive country and the weather varies from North to South.
In Northern Vietnam, the winter is very harsh with temperatures dropping dramatically, especially around the border with China. The summers are hot and it rains at times during this season. So the ideal time to visit the north is between March and May, or just after the monsoons and before summer arrives in October.
Oppositely, in Central Vietnam, the weather is quite tropical with the dry season lasting from January to August. The wet season starts in August and usually lasts until November. The best moment to travel to Central Vietnam is between October and January.
Lastly, in Southern Vietnam, the climate is very tropical, with two seasons that are notably distinct: wet and dry, which are somewhat comparable to central Vietnam’s.
BEST PLACES TO VISIT IN VIETNAM
The best places by far to visit in Northern Vietnam are Ninh Binh, the Ha Giang Loop, Sapa, and, of course, the chaotic Hanoi.
If you’re planning to visit the Central part of Vietnam, Hoi An, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Dalat, Phong Nha & Quy Nhon)
Make sure to read my 4-week Vietnam Itinerary Guide to visit the best places!
On a side note, Da Nang is one of the most loved cities in the world by Digital Nomads and that is certainly something to consider if you work online. WiFi is stable and fast all around the country.
Last but not least, in Southern Vietnam, make sure not to miss the crazy Ho Chi Minh, the ride on the Mekong Delta, Phu Quoc Island, and Con Dao.
TRAVELING AROUND VIETNAM ISN’T DIFFICULT
While all the cities spread out around the country could make you feel overwhelmed when preparing your Vietnam packing list, it’s actually much easier to travel around than you think.
In fact, while it’s a massive country, traveling from the South (say, Ho Chi Minh) to Central Vietnam (Da Nang) will only take you over 1-hour flying. Saigon to Hanoi, on the other hand, the flight journey will only last 2 hours.
If you have more free time available, for instance, 2 weeks, you’ll be able to visit all three parts of the country easily.
CHOOSE SLEEPER BUSES RATHER THAN TRAINS
Sleeper buses in Vietnam are a great option to travel around, especially if you have time and/or when you travel on a budget. The best example is traveling from Hanoi to Sapa.
While both train and bus journeys are available, traveling on a sleeper bus is probably your safest and most convenient bet.
Click here to check all routes, timetables, and ticket prices online and book ahead of time to secure your seat.
NOT EVERYONE SPEAKS ENGLISH
If this is your first time in Vietnam, you should know that not everyone there will speak English, and it would be sometimes challenging to get around.
Although most hotel owners and the staff in restaurants in major cities speak English, they aren’t fluent and it is simply basic English in most cases.
So bear that in mind and don’t forget to download Google Translate and even include a dictionary in your Vietnam packing list.
WHAT TO PACK FOR VIETNAM
WATERPROOF PHONE CASE
Most likely you are going to get up to a lot of adventures overseas whether it be hiking volcanoes, exploring waterfalls, or beach hopping!
A waterproof phone case is a must-have item to keep your phone safe from water damage, sand, and scratches. Suitable for all smartphone models.
Check Prices → Waterproof Phone Case
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
A reusable water bottle is an essential Vietnam packing list item and something I take with me on all of my adventures.
Not only will the GRAYL GeoPress keep your water clean but you will also be helping the environment by reducing the use of plastics in Vietnam.
The BEST reusable water bottle for travel!
The GRAYL GeoPress is a top-rated reusable water bottle perfect for backpacking, hiking, and traveling.
It allows you to purify water from anywhere and keeps you safe from all waterborne diseases.
Get a GeoPress today and never buy single-use plastic bottles again. Mama Earth will thank you for it!
If you are searching for the best day bag to take with you on your next trip to Vietnam, then look no further.
The Nomatic 20L day bag is one of the best backpacks on the market and perfect for those everyday adventures!
This particular Nomatic bag is water-resistant, anti-theft, lightweight, and incredibly durable.
The Most Functional Day Pack EVER!
The Nomatic 20L Travel Pack is perfect for everyday use and for those shorter 1-3 day adventures.
With 20+ innovative features and a minimalist design, this functional day pack gives you confidence for life on the move!
A lightweight rain jacket is an absolute must when deciding on what to pack for Vietnam.
The weather in Vietnam can be very sporadic due to the tropical climate and a downpour can happen at any moment.
The best rain jackets I have come across for men and women are the North Face waterproof rain jackets with a breathable mesh lining and adjustable hood that can be tucked away inside the collar.
Be prepared and add this essential item to your Vietnam packing list.
Check Prices → North Face Lightweight Rain Jacket (Mens)
Check Prices → North Face Lightweight Rain Jacket (Womens)
There’s an old saying, ‘If you can’t afford travel insurance, you shouldn’t be traveling’.
I have been traveling for almost a decade and in that time I have tried many different travel insurance providers.
As of late, I have been using Heymondo Travel Insurance on every trip, and in my opinion, they are without a doubt the best travel insurance provider on the market.
Have you got travel insurance for your trip?!
We all know accidents can happen and having Heymondo Insurance will save you thousands of dollars if something goes wrong.
Heymondo offers low-cost Travel Insurance to keep you covered on all your adventures.
UNIVERSAL POWER ADAPTER
Arriving in Vietnam and not being able to charge your phone, laptop, camera, and other accessories is a nightmare for most travelers.
I highly recommend equipping yourself with a universal power adapter that can be used everywhere in Asia and also in the UK, Europe, Africa, the United States, and Australia.
Check Prices → Universal Power Adapter
Packing Cubes are honestly my favorite item in my backpack! Perfect for organizing your shirts, pants, jackets, socks, underwear, and more!
Packing cubes make packing easier and more efficient, adding extra space and reducing packing frustration for your next trip to Vietnam.
Check Prices → Packing Cubes
PORTABLE POWER BANK
One of the best things about having a portable power bank is that you can keep your phone and accessories charged on those longer adventures throughout Vietnam.
This Anker Power Bank features 2 USB charging ports, and a rechargeable battery, and works with iPhone, iPad, Samsung, Oppo, and more!
Also included are a micro-USB charging cable, travel pouch, and 18-month warranty.
Check Prices → Anker Portable Power Bank
GOPRO HERO 11 – WATERPROOF CAMERA
One of the most popular cameras on the planet, the GoPro Hero 11 is great for everything involving water shots and those fast-paced adventures.
It captures all of the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use and I highly recommend this camera when backpacking.
Capture All Your Adventures!
I’m sure y’all know by now that GoPro’s are arguably the best action cameras on the planet!
The new GoPro HERO 11 boasts 5.3K video, 27MP photo, HyperSmooth stabilization, and waterproof up to 10m!
Everyone loves a good selfie, right?
This slick and stylish selfie stick can extend to 1.2 m and I find it much easier to shoot photos and videos with the GoPro Hero 11 when it is mounted to the SandMarc Selfie Stick.
This is definitely something you will not regret adding to your packing list for Vietnam.
Check Prices → SandMarc Selfie Stick
The last thing you want when visiting Vietnam is a body covered in itchy mosquito bites or worst-case scenario, dengue fever.
As I mentioned earlier, Vietnam has a very tropical climate and mosquitoes along with other nasty insects like to hang out almost everywhere on the islands.
Be sure to get a bottle of insect repellent to throw in your check-in baggage when packing for Vietnam.
Check Prices → Insect Repellent 100% Deet
Yes, sunscreen! Some of us hate it, others can’t live without it.
Nevertheless, it won’t hurt to throw in a tube of sunscreen when packing for Vietnam and I guarantee you will end up using it every single day when you are out exploring!
In my experience, sunscreen is quite expensive in Vietnam so it’s best to pack some before you go.
Check Prices → Sun Bum 50+ Sunscreen
ORGANIC ACTIVATED CHARCOAL TABLETS
I think it is safe to say that 9 out of 10 of us have been a victim of travelers’ diarrhea.
I personally eat a lot of street food and enjoy the odd seafood BBQ on the beach, but typically these types of eateries are known for bacteria-infected or out-of-date foods.
So to be better safe than sorry, I recommend purchasing these Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets which are fast-acting and a safe way to rid your system of the toxins that cause stomach upset.
Check Prices → Organic Activated Charcoal Tablets
SLIP-ON WATER SHOES
I know for sure that you are likely to visit at least one waterfall or find an epic cliff-jumping spot during your travels in Vietnam.
Vietnam is a mecca for water adventures and muddy hikes, so consider purchasing an affordable pair of slip-on waterproof shoes when deciding what to pack for Vietnam.
Check Prices → Slip-On Waterproof Shoes
MICROFIBRE TRAVEL TOWEL
To pack a towel or not to pack a towel? It’s a question I ask myself too often when planning a trip to Vietnam.
A standard beach or bathroom towel can take up quite a lot of space in your travel bag, though a quick-dry travel towel is a perfect alternative!
This lightweight, microfibre travel towel is perfect for the beach, camping, backpacking, and general traveling.
Check Prices → Quick-Dry Travel Towel
Kindles are the best alternative for books when traveling. They’re perfect for long-haul flights, a relaxing read on the beach, or a quiet evening away from the beach bars.
The new Kindles are waterproof, linked with Audible, paired with Bluetooth headphones or speakers, have adjustable light settings to suit indoor/outdoor conditions, have 8GB – 32GB storage, and rechargeable batteries that last for weeks!
Check Prices → Kindle E-Reader
HIDDEN MONEY BELT
I never go on a trip without my hidden money belt. The best thing is that they are always out of sight, hidden beneath your clothing to prevent pickpockets.
They are perfectly designed to keep your cash and other valuables safe for when you are out and about enjoying Vietnam’s nightlife.
Protect Yo’ Thangs!
Keep your cash and other valuables safe with the Pacsafe Anti-Theft Hidden Waist Wallet.
With RFID-blocking and a slash-resistant strap, you’ll never be pick-pocketed again!
TRAVEL PASSPORT WALLET
Along with the money belt, a travel passport wallet is a great addition to your Vietnam packing list.
I find it best to always keep my passport, valuables, travel documents, credit cards, and cash all in one place, stowed away in this easily organized travel wallet.
Check Prices → Travel Passport Wallet
A dry bag is always a good item to consider packing on your next trip to Vietnam, especially if you plan to go snorkeling, spend some time at the beach, explore waterfalls, or island hopping.
Best to keep your phone and other valuables safe from water damage.
Check Prices → Earth-Pak Dry Bag
Something that I have surprisingly been using quite often is a head torch
It may not be an essential Vietnam packing list item for everyone but if you do plan on hiking one of the volcanoes, which I highly recommend, then this waterproof and USB rechargeable head torch will quickly become your best friend on your Vietnam adventures!
Check Prices → Foxelli Head Torch
MY CAMERA GEAR
I get a lot of messages from people wanting to know what camera gear and travel essentials I use while backpacking around the world, so I have put together a list of everything I carry with me on my travels that I can personally recommend to you.
As a full-time backpacker, I try to travel as light as possible when I’m on the road and so everything listed below is all you will need to travel the world, take quality photos, and not have to carry too much weight.
Camera – Canon EOS R Full Frame Mirrorless
This model of Canon is one of the most affordable, compact, and best mirrorless cameras on the market.
I shoot with this camera every day and the quality of my images has increased dramatically since I made this purchase.
You can browse through all of the images in my blog to give you an idea of what this camera is capable of.
Camera Lens – Canon Lens RF 24-70mm F2.8
The 24-70mm is my go-to lens for this camera. It is dust and splash-proof, also included are a lens hood, and cap.
The versatility of this lens allows me to shoot detailed portraits and also offers a wide dynamic range for shooting landscapes.
Drone Camera – DJI Mavic Pro 2
The DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone is at the top of the game when it comes to high-quality images and video, easy-to-control functions, and traveler-friendly capabilities.
The Mavic Pro 2 shoots high-resolution images in JPEG + RAW and high-definition 4K video.
Purchase a DJI Mavic Pro 2 drone today and take your photography and videography to new heights!
Laptop Computer – Apple MacBook Pro 15″
The MacBook Pro laptop is very lightweight and perfect for backpackers traveling the world.
Apart from my camera, the MacBook Pro is my most used accessory when it comes to uploading images, editing photos and videos, writing all of my blog posts, and booking flights and accommodation when I am on the road.
Waterproof Camera – GoPro Hero 11
The most popular camera on the planet. I love using the GoPro 11 for anything involving water shots and for all of my fast-paced adventures.
It captures all of the best moments with its wide range of functions that are very simple to use.
Camera Gimbal – Feiyu Tech AK2000 Camera Stabilizer
The Feiyu Tech AK2000 is an easy-to-use hand-held stabilizer suited for DSLR and Mirrorless cameras of up to 2.8 kg.
Whether you are a travel vlogger or a filmmaker looking to create smooth cinematic video then this is the accessory for you!
Works with Canon, Sony, Nikon, and Panasonic.
Travel Bag – Nomatic 40L Water-Resistant Travel Bag
The 40L Nomatic Travel Bag is the best purchase I have ever made.
This bag has a designated water bottle pocket, RFID-protected pocket, shoe compartment, laptop pocket, compression bag, and more!
The Nomatic Travel Bag is designed to fit the maximum size allowed for carry-on luggage so you’ll never have to spend money on check-in baggage again!
Camera Bag – Lowepro Protactic 450 AW II Camera Bag
The Lowepro Protactic Camera Bag is one of the best camera bags on the market.
It includes a waterproof rain cover, drink bottle holder, padded compartments for DSLR cameras, mirrorless cameras, drones, lenses, accessories, and a laptop pocket.
This is my bag of choice that I take with me on all of my adventures.
Selfie Stick – SandMarc Selfie Stick – Metal Edition
Everyone loves a good selfie, right? This stylish selfie stick can extend to 1.2m and I find it much easier to shoot with the GoPro when it is mounted to the SandMarc Selfie Stick.
GoPro Dome – Underwater Dome Port for GoPro
Have you ever wanted to know how to get those under/over water shots with the GoPro?
This nifty little dome housing can create that perfect shot you are chasing. I use mine every time I am in the ocean!
Memory Card – SanDisk Extreme Pro 64GB SDXC
The best thing about SanDisk Extreme Pro is that it delivers maximum speed for performance and uncompromising images and 4K video quality from my DSLR.
Having 64GB of storage means that I can store my images on the SD card for 2-3 days and not have to worry about running out of space.
Spare Camera Battery – 2 Pack Camera Battery for Canon
Don’t make the same mistake as me by taking hundreds of photos on a big adventure day and running out of battery.
Be prepared with this 2-pack of spare batteries for Canon.
Camera Tripod – Joby GorillaPod
The Joby GorillaPod is suitable for all DSLR and Mirrorless Cameras.
This tripod is lightweight easy to use and perfect for setting up a time-lapse photo or even using it as a selfie stick.
The legs are flexible so you can wrap it around a tree or a pole to get creative with your shot.
External Hard Drive – WD Elements External Hard Drive 4TB
As a photographer, my images and video files take up a lot of space on my MacBook so I use this compact external hard drive to store everything.
With 4TB worth of storage space, this is more than enough for a good year worth of content.
Vietnam has a wide range of accommodation options from luxury resorts to budget hostels and everything in between. I use booking.com to search and book all of my accommodations.
WHAT CLOTHES TO BRING ON A 3-MONTH TRIP TO VIETNAM?
When you travel for so long, you definitely will bring some items that you normally wouldn’t need – just because you want to be on the safe side.
While this Vietnam packing list covers everything you need and more, here’s a short glimpse of the most essential goods you should take on a 3-month trip:
- 5 to 6 pairs of socks
- 5 to 6 pairs of underwear
- 1 pair of compression socks – ideal when flying
- 3 pairs of pants – 2 shorts and 1 long pair should suffice
- 1 athletic outfit – to go to the gym or on a hiking trip to Sapa
- 4 to 5 tops – tank tops and tees are best when traveling to Vietnam
Sure, you may add some other items but this purely depends on your preferences and situation.
WHAT SHOULD YOU WEAR IN VIETNAM?
I’d recommend bringing clothes that would allow you to remain respectful of the culture and respect the locals.
That being said, in big cities such as Hanoi, you are free to wear pretty much what you want since it’s more modern and relaxed.
When traveling to the countryside to visit temples, however, revealing clothes will not be well seen and you could even be denied entry in some areas.
WHAT TO PACK FOR VIETNAM WHEN TRAVELING FOR 2 WEEKS?
A 2-week trip is much easier to organize as opposed to 3 months and you can travel much lighter.
First of all, you’ll want to take the basic yet most important electronics. Your camera, your GoPro, a power bank, and some noise headphones or earplugs are your most essential items to take.
Secondly, pack a few clothes but not too many. After all, you only travel for 2 weeks and a few tee-shirts, pants, and underwear should be enough.
Also be sure to pack the essential medication for motion sickness, stomach issues, and paracetamol is a great idea.
More Vietnam Travel Guides
Click the button below to view all articles related to Vietnam!
FINAL THOUGHTS – WHAT TO PACK FOR VIETNAM
I hope this article finds you well when it comes to your Vietnam packing list.
If you have any questions, please leave me any comments or questions below and I will get back to you as soon as I can.
For a quicker response, be sure to join Jonny Melon’s Travel Tribe on Facebook and post your questions or recommendations to our awesome community.
TRAVEL RESOURCES FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or it’s your first trip overseas, here are some useful travel resources to help you kick-start your next adventure!
Search and book accommodation worldwide.
Compare and book cheap flights to anywhere.
Find tickets, tours, and experiences around the world.
Book buses, trains, and transfers online in advance.
Search all rental cars in your next destination.
Need travel insurance for your next trip?
THANKS FOR READING
Hey friend, thanks for reading this guide!
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