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What to Wear in Vietnam: A Comprehensive Packing List

SmarterTravel

Headed to Vietnam? Congratulations, you’re in for one of the most memorable trips of your life. But if you’re now past the planning portion for your Vietnam trip and have started into the packing portion, you’ve probably begun to wonder what to pack for Vietnam—and then what to wear once you’re there. Below is a useful Vietnam packing list to consult before your trip.

What to Wear in Vietnam: Clothes and Shoes

Going to a hot and humid place in the tropics calls for light, natural fabrics like cotton and silk. Lightweight tank tops and T-shirts are good things to wear in Vietnam, as are light-colored khakis.

As for shoes, flip-flops or other open sandals work great on Vietnamese beaches, but you’ll want to wear comfortable, closed-toe walking shoes to protect your feet when sightseeing in cities.

Consider bringing a lightweight, crushable sun hat to protect your face from sun and rain.

What Not to Wear in Vietnam

When traveling to Vietnam, you may want to leave your jeans and denim shorts at home. You’ll sweat in humid Vietnam, and denim doesn’t dry easily. Chafing and heat do not go well together.

Keep in mind, too, that Vietnamese people dress conservatively. Women and men wear long pants and short- or long-sleeved tops, for the most part, and visitors should do the same, despite the heat. When you’re in Vietnam, you’ll fit in better if you avoid wearing shorts in public.

Other clothing no-nos when traveling to Vietnam: Don’t overpack. Instead, bring a small amount of only what you need; if you find you need more apparel after arriving in Vietnam, you can buy it there, since Vietnam is famous for its inexpensive made-to-order clothing.

What to Pack for Vietnam: Gear, Toiletries, and Medical Supplies

After you’ve determined what to wear in Vietnam, you can pack other necessities besides clothing, including all your basic toiletries, extra toilet paper (public restrooms are often fresh out of TP), and, of course, sunscreen, which is an absolute must. Vietnam weather can be rainy, so pack an umbrella or poncho so you’re prepared for the occasional downpour.

Bug spray is another must-pack; mosquitoes in Vietnam carry malaria, so anti-malaria tablets are a smart idea, too (consult with your physician before traveling). Bring diarrhea medication, in case the food in Vietnam doesn’t agree with your stomach, as well as a small travel towel or a few easy-to-pack handkerchiefs; you’ll want to wipe away all that sweat while sightseeing. Packages of wet wipes come in handy at some restaurants that don’t have napkins.

In Vietnam, it’s wise to wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from the dust and the glaring hot sun. Also smart to bring: a travel-sized first aid kit, a waterproof backpack that can withstand Vietnam’s unpredictable weather, and, of course, your cell phone. Consider downloading WhatsApp (iOS | Android) as an affordable way to keep in touch—and don’t forget to pack a travel adapter for your phone, camera, and any other electrical devices that you’re planning to bring to Vietnam.

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Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.

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