What to do
It’s unlikely that any two people traveling to Vietnam would want to use exactly the same packing list. Some would be perfectly comfortable with little more than a swimsuit, some sandals, and a couple of T-shirts, while others might have a forty-pound case of photographic equipment or dive gear. We’ve put together some suggestions to help you make a start.
Bear in mind to take your passport, flight tickets, credit cards/cash/travellers cheques (take several modes of payment in case the ATM swallows your card etc.), travel insurance, and a minimal amount of clothes and toiletries. And you'll probably want to take non-essential luxury items like Ipod and Camera, to while away long bus or train journeys (the 36 hour train from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City) , and make the experience more memorable.
What to Bring with you to Vietnam
Items that we suggest you bring depending on the season.
Vietnam has 3 regions, the North, Centre and South. Each of the regions has distinct climates.
The north is hot and extremely humid and receives heavy rain from June – August. Winter is from November until March and is cool and damp. The mountain areas of the north including Sapa and Mai Chau, can be extremely cold during winter although they do not receive snow.
The center is warm throughout the year and the rainy season occurs from August or September until December. The centre often receives storms or typhoons during October and November.
The south has 2 seasons, one dry and the other wet. The wet season last from June until October, but the summer storms rarely last more than a few hours.
Given the above weather information, please consider the items you will bring with you to Vietnam. This list should be used as a guide only and is not an exhaustive list.
Please note most Vietnamese still dress modestly and out of respect for the culture you should dress conservatively ( no sleeveless/ halter neck tops, shorts other than for the beach, should not reach below the knee)
Personal clothing items, toiletries, medication
Sarong (to cover your shoulders should you enter temples or pagodas)
Light weight clothing for the summer months
Warm clothing for winter in Hanoi and in mountainous areas
Camera with film
Small daypack for day trips and overnight trip to Halong Bay
Appropriate shoes for trekking, cycling or walking in caves (Halong Bay)
Sleeping sheet for train travel (can also be bought in Vietnam)
Ear plugs and sleep mask (for train journeys)
Water bottle and helmet (for cycling trips only)
Please note: Domestic airlines do impose restrictions on baggage at approx 20kg maximum, so travel lightly where possible. Also the trains cabins and boat cabins on Halong Bay have limited space so consider this when packing. Soft luggage is recommended.