What To Wear In Vietnam
To sum it up - Modest is best
- The Vietnamese are used to European styles and western dress has been adopted. This means that travellers can dress as they would in the West when visiting restaurants or the bars of the main cities.
- Ho Chi Minh is pretty westernized and there are lots of students on gap years as well as bank workers from the west living out there, so really what you would wear in any western city will fit in. There really isn't the big need to cover up that there is in the rest of Vietnam.
- As a general rule though the North is noticeably more conservative than the South. The basic rule of thumb is not to wear revealing clothing at any time.
- During most times of the year but particularly from June to August, The Mekong Delta region can be plagued by mosquitoes so wear long-sleeved shirts after dusk to avoid being bitten.
- Clothes are really cheap here so you don't really need to pack too much, and it's a great excuse to go shopping when you arrive!
- For the Vietnamese, appearance is very important, so if you are dealing with an official of any rank, make sure you are dressed smartly.
- Do not wear large amounts of jewellery - the Vietnamese consider it impolite to flaunt wealth in public.
- Wear particularly conservative clothing if you visit a culturally sensitive area such as a temple or pagoda - generally, the less bare skin the better and specifically no shorts, or dresses/skirts or tops with low neck lines and bare shoulders.
- It's really is important to pack for almost all weather conditions.
- Good walking boots with ankle support are a must, as is a comfortable change of shoes. You may need to wear these second shoes if you get blisters, so choose carefully. A pair of trekking sandals which can fit socks underneath can be a good option too.
- Our advice is to make sure you ‘wear in' your walking boots/shoes for a number of weeks before your trip - you'll be so much more comfortable if you do.
- Sandals with the rugged bottom are good for hiking around town and to wear in showers.
- You will need your own toiletries and anti bacterial handwash. And you are advised to take your own little medical kit, sewing repair kit, and a good torch (with spare batteries).
- A microfibre trek towel is another must pack - these are designed specifically for such travel: they fold really small so you can accommodate a larger size and they dry really quickly too.
- Travel light - it is cheap and easy to get your laundry done.
- A soft bag or rucksack is a more practical option than hard cases when travelling around the country. Combine it with a packaway day sack for your day trip essentials.
- Good sunglasses are a must.
- A sunhat, good socks, a torch and binoculars are very useful too.
- Don’t drink or even brush your teeth in tap water. Consider taking a waterstraw water purifier or safe water drinking bottle.
- Keep bottled water out of the sun as the plastic bottles can release dioxins when they heat up, which is not healthy. An alternative is to use a 100% BPA-free foldable water bottle. Reusing your water bottle will also help you do your bit for the planet - millions of plastic water bottles end up in landfill every year.
- Keep your electrical gadgets (camera, iPad etc) fully charged using a solar powered charger. This one gadget will charge most devices anywhere at any time, and it also cuts down on the number of leads and adaptors you need to pack.
- And look after your mobile phone with a phone bunjee - this elasticated strap will secure it to your bag or pocket, so you don't need to worry about dropping it anywhere.
- If you are able to visit a local school they are very grateful for new materials. See the Pack for a Purpose project for ideas of what you could donate.
- For more pictures and ideas, see our Pinterest board: What to Wear Trekking.
- Stay healthy on your trip - travellers' diarrhoea can affect as many as 50% of people travelling abroad. We've tried and recommend Bimuno Travel Aid pastilles to help support your digestive health. And WhatToWearOnHoliday readers can claim a great 10% discount using code WHBIMUA at the checkout.
From Our Shop
Great products to pack for a holiday in Vietnam:
Fed up of dropping or losing your phone? You need a bunjee! more >
Super-light trolley rucksack for maximum carry on luggage more >
I have to say your site was a great Google find! I will give you tips as I go from country to country as it is a bit of a trek we are doing! - Angela, UK