What to Pack for Vietnam
Updated: Feb 17
Whether you’re spending your day diving off the islands of Ha Long Bay, touring the temples and caves of the Marble Mountains, or backpacking along the waterfalls of Ban Gioc-Dietian Falls, we have all the essentials of what to pack for your adventure.
Vietnam is full of lush jungle, delicious food, and all the outdoor activities you could hope for. For this destination, you won’t need to bring a lot with you.
Fashion is pretty simple and practical depending on the location and activities of your trip. So here are our top packing tips on what to wear while you’re exploring!
1. The Hot and the Cold
Trying to predict what to pack for a destination that has crazy weather patterns is probably the most stressful part of planning your trip. Depending on whether you’re venturing North or South, Vietnam will give you all kinds of weather variety to be prepared for.
In the northern part of the country (Sa Pa area), people are often surprised by how cold and wet the climate is. Pack a rain jacket for the mid day showers and thunderstorms as well as some quick drying layers. In the southern parts, you can expect typical tropical temperatures with high humidity. Pack causal sleeveless t-shirts and shorts or anything that will keep you cool.
2. Sweatproof Waterproof Fabrics
Quick drying fabrics are a great idea for the south to help with the sweat, as well as the north to help with cold rain. Try Polyester, Nylon, or Coolmax. Items made with these types of fabrics are typically wrinkle free so it’s great for the suitcase! For bottoms, leave your denim jeans at home and opt for cooler lightweight linen pants or flowy skirts to keep you covered from the sun.
3. Flat, Breathable, Waterproof Footwear
Causal shoes that are comfortable and supportive is all you’ll need to pack for Vietnam. Locals wear flip flops pretty much everywhere, which is great for the sandy beaches. If you want to step up the fashion game, try Sanku Yoga Sling Flip-Flops which come in a variety of colors. If you’re not used to the terrain and will be hiking through the islands, try packing water-proof supportive shoes like Merrells, Keens, or Teva sandals that will allow your feet to breathe.
4. Keep it Casual yet Modest
Vietnam differs in dress code depending on whether you’re going North or South. If you’re traveling to the North, locals appreciate when visitors stay more modest and cover up like other Buddhist countries. We suggest packing maxi dresses and long pants for this area. For example, traditional dresses worn by locals for special occasions are called Ao Dai which are actually long floor length dresses with long sleeves made of silk. For the South, you can get away with tank tops and shorts.
5. Bring out the Color
The natural colors of the scenery will reflect bright bold colors, which locals have incorporated into their clothing as well. In order to get the most out of your outfits, we also suggest packing neutral colors like black and white for your main items and tying in a punch of color in your accessories like jewelry, scarves or bags. Don’t be afraid to rock some neon pinks, greens and blues with tropical patterns. Try black linen shorts and a colorful tank top tucked in.