20 best things to prepare for travelling to Vietnam

Apr 23, 2024

Are you prepare for travelling to Vietnam in this holiday but don’t know where to start? Whether you’re planning a short vacation or an extended adventure, it’s essential to be well-prepared to make the most of your trip. In this travel guide, we’ll explore the 20 best things to prepare for traveling to Vietnam, ensuring a smooth and memorable experience.

1. Valid Passport and Visa to prepare for travelling to Vietnam

Ensure that your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your planned departure date. Check the visa requirements for your nationality. Most visitors to Vietnam require a visa, which can be obtained in advance from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate or through an online pre-approval letter that allows for visa issuance upon arrival.

prepare for travelling to vietnam visa

2. Research Vietnam’s Regions

Vietnam is geographically diverse, with each region offering its own unique attractions. Hanoi, the capital, offers a blend of ancient and modern charms. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) is known for its bustling streets and historical landmarks. Halong Bay is famous for its stunning karst limestone formations, while Hoi An enchants visitors with its well-preserved ancient town. The Mekong Delta showcases scenic landscapes and a vibrant floating market. Research these regions to determine which ones align with your interests and plan your itinerary accordingly.

3. Best Time to Visit

Vietnam experiences three main climate regions: the north, central, and south. The weather patterns vary throughout the year, so it’s important to choose the best time to visit based on your preferences. Generally, the months of March to May and September to November are considered the best times to visit, as the weather is relatively mild across most regions.

prepare for travelling to vietnam golden rice fields

4. Vaccinations and Health

Schedule an appointment with your doctor or a travel clinic at least 4-6 weeks before your trip to discuss the necessary vaccinations for Vietnam. Common recommendations include Hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, and Japanese encephalitis. It’s also advisable to take precautions against mosquito-borne diseases by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing. Additionally, consider purchasing travel insurance that covers medical expenses and emergency medical evacuation.

5. Currency Exchange and Cash

The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). While credit cards are widely accepted in major cities and tourist areas, it’s advisable to carry cash, especially in rural areas where cash is more commonly used. Exchange your currency at reputable banks or exchange counters for better rates, and ensure that you have enough cash for smaller purchases and in case of emergencies.

prepare for travelling to vietnam Vietnam currency

6. Language and Communication

While English is spoken in many tourist areas, especially in larger cities, it can be helpful to learn a few basic Vietnamese phrases. This shows respect to the local culture and makes it easier to communicate with locals. Carry a pocket-sized phrasebook or use translation apps on your smartphone for assistance.

7. Pack Appropriate Clothing

Vietnam’s climate varies from north to south. In the north, especially during winter months (December to February), temperatures can drop significantly, so pack warm clothing such as sweaters and jackets. Central Vietnam experiences a combination of hot and rainy weather, so lightweight and breathable clothing is recommended. In the south, the climate is hot and humid, so pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothes made from natural fabrics such as cotton or linen. Don’t forget to pack comfortable walking shoes and a hat to protect yourself from the sun.

8. Travel Adapters

Vietnam uses Type A, C, and D electrical outlets. The standard voltage is 220V, and the frequency is 50Hz. Depending on your home country, you may need a travel adapter to plug in your electronic devices. It’s important to check the voltage requirements of your devices to ensure they are compatible or bring a voltage converter if necessary.

prepare for travelling to vietnam outlets

9. Transportation Options

Vietnam offers various transportation options to explore the country. Domestic flights are an efficient way to cover long distances quickly. Trains are another popular mode of transportation, offering scenic views and comfortable sleeper options for overnight journeys. Buses are a budget-friendly option, with both public and private operators serving different routes. Taxis are widely available in cities, but make sure to use reputable companies or ride-hailing apps for safety and fair pricing.

10. Accommodation

Vietnam provides a wide range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From budget-friendly hostels and guesthouses to luxurious resorts and boutique hotels, there’s something for everyone. Research and book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure your preferred choices and get the best rates.

11. Local Customs and Etiquette

Vietnamese culture has its own set of customs and etiquette that visitors should be aware of and respect. For example, it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone’s home, a temple, or a pagoda. Dress modestly when visiting religious sites, covering your shoulders and knees. Greeting others with a smile and a slight bow is considered polite, and it’s customary to address older people or those in positions of authority with respect.

12. Travel Insurance

Obtaining comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended to protect yourself against unforeseen events. Look for a policy that offers coverage for medical emergencies, trip cancellations or interruptions, lost or stolen belongings, and emergency medical evacuation. Read thepolicy terms and conditions carefully to ensure it meets your specific needs.

13. Pack a First Aid Kit

Carrying a basic first aid kit is essential for any travel adventure. Include items such as band-aids, adhesive tape, antiseptic cream, pain relievers, diarrhea medication, insect repellent, sunscreen, and any prescription medications you require. It’s always better to be prepared for minor health issues that may arise during your trip.

14. Local Transportation Apps

Transportation apps like Grab and GoViet are widely used in Vietnam, especially in major cities. These apps allow you to book taxis or motorbike rides conveniently and provide transparent pricing. Downloading and familiarizing yourself with these apps can make getting around easier and more efficient.

prepare for travelling to vietnam Grab

15. Street Food Safety

Vietnam is renowned for its delicious street food, but it’s important to be mindful of food safety to avoid any stomach issues. Choose food stalls that have a high turnover of customers, as this ensures the freshness of the food. Opt for freshly cooked dishes, and avoid raw or undercooked seafood. Drink bottled water or opt for boiled or filtered water, and avoid consuming beverages with ice of questionable origin.

16. Travel Itinerary and Research

Plan your travel itinerary in advance to make the most of your time in Vietnam. Research the top attractions, local experiences, and hidden gems in the regions you plan to visit. Having a rough plan allows you to maximize your time and ensures you don’t miss out on must-see sights or unique cultural experiences. However, be open to flexibility and spontaneous discoveries along the way.

17. Cultural Sensitivity

Respect for local customs and traditions is important when traveling in Vietnam. Dress modestly when visiting temples, pagodas, or other religious sites, covering your shoulders and knees. Be mindful of appropriate behavior in sacred places and follow any guidelines or instructions provided by the locals. Showing respect and understanding goes a long way in fostering positive interactions with the local community.

18. Stay Hydrated

Vietnam’s climate can be hot and humid, especially in the southern regions. It’s important to stay hydrated throughout your trip. Carry a reusable water bottle and refill it with purified or bottled water. Avoid drinking tap water unless it has been properly treated or boiled. Drinking plenty of fluids helps prevent dehydration and ensures you stay healthy and energized during your travels.

19. Travel Safety and Security

While Vietnam is generally a safe destination for travelers, it’s important to take common-sense precautions to ensure your safety. Keep an eye on your belongings and secure them properly, especially in crowded areas or public transportation. Be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts. Avoid walking alone late at night, particularly in isolated or poorly lit areas. If you’re traveling with valuable items, such as cameras or electronics, be discreet and avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.

20. Learn about Local Transportation Scams

As with any popular tourist destination, it’s important to be aware of common transportation scams in Vietnam. Research common scams and familiarize yourself with the typical tactics used. Be cautious when dealing with unlicensed taxis or motorbike taxis, and negotiate fares in advance or use reputable transportation services. If you’re unsure, seek advice from your hotel or a trusted local source.

By taking the time to prepare for travelling to Vietnam, you’ll ensure a smoother and more enjoyable travel experience. From arranging your travel documents to understanding local customs and staying safe, these preparations will help you make the most of your time in this beautiful country. Embrace the vibrant culture, savor the delicious cuisine, and create unforgettable memories as you explore the stunning landscapes of Vietnam. Happy travels!

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