A Cultural Guide: 3 Tips on What to Pack for Vietnam

If you’re heading to Vietnam soon, there are two things definitely worth researching: what Vietnamese culture is like, and what on earth you’re going to pack in your suitcase! If you’re struggling with your packing list, here are our 3 top tips on what to pack for your visit to this incredible country.

Think about the culture before you pack

While there’s no law for an official dress code in Vietnam, dressing a little more modestly and more similar to how the locals dress is an easy way to show respect to those who live in the country. You might find that you’re also treated better as a result – and can explore other locations that are a bit more off the beaten track with a local’s help.

Dressing modestly in Vietnam typically means wearing clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, particularly in pagodas and religious sites. If you’re travelling in big cities, you can usually relax this rule a little since most urban areas have been influenced by Western cultures a lot.

Dress for the climate

Depending on the time of year you go to Vietnam and the things you plan to do while you’re there, dressing for the climate can greatly influence what you should pack in your rucksack. Vietnam’s wettest months are usually from July to September, while the summer from May to October is when the country is the most hot and humid – and has the most rainfall.

To account for these changing climates, it’s recommended to bring breathable and light fabrics that can also act as a cover-up. Cotton and linen, for example, are great materials for coping with the heat and humidity, especially if you’re doing one of the many Vietnam tours during the hot and wet seasons. A large scarf is also a versatile item that can be used to both cover your shoulders or worn as a long maxi skirt.

Dress code based on area

Looking at your travel itinerary can also help you with your packing list for Vietnam. If you’re planning on visiting more urban areas like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, the dress code will typically be more relaxed in these major cities which means you don’t have to worry as much about packing items that can be used as cover-ups, too.

However, if you’re planning to visit more rural and conservative areas, it’s better to follow a more strict dress code and be particularly attentive to local customs in these areas.

Packing for your next trip to Vietnam doesn’t have to be tricky with these great 3 top tips on how to structure your packing list. And remember, you can always buy stuff out there! It’s getting it back home that’s the issue…