1. Passport & Visa
It goes without saying that you need an international passport. Make sure it’s valid longer than six months though or the Vietnamese won’t let you in (true story). For residents of most countries, you will need a visa in order to enter into Vietnam. Luckily, the visa process is usually fairly simple and you will be able to get a Visa On Arrival at the airport. You will just need to complete a short online application and pay a fee to obtain the documents you will need to present at the airport for your visa on arrival. Check with your local embassy on the requirement. We usually recommend this site to our guests - https://www.myvietnamvisa.com/
2. Cash & Credit Card
Bringing cash or a credit/debit card? The answer is short and simple: both. Most restaurants, hotels and tour operators accept cards. Try to get one with no transfer or withdrawal fees though, just to save you some money.
If you want to experience the real Vietnam however, you need cash (Vietnamese Dong) to pay at the local street food vendors and markets. You can withdraw money from one of the many ATMs or change your dollars, euros, … in one of the currency exchange agencies. There are also a lot of money exchange shops that will be able to give you good value for your money!
3. Driver To Pick
You Up from the Airport
We promise, you’ve never seen so many intrusive taxi drivers as at the international airports in Vietnam… especially Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Saigon. If you don’t want to get totally stressed out even before you enter Vietnam, make sure you arrange yourself a pick-up in advance. It’s cheaper and having someone waiting for you with your name on a plate is kind of cool too, right?
4. Sun Protection
The Vietnamese sun is not like your usual sun. It’s common for the UV index to be around the 8-10 range in Vietnam, and sometimes it even goes up to 12. To put this in perspective, a reading of 6-7 is already considered a “high-risk potential of harm from unprotected sun exposure.” Also, be wise and stay out of the sun between 11AM and 3PM. That tan is far less important than the condition of your skin. Still got burned? Find yourself some aloe vera too cool things down.
5. Diarrhea Medicine
When traveling to a new country and trying their local cuisine there are higher chances of getting an upset belly. Never drink tap water, only eat fresh cooked food and wash your hands regularly. It’s not a fun situation to get sick on your trip in Vietnam. If you do though, you’ll be thanking yourself you brought some diarrhea pills. Better safe than sorry!
6. Lightweight/Loose Fitting Cloths
Due to the hot weather we would recommend you to pack lightweight, loose-fitting clothes in natural fabrics such as cotton that will keep you cool and are easy to wash and dry. No worries if you forget a couple shirts or shorts as purchasing clothes in Vietnam tends to be very cheap. Also, no need to overpack as getting your laundry done (pickup & delivered to you) in Vietnam is very affordable.
7. Flip Flops & Swimwear
This should be a no brainer whenever you are going on a vacation somewhere warm. Depending on what part of Vietnam you are visiting you may be able to take a dip in the ocean! If you are staying in Ho Chi Minh City there are tons of beautiful hotels with amazing rooftop pools that are perfect for a swim. And as in most of SouthEast Asia, flip-flops are your go to footwear. Light, cool and easy to remove as in some bars, temples and restaurants they will ask you to take your shoes off.
8. Hat & Sun Glasses
We talked about protecting your skin from the sun already, but the beams can be so strong over here, there’s definitely no harm in wearing a hat/cap and sunglasses too. Unless getting a sunstroke or damaging your eyes for eternity is on your bucket list of course.
9. Good Walking Shoes
If you enjoy walking then Vietnam is the perfect place for you. It’s very walkable and there are a ton of small food vendors and hidden alleys to explore. We would recommend bringing some comfortable walking shoes as you will be using them a lot. Make sure your shoes are waterproof if you’re visiting during the rainy season.
10. Kindle Or Book
No better way to relax on your vacation than by getting lost in an exciting story. Don’t forget to bring some books or a Kindle, if you want to travel lightly. They are perfect for the long flight to Vietnam or to just enjoy as you relax in a local cafe drinking Vietnamese coffee.