Weather in Vietnam varies considerably, so what you wear is dependent on the time of year you visit and where you go. Dress standards can be more conservative outside of major cities in Vietnam. To respect this, and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend wearing modest clothing. This means clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, particularly in pagodas and religious sites. In many rural areas, women will need to wear modest clothes, even while swimming. Consider bringing a sarong, which conveniently doubles as both a cover-up and a blanket.
Summer months can be incredibly hot and sticky, so loose, lightweight and breathable clothing is essential. While linen and cotton are good options, cotton in particular does not dry well in high humidity. Athletic wear designed to absorb sweat and stay dry is a better option for humid days. Remember that short shorts, crop tops and tank tops are not considered appropriate in Vietnam. Loose, long clothing is both respectful and tends to keep you cooler in hot climates.
Southern and central cities, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hue, are warm year-round, with temperatures rarely dropping below 20°C (68°F), however the temperature does drop as you go further north. Pack a light jacket, hoodie or fleece for travel to Hanoi and Halong Bay between November and March. January is typically the coldest month, when temperatures drop as low as 13°C (55°F). It gets particularly cold in Saba from November to February, when temperatures can dip near the freezing mark. Pack a warm jacket, layers, gloves and beanie to stay warm for trips during this time.
Good quality, comfortable footwear is best for hiking. Paths can be uneven, rocky, slippery and muddy depending on the season, so waterproof, worn-in walking boots or shoes with good grip is recommended. A raincoat is also a good idea during the rainy season.
Packing list for Vietnam
- Loose, breathable clothing that covers your knees and shoulders. Athletic wear is recommended for particularly humid days
- Swim shorts or bathing suit
- A sarong
- Light jacket or fleece
- A hoodie plus warm layers are recommended for the evening during cooler months (especially if travelling to Northern Vietnam)
- Warm jacket, gloves and beanie if travelling to Saba between November and February
- A raincoat
- A hat
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Flip flops
- Reusable water bottle
See our ultimate packing list for a more comprehensive list of items you should bring on your trip to Vietnam.
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