How to pack for Vietnam’s climate
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    Jun 18, 2018

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“Vietnam has all sorts of different weather conditions”. If you think Vietnam is just hot and humid, that means you have only read one page about Vietnam’s climate! While the weather in Northern Vietnam varies between four seasons (winter, spring, autumn and summer) with May to October being hot and rainy, Southern Vietnam has a dry season from November to April and a rainy season from April to October with June, July, and August being the rainiest months typically. Central Vietnam has warm temperatures year round, with the hottest months being in the middle of the year, and the cooler, drier ones being from November to April. Therefore, you should check when and where you will be in Vietnam in order to pack suitable things for your trip.


Sunshine in the rain (Credit to Bush Pro)

Apart from the essentials that you should never forget such as passport, visa, cash and credit card, there are other things you should pack when visiting Vietnam in order to help minimize unexpected troubles. Remember to pack as little as you can, so you can leave enough room for souvenirs and other bargains from around Vietnam!

Waterproof sunscreen, sunglasses, hat and cotton scarf: Vietnam’s sun is no joke! These items will protect your skin from the intense heat of the sunlight which is typically 25oC to 35oC in summer. A waterproof sunscreen is more effective in a humid climate. A cotton scarf helps shield your head under the burning sun and also protects you from the cold breezes in the Southern and the Central regions during winter.

Lightweight clothing: Bring light long sleeved shirts, light long pants for the daytime as the strong sun will cause sunburn easily. Don’t be fooled by the sun not being visible as its harmful rays still penetrate cloud cover and can cause sunburn quickly. Loose trousers will be more comfortable for outdoor activities as the humidity will make you sweat. A light sweatshirt or light jacket is useful for the cool evenings in higher altitude towns (e.g. Da Lat, Da Nang, Hue).

Gloves, scarf, sweater and jacket/coat: Winter clothes are strongly suggested for those planning to visit the Northern (Ha Noi, Sa Pa), Central Vietnam (Hue, Da Nang) and South Central (Da Lat) areas from December to February where the daytime temperature is around 5oC to 15oC. It also occasionally snows in the northern mountain area in winter time.

A waterproof jacket/coat, an umbrella and waterproof bags: If you are travelling to Vietnam between May and October, remember to bring a waterproof jacket/coat, umbrella and waterproof bags such as a cross body handbag. During the rainy season, unexpected and heavy rain might fall in the North or Central areas and especially in the coastal areas in June and July.

Other suggested items to bring as recommended through foreign tourists experiences of travelling in Vietnam are:

Mosquito spray, bug repellent: Mosquitoes are found mostly in the Mekong Delta area especially during rainy season. Many tourists are unware of the multiple health problems which can be caused through mosquito bites. Therefore, mosquito spray should be taken with you and used everywhere.

Tissue paper/wipes/hand sanitizer kit: Small tissue paper/wipes packs and mini hand sanitizers that you can put in your bag/backpack are very necessary. Vietnamese often carry tissue paper whenever they go out in order to clean theirs hands before eating or to wipe away sweat.

Medication for upset stomach: Vietnamese cuisine and street food appeals to many tourists appetites. However, some foods you might try for the first time may cause diarrhoea as your stomach is not used to it. So be careful what you try and bring medication such as anti-diarrhoea treatment tablets and rehydration powder as sometimes it's not easy to get medicine in some rural areas (unless you speak Vietnamese).

Ear plugs and eye mask: If travelling at night or by long distance bus while exploring Vietnam, ear plugs and an eye mask are useful as night buses sometimes have “disco” lights and loud music playing the whole time.

(Read more - Some Vietnamese songs that most drivers fall in love with:

Image Featured: Credit to Jen Collins

Proofreader: Mr. Alex Curtis, Civil Servant UK

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