Vietnam is a diverse backpacking destination. Depending on whether you like the beach, surfing, caves, big city, shopping, hiking or motorcycle tours, you will get your money’s worth in Vietnam. There are fewer tourists visiting the country compared to Thailand, but in many places it is just as easy to travel. There is no ideal travel time for Vietnam due to the north-south expansion and the different climatic zones of the country. In any case, experts recommend a travel period of at least three to four weeks. If you also want to visit remote corners, you will need five to six weeks to avoid having to travel in a hectic rush. You can find more information about backpacking in Vietnam here.
Here you can find a proposal for an admittedly very detailed packing list for Vietnam – a modified version of my backpacking packing list. Think of it as a suggestion and inspiration. You certainly don’t need everything!
How to pack your backpack back-friendly and save space when packing your suitcase, you can find out in my travel tips.
Money & Finances
In Vietnam, people pay with the Dong, although many prices are quoted in US dollars. There are no coins, by the way. The best thing is to have a credit card with which you can withdraw money abroad for free. Two wallets ensure that you do not always carry all your money around with you.
- Foreign currency
- Fanny pack with secret compartment
- Chest pouch with RFID blocker
- EC card
- Credit card
- Emergency telephone numbers of the bank
For your Vietnam trip you need the usual hygiene articles. There are hardly any convenience stores like in other countries, so better try to think of everything right away.
- Deo (travel size)
- Shower chunks
- Travel set: shampoo, conditioner etc.
- Menstrual cup
- Hair tie
- Hand Cream
- Contact lenses + accessories
- Culture bag/launderette
- Labello / lip balm
- Nail care set incl. tweezers (for ticks)
- Ear sticks
- Travel razor
- Make-up utensils/make-up remover cloths
- Sunscreen (travel size)
- Tampons/feminine hygiene articles
- Travel detergent
- Toothbrush + toothpaste for the journey
For Vietnam, light, short clothes as well as a rain jacket and in winter a few longer tops belong in your luggage. Better not take too much with you, because you can wash cheaply on site.
- Fleece sweater/jacket
- Functional underwear made of merino wool
- Belt (light)
- Compression socks for the flight
- Cap / Caps / Hats
- Outdoor shirt, short, made of merino wool
- Outdoor shirt, mosquito-proof
- Outdoor blouse, mosquito-proof
- Rain jacket/rain cape g
- Sarong/Pareo/beach dress
- Softshell jacket
- Trekking pants, mosquito-proof
- hiking / functional socks, mosquito-proof
Medicines / Pharmacy
As a backpacker in Vietnam, you need a travel pharmacy that is adapted to your travel route. In large cities there are pharmacies with partly English speaking staff. In remote areas, it’s better to carry the essentials yourself.
- Anti-Bubble Stick
- Bubble patch
- Diarrhea tablets
- First aid kit
- Fever tablets
- Herpes cream / anti-herpes stick
- Mosquito repellent/mosquito spray
- Mosquito protection for clothes
- Insect bite healer g
- malaria prophylaxis if necessary
- personal medicines
- Painkillers (headache)
Papers & Documents
As for every trip, you will need your passport, travel documents, possibly documents for your accommodation and address lists for the postcards home for your Vietnam backpacking trip. If you need it, do not forget your visa.
- Address list for postcards
- Health insurance abroad (proof)
- Backpacking-Guide Vietnam (for the eBook)
- Driving licence (international / national) / car license (if applicable)
- Hotel/hosting documents
- Cover (waterproof) for travel documents
- Vaccination card/allergy passport if applicable
- Health insurance card
- “No worries” – Guide for backpacking beginners
- Travel Guide Vietnam
- Passport cover
- Travel diary
- Student card (international/national)
- Diving certificate/sailing license/etc.
- Visa, if required
- Train ticket / Bahncard / flight ticket
Backpacks & Bags
As a backpacker in Vietnam, you are best advised with a trekking and a daypack. Backpacks help to save space and dry bags keep things dry. I carry the Grid-it with me everywhere, otherwise the small stuff in my hand luggage flies around.
- Dry Bag / Packsack
- Grid-it Organizer
- Pack cubes/clothes bags
- Rain cover for backpack
- Protective cover for electronics
- Trekking backpack
- Vacuum / Compression bags
- Zip bag for hand luggage
What shoes do you need in Vietnam? Basically light, i.e. sandals or flip-flops, although it can be chilly in winter. If you run a lot, you should choose light walking shoes.
- Flip Flops / Slippers / Bathing shoes
- Shoes (also to change)
- Trekking sandals
- Hiking boots
Now a few other things for your Vietnam trip: Oropax I have with me everywhere, as well as an inflatable pillow and a quick-drying travel towel. I’m sure you don’t need all of this, but consider the list as a suggestion:
- Inflatable pillow
- glasses/contact lenses + case
- Book / Magazine
- Adhesive tape (to tape up holes in the mosquito net)
- Luggage tags
- Mosquito net
- Mosquito plug
- sewing kit
- Oropax / earplugs against snorers
- Earplugs for airplanes, pressure compensating
- Travel blanket for train/bus/flight
- 1 to 2 travel towels (quick-drying)
- writing equipment
- Sleeping goggles
- Safety pins
- Headlamp / Flashlight + Batteries
- Stopper (for hand washing in the sink)ing
- Padlock for locker in hostel
- Clothesline, flexible + staples
- Water bottle, foldable
I also have a digital packing list with useful apps and entertainment material.
In Vietnam, you will probably want to take pictures and therefore you will need either a mobile phone with a charging cable or a digicam. You might also want to take your laptop and an eBook reader with you to save weight. You should not forget a travel plug because some of the sockets are not “American”.
- Digital camera incl. battery/tripod
- Digicam cover/case (waterproof)
- eBook reader (e.g. Kindle)
- Mobile phone incl. charging cable
- Mobile phone cover, waterproof
- Prepaid data SIM card for Vietnam
- Headphone adapter for 2 persons
- Chargers for electronics
- SD card
- Socket adapters for Vietnam
In Vietnam, you can usually stay in hostels, guesthouses or hotels. You might want to bring a sleeping bag for that. But it is not a must!
- Hut sleeping bag/Inlet
I wish you a good journey!