Vietnam Packing Suggestions & Trip Preparation
Recommended Packing List
- 2 backup photocopies
- Visa confirmations (printed)
- Suntan lotion
- Water Bottle/ bladders
- International Plug Adapter (See: https://www.adaptelec.com/Country-Specific-Answers/Electrical-Plug-Outlet-and-Voltage-Information-for-Vietnam / Laptops and most electronic devices come with converter built in so all you need is a plug adapter. Voltage converter is only needed for certain items such as hair dryers)
- Notebook (Or phone to take down meeting times, etc)
- Good sandals
- Walking or hiking shoes
- Laundry bag
- 1-2 Pairs of long pants
- Layered clothing (bring some sweatshirts/warm clothes as it will be chilly at night in Northern Vietnam)
- Light jacket or sweatshirt
- Small daypack
- Toilet Paper
- First aid kit including:
- Tiger balm (for headaches)
- Prescription medicines
- Mosquito repellent
- Antibiotic cream
- Ace bandage
- Pain reliever
- Lip balm
- Dramamine/bonine if you get travel sickness
Toiletries & other essentials
- Insect repellant/bug spray (20-30% DEET)
- Any more than this is NOT more effective and can damage clothes and your health!)
- Anti-bacterial hand lotion
- toiletries: shampoo, lotion, deodorant, toothbrush, toothpaste, etc. (try to avoid strong scents)
- Prescription medications needed
- SheWee (For women) (https://www.backpacker.com/gear/the-complete-guide-to-female-urination-devices)
- Camera, extra memory cards/sticks, extra batteries or recharging gear
- Tripod (optional)
- Insect repellant/bug spray (20-30% DEET)
- Cash (50s & 100s get the best exchange rates)
Currency & Tipping:
Please bring US currency in small denominations for the trip and ensure the bills are in good condition (no rips, tears, markings, etc). There is no need to exchange currencies before we arrive since ATMs, banks, & money exchangers will be available upon arrival in Vietnam. You can exchange a small amount of cash on arrival at the airport. Our tour leader will help the group exchange at a bank or money changer with better rates for larger amounts at the beginning of the trip. You can always exchange more with a debit/credit card at ATM’s throughout the trip as well.
Current Exchange Rates:
Vietnam: 1 US Dollar = 23,195.00 Vietnamese Dong
See the below links with more information about money when traveling in Vietnam: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam/practical-information/money-costs
Tips and gratuities to hotels, guides & drivers: Budget approx. $2.00 – $4.00 per person per day for lodge and hotel staff, $1.00 per bag for porters, $5.00 – $10.00 per person per day for guides, and $2.00 – $3.00 per day for drivers. Tips are optional but we highly encourage them if you feel the service deserves it. *Tipping guides and drivers is an expected practice similar to tipping waiters and waitresses in the USA.
Vietnam Weather Description: http://www.vietnamtravelguide.com/weather.html
* Weather Varies Based on Region
Northern Vietnam (https://weatherspark.com/averages/33992/2/Hanoi-Vietnam)
The North of Vietnam is generally cooler than other South East Asian regions in the same longitude. It experiences two main distinct seasons. In winter months, the weather gets colder from November to March and considerably warmer in April (a leap into summer). This is also time to observe much cloud and frequent drizzle. The average winter temperature is 17.2°C (62.9°F). Particularly, the mountainous areas (Northwest) are often much colder, temperature may keep below 10°C (50°F) for long period. Ice and snow even cover Hoang Lien Son Mountains and nearby Sapa town for some times with the lowest record of -3°C (26.6°F) in Feb 2008.
Hanoi and coastal provinces around the Red River Delta generally enjoy equitable weather with high average humidity (80%) all year round. The Vietnamese even identify four seasons in the Northern provinces (from Hai Van Pass toward the north) with their distinct features: pleasant spring (typically March-April) and autumn (October-December), a chilly winter (December- February) and a hot summer (June – July).
The South of Vietnam, merely 8 degrees north of the Equator, is typical of humid tropical climate which is excellent for growing rice. The region’s temperatures experience little variations in a year (around 27-32°C/80-90°F). There are two main seasons: the rainy and the dry. In the dry season, it is hot from late February to April then slightly cooler when first downpours come. Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon) enjoys rather equitable tropical climate with high humidity all year round. December to March is said to be the most pleasant time to hit this region’s center.
Note: In all, Vietnam climate is so diverse that there is almost no definition of an average temperature for the whole country. Thanks to these regional variations in weather, generally, you can drop in Vietnam at any time of year. Commonly, based on the duration of your stay, you should plan to catch the good weather and places by either dropping in Saigon in February or March then following the coast to the north…
Obtaining Vietnam Visa (2 passport photos will be needed to bring with you for the visa on arrival)
Vietnam Entry Requirements: (http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/vietnam.html):
A visa approval letter MUST BE obtained online before departure.
Below are a few options for applying for the the visa:
Apply for actual visa BEFORE trip (*recommended to save time on arrival at the airport): http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/page/apply-email-and-receive-loose-leaf-visa-mail (Actual embassy website)
Cost: $25.00 plus fees
Apply for Approval Letter Only and obtain visa on arrival at airport (lines and wait time on arrival can get long):
Cost: $17.00 – $20.00 PLUS a $25.00 stamping fee paid upon arrival at the Ho Chi Minh airport.
*Important: Please remember to bring at least 2 additional photocopies of your passport and keep them with you at all times.
There are no required vaccines for Vietnam however the standard vaccines for travel are recommended. You can go to the US Government travel site below for more information and consult your doctor.
IMPORTANT: We are not doctors and do not have the authority to give medical advice, including vaccine recommendations.
Please consult your doctor and the websites below. When we travel to these destinations we personally get Hep A, B, & Typhoid. Malaria Pills are also something to consider and are recommended (the regions we will be are all considered LOW risk for malaria).