Preparing for a trip might be difficult especially when you’re coming to a totally new destination. If you’re planning your trip to Vietnam, then it’s not wasting your time to know briefly what to prepare for the perfect and less-risky trip.
With the experience in Vietnam tourism and foreign tourists, AZ Local Trip has listed out everything you need to notice before coming here. This is a complete guide for a detailed preparation for a trip to Vietnam.
>> Check out A Complete Guide In Hanoi Airport <<<
Vietnam Trip Preparation Guide – Things to do before traveling to Vietnam
1. Check For Time and Date (Festivals and Celebrations)
Vietnam is bigger and more different than you think.
Picking where you go is very important. Although the same country, the season change is very difficult for travelers. You should know the climate specifics of each area before your trip. Additionally, at the time, you maybe lose your time to do something else when you can join in some interesting festivals or celebrations at the same time.
Vietnam is more gorgeous in festivals and celebrations
In case you want to visit North Vietnam, plan your trip among November and April to appreciate the spring climate, which is cooler and drier than whatever is left of the year. For example, South Vietnam appreciates a warm atmosphere lasting through the year, with a normal temperature of 27-30 degrees Celsius.
You need to check the weather region you are visiting because of being in the dry or rainy season. Maybe it will be raining every day and holding this problem for few days.
>>> Or you can contact us to get FREE ITINERARY PLANNING for days in Vietnam to experience festivals and celebrations
You can find some interesting festival and celebrations below
Tet Vietnam/Vietnam Lunar New Year (take place across the country)
January/ February: 1st day of Vietnamese lunar year
Tet is the biggest festival of the year and most meaningful for Vietnamese people. It marks the end of the old year and begins a new year, a time for families. If you come here on this occasion, you will feel the warm atmosphere of the family, the excitement of the street performances, especially on Hanoi streets.
Release the golden fish is a Vietnamese tradition custom in Tet holiday
Tet Holiday start from December 23 of Lune Calendar (usually in January of Sun Calendar), if you are here in these days, you can see people bring the golden fish and release them to the lake or river so they can turn into dragon (of course in the imagination) for the Kitchen God go to the heaven
Lim Festival ( Lim Hill, Bac Ninh)
On the 13th day of the first lunar month, visitors come to Lim Hill in Bac Ninh province to watch performances of “quan họ”, traditional songs performed by both men and women from boats and from the Lim Pagoda. The songs cover numerous topics, such as greetings, exchanging love sentiments, and even trivial objects like village gates.
Bac Ninh is only twenty minutes’ drive from Hanoi and worth a side trip after exploring the capital’s must-see sights.
The performance at Lim Pagoda every year
Perfume Pagoda Festival (Huong Son Commune, My Duc district, Hanoi)
Mid-February: The 15th day of the first month of the Vietnamese Lunar Calendar
People come to Huong Pagoda to pray for luck
Perfume Festival draws throngs of local pilgrims from all over Vietnam to iconic Perfume Pagoda in Hanoi, where they to pray for a prosperous year and pay their respects to Buddha.
The pilgrimage starts with a dragon dance at Den Trinh Pagoda on the 15th day of the 1st Lunar, where pilgrims (and even travelers) travel by boat along the Yen River to the base of Huong Mountain, passing by limestone caves and rice fields.
The journey continues on foot by climbing hundreds of stone steps towards Huong Tich Cave, offering a colorful display of food offerings, statues of deities, lit incenses, and praying locals.
Hung King Temple Festival (Nghia Linh Mountain in Phu Tho Province)
Early April: 10th day of 3rd month in the lunar calendar
Hung King Temple Festival is one of the biggest festivals in Vietnam
Hung King Temple Festival is held in commemoration of Kinh Duong Vuong, who became Vietnam’s first king in 2879BC. While the main worship event takes place at the Hung Temple, which is perched atop Nghia Linh Mountain in Phu Tho Province, 100 lanterns are released into the sky on the eve of the festival.
The next morning, a flower ceremony is held at Den Thuong (Upper Temple), where the Hung Kings used to worship deities during their reign. Lastly, a huge procession starts at the foot of the mountain, consisting of pilgrims, “xoan” classical song performances, and “ca tru” classical operas at several temples along the way towards the main Hung Temple.
Hue Festival (Hue City)
April, May, June every 2 years
Hue Imperial Palace is the place for the Hue festival. Here organized many cultural activities feudal, folk games, the only culture in Hue. It used to be the capital of ancient Vietnam. If you are interested in Vietnamese cultural history, you should come here at least once.
Hue Imperial Palace is a bit crowded these days
Hoi An Lantern Festival (Hoi An)
14th day of each lunar month
Are held monthly, Lantern Festival Hoi An that you can’t miss. It’s a traditional festival in Vietnam. Hoi An lantern festival is the signature of Hoi An town as well as the night Hoi An at her best. There is a total display of paper lanterns in this event.
During this festival in Hoi An, businesses, bars and restaurants will turn off their electricity and depend on lanterns and candles. The lantern will be set into the river as an offering to the God of the land and worship Vietnamese ancestors.
Mid-Autumn Festival (take place across the country)
Mid- September, 15th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar
This is a festival of children, known as Children’s Day. On this occasion, lanterns are sold on the streets and you will find them easily on Hang Ma Street, Hanoi. The traditional cake on this occasion is moon cake with many different flavors.
Moon cake is the specialty of Mid-autumn festival
The typical folk games and traditional cultural spaces of Vietnamese people will make you have a special feeling and make a mark on your trip.
All of the festivals above are traditionally long and meaningful festivals for Vietnamese people. Visiting Vietnam on these occasions, you will see a different Vietnam from what you often see. Incorporating with Vietnamese people, you will find them close to you.
>>> Have you chosen any good time to visit Vietnam? Start with Hanoi city! <<<
2. Advance Vietnam Trip Preparation
Before you arrive in Vietnam, visa, hotels that you stay and luggage preparation are essential and this must be planned carefully. You can allocate time as follows:
These are all times before the trip
- 3 months: book tickets, determine suitable accommodation, make a reservation and determine the places you want to go. Should choose the appropriate time for the holidays of Vietnam because it will be more interesting when you join as a Vietnamese.
Monkey Island in Halong Bay is a great place to go if you happen to stay in Northen Vietnam for long
- 1 month: ensure that you have a visa and a passport with a term of at least 3 months from the date of entry into Vietnam. And you should go for a health checkup, vaccination, and buy some useful medicines for the trip.
- 1 week: search online for dishes you want to enjoy or book our tour so you can enjoy famous and traditional dishes. Make sure you have enough clothes and are not too heavy to move, see the weather forecast of where you want to go before preparing your clothes.
3. Passport and Visa – Preparations for a trip to Vietnam
When planning a trip abroad, the first thing you will be worried about is a visa and a passport. With a passport, if you do not have one, you should do it 2 months before you go, and in case you already have it, make sure you have a period of more than 3 months. But to make sure your passport is only 3 months out, you should go to make a new passport to make sure.
You need visa traveling to Vietnam
All others require visa, 30 days, issued in departments or conciliatory workplaces. You can apply for a traveling visa at the Vietnamese international safe haven or department in your country. Make certain to do this well early, as the procedure may assume control over multi-month.
Guests from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Laos and Indonesia with current international IDs can remain for 30 days in Vietnam without a visa, while those from the Philippines can remain for 21 days.
Individuals with conciliatory visas from more than 60 unique nations, and also ASEAN authorities, needn’t bother with a vacationer visa to enter Vietnam.
Guests from Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark may remain for 15 days.
>>> Check out Best Vietnam Itinerary Guide!
4. Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will help you a lot when you lose your luggage, cancel, delay your flight and other risks. Travel insurance will help you in happening in Vietnam. For example, when you lose things, insurance will be responsible, maybe when you get sick, insurance will also help you. Having travel insurance will help you reduce your worries and dangers in Vietnam.
Travel Insurance is compulsory on all trips and is a condition of booking with some hotels. You should be content with at least:
Medical and health cover for injury or sudden illness
24-hour emergency service and assistance.
Personal liability in case you’re sued for causing injury or damaging property.
Lost and stolen of possessions.
Cancellation and curtailment (cutting short your trip due to illness, injury or unforeseen circumstances.).
5. Vaccinations and Medical Checking Lists
Of course, they are good for you. To make sure that you are really healthy and have enough resistance to travel to Vietnam, you need to visit doctor or travel clinic at least two months before you travel to find out which travel vaccinations are necessary. By the way, some kinds of medications, such as anti-malaria and anti-diarrhea drugs.
Don’t forget to bring your pills for regular issues such as cold or flu
6. Money and Credit Card
In Vietnam, almost hotels use VND and just a few using USD, if you have a VISA card and ANZ card or pay the online cost before the trip, it’s OK. But you still need to exchange to VND because you can’t use USD on the street such as cafe, meals and in the market. You can exchange at hotels, the airport or banks.
Before you use to buy something, you need to know clearly about values and differences between both currencies.
>>> Read More in for detailed guide Cash, Credit cards and ATMs in Vietnam
Checking the weather before you went, which can determine which clothes you needed to bring. One thing that you need see-through, when you bring lighter luggage, you have easier moving. Bring things you need not things you want.
Use luggage lock if possible. Since you won’t like your luggage due to transport being unlocked and tossing your stuff out, using a lock will prevent it from happening.
>>> Bring light luggage to move easily and explore the most of Vietnam with tour packages
8. Plan Your Budget
Planning smart spending will be helpful for you before you go. Calculate the necessary expenses such as renting a hotel, moving between places you need to go, completing visas and airline tickets. Or set aside a budget for entertainment there.
The price of a hotel rental is different, usually in the range of about 300.000 VND (15 US$) to 1.000.000 – 2.000.000 VND (50 – 100 US$) per night, which may be the higher price when you are in a luxurious place.
Travel costs will be based on where you want to go. To move in the country, you can use the train or plane, the domestic ticket will fluctuate in about 4.000.000 VND round-trip ticket, while the train ticket will be in the range of about 100.000 VND to 1.000.000 VND per ticket.
Take a look at the common cost
The cost of making visas, passports and air tickets from your country to Vietnam depends on your country. You will calculate this amount yourself.
In Vietnam, you will need calm, analyzing whether you need to buy and if the price is reasonable. In some cases, the price has been overstated with the true value of the item, for example, bread price is about 20.000 VND to 100.000 VND, 5.000 VND to 50.000 VND. Pay attention and be careful!
- 23.400 VND = 1 US$ (Jan 2019)
>>> If you happen in the capital city, you must check this: How Much Will I Spend In Hanoi?
9. Vietnamese SIM Card
You can only use domestic Sim card in Vietnam and there are 3 big carriers: Viettel, Mobifone, Vinaphone. You can buy it in Hanoi Old Quarter, however, the price will be higher than normal and it might not have the 4G LTE data and you have to install it and it might cause a little trouble.
You can contact AZ Local Trip for the SIM card with 4G LTE data and our detailed guide and instruction.
AZ Local Trip provides sim card with reasonable price for best quality, of course with nice packing and instruction
In Vietnam, wifi is used in all places but you should have a 4G LTE SIM so that when you come to a place without wifi or poor wifi connection, the situation will be very difficult.
Not only that, in the past 2 years, the use of apps like Grab, Goviet is very popular, you can order a motorbike, taxi to pick you up and take you to your place and you will see the cost before you order. Having a phone number will be more convenient when you book a trip on Grab or Goviet.
10. Clothes To Bring – What To Wear
The clothes you wear will depend on the weather in Vietnam. There is a way to divide the season in Vietnam, that is, from the Central region to the North, the higher the mountain, the cooler such as Lao Cai, Lang Son, Sapa and so on.
Bring warm clothes! You will need it if you have an intention to travel to the must-visit place – Sapa
It will be very cold if you travel in mountainous areas, you need life jackets, fur coats or warm packs. In the plains and especially in Hanoi, you need to prepare a light jacket and some warm packs. But this only makes sense between November and April, which may change in practice so you need to update the weather before you arrive about 1-7 days before you arrive.
With Southern weather, and summer in Northern Vietnam, you should bring short, comfortable clothes for traveling, you should bring portable fans and sunscreen. You may experience heat shock in the summer, the temperature can be up to 35 degrees C. Bring enough medicine and what you think can guarantee you in the weather.
What to take? – Vietnam travel preparation
You should bring your personal bio-equipment if absolutely necessary, bring your clothes based on the weather forecast. If you’re really interested in wearing lots of clothes, suggest how to fold your clothes neatly and give you another space for other things you need.
Some antibiotics and anti-mosquitoes will be really helpful when you come here. There are things that you definitely have to remember to bring, which are sunscreen, sunglasses, rain jacket, first aid kits, personal bandages and condoms. These things will really help you with your trips and are especially suitable for visiting Vietnam.
Don’t have to worry about any serious inappropriate clothing in Vietnam
Notice that there are no serious cultural concerns about wearing inappropriate clothing in Vietnam. In religious buildings and government offices (or if attending a formal dinner), legs should be covered and sleeveless tops should be avoided.
Packing list for Vietnam – How to prepare for a trip to 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 traveling to Northern Vietnam)
- Warm jacket, gloves and beanie if traveling to Sapa between November and February
- A raincoat
- A hat
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Flip flops
- Reusable water bottle
>>> Besides packaging, itinerary planning is also kind of hard to solve. Let’s us help you!
You will need a universal power adapter whatever gadgets you bring with you to plug it in. In Vietnam, they use a variety of different 2 and 3 pin plug sockets so an adapter is smart. Having surge protection built in is a good idea to avoid it getting burnt.
Bring phone chargers, spare chargers for phones, other electronic devices like laptops, cameras, tablets and so on. Make sure you have enough equipment, not too much, not too little. Tip for you, just bring your phone and camera enough for a trip.
Regular electric plug-in Vietnam
12. Top Tips – Vietnam Trip Preparation
Learn a little Vietnamese, it will help you when you come here. In Vietnam, only a few people can speak English and communicate with you, you should prepare yourself a little Vietnamese like how to ask for directions, prices, quantity and normal greetings.
Here, crossing the road can be the most dangerous for you. You will feel a huge number of motorbikes and cars coming towards you, don’t be too scared because this is common in downtown Hanoi or big cities. You should raise your hand to the side of the cars coming slowly to the road, not panic or run, they will avoid you.
Local student tour guide helping the tourist cross the street
If you can speak a little Vietnamese and use your finger to indicate the quantity for sellers, please know the bargain because maybe they know you are a foreigner, the price you buy will be 5 – 10 times more than the value. The real product, so if you feel not good, be a frown, shake your head, express your disagreement and raise your bargaining finger.
13. Do and Don’t in Vietnam
Vietnam is well known as a friendly and non-religious country. Vietnam still preserves customs which have lasted for thousands of years. As a result, to have a happy in your holiday in Vietnam, you should glance at this list of dos and don’ts in Vietnam.
Dos in Vietnam
Greet Vietnamese in their native language which is “Xin Chao” for “ Hello” and “ Cam On” for “ Thank you” with bent head.
Do learn to use chopsticks. In many places, especially remote areas, it is not easy to find forks or knives
Remove your shoes before entering a house. Vietnamese do not wear shoes inside the house. Not removing your shoes is seen as not very polite.
Try to finish everything on your plate. Leaving too much food on your plate seems impolite, especially with the local families.
Wear polite dress code (long and body covering clothes) when going to religious places to show your respect to locals’ belief
Remember to wear a polite dress code for religious places!
Take off your hat when you go inside religious places like pagodas or temples to show respect to these places.
Travel with reputed travel agents (AZ Local Trip is a good source). If you don’t check the reputation of the travel agents you choose, you may get low-quality service. In the worst case, you will have a terrible journey: a dirty hotel, uncomfortable car, bad food…
Store passport, visa, cash, credit card, airplane tickets and other valuable things in a safe place. It is undeniable that robberies still take place in Vietnam especially in Ho Chi Minh City. In fact, there were many travelers robbed in the streets of Saigon.
Hold your bag in front of you especially when you hire a motorbike taxi to avoid bag snatching.
Ask for permission before taking photos at a site or with someone. There are some places (especially temples or pagodas) in Vietnam that do not allow photography.
Check the weather forecast before going out because the weather in Vietnam changes very quickly.
Take an umbrella/raincoat/hat and water with you before going out
Watch carefully before crossing the road because traffic in Vietnam is chaotic.
Don’t forget to take a map at the hotel
Bring a map or hotel business card when going out alone in case you get lost. The traffic in Vietnam is complicated.
Bargain before purchasing anything. Vendors in Vietnam, especially in the North of Vietnam, often claim the higher price at first then they will settle for lower
Try to have plenty of change in your pocket so that you will have an easier time making purchases from local street vendors
Do get medical insurance before for your trip. Health care services may cost a lot abroad so medical insurance is a good way in case you need any health care services.
Don’t in Vietnam
Don’t wear valuable jewelry or bring lots of money when walking around the street in case of robbery.
Don’t uncontrollably eat at vendors (only eat food when you are sure of its elements and quality). Until now, Vietnam has failed in controlling the quality of food at vendors so use precautions when finding restaurants.
Look delicious? But don’t uncontrollably eat everything
Don’t wear shorts or tank tops to the local pagodas, temples or other religious places (It’s fine to do so in some temples that are tourist destinations). You will be considered rude and sometimes you will not be allowed to be in.
Don’t take pictures of military sites in Vietnam
Don’t stay out too late, especially in some remote areas – it can be unsafe.
Don’t rush the locals, they hate being rushed
Don’t have aggressive behavior in public. Vietnamese are quite closed and conservative. Therefore, you should not have extreme behavior, it will be considered rude.
Don’t cause Vietnamese to “lose face”. Keeping a big face is very important for Asian people and Vietnamese.
Don’t show public personal affection to your boyfriend/girlfriend. Kissing, touching or holding hands may be perceived inappropriate especially in the countryside or mountainous area.
Don’t touch someone’s head, especially when this someone is older than you are. It is considered insulting.
Even when you see a cute kid, don’t touch his or her head
Don’t sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the family altar in someone’s house especially when you visit the local family or stay in the homestay.
Don’t run too fast or stop suddenly when you cross the road in Vietnam. Keep eye contact with the coming drivers and try to keep your speed. Crossing the road with our guide for the first days will be great to learn.
Lastly, don’t be too nervous. Most of Vietnamese will forgive if you don’t know or you forget the don’t – things above because you are foreigners. However, trying your best is appreciated!
And don’t forget your FREE CUSTOMIZED ITINERARY
14. Pre-departure Checklist
Check your visa and passport again.
Get vaccinated and complete immunization history.
Booking train tickets, domestic flights and hotels.
If you use a card, you should notify debit and credit card company
If you’re visiting Hanoi capital, besides all tips above, this article might be helpful for Getting Around Hanoi.
We hope that with the detailed preparation, you will have a perfect trip to our beautiful country Vietnam.