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Wondering what to wear in Vietnam? This all-season packing guide shows you exactly what to bring in your suitcase! Keep reading to learn more!
What to Wear in Vietnam
Written By: Niki Landry
Typically when visiting Vietnam, most travelers expect great food, affordable prices, warm temperatures, and high humidity–all entirely realistic expectations for this Southeast Asian country.
Cooler temperatures in Sapa, northern Vietnam
What most visitors don’t anticipate are colder temperatures towards the northern part of the country or the wet-cold of the shoulder season. These areas can be surprisingly chilly, making a versatile all-season wardrobe for a cross-country trip important.
If you plan on exploring the diverse corners of Vietnam, you should be prepared for a little of everything.
Start by reading this free, downloadable Southeast Asia Packing guide and then follow these tips on what to wear in Vietnam to be fully prepared on your trip:
A layered, multi-function wardrobe with a focus on clothing suitable for a tropical climate is your best bet for weathering anything this beautiful country can throw at you. This means loose fitting, breezy fabrics in a mix-and-match color palette.
Similar to other tropical packing lists for Southeast Asia, a combination of sleeveless and short sleeve tops is ideal for Vietnam.
One or two casual, quick-dry tees are great for wicking away sweat on super hot days and as a base layer if you decide to go hiking in the mountains. Look for tops that have performance properties but can be styled up by pairing with a cute skirt and jewelry.
Here’s a full guide on how to choose the best travel fabrics!
In addition to hot weather tops, bring along one long sleeve button down to layer as needed. A button down in a neutral color can be used as a light jacket in a pinch.
As you plan what to wear in Vietnam, do not skip warm layers if you plan to visit the countryside or the beautiful Sapa in the north. It can get cold!
A packable raincoat is also essential during the mid-day thunderstorms, and can be used as a third layer if the temperature drops unexpectedly. This will be especially helpful in the northern part of the country where you might even find yourself with the need for a warm fleece travel jacket.
Here’s our round up of the best rain jackets for women!
Dresses and Bottoms
Unless you are really attached to your jeans, avoid bringing long denim. High humidity and skinny jeans don’t mix well.
Instead, opt for loose fitting jogger pants and a maxi dress/skirt for days when you need a little more coverage.
Take a look at this list of the best pants for travel including options for tropical weather!
Your first inclination may be to avoid black in a hot country, but I prefer to wear black dresses because they better camouflage sweat than lighter colors.
Even though Vietnam isn’t the place for long denim, jean shorts are another matter. They can be worn multiple times between washings, hold their shape, and will be your go-to bottom during your trip.
For days when you really can’t stand the heat, loose fabric shorts and a flowy casual dress are a nice alternative. A multi-colored, patterned short will match easily with an assortment of solid tops. Airy, lightweight shorts can also double as swimsuit cover-ups or sleepwear.
These stylish summer shorts for women are super cute and travel-friendly, too!
Also, the dressier version of the jean short is the denim mini-skirt; this button up version is really popular right now. It’s a great option for exploring Vietnam’s cities during the day or while enjoying the nightlife.
While shoes are always the most challenging thing to pack for a trip, it is in fact possible to get away with only one pair of shoes on most trips to Vietnam.
If you only pack one pair, make it a comfortable travel sandal — it’s a bonus if it’s stylish enough to transition from day to night.
As you plan what to wear in Vietnam it’s also important to note that the shoe of choice for both travelers and locals is a pair of flip-flops. They pack flat, can easily be worn on the beach or around cities, and all the locals wear them, too.
TFG swears by these Ipanema thongs and readers agree!
Depending on your activities, a third shoe option could be lightweight sneakers. They are breathable enough to wear in the heat and great for hikes in the countryside.
At least one swimsuit (two if you are planning to spend more than a couple of days at the beach) is needed for the duration of your trip.
Aside from the typical uses of a swimsuit, no trip to Sapa, Vietnam is complete without an herbal bath. Unless you want to wear your underwear, you will need a swimsuit.
These are 21 one piece-swimsuits you can wear on and off the beach!
A great thing about traveling to Vietnam is that clothing is affordable and readily available. Don’t fret if you find yourself without the proper clothing item. It can be easily remedied with a bespoke outfit from the nearest tailor.
If you want to make the most out of your time, fly into either Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and out of Hanoi or vice versa then either travel north or south.
Pack the bare necessities and pick up the rest when you get into Southeast Asia. Cities like Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, all have markets where you can purchase everything your heart desires.
You can buy two tanks, a tee, and two pairs of rayon pants for $13 then live in them for the entire trip, paying a small fee to have them laundered every few days.
You won’t be alone in this. Every woman young and old alike, will likely do the exact same thing. Everyone will pack massive bags, and barely touch a thing inside.
A few must-see destinations include:
Sapa in the north. It’s unlike any other part of the country and is absolutely magical! With rolling hills filled with rice padis, make sure to do the 2-3 day trek with the Hmong tribe including a home stay.
A couple hour drive from Hanoi is the launching pad to gorgeous Halong Bay. With a jade green sea against a limestone backdrop, this is as postcard perfect as it gets.
If you’re on the backpacker trail, Nha Trang is one party town not to be missed. Make sure to do the snorkel trip!
For some island time check out Phu Quoc, a beautiful island in the south of Vietnam. It has an airport for easy access.
For food, the Hoi An specialties are worth the trip to this historic city alone. However, aside from it’s beauty and the delicious food, this is the hub for having custom made shoes and clothing. Skip the clothes and design your own shoes! Ready in 24-48 hours!
If you want to pre-book your accommodation, we use and recommend Agoda in Asia. It’s also easy to book as you go and use the accommodation suggestions listed in one of the above travel guides as a starting off point.
What are your tips on what to wear in Vietnam? Comment and share below!
For more Southeast Asia packing lists, please read:
- What to Pack for Cambodia
- What to Wear in Laos
- Thailand Packing List: Beaches and Islands
- Backpacking Southeast Asia Packing List
Suggested Travel Resources:
For any other trips, please visit our packing lists page for all destinations.
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Author Bio: Niki is an interior designer and artist from Louisiana. In addition to her design work, she writes for local and online publications, sharing her experiences and passion for travel. Niki is currently adding stamps to her passport while building her design practice, Niki Landry Designs.