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Insect Repellent and sunscreens are a must
Luggage and bags: Vietnamese family and friends over there loves American wares. Bring soap, toothpaste, mouthwash.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you come during raining season, bring an Anorek for sudden shower in the afternoon. I didn't have any problem in November.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I brought stuff for upset stomach. Luckily I didn't have to use it. If you wear contact lenses, bring eyes drop or better yet, wear your glasses. It's so dusty there that you won't be able to go all day in your contact lenses.
Also, bring a small pack of wet wipes. They come in handy in some restaurants that don't have napkins. When eating at restaurants, don't use those cloth towels. It's OK to use the disposable wet wipes. Also, they charge you for using those.
Dress for heat & humidity, etc
Luggage and bags: Backpacks are ideal if you want to travel around Vietnam but if you are here to shop, better you bring a bigger suitcase
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Going to a hot & humid place in the tropics calls for light & natural fabrics like Cotton or Silk. Tank tops, short sleeve shirts or T-shirts are fine. Shorts or light khakis are also good. You can buy most of your clothes at low prices so you needn't worry if you didn't pack enough
Try to avoid thick or synthetic material because you will sweat buckets & you will be very uncomfortable.
As for shoes, flip flops or open sandals are great because when it's hot, your feet will appreciate it and when it rains, you won't be walking around with wet shoes for too long
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen is a must in South East Asia!! While you may enjoy the warmth of the sun, the intensity is much greater than say in the temperate countries. Don't let sunburn ruin your vacation
It helps if you bring your own medication e.g for diarrhea. Some people are not used to the food so best avoid getting sick on your holidays
Miscellaneous: Also bring a small towel or lots of handkerchiefs because you will need to wipe all the sweat when you walk around
- Business Travel
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What to bring and what to leave behind
Luggage and bags: Bring one small bag with essentials only. If you need another bag to take home accumulated souvenirs etc you can buy this very cheaply in Ho Chi Minh City
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take only 2 days worth of clothing with you. Clothes are extremely cheap in Ho Chi Minh City
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Only bring essential medicines. All other items can be bought in Ho Chi Minh City, including most intenational brands (e.g. toothpaste, soap, shampoo etc).
Photo Equipment: Film and photo processing are of a high standard. Same day film processing and print is the norm.
Miscellaneous: Bring a Mobile Phone. Phone calls outside Vietnam are very expensive, but domestic calls and text messages are very cheap. Text messaging is a cheap way of keeping contact overseas. Make sure the phone you bring is a GSM phone.
- Budget Travel
Luggage and bags: Travel light - arrive with little luggage. If you need additional luggage, you can buy them in Vietnam for less than $10.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: comfortable walking shoes - Naturalizer soft leather sandals.
Photo Equipment: I used a digital camera, but bring a large memory card or extra ones. If possible, have all your pictures developed in Vietnam. It's much cheaper!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Just a suggestion. Something I will never do again is wear denim (either jeans or shorts) while on trips that require any type of excerise. You sweat, and it gets wet and does not dry. Chafes a hell of a lot and is not pleasant in the heat. Denim is fine for evening when you are not doing a lot physically, but for daytime wear I would opt for light cotton or board short type fabric. - Just my thoughts on this.
Photo Equipment: This is up to you. Digital is wonderful, and more convenient, but Film (SLR) gives far better picture quality and colour quality (unless you have a digital SLR which I hope to get soon)
Basic survival gear
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Summer clothes is recommended for HCM city. The country is pretty hot year round, with exception of the north. The north can get pretty chilly during winter months (10-15C or 25-30F). White shoes are not recommended, your shoes will look a year old by 1 day. Cargo pants that convert into shorts are probably the best type of pants you can pack with you when travelling through this city.
Sublock and appropriate dressing please
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Sunblock is the single most important item in your list. It's ultra hot there, baking hot. The locals wear long gloves and hats when they are out on the road, but since I didn't really want to buy a hat just for the 3 days I was there, I depended solely on my sunblock to protect me from the blazing sun.
And don't think of wearing as less as possible. You'll notice people don't wear tank tops or spagetti straps, and unless you want to attract attention, you'll be better off wearing loose fitting cotton t-shirts and tops with sleeves.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you intend to do lots of walking within the city, do bring along a face mask or a small towel to protect yourself from the motocycle fumes. You can also buy a nice mask off the shelf of any decent shopping mall at about US$2-3. Not sure if my life has been shortened because of my many walks, but I had an uncomfortably dry cough that only lasted the span of time I was in Saigon. Nuff said.
You'll sweat no matter what
Luggage and bags: Of course, pack light.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Bring light clothes; cotton and non dark clothing. Then when you're sweating your tushie off, no one will tell. And don't wear low cut shirts.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: I always pack a little medical kit. That goes for every trip. You never know when you'll need it.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: After my second visit to HCMC I'd strongly suggest to pack light - clothes and most other things can be purchased in HCMC for just a few dollars. Only exception to that would be rather tall/large people, as asian sizes are a tad smaller. It's still quite inexpensive though to get clothing tailor-made to your size within a day or two.
As with any tropical climate, wear breathable material - I can't imagine surviving a walk around HCMC in polyester!
Bring some sort of rain protection depending on the season.
Luggage and bags: IF YOU FIND YOU HAVE BOUGHT A LOAD OF GIFTS AND SOUVENIRS.. DONT WORRY THERE ARE LOADS OF SHOPS SELLING CHEAP RUCKSACKS AND OTHER LUGGAGE TO STORE THEM IN.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: DONT TRAVEL TO VIETNAM WITH YOUR SUITCASE PACKED WITH OVERPRICED CLOTHES FROM HOME.. WAIT AND BUY ALL YOU WANT IN THE MARKETS HERE.. YOU CAN BUY LOADS OF SHORTS AND T-SHIRTS FOR NEXT TO NOTHING.. AND BECAUSE YOU BOUGHT THEM SO CHEAP YOU WONT MIND ROUGHING THEM UP AS YOU CRAWL DOWN TUNNELS AND OTHER SITES.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: AGAIN THESE ARE ALSO TO BE HAD A LOT CHEAPER THAN AT HOME..
SAVES HAVING TO HAVE THEM IN YOUR LUGGAGE IN THE FIRST PLACE WHERE THAY CAN BURST AND RUIN GOOD CLOTHES AND OTHER THINGS.
Photo Equipment: BRING LOADS..THERE IS JUST SO MUCH TO SEE AND SNAP.
MEMORY CARDS ARE CHEAP HERE BUT NOT DIRT CHEAP.
THERE ARE LOADS OF PLACES HERE WHERE THEY WILL BURN YOUR MEMORY CARD TO DISC.
FREEING UP YOUR MEMORY CARD TO START ALL OVER AGAIN.
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: The hotel room toilet was equipped with:
Toothbrush with toothpaste
Photo Equipment: The room comes equipped with 1 power outlet (2 round pin) which is insufficient for most electronic equipped guests nowadays.
- Budget Travel
- Business Travel
Luggage and bags: Pack Light because you can buy things that you need over there for pennies. If you must bring clothing make it mulitpurpose like cargo pants. April was hot so you could pretty much wear a tee shirt and shorts all day. Oh, you also need a hat but you can buy those on the street.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: I wore sandles all the time. Too hot for socks
Photo Equipment: APS film is a little difficult to come by except for the major tourist traps.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Pants, shirts: Nylon.
Patagonia is always good, but pricey.
Caution: Cotton absorbs moisture, and moisture happens alot in VN.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sunscreen.
Photo Equipment: Lead bag for film, which you want to buy at home, develop at home. Bring a digital for snapshots.
Class A Fakes for 1/8 of Real Price!
Luggage and bags: you can buy class A counterfeit Bags like Kipling, Samsonite, Mango, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Etc. at Lucky Plaza Mall, Benh Than Market and lot of other stores in District 1 and at the nguyen hue boulevard facing the ho chi minh statue or at the nearby Dong Khoi Street just parallel to Nguyen Hue Boulevard plus really cheap silk bags for the ladies! you must haggle as these class a counterfeits are jacked up up to 400% so be ready to haggle up to 300% of the original price.
a caveat: even though many of the counterfeits are class A, most would be worn out in a few months since the leather they use is of the inferior quality hence you get what you pay for!
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Ho Chi Minh City Travel Guide
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