bring something warm
Luggage and bags: Backpack is easiest thing to carry when you want to avoid cyclos trying to overcharge you for a ride to the train station. They KNOW you can and will walk if he price is not fair.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: You'll need comfy shoes to walk around town and in Hanoi, sandals are very much optional. It's colder than you think in the winter.
Photo Equipment: Wide angle for temples, zoom for people photos.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: An umbrella comes in handy in the winter as there is a fair amount of drizzle.
Miscellaneous: Bring some warm clothing, especially socks. We were glad we packed for hiking and were surprised we needed our hiking gear in town. In winter, northern Vietnam is anything but a tropical paradise.
Damn, that's cold today!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: When in Hanoi in wintertime, especially in January and February, be sure to bring a warm coat and a warm pullover. Although it's located somehow southish, Hanoi gets pretty cold in winter. Temperatures range from 8-15°celsius, i.e. 47-59°fahrenheit. In addition to that, it's very likely to rain - the Vietnamese call this kind of rain "raindust" as it is so fine that you hardly feel it. Remember, that there are almost no heaters anywhere - 10°C outside more or less equals 10°C inside!
Miscellaneous: Want to know more about weather in Hanoi? Check out weatherbase.com for good info.
Hanoi is generally humid year-round. The best time to visit is October-March, when generally there is less rain and the temperatures are cool.
I think October and November are ideal: it's Fall in Hanoi, very comfortable.
Miscellaneous: US Dollar are widely acceptable in Vietnam. Bankers will give better exchange rate on bigger note ($50 & $100).
If you happen to run out of VND for small purchase, small dollar note will be assumed as VND15.000 per dollar.
Remember to keep around USD15 or VND equivalent for airport tax. Credit card just won't do the magic to get you out of the country.
- Arts and Culture
Miscellaneous: Bring you mobile phone if you plan on staying for a few weeks or more. For about 450,000 dong (about $30), you can get a chip to stick in your Tri-band GSM phone and you get 300,000 dong of credit, enough for light calling for a few weeks. International calls are expensive!! T-Mobile has a peering relationship with Vinaphone, so you can use T-Mobile when you're here--EXPENSIVE. Vinaphone and Mobiphone provide prepaid phone cards (w/SIM chip for your GSM phone)
Miscellaneous: Bring US dollars and plastic. Major hotels, banks (see ANZ near Hoan Kiem Lake), jewelry and gold shops all change money.
Freelance money changers descend on tourists all around the center of Hanoi...beware of them.
Current exchange rate is around 15,700 dong to the dollar, and informal exchange rates in restaurants, etc is about 15,000 per dollar.
Bring ATM cards for th best exchange rate. There are over 3000 ATMs everywhere in Hanoi. 3 years ago there was only 1!
Credit cards mainly at major hotels and restaurants.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: If you come from a hot, humid country like me, and are going to Hanoi in the cold season (Nov-Feb), be sure to take along lip protection balm/gel etc. I did not because the temperature in Nov is like Cameron Highlands in Malaysia. I didn't realise it is very dry in Hanoi. By the 2nd day, my lips were very dry and peeling. I couldn't find anything suitable because the locals didn't understand me. Luckily a Hanoi lady rescued me when she gave me something she usually uses.
- Family Travel
- Budget Travel
Bring your own sea -sickness-pills ,swimming suit
Luggage and bags: The bags and suitcase can leave it in hotel but bring small bags with u with when u r planning go see islands.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Summer clothes are the best ,sandal ,short,T-shirt ,swimming suit ...if u want to take the boat trip go see all the caves around .
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Sea sickness pills are required 4 whom is not comfortable in sea .I had vomit alot because not use to with the waves.U can buy in Pharmacy around town but why lost time 4 looking when we have short time to enjoy ?
Photo Equipment: Cover camera avoid the humid ,it may ruin your camera b/c humid is really high in here.If u r planning to buy Film ,look 4 expired date b/c I lost money 4 film that not working (no pictures after develope ),what is great ! VN stores they don't care and don't take back after u buy ,sorry not like US or Europe .
- Adventure Travel
Luggage and bags: It's really not easy if you're sharing train compartment with strangers who don't speak your language, also to entrust your excessive baggage to hotel when you're away for Ha Long trip.
My Solution is my Pacsafe 85L that cost me almost 1/3 of my new Karrimor backpack. But ultimately it eases my mind while I’m traveling across Vietnam.
Tagline extracted from pacsafe.com:
Land, sea or air, you're wired for travel. No more sleepless train or bus rides, Pacsafe guards your gear for times when you just have to . . . go. The Backpacker series has been specially designed for easy harness access when you are on the move, or complete protection for safe air travel.
- Road Trip
Luggage and bags: Recommend one suitcase and definitely bring some form of a light, small/medium backpack. That way you can carry your guide book, camera, water inside.
No point in bringing something too big, after all who wants to go walking or exploring carrying a bigger (and no doubt heavier) backpack?? Plus you'd be more inclined to fill it with junk!
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Wear hiking shoes. I'm talking about a light shoe type of hiking shoe, not the heavy/boot type! Also DEFINITELY recommend bringing a waterproof coat or jacket. Of coarse you could just buy one of the cheap, local polythene or plastic type of 'coats' which the Vietnamese wear. Although i must warn you; Westerners look completely ridiculous in them!
It's cold out here
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Never thought it's so cold in Hanoi (I only had a sweater in my suitcase, was lucky to get a jacket from my sister's Queen B luggage). We were in our jackets during the night (about 15 - 20 celcius). Hailing from KL and Singapore, we were just not made for climate like this. When we were in Sapa Valley, it was almost freezing cold for us, gloves definitely comes in handy. And of course, winter wear and jackets too.
Bring these ....
Luggage and bags: a backpack for day travel and putting your shopping items.
Photo Equipment: Bring enough memory cards to capture more photos. Some budget hotels do not have programmes or equipment to download your digital photos into the computer to be copied into discs. This can be rather frustrating.
Miscellaneous: an umbrella or a raincoat so that rain or shine, you can still carry on with your itineraries
- Budget Travel
- Road Trip
Plastic!!! (Credit Card)
Miscellaneous: You better equipped your credit cards for Vietnam trip. The opportunities to spend money are so abundant & make sure you don't finish all you USD in the process.
Most shopping outlets in Hanoi do not charge 3% extra as compare to HCM's joints.
- Road Trip
bring only essentials
Luggage and bags: Bring only essentials, you can buy everything cheaper here.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: good confortable shoes / sandals, you are going to walk a lot.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: only if you need something specific, then bring it with you, there are shops like 7/11 that sell everything.
Power in Vietnam
Photo Equipment: I thought these aged switches and sockets are kind of nice.
For those travelers who’re bringing digital cameras, make sure your charger is of the right fix or you may want to buy a world traveler socket converter.