“Being sick while traveling” – something out of the blue but annoys you more than anything else. Whether it is due to unfamiliar food or heat-shock, your trip can be ruined within a few hours. To avoid this unwanted situation, follow our tips for staying healthy in Vietnam.
Tips for Staying Healthy in Vietnam
Food and Drink
Wherever you go, food and drink are indispensable. However, these two necessities in Vietnam are major concerns for a traveler. Some street food carts and local stalls may not follow hygienic and safety procedures. Thus, consider these tips when choosing your food and drink:
Picking food is an important part of staying healthy in Vietnam
1. Choose Hygienic Food
Having meals at restaurants is usually the best way to avoid food poisoning. But if you are curious about the stalls, choose those far from traffic lanes and sewages. Order boiled dishes like Pho, Hu Tiu, Banh Canh, etc. because they are way safer than summer rolls or raw dishes. Last but not least, seek reviews about the place, or go the extra mile and book a guided food tour to try high-quality, clean food.
Street food can satisfy your taste bud but be careful when you try it
2. Avoid Dangerous Dishes
Dangerous ingredients like toads or pufferfishes require a deliberate cook since one tiny mistake can harm someone’s life. Unfortunately, you never know if it is properly prepared or not until you absorb the food. Therefore, the best way is not giving any of them a try.
3. Do Not Drink Tap Water
Drinking and filling water bottles from the tap might be your daily routine. But when in Vietnam, never do that unless you want to get diarrhea. Like other developing countries, the water treatment infrastructure here is quite underdeveloped. Hence, boil water before drinking, or for your convenience, buy bottled water with a full seal.
Sun and Insects
With a tropical country like Vietnam, these two are signature problems and can damage your health. To ensure a great trip, it is highly recommendable to do things below:
1. Cover Your Skin
To survive the heat, Vietnamese usually wear an anti-heat combo includes a jacket, a large face mask, sunglasses, and long gloves. Sounds strange but those are essential to protect your skin under the blazing sun. Feeling uncomfortable? The basics: a jacket, a hat, and sunglasses are fine.
Wearing a set of face masks, gloves, and jackets is common in Vietnam
2. Put on Sunscreen
You may skip covering all your skin but always remember to put on sunscreen. Otherwise, you will increase your chance of having sunburn and skin cancer. Since Vietnam is hot and humid, reapply the substance every two hours for the best result.
Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your packing list
Some recommended sunscreens for traveling Vietnam:
Banana Boat Sunscreen Spray: suitable for outdoor activities, hiking, camping, and most importantly, motorbike road trips in Vietnam
Neutrogena Beach Defense: for a chill day at Vietnam sun-kissed beaches
3. Use Insect Repellent
If you don’t want to have swelling red dots, always use insect repellents. While DEET-containing bug repellents are more efficient for traveling in rural areas such as the Mekong Delta, plant-based insect repellent formula works just as fine in the urban area.
Always bring insect repellent, especially when traveling to the countryside
Pollution is a worldwide issue and Vietnam is not an exception. With a significant number of vehicles around, you will always feel like you are inhaling exhaust. Thus, don’t forget to do these things:
1. Wear Face Mask
Before going out, wear a face mask to avoid harmful dust and pollution. Cloth masks and medical masks are on sale widely in convenience stores or pharmacies, so you will have no problem finding one for yourself.
Masks that work best are:
They vary in different shapes and patterns
2. Protect Your Eyes
A good pair of sunglasses ought to be on your Vietnam vacation checklist. It not only protects your eyes from the bright sunshine but also dust. Therefore, wear them no matter how short your ride is. Moreover, prepare eye drops to get rid of any possible itchiness or dryness.
No matter where you go, doing workouts is always on the top list of healthy activities. Thus, don’t hesitate to hit the gym if you are in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. However, in rural areas, fitness centers are not popular so go jogging or do simple workouts at your lodgement.
In Vietnam, gyms are only prevalent in some cities
In Vietnam, public hospitals are always crowded and mainly use Vietnamese, so you should choose international hospitals where there are English-speaking staff and more professional services. Although this means you have to pay more money.
A way to save yourself from paying a fortune is to get international health insurance. Not only will you have peace of mind, but you’ll also get extra assistance for a reasonable price. Some reliable insurance providers to consider are World Nomads and AIA.
Conclusion on Staying Healthy in Vietnam
Needless to say, your trip is only exciting once your health is up for it. Whether it is a small thing like drinking water or a serious issue like choosing a hospital, be well-prepared and, note down these tips for staying healthy in Vietnam. If you want more tips for your Vietnam venture, check out our Vietnam Travel Guides!