Clothing is different all over the world. Even though Westernized clothes have been widely adopted in most countries, there are still some clothing rules you need to know when planning to travel abroad. Below is our guide on what to wear in Vietnam and some tips for international travelers.
In this article:
What to Wear in Vietnam – Regional and Seasonal
In Vietnam, the North and the South have different climates. While the North has four seasons, the South only has two: dry and rainy. The average humidity and the heat in Southern Vietnam are usually much higher than in the North. However, the amplitude of temperature in Northern regions such as Hanoi is quite extreme. Knowing how the weather is like in your destination can help a lot in deciding what to wear in Vietnam.
Read more: When to Visit Vietnam
Spring (February – April): Spring in the North of Vietnam is quite pleasant as it is not too hot or too cold. Therefore, a light jacket, cotton T-shirts, and long pants are suggested. Although downpours can appear in the middle of nowhere so it would be great to have a travel umbrella or a light raincoat – which can be found at local shops or convenient stores.
Summer (May – July): Summer would be great if you love the heat and the sun. Any kind of T-shirt, tank tops, and shorts will be fine. However, if you want to walk for a long time, try to wear long cotton pants and a light long-sleeve jacket to avoid the sun. A crushable hat, an umbrella, and a water bottle will be great too!
Wool, cotton, and denim are some materials that are perfect for autumn in Northern regions
Autumn (August – October): The Northern autumn is rather cool and dry. There’s not much sunlight and heat, so some sorts of T-shirts and pants in breathable materials are enough! You should also have a windbreaker in case it gets cold at night.
Winter (November – January): The winter can get extremely cold and dry. You may consider bringing thick coats to wear outside a layer of thinner materials such as T-shirts, sweatshirts, or hoodies. Long pants are more favored in the cold weather. If you plan to stay outside late, bring a hat to avoid the fog.
The temperature in the North of Vietnam is not as low as in other countries but you’ll be freezing if you do not dress warm enough
Ho Chi Minh is characterized as a busy city with hot and humid weather
Dry Season (November – April): The weather in the South of Vietnam often fluctuates throughout the day. If you only go out in the daytime, you can just wear a T-shirt, pants, and a hat. But if you stay outside in the evenings, the temperature may drop a little bit, so it is better to have a windbreaker with you!
The raincoat is essential during the rainy days
Rainy Season (May – October): In the rainy season, the South of Vietnam experiences a high level of humidity due to a great number of downpours. As a result, besides basic clothing stuff like T-shirts, shorts or pants, a pair of slippers, a lightweight raincoat or a travel umbrella is recommended!
What to Wear in Vietnam – Sacred Places
Vietnam is known for its Buddhist culture, so various pagodas and temples are must-visit tourist attractions. If you want to have a complete experience, abiding by the untold rules at these sacred places is a must.
It is very important to dress appropriately to show respect in pagodas and temples
- Sleeveless tops and shorts are forbidden.
- Dresses or skirts must fall to your ankles.
- All tops that reveal shoulders are not strictly prohibited, but you may receive unpleasant looks.
- Ultra-thin, sheer, or see-through tops are unacceptable.
One tip is to bring a light long scarf to cover any revealing part of the clothes and you’re good to go.
What to Wear in Vietnam – Different Activities
There is a lot to try in Vietnam so choosing appropriate clothes to wear will fulfill your experiences. Here are our recommendations on what you may consider wearing for different activities.
Hiking: There are many great mountains in Vietnam for hiking and trekking. If you plan to go on a hiking trip, besides basic clothes like T-shirts, long pants, jackets, and hiking shoes, remember to bring along protection pads, a pair of sandals, sunglasses, anti-blister socks, and a raincoat.
Look for high-quality hiking shoes online
Choosing a decent pair of hiking shoes would help you a lot on your trip
Swimming and Sunbathing: Vietnam is well-known for its beautiful coastline, so it is lacking if you do not include a trip to the sea on your list. Even though locals are more open-minded, it is not recommendable to be naked or half-naked at the swimming pool and the beach. You should at least wear a short, an overtop, or a dress… to cover your bikini and swimsuit.
Riding a Motorbike: This is an exciting experience, but to get the most out of it, pants and shorts are much more preferable. If you wear short-sleeve shirts, wear a light jacket to avoid the sun.
The most vital item for riding a motorbike in Vietnam is a helmet. Most rental motorbikes have a pair of helmets included, but for traveling long distances on a motorbike in Vietnam, we would recommend preparing a high-quality helmet for yourself.
Wearing active clothes will be comfortable while riding a motorbike
What to Wear in Vietnam – Our Tips
- Clothes in Vietnam are often sold at a very affordable price, it fluctuates from VND 100,000 to VND 300,000 for a piece of summer clothes and VND 200,000 to VND 500,000 for winter clothes. Therefore, if you do not have enough space to pack things, you can still buy them in Vietnam. See Vietnam Shopping Tips.
- Before visiting any tourist attractions, check out their websites to see if there are any notices about forbidden clothing.
- Avoid wearing expensive accessories or designers’ pieces on the streets.
- Put on sunscreen whenever you go out since the sun in Vietnam can be much more extreme than what you expect. Let’s read this To-pack List for Vietnam for good sunscreen recommendations and other necessities.
Our Take on What to Wear in Vietnam
Vietnam is always full of excitement and things to explore. We hope that our guide on what to wear in Vietnam can help you with your packing list, so your trip to Vietnam will be much greater! Have a look at our Vietnam Travel Tips for more useful packing suggestions.