>  Luxury   >  Essential Packing Guide for Northern Vietnam: What to Pack for Hanoi, Halong Bay, and Sapa

Whether you’re heading to Northern Vietnam in the summer or the winter, the diverse landscape can range from cold winter conditions to sweltering heat. A trip to this region can include a variety of experiences, from exploring the bustling city of Hanoi to cruising through the stunning landscapes of Halong Bay, and even trekking in the mountains of Sapa. There are a few lessons we learned from our trip over the winter months that we would highly recommend bringing with you:

What to pack for: Hanoi

For city exploring and general travel, pack comfortable, breathable clothing. Lightweight tops, shorts, and pants are ideal for the warm, humid days. However, remember that Vietnamese culture tends to be quite conservative, so it’s respectful to avoid revealing clothing. The sidewalks of Hanoi are very uneven so we recommend packing sneakers to wear as your run around the city.

What to pack for: Halong Bay

Visiting Halong Bay is a highlight of any trip to Northern Vietnam. For this part of your journey, swimwear is essential if you plan to take a dip in the bay. Also, consider packing a lightweight windbreaker or rain jacket, as weather can be unpredictable on the water. If you plan to do some kayaking or other water activities, quick-dry clothing can be beneficial. We found Halong bay to very shifty so layers is important in this area. You may find yourself leaving for an activity in the sunshine and end up getting caught in a cold fog so bringing clothes to keep you warm and dry will be important.

What to pack for: Sapa

Northern Vietnam’s mountainous region, like Sapa, can get quite cold, especially in the winter months (October to March). If you plan to trek, it’s crucial to pack warm clothing. Layering is key here. Start with moisture-wicking base layers to keep you dry. Add on a fleece or wool sweater for warmth, and top it off with a waterproof and windproof outer layer to protect you from the elements. Don’t forget thermal socks, gloves, a hat, and a good pair of waterproof hiking boots. It can also be extremely muddy so wearing sneakers or hiking boots will help. Laundromats all over town do offer shoe cleaning for a few dollars so be sure to take advantage of that after your trek.

Other packing tips

Regardless of where you are in Northern Vietnam, a good rule of thumb is to always carry a lightweight, waterproof jacket or poncho in your day pack, as rainfall can occur unexpectedly. Also, remember to pack a good-quality sunscreen and a hat for sun protection.

Packing for Northern Vietnam means preparing for a variety of conditions and activities. As long as you pack with versatility in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to enjoy everything this beautiful region has to offer.

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