It’s been more than 2 years already since I was in Vietnam. During 2 weeks of my trip in Vietnam, I was in 6 different cities (Ha Noi, Ha Long, Da Nang, Hoi An, Can Tho, and Ho Chi Minh (Saigon)) and one sanctuary (My Son), and had many different adventures in each place. I wish I could tell you every detail of my experience so that you could close your eyes and pretend that you are there too. Because now, when most of the world is limited to travel, memories and imagination are the best ways to go somewhere.
For the trip I initially wanted, you would need either a lot of time or unlimited resources. I was limited with both, therefore 100% improvisation was not an option and I had to do some planning.
In order to understand when is the best time to go to Vietnam, there are several factors that should be considered: 1) Vietnam is a very long country, 2) there is the South China Sea from the East, 3) there are mountain regions from the West and North, 4) there are two huge river deltas in North and in South, and 5) due to this geography, the climate in different regions can differ during the same season. Therefore, depending on where you want to go and what you want to see, you have to be prepared.
In one Airbnb place during the trip, I found this nice chart with a summary of the seasons in different regions in Vietnam. I have also added the map with cities I visited, and some symbols of the actual weather conditions in that city at that time. Not that bad, huh? Sunny!
Backpack only. I had waterproof bags with clips where my dry clothes would be stored in case it would get very rainy. I had hiking boots, light pants, and a hoodie – these items were never used in Vietnam. They were handy only when back in Latvia, where it was cold at the time. I had a pair of shorts, a few T-shirts, sandals, and sunglasses. And of course – my good friend – camera.
Sunscreen is one thing that I would take the next time because in local shops it might be hard to find one. First – Vietnamese is hard to understand to pick the right product, and second – most of the sunscreen creams are ‘whitening’. Other than that – good to go!
If we talk about the money, in Latvia and in most of Europe, we are so spoiled with available technology options and digitalization of everything, that we literally don’t have to pay with cash, even if we only buy a small box of matches. In Vietnam, cash is the king, therefore – prepare to walk around with millions of Vietnam dongs in your pockets.