The most important and rather overrated piece of advice when it comes to packing is to travel light. But what would traveling light mean if you can’t narrow down the items you can and cannot wear to your destination? Most travelers aren’t aware of what to wear in Ho Chi Minh City, a place as dynamic as its weather conditions. Here are a few pointers to get your packing started:
- Touring a hot and humid city like Ho Chi Minh requires light clothing. Do not wear anything too heavy or dark as you should expect to be sweating a lot with the steam bath-like weather of the city.
- Wear clothing that is appropriate for prevailing weather. Ho Chi Minh (and in fact the rest of Vietnam) has always been a rainy city. Make sure to wear a raincoat to lessen the hassle of having your clothes soaked in rainwater. When the sun begins to come out, easily pack your raincoat into a plastic bag and be on your way to tour the rest of the city in dry clothes.
- Wear sunblock. Sunblock can be your ultimate protection against the blazing sun of the city so make sure to take precautionary measures to avoid getting burnt.
- From the workers’ simple outfits in the rice fields to western style business suits in the city, the Vietnamese are generally conservative in their attire. Make sure to not cause offence to local people and their customs.
- Vietnamese, especially in the rural areas and villages of ethnic minorities, have conservative dress codes. It is only in the larger cities that these codes tend to be more relaxed.
- Visitors who wear shorts to the city are often tolerated as shorts for the locals are a common fashion item. Especially when doing tons of walking, you’ll want to wear something you feel comfortable and pleasant, so shorts may be a decent option for attire.
- It is a common scene to see many Vietnamese men shirtless on the streets but it doesn’t make it a reason for tourists to do the same.
- Like any culturally sensitive area around the world, wear conservative clothing when visiting temples or pagodas. Do not wear singles, shorts, skirts, dresses or tops with low necklines to such places. To do so is extremely impolite and offensive to their culture. The only rule to know is that less bare skin is better.
- Do not carry large amounts of cash with you-or better yet, wear a discreet money carrier with you when walking or touring the streets of Ho Chi Minh.
- Do not wear large amounts of jewelry. For one, it is ill-mannered to flaunt wealth in public. Two, it is more likely that you’ll become a victim of pickpockets or snatchers on the streets of the city.
The Vietnamese are very accommodating and appreciative people if you try to abide by their customs. Aside from your own convenience and comfort, take in these general tips on what to wear in Ho Chi Minh City to make your Saigon trip a memorable and hassle-free one.