5 Things You Must Take on a Trip to Hanoi, Vietnam

Hanoi street - copyright permanently scatterbrained

Hanoi, Vietnam is a nice city but you’ll enjoy your vacation even more if you take these five things.

I’ll soon be taking another vacation in Hanoi, Vietnam and, while thinking about what to pack, I remembered the five things I took on my last trip that made my vacation much more pleasant.

These five must take things to Hanoi, Vietnam are items many travelers may not think about when they pack their bags, yet they really will make a huge difference to your enjoyment of the city.

Pack Ear Plugs – I have always slept with ear plugs since I lived in a noisy apartment years ago. So, on my first trip to Hanoi, Vietnam, I packed a box as normal and thank heavens I did. Hanoi is absolutely the noisiest city I have ever been to, and I’ve traveled to cities in more than 40 countries.

From early in the morning till early the following morning, everywhere in Hanoi you hear nothing but motorbikes. Add onto that the street sellers, massive amounts of people going to work in the morning and just the general loudness of the Vietnamese and, if you don’t pack a box of ear plugs, you’ll wish you had.

The friend I traveled with had terrible problems sleeping the whole week we stayed in Hanoi. I, on the other hand, slept like a baby every night, oblivious to the roaring of the motorbikes and the shouting of the locals. Long live ear plugs, I say.

The view out of the window at Moca Cafe
The view out of the window at Moca Cafe

Pack Comfortable Walking Shoes – One thing I didn’t realize when I first visited Hanoi was what a wonderful city for walking it is. Much cooler when I was there than Bangkok where I live, it was perfect to get up in the morning and take a walk around Hoan Kiem Lake.

At lunch time, we would take a stroll around the city’s old quarter before plumping down at a neighborhood restaurant for a meal. In the afternoon, walking to a museum, art gallery or just wandering around the shops, a comfortable pair of walking shoes will allow you to see a lot more of Hanoi than you might otherwise be able to.

Pack a Jacket or Sweater – Another surprising thing about Hanoi is how cold it gets, particularly at night. On my first trip, I went in June and, in the evening sitting at a lakeside hotel or in the garden of a local restaurant, I definitely needed a sweater.

Particularly if you’re coming from a hot neighboring or close country like Malaysia, Thailand or Singapore, make sure a light jacket or sweater is one of the first things you pack.

Insect Repellent – If you are planning on sitting outside at night or, even during the day when it’s humid, make sure you pack insect repellent. I got bitten quite badly on my first night in Hanoi, as we sat outside on the patio of a lakeside restaurant that should have been called “Mosquito Heaven’.

You can buy it in Hanoi, but why buy it when you can bring it with you and slather it on as soon as you get there.

Pack Medicine For an Upset Stomach – I have a stomach like cast iron and can eat pretty much anything without getting sick. My friend on the other hand had problems. That’s also how we discovered medicine like Pepto Bismol or Alka Seltzer is difficult to find in Hanoi.

We eventually ended up with a Vietnamese brand, which my friend said didn’t do him much good. So, if you think you might have problems with the food, bring Alka Seltzer or Pepto Bismol tablets, enough for a few days.

In Hanoi, you will find most things you’re used to or need but, by packing these five things, you’ll ensure your vacation to Hanoi is even more comfortable and fun.