Bring, Buy, Leave: Vietnam

Paula Froelich
Editor at Large
Yahoo Travel

Truth be told, although we are veteran travelers, Yahoo Travel editors have been known to overpack. So we decided to save you from our mistakes. In this Yahoo Travel Series we answer those burning questions, “What to bring?” What to buy?” and “What to leave at home?” It will save you space, money, and a backache.

Photo: Renate Flynn.

This week, we bring you “Bring Buy Leave” for those traveling to Vietnam.

Bring: Your favorite dress, jacket, pants, etc. You know that dress you got a few years ago that fits you perfectly? Now you can have it in any color because there are seamstress shops on almost every corner in Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, and Hanoi that will copy that dress in every color for practically nothing. Or do you have that perfect design in your head you want to make? in Hue, employees at the shops will sit down with you while you pick your fabric, draw your design, and then a few hours later show off your creation. 

Photo: Jason Hargrove

Buy: Linens. No, really. On Hang Gai Street in Hanoi you will find thousand thread-count sheets, pillowcases, and bedspreads that are hand-embroidered for pennies on the dollar. Forget breaking the bank on Frette and Pratesi, have a million dollar look in your bedroom for $100. For the best linens, stroll into Tan My Design and have at it. Or, get the most perfect silk robe from the famed Sofitel Legend Metropole Hotel—even chicer with the hotel’s monogram sewn in.

Photo: LeeAnn H.

Leave: Ninety percent of what you have packed. Clothes are so cheap and beautifully made in Vietnam that you can pick up lightweight, chic garb for next to nothing on the street. And you will need room in your suitcase to bring all that stuff back. I suggest bringing a few tops, a dress, and two pairs of lightweight pants—NO JEANS (unless it’s winter and you are in North Vietnam, where it can get chilly). Seriously: jeans are way too hot for the tropical climate, especially in summertime.