We recently posted about the items you should bring with you when visiting Vietnam. We thought it would be fitting to also tell you about the items you should not bring with you! Here is a short list to guide you when packing for the trip and to remind you of the import rules in Vietnam.
WHAT NOT TO BRING TO VIETNAM:
1. The Obvious – We hope that the point we are making here is assumed, but to reiterate – please do not bring illegal drugs (yes, this includes cannabis) and weapons to Vietnam. If you are caught with illegal drugs or weapons, the repercussions are not pretty!
2. Anti-Government Propaganda – Although we highly recommend learning about Vietnam’s history and culture before coming here, we do not recommend bringing some of these reading materials to Vietnam. If they contain any material that one would consider to be against the current government, they will be confiscated and you will be heavily reprimanded. What’s more, if you bring any printed maps, make sure that the map labels the giant body of water next to Vietnam as ‘Eastern Sea’, not ‘South China Sea’! 🙂
3. Heavy or Excess Items – As we mentioned in our previous blog post, internal flights seem cheap at first but they really make their money on excess baggage fees. If you can do without heavy items such as hair dryers or even heavy-shelled bags, you may save yourself a lot of money! Also avoid bringing an excess of common hygiene products like toothpaste, soap, shampoo, etc. If you happen to run out during your trip, you can find all these items here, and most brand names are available.
4. Expensive Items – Thieves in Vietnam can be masters of their art. If you flaunt that real gold necklace or diamond pendant while roaming the motorbike-saturated streets, it may get snatched before you even realize what has happened! It really is best to leave your expensive jewelry back home to avoid theft. Although rings are more difficult to steal, you still have to use caution. Women do wear their wedding rings routinely here without a problem but you will have to be very aware of your surroundings.
We do not recommend that you bring expensive electronic items, but if you must bring them, be extremely careful. For the photography enthusiasts, professional cameras can be very useful here as Vietnam offers an amazing backdrop for your photos. However, we advise you to have straps for your camera that are really thick and to keep it strapped across your body or wrist. PacSafe makes bags for cameras that is reinforced with steel wire so it cannot be cut. As for phones, many people have had their phone stolen right from under them as they write a text message or look at maps. Have someone cover if you if you need to use your phone on the streets and stand facing inwards rather than towards the street. Otherwise, keep it in a pocket with zippers.
5. Pornography – The sale or possession of any pornographic material is strictly prohibited and illegal in Vietnam, not just for tourists but for everyone. Enforcement is very strict! If you happen to have unlabeled DVDs in your bag, they will be checked at the airport. Please note that pornography is illegal in most of Southeast Asia but more easily obtainable in some of the neighbouring countries. If you are traveling around Asia, you will have to get rid of any pornographic material in your possession before entering Vietnam.