what not to bring to Vietnam

what not to bring to Vietnam

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.


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’! 🙂

Eastern Sea Map

The body of water directly east of Vietnam is referred to as the Eastern Sea rather than South China Sea. Any maps that label it as South China Sea are prohibited.

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.

With hoards of motorcycles around the city, if someone was to snatch your necklace and speed away, you wouldn't even know who to chase down!

With hoards of motorcycles around the city, if someone was to snatch your necklace and speed away, you wouldn’t even know who to chase down!

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.

PacSafe makes camera bags that are very theft-proof. The straps and the body of the bag contain a thick wire mesh that prevents anyone from cutting the bag open.

PacSafe makes camera bags that are very theft-proof. The straps and the body of the bag contain a thick wire mesh that prevents anyone from cutting the bag open.

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.

This is another great travel tip brought to you by XO Tours, the complete Vietnam travel resource! Our scooter tours with female only drivers will make you discover authentic Vietnam.

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  1. Bev

    Can i bring fresh herb into VN/

  2. silvia

    Hello, what about food, like biscuits and baby food?

    • XO Tours

      Dear Silvia,
      There should be no problem bringing food such as biscuits and baby foods into Vietnam.

      XO TOurs

  3. Sue

    Hi , we are traveling to Vietnam next week just wondering if we can bring meat ,like lamb with us

    • Duc Nghiem

      Dear Sue,
      There is no restriction to bring fresh meat into Vietnam as long as the amount is not too much.(The value does not exceed $200)
      However, the restriction varies from airline to airline. To be sure, please call your airline to check if they will allow you to bring meat with you.

      XO Tours

  4. Neil Dunn

    Hi, we be traveling to VIETNAM in a couple of weeks and we were wondering about
    taking vitamin supplements into the country

    • Duc Nghiem

      Hi Niel,

      Vitamin supplements are okay to bring in Vietnam,
      However, please only bring the amount for personal use.
      Customs officers will ask if they see more than few bottles.


  5. Tom

    Hi I wish to bring my playstation and xbox with me when I move to Vietnam are they allowed.

    • Duc Nghiem

      yes, there s no problem bring those into Vietnam, as long as the amount is reasonable for personal use. One of each will be fine.

  6. Anje

    May I bring fresh fruit like cherries from Australia to Vietnam

    • Duc Nghiem

      Technically yes, you can bring fresh fruit like Cherries into Vietnam.

      However, I would recommend you to bring around 10kg, find a safe way to protect and preserve them during the long flight.
      Also custom officers may ask you if they suspect something and trust me, they always suspect something! 🙂


  7. sam

    Hi! i will be in vietnam soon and would like to know, if i could bring fruit & appitizer from usa ca.
    much appricated if you could let me know thank.

    • Duc Nghiem

      Dear Sam,
      Fruit and Food are okay to bring into Vietnam with a reasonable amount and nothing illegal is mixed in it.

  8. Yusun

    Hi! Im in US military. I plan to go to Vietnam in July. I’d like to know if i can bring a pocket karambit knife to Vietnam and carry it with me for my safety? Thanks.

    • Duc Nghiem

      Yes, you can bring a regular Swiss pocket knife with you for your safety, just don’t take it out unless it’s necessary.
      I would not recommend you to bring karambit knife with you due to its dangerous look.


  9. SLC

    Hi there

    I am moving to Hanoi for 4 years for work, may my container include spices, sauces, vitamins for about a year and alcohol?

    Kind regards

  10. epen

    is an issue to bring Kamagra or Tadalis bought in Cambodia without prescription with me when coming to Vietnam, entry by bus?

  11. Sebastian

    Hi, is it ok to bring a tripod and a GoPro style headmount straper to hold my phone because I want to vlog over there and I was just wondering if I could bring them

    • XO Tours

      Yes, it won’t be a problem to bring a tripod and GoPro. Lots of people in Vietnam use Gopros.

  12. lee

    Hi , how about cannabis seeds?

    • XO Tours

      Marijuana is illegal in Vietnam, so it’s very likely that cannabis seeds are also illegal. Keep in mind that getting caught with drugs or drug paraphernalia in VN could result in a lengthy prison sentence or even a death sentence.

  13. RON

    can I bring my juul/vape products into vietnam?

    • XO Tours

      Hi Ron,

      They sell vaping products in Vietnam, so you most likely won’t have any problem bringing them into Vietnam

  14. mst

    hai , how about blood pressure (amlodipine)medicine and cholesterol medicine (simvastatin)? are these allow?

    • XO Tours

      Hi mst,

      Yes, you should not have any issue bringing in personal medication as long as the amount is not too large. You should bring a prescription just in case someone asks you what the medication is, but it’s unlikely you would have any trouble.

  15. Mon

    Hi there, i’m wondering if pepper spray is allowed in vietnam?

    • XO Tours

      Hi Mon,

      Pepper Spray is illegal in Vietnam so you definitely should not bring any into Vietnam.

  16. Cheryl


    Can I check a box through with some food items (pasta, small jar or 2 of pesto, tomato paste)? I love Vietnamese food but will miss pasta over the year I am in Hanoi. Thanks !


    • XO Tours

      Hi Cheryl,

      You won’t have any problems bringing pasta and ingredients into Vietnam. 🙂

  17. Kim chi

    I want bring LCD TV in Vietnam how much I need to pay for 40inch

    • XO Tours

      If you are flying into Vietnam, you should ask your airline if you can send the TV as checked in luggage. You shouldn’t have to pay any extra at Customs. If you ship the to Vietnam, you will have to probably have to pay between 20-40% import tax.

  18. Eugene

    Hi. Am am going to move in Vietnam for a period of 2 years from Singapore. I will have with me two MacBook Pro, on PC, an iPAD and a PS4. Should I hand carry them with me there or should I ship the electronics using Speed Post in Singapore straight to HCMc? Any issues that I might encounter at customer?

    Thanks a million for your advice and time to reply!

    • XO Tours

      Although I cannot remember the website mentioning how many laptops you can bring into Vietnam, I believe that the number is 2 without having to pay import tax. I have heard of people bringing in more laptops without any problems however, there have also been cases where travelers have been stopped and required to pay a hefty tax for bringing in too many. Shipping expensive equipment into Vietnam is not a much better solution as you will almost certainly have to pay a high import tax. I would just bring your laptops as carry-on luggage and pack them together tightly so it’s less obvious that you have more than 2. Chances are, you will not have any problems. Bringing in the iPAD and PS4 also shouldn’t be an issue. Make sure that all the items are not in their packaging so that you are not accused of trying to import merchandise for sale.

  19. Stella

    Hi can i bring some coffee, tea and other food that are packed?

    • XO Tours

      Hi Stella,

      You definitely won’t have any problem bringing in those items into Vietnam.

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