Most visitors to Vietnam don’t experience significant health problems during their travels. Although it is still technically classified as a developing country, Vietnam does have plenty of medical infrastructure and convenient pharmacies.
There are no vaccinations required for travelers planning to visit Vietnam. The CDC does recommend a couple of vaccinations, which we’ll go over below. Whatever you decide, make sure to consult your physician about which vaccinations to take before you travel. Travel doctors will have the latest information about which vaccinations are advisable.
If you do get sick or injured, rest assured that medication and trips to the emergency room are much cheaper than they are in the United States. It’s wise to purchase travel insurance in case you need advanced medical treatment, which may not be as easy to find in Vietnam. This is especially important if you need specialized medical treatment that requires air transport.
Learn more about travel insurance and all of the ways it can protect you during your time in Vietnam – read "Going Abroad? This is Why Travel Insurance is A MUST!" Then, get your personalized quote here.
What Should I Bring?
Many travelers experience no stomach troubles on a visit to Vietnam. Still, it’s a good idea to keep diarrhea medicine with you. If you’re feeling uncertain, there are medications like Travelan that you can take before a meal. Rehydration salts and Pepto-Bismol can help alleviate symptoms faster.
Make sure you have a bag or backpack that makes it easy to bring bugspray and sunscreen with you on long hikes. Vietnam does not present a high risk for malaria, unlike some of its neighbors. Still, bugs can become a nuisance, and it’s best to bring some bug spray to keep away flies and gnats. Sunscreen is one of the most important things to pack in your bag — Vietnamese sunshine is quite strong.
Vaccinations and Preparation
If you plan to travel in a rural area or have prolonged interactions with animals, then you may want to consider a rabies vaccine. Travelers who plan to visit farms are encouraged to be vaccinated for Japanese encephalitis, a deadly disease that people can contract from livestock. Hepatitis B is only recommended for travelers who are likely to come into contact with bodily fluids.
The most common concerns for travelers are diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever. Your doctor may recommend hepatitis A and typhoid vaccinations, as these are some of the most common infectious diseases in Vietnam. This virus and bacteria can live in food, so they’re also the easiest diseases for visitors to contract.
Food and Drink
Visitors usually find restaurants in Vietnam clean and well managed. If you want to be absolutely certain, stick to foods that are either packaged or hot. That being said, many meals are served alongside fresh vegetables and herbs, so you’ll definitely find yourself tempted to throw caution to the wind.
Tap water is not potable. Even native Vietnamese drink bottled water. When you buy bottled water, make sure it comes with an unbroken seal.