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A Guide to Staying Healthy in Vietnam

staying-healthy-in-vietnam BBQ in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

“Being sick while traveling” - something out of the blue but annoys you more than anything else. Whether it is due to unfamiliar food or heat-shock, your trip can be ruined within a few hours. To avoid this unwanted situation, follow our tips for staying healthy in Vietnam.

Tips for Staying Healthy in Vietnam

Food and Drink

Wherever you go, food and drink are indispensable. However, these two necessities in Vietnam are major concerns for a traveler. Some street food carts and local stalls may not follow hygienic and safety procedures. Thus, consider these tips when choosing your food and drink:

staying healthy in vietnam original food

Picking food is an important part of staying healthy in Vietnam

1. Choose Hygienic Food

Having meals at restaurants is usually the best way to avoid food poisoning. But if you are curious about the stalls, choose those far from traffic lanes and sewages. Order boiled dishes like Pho, Hu Tiu, Banh Canh, etc. because they are way safer than summer rolls or raw dishes. Last but not least, seek reviews about the place, or go the extra mile and book a guided food tour to try high-quality, clean food.

staying healthy in vietnam original food1

Street food can satisfy your taste bud but be careful when you try it

2. Avoid Dangerous Dishes

Dangerous ingredients like toads or pufferfishes require a deliberate cook since one tiny mistake can harm someone's life. Unfortunately, you never know if it is properly prepared or not until you absorb the food. Therefore, the best way is not giving any of them a try.

3. Do Not Drink Tap Water

Drinking and filling water bottles from the tap might be your daily routine. But when in Vietnam, never do that unless you want to get diarrhea. Like other developing countries, the water treatment infrastructure here is quite underdeveloped. Hence, boil water before drinking, or for your convenience, buy bottled water with a full seal.

Pack some medicines in case of food poisoning before your travel like Imodium and Probiotics.

Sun and Insects

With a tropical country like Vietnam, these two are signature problems and can damage your health. To ensure a great trip, it is highly recommendable to do things below:

1. Cover Your Skin

To survive the heat, Vietnamese usually wear an anti-heat combo includes a jacket, a large face mask, sunglasses, and long gloves. Sounds strange but those are essential to protect your skin under the blazing sun. Feeling uncomfortable? The basics: a jacket, a hat, and sunglasses are fine.

staying healthy in vietnam original sun

Wearing a set of face masks, gloves, and jackets is common in Vietnam

2. Put on Sunscreen

You may skip covering all your skin but always remember to put on sunscreen. Otherwise, you will increase your chance of having sunburn and skin cancer. Since Vietnam is hot and humid, reapply the substance every two hours for the best result.

staying healthy in vietnam sun

Don't forget to put sunscreen on your packing list

Some recommended sunscreens for traveling Vietnam:

Banana Boat Sunscreen Spray: suitable for outdoor activities, hiking, camping, and most importantly, motorbike road trips in Vietnam

Neutrogena Beach Defense: for a chill day at Vietnam sun-kissed beaches

Sun Bum Original Vegan and Reef Friendly

3. Use Insect Repellent

If you don't want to have swelling red dots, always use insect repellents. While DEET-containing bug repellents are more efficient for traveling in rural areas such as the Mekong Delta, plant-based insect repellent formula works just as fine in the urban area.

staying healthy in vietnam cream

Always bring insect repellent, especially when traveling to the countryside


Pollution is a worldwide issue and Vietnam is not an exception. With a significant number of vehicles around, you will always feel like you are inhaling exhaust. Thus, don't forget to do these things:

1. Wear Face Mask

Before going out, wear a face mask to avoid harmful dust and pollution. Cloth masks and medical masks are on sale widely in convenience stores or pharmacies, so you will have no problem finding one for yourself.

Masks that work best are:

N95 Protective Medical Face Masks

3M Particulate Respirator

staying healthy in vietnam mask

They vary in different shapes and patterns

2. Protect Your Eyes

A good pair of sunglasses ought to be on your Vietnam vacation checklist. It not only protects your eyes from the bright sunshine but also dust. Therefore, wear them no matter how short your ride is. Moreover, prepare eye drops to get rid of any possible itchiness or dryness.

Work Out

No matter where you go, doing workouts is always on the top list of healthy activities. Thus, don't hesitate to hit the gym if you are in big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. However, in rural areas, fitness centers are not popular so go jogging or do simple workouts at your lodgement.

staying healthy in vietnam gym

In Vietnam, gyms are only prevalent in some cities


In Vietnam, public hospitals are always crowded and mainly use Vietnamese, so you should choose international hospitals where there are English-speaking staff and more professional services. Although this means you have to pay more money.

A way to save yourself from paying a fortune is to get international health insurance. Not only will you have peace of mind, but you'll also get extra assistance for a reasonable price. Some reliable insurance providers to consider are World Nomads and AIA.


Conclusion on Staying Healthy in Vietnam

Needless to say, your trip is only exciting once your health is up for it. Whether it is a small thing like drinking water or a serious issue like choosing a hospital, be well-prepared and, note down these tips for staying healthy in Vietnam. If you want more tips for your Vietnam venture, check out our Vietnam Travel Guides!


© Written by Uyen Ho for | is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to

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