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Travel tips: What Not to Bring to Ho Chi Minh City


There are some differences between Vietnam and other countries' regulations for luggage. Knowing what not to bring to Ho Chi Minh City can help you avoid several regrettable problems such as being detained at the airport or being stolen. Check out the list of those things below.

Find out more interesting things to do in Ho Chi Minh City with the local guide!

Restricted by the airlines

Before you go to Tan Son Nhat Airport, it is necessary to learn what is banned or restricted items that you cannot bring along. These restrictions are usually similar across airlines around the world. If you pack these items in your baggage (both cabin baggage and checked baggage), it may take you a lot of time at the security checkpoint.

  • The explosives: The explosive materials are totally banned in the aircraft because they are extremely dangerous for you and other passengers. Some dangerous explosives which can be named are grenades, dynamite, flares, gunpowder, fireworks and other lookalike items, etc.

travel tips what not to bring to HCM 1

The explosives

  • The Radioactive, Infectious, Toxic Substances, Corrosives: The airlines restrict us from bringing these items and substances. They usually are chlorine, radioactive materials, bleacher, mercury, oxidizers, contagious hazards, magnetic items, etc. The radioactive items may have bad effect on the communication of the airplanes. And other substances are dangerous to other people if they are leaked or out of control.
  • Gas and Flammable Items: The items such as matches, lighters, flammable liquid, and beverages containing 70% or more alcohol by volume are easy to catch fire and bad people can take advantage of these things to harm other passengers.

travel tips what not to bring to HCM 2

Flammable items

  • Some other dangerous items: fire extinguishers, dry ice (over 2.5 kg), lithium battery for electronic equipment (>160 Wh or >8g lithium), etc.

In addition, there is also a prohibition on items packed in your cabin luggage such as sharp objects (knife, sword, box cutter, dart, scissors, etc.); firearms and other weapons (all types of firearms, parts of firearms, ammunition, stun guns, imitation firearms, toy guns, etc.); other dangerous items (crowbar, shovels, drills/screwdrivers, blow torch, blades or shafts longer than 6 cm, wrenches, spanners, etc.); bats (baseball, billiards), hockey sticks, martial art items, batons, and self-defense sprays (mace/pepper).

See Vietnam Custom

Note: The items that you are advised not to put in checked baggage are currency, jewelry, camera, laptop, mobile phones, lithium battery for electronic equipment, etc. Because during the loading process, these items may be stolen or damaged unexpectedly.

Forbidden by Vietnamese law

  • Weapons and Explosives: We know that some countries allow citizens to own some kinds of weapons. However in Vietnam, using or bringing weapons (such as pistols, shotguns, and firearms) or explosives is totally prohibited. If you are caught with these items, you will definitely in trouble!

travel tips what not to bring to HCM 3

Weapons are banned in Vietnam

  • Illegal Drugs: In the list of what not to bring to Ho Chi Minh City, these types of drugs are strictly banned in Vietnam, even cannabis which is popular in many countries. Some kinds of illegal drugs are opium, heroin, cannabis (also known as Marijuana), etc. The people with these drugs may receive the heaviest penalty.

travel tips what not to bring to HCM 4

Although cannabis is popular in many countries, it is prohibited in Vietnam

  • Anti-Government Propaganda: Vietnam is a country with a long history. Many problems have arisen from political history. Also, politics is sensitive stuff in Vietnam, which foreigners may want to avoid mentioning. And even Vietnamese who own or have anti-government propaganda can be arrested immediately. They are the documents that convey the wrong truth about the nation, wrong history or mention the unjustified criticism of the government. So to enjoy a perfect trip in Vietnam, you should not pack any of this propaganda in your baggage.

travel tips what not to bring to HCM 5

Political controversial materials should not be packed in your baggage

  • Pornography: In Vietnam, the product of pornography is prohibited not only for tourists but also for local people. Maybe these products (DVDs, photos, etc.) are accepted in the neighboring countries, but this is really what not to bring to Ho Chi Minh City. The sentence for this action is very strict, the person who stores some pornography may receive a fine or imprisonment depending on the extent of the violation. So please get rid of your pornography before going to Vietnam.

Unnecessary items

A lot of items you may think is necessary but not really inevitable. Most of the things you need for your trip can be found or bought easily in Vietnam so packing too much in your luggage may results in the high fee for additional checked baggage delivery; the risk of being stolen or pickpocket. Here is the list of avoidable items:

  • Too many clothes: The clothes are something that can be bought easily so you do not need to pack too many. If you may want to save your budget on a long trip, another option is using laundry services. The hotels usually have this service which is more convenient and inexpensive.
  • Many reading materials: On the trip to Ho Chi Minh City, you have a lot of activities to do and they fulfill your days, so one or two books are enough for reading during your movements.

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travel tips what not to bring to HCM 7

One or two books are enough for reading during your movements

  • Electronic appliances: Some tourists intend to bring some electronic appliances such as a hairdryer, pot for boiling water (electric kettle), etc. However, these appliances are examples of what not to bring to Ho Chi Minh City and usually provided by mid-range hotels. Or if you want to own one, it does not cost you a lot because these things are quite cheap in Vietnam.

See Electronics to Pack for Vietnam

  • Robes and slippers: Travelling to Vietnam, robes, and slippers are really basic things that you need. However, it is not necessary for you to bring them from your own countries as they can be got cheaply in Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Expensive items: Maybe before getting to Ho Chi Minh City, you have heard about the serious pickpocket and theft stuff here. So luxurious jewelry or currency can become the target of the thieves. Learn more about Shopping in Ho Chi Minh.
  • There are many things else you can buy in Ho Chi Minh City at much lower prices such as packaged snack food, toilet paper, raincoat or umbrella, batteries, etc.

Learn more with our top things to bring on a Vietnam travel. Note that there are many things in this list are for trips to other provinces in Vietnam other than Ho Chi Minh City.

To have fun trips in Ho Chi Minh City, check out our authentic motorbike tours with professional local guides!


What you must bring to Ho Chi Minh City:  Vietnam Travel Insurance - Get yours below:


Summary of Travel Tips: What Not to Bring to Ho Chi Minh City

A good preparation, especially packing the luggage, is important for every smooth-sailing trip. It is necessary for every tourist to be aware of what not to bring to Ho Chi Minh City such as the explosive and hazard items, anti-government documents, items that can be found and bought in Ho Chi Minh City, etc.

Share your valuable experiences and ask us any questions in the comment section below!

Related article:  First time in Ho Chi Minh City

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Monday, 02 October 2023

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