There are fewproblems with mosquitoes in the towns and cities of Vietnam, so there is no need tobring large quantities of repellent. However, a couple of tubes would beadvisable, particularly if your itinerary involves trekking or travel inforested areas.
Insect repellentsare available locally, but almost always based upon ‘deet’ or similar chemicalpreparations, which can cause rashes and allergic reactions in hot, humidconditions. I advise those based on natural ingredients, but there is littleavailability of non-allergic varieties within Vietnam. I find that the local‘tiger balm’ is reasonably effective, and also good at suppressing the itchingafter being bitten. It costs next to nothing and is freely available.
Good sunprotection is important. Another essential item is a good sun hat -wide-brimmed to shade both face and the nape of the neck. There are plenty tochoose from in Vietnam,but if your head size is much above average, bring your own. Also, if you usesunglasses, bring your own - local ones are either genuine and exorbitant, orcheap and fake (good fakes can also be expensive!).
If you have sensitive skin, you should also bring ananti-inflammatory lotion in case of allergic reactions in addition to highfactor lotion or sun block. Soaps, toiletries and cosmetics are available,but non-allergic toiletries are almost non-existent.
Women who usetampons should bring an adequate supply, as they can be difficult to obtain in evenin the cities of Vietnam,are usually expensive and only available in small or regular sizes. Sanitarytowels are freely available.
Pharmacies stockonly a limited range of oral contraceptives, and there is the risk that theymay be fake or out of date. Condoms are now more readily available. The local‘OK’ brand is usually reliable, but on the small side. Foreign brands canlikewise be fakes or past their sell-by dates.
Avoid handbagsand cameras with shoulder straps, if possible – they’re very easy to snatch inplaces where petty crime is common, such as the tourist areas in Ho Chi Minh City. A ‘bumbag’ is a safer alternative for money, etc. For cameras, keep the strap wrappedaround your wrist.
#1 johnmc has been a member since 13/1/2011. Posts: 2