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Gear and equipment forum

Can I buy travel gear in Hanoi?

Posted by kpop on 26/5/2009 at 04:07

Hi all!

I am planning a trip for the fall through Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia - I have 4 months (Sept through Dec) and will be in both rural and urban areas. I am trying to minimize the weight I am carrying on my back, and so I am wondering how easy it will be to find certain items abroad, should I chose not to purchase them at home (Canada) and wind up really wanting them.

Specifically, I am wondering about a sleep sheet and a mosquito net. I am pretty sure I would like to have both, but they can be expensive to buy here and I keep hearing that I may end up leaving them behind after a few days. Can I buy these items in Hanoi? That is where I fly into and from there I am headed into Northern Vietnam and Phongsali, so I think I would need to purchase any desired items in Hanoi.

Also, is it easy to find English guide books for Laos and Combodia in Hanoi?

Thank you so much for your advice!


#1 kpop has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 8

Posted by somtam2000 on 26/5/2009 at 09:03 admin

Hi K,

You'll have no problems buying a mosquito net, though I think for a sleepsheet it would be just as easy to have one made on arrival than buy one. They're really just a human-size pillow case, so anyone with a sewing machine should be able to whip one up in two secs.

Re guidebooks, you'll get both pirated and real ones easily in Hanoi.

#2 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,931
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Posted by kpop on 26/5/2009 at 10:06

Great - thank you for the quick response!

Perhaps I should also ask: is it really necessary to take some sort of rain jacket to Vietnam & Laos in September & October?

Thanks again!

#3 kpop has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 8

Posted by HoangDJ on 10/7/2009 at 16:57

Should take, but it's very cheap over here, and people sell it everywhere. Btw, it's not raining season in Sep and Oct in both Vietnam and Laos.

#4 HoangDJ has been a member since 10/7/2009. Location: Vietnam. Posts: 19

Posted by ariesdude82 on 17/8/2009 at 05:32

I'm also going on a 4 month trip there starting in oct and would like to know if i can purchase inexpensive packs in Bangkok. Also i would really like to know what your itinerary is for the 4 months. I'm also from Canada. Toronto to be specific

#5 ariesdude82 has been a member since 17/8/2009. Posts: 10

Posted by fivesilver on 20/8/2009 at 12:56

Posted from within Vietnam.

You can definitely get inexpensive backpacks in BK. The price will vary widely, but if you haggle hard, and don't mind going with a (minimally) used pack, you can get really good value.
Last time I was in BK (April), some of the guys on Soi Rambuttri (near Khaosan) were selling brand-name used gear in really good condition. It looked like some folks had decided they were carrying too much very early in their trips, or simply bought a new pack, travelled for a few weeks and flogged the pack before going home.

The 'rules' for buying from these guys are pretty much the standard ones (e.g. Don't show too much interest, and never let them think you're in a hurry)

#6 fivesilver has been a member since 3/8/2008. Posts: 39

Posted by jennismortal on 27/8/2009 at 16:50

I need to get some decent travel gear for an upcoming trip. Anyone know of any outdoorsy kind of shops where I can get things such as a pair of Reefs or Tevas? Either genuine or decent rip offs. Not fussy. I've only been in Hanoi for a few days and I'm surrounded by tourist tat.
Good source for [url=]Cozumel travel deals[/url]

#7 jennismortal has been a member since 27/8/2009. Posts: 1

Posted by kpop on 27/8/2009 at 22:57


Regarding the itinerary, I don't have anything set in stone, but I have a good idea of the places I want to visit and the route I will take. I'll try to keep this brief, but if you are looking for specifics on travel times or anything, I might be able to help.

I'm starting in Hanoi for probably a week, then headed to Cat Ba Island. From there, it will be back to Hanoi and up to Sapa and that general area.

After some time in the mountains, I'm going to make my way in Laos at the Dien Bien Phu crossing and head up the river to Phongsali for a few days. Then I'll make my way to Luang Prubang - not positive what that route will be yet. Might travel by boat from Phongsali to Nong Khiaw/Muang Ngoi and stay in that area a while before heading to Luang Prubang.

From Luang Prubang, I'm thinking of flying to Vientiane so I can have a decent amount of time in each city. And here my plan is up in the air. I would love to go through Southern Laos and I should make it to at least Savannakhet, hopefully as far as Champasak. And then I'll cross back into Vietnam - not sure which crossing yet, but I want to head to Hue at that point.

I think the next couple weeks would be spent in Hue, Hoi An, Saigon, Mekong Delta and Phu Quoc. Then I'll cross into Cambodia, probably via Chau Doc.

No hard plans for Cambodia, but I think I'll start in Phnom Penh and then make my way to Siem Reap & Battambang. After that, it might be beach time, but I haven't decided exactly where yet. And to balance it out, I'll try to get off the tourist trail in Cambodia as well. I fly out of Phnom Penh, so I'll finish there.

That's it in a nut shell. Feel free to share your itinerary as well. It's good inspiration!

Happy Travels from Canada (I'm in Calgary)


#8 kpop has been a member since 26/5/2009. Posts: 8

Posted by BruceMoon on 28/8/2009 at 13:00


I'm envious.

Regarding SaPa, go look at this material .

I did the NW VN to Laos via Dien Bien Phu earlier this year (but from Laos). I wrote about some aspects here and described part here .

There is some (now a bit dated) bus info here - the DBP - Tay Trang - Muang Khua bus is now a bit more expensive. If you can, buy the ticket the day before at the bus station. Sometimes later arrivals have missed getting a seat on the often full bus. And, ensure you get to the bus station at least 1/2 to 3/4 hour before: to ensure your seat aint 'taken'.


#9 BruceMoon has been a member since 27/12/2008. Location: Australia. Posts: 1,941

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