Your tailor-made tours specialist in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar & Laos
- Travel Tips & Guide -

Vaccinations required for Vietnam

In general, Vietnam is a safe country to travel. There are no compulsory vaccinations for Vietnam required by law for travellers from Western countries to gain entry but certain vaccinations are strongly recommended.

This article will give you the list of necessary vaccinations for your journey to Vietnam and some advice to stay healthy and safe in Vietnam.

There is also some recommendation in case you feel sick after coming back from your Vietnam adventure.

Let's check it out!

*************

Disclaimer: The following is a rough guide only. No website can tell you exactly what you need, as recommendations often change and depend on your health status and what you do in the country. You need to consult a doctor with expertise in travel medicine who can review your individual health issues. Don’t forget to ask for numbing cream if you are worried about pain from the injection.

Vietnam’s popular diseases

Travelers to Vietnam are recommended to get the appropriate vaccinations and take precautions, so as not to become infected. Here are five of the most common diseases in Vietnam:

1. Chikungunya

This disease, rare in America, is present in Vietnam because of the high humidity and mosquito population. Spread through the bite of an infected mosquito, chikungunya can cause symptoms such as fever, joint pain, fatigue and nausea. Although this disease is not pleasant, it is rarely lethal.

2. Rabies

In Vietnam, it is very expensive to vaccinate dogs and animals that carry rabies. However, with over 900 deaths in the past decade caused by rabies, it is necessary to take action against this disease.
This very serious illness occurs when an infected animal bites a human. While the first few symptoms may not feel abnormal (fever, headache and weakness), the next wave of symptoms (anxiety, confusion or hallucinations) usually leads to death within a few days.

3. Japanese Encephalitis

The CDC recommends that travelers get a vaccination against this common disease if they are staying in Vietnam for more than a month. Also contracted through the bite of a mosquito, this disease is much more serious than chikungunya and can lead to death. Prevent the disease by taking precautions against mosquitoes.

4. Typhoid Fever

Typhoid fever is common in Southeastern Asia. This disease is spread through unclean food and water or through an infected person. Antibiotics and vaccinations are available to treat and prevent typhoid in Vietnam, but washing hands frequently and staying away from unclean areas is recommended, too.

5. Tuberculosis (TB)

Tuberculosis is one of the most common diseases in Vietnam. According to USAID, “Annually, it is estimated that Vietnam has 17,000 TB deaths.” This huge number has pushed researchers to examine how to stop this terrible infection.
TB is a bacteria-spread disease that is most commonly contracted from people’s coughs, sneezes or even just a discussion. Mayo Clinic says that “without treatment, tuberculosis can be fatal.”

Vietnam Travel Vaccinations

For most short-term travelers the usual recommended vaccinations for Vietnam include cover against the childhood diseases (Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella) as well as cover against the food and water borne diseases, including Typhoid and Hepatitis A. For those trekking in the Vietnamese countryside or staying for longer periods cover against Hepatitis B and Rabies should also be considered.

The recommended time to start your vaccines is four to six weeks before leaving home. However, those planning a longer visit, or where if the planned trip is likely to bring them to more rural parts of Vietnam, should book their consultation earlier to ensure that there is sufficient time to complete the vaccine courses.

Vietnam is endemic for Malaria and the risk of transmission occurs in many regions of the country. Therefore, malaria prophylaxis may need to be considered, depending on your itinerary.

The biggest risks for travelers to Vietnam tend to be associated with food and water borne diseases, mosquito bites and the traffic. Common-sense and care is needed at all times to ensure a good, safe holiday.

Check the table to have more idea of what immunizations you should have depending on the places you visit and what you plan to do.

Vaccine Staying in the Cities Exploring Rural Vietnam Visiting Border Regions Hiking and Trekking
Tetanus
Typhoid
Hepatitis A
Hepatitis B      
Meningococcal      
Tuberculosis      
Japanese Encephalitis      
Malaria      
Rabies      
Dengue Fever Optional Optional Optional Optional

 

Below is the list of recommended vaccines from CDC

All travelers

Measles

Infants (6 through 11 months old): 1 dose of measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine before travel. This dose does not count as the first dose in the routine childhood vaccination series.

People 12 months old or older, with no evidence of immunity or no written documentation of any doses: 2 doses of MMR vaccine before travel. The 2 doses must be given 28 days apart.

People 12 months old or older who have written documentation of 1 dose and no other evidence of immunity: 1 additional dose before travel, at least 28 days after the previous dose.

Routine vaccines

Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines before every trip. These vaccines include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis vaccine, varicella (chickenpox) vaccine, polio vaccine, and your yearly flu shot.

Most travelers

Hepatitis A

CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Vietnam, regardless of where you are eating or staying.

Typhoid

You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Vietnam. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.

Some travelers

Japanese Encephalitis

You may need this vaccine if your trip will last more than a month, depending on where you are going in Vietnam and what time of year you are traveling. You should also consider this vaccine if you plan to visit rural areas in Vietnam or will be spending a lot of time outdoors, even for trips shorter than a month. Your doctor can help you decide if this vaccine is right for you based on your travel plans. See more in-depth information on Japanese encephalitis in Vietnam.

Hepatitis B

You can get hepatitis B through sexual contact, contaminated needles, and blood products, so CDC recommends this vaccine if you might have sex with a new partner, get a tattoo or piercing, or have any medical procedures.

Malaria

When traveling in Vietnam, you should avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. You may need to take prescription medicine before, during, and after your trip to prevent malaria, depending on your travel plans, such as where you are going, when you are traveling, and if you are spending a lot of time outdoors or sleeping outside. Talk to your doctor about how you can prevent malaria while traveling. Areas of Vietnam with risk of malaria: Rural areas only. Rare cases in the Mekong and Red River Deltas. None in the cities of Da Nang, Haiphong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), Nha Trang, and Qui Nhon. See more detailed information about malaria in Vietnam.

Rabies

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in Vietnam, so CDC recommends this vaccine for the following groups:

Travelers involved in outdoor and other activities (such as camping, hiking, biking, adventure travel, and caving) that put them at risk for animal bites.

People who will be working with or around animals (such as veterinarians, wildlife professionals, and researchers).
People who are taking long trips or moving to Vietnam

Children, because they tend to play with animals, might not report bites, and are more likely to have animal bites on their head and neck.

Stay healthy and safe in Vietnam

Although Vietnam is a safe place to visit, there is a certain number of safety notices and precautions that you need to follow to have a smooth journey.

Check out the dedicated article about the safety and precautions in Vietnam here

Below you can find some extra notices from CDC to help you have a healthy trip in Vietnam (or everywhere)

Eat and Drink Safely

Vietnam is renowned for its wonderful food, and there are thousands of street stalls and markets offering all sorts of delicious treats. However contaminated food and water can cause traveler’s diarrhea and other gastrointestinal illnesses such as Typhoid and Hepatitis A.

  • Food: CDC recommends consuming food that is properly cooked and served hot, ensuring fruit and vegetables are washed in clean water, avoiding food from street vendors, not consuming unpasteurized dairy products, and not eating “bush-meat” (monkeys, bats, or other wild game).
  • Water: Presume water from any tap, well, or other local sources, as non-potable. Use bottled or treated water for consumption and when brushing your teeth and rinsing your mouth. Never assume that ice is made from filtered water.

Prevent Insect Bites

Some viruses and illnesses in Vietnam are contracted by insects, particularly mosquitoes. Here are some insect avoidance tips.

  • Sleep in insect-proof or air-conditioned rooms
  • Wear long-sleeved clothing, long pants, and hats outdoors, day and night, especially at dawn and sunset
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear, such as boots, pants, socks, and tents
  • Use personal repellents on exposed skin–the most effective mosquito and tick repellents contain DEET; look for a minimum 20%
  • Avoid dark-colored clothing and strong scents such as perfume, aftershave, and perfumed cosmetics and deodorants as these may attract mosquitoes
  • Ensure large amounts of standing water is not left around unnecessarily

Stay away from Animals

In Vietnam, there are many street dogs and cats that may not have been immunized. Generally, they don’t bother people unless they feel threatened or their territory has been invaded. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as Rabies. Even cute puppies, monkeys, cats, and bats can carry the disease, so avoid touching or feeding animals you don’t know. If you’re bitten or scratched seek medical advice immediately.

Avoid Sharing Body Fluids

Diseases and viruses such as Hepatitis B, HIV and Aids, and TB may be passed by the exchange of body fluids. Practice safe sex, don’t share needles, and ensure any medical instruments used are sterile.

Reduce Exposure to Germs

Good hygiene practices help you avoid sickness and spreading illnesses to others. Wash your hands often, especially before eating. Carry hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing. If possible avoid contact with people who are sick or if you’re sick.

In case of serious health problem

The local health system is still deficient outside major cities, such as Hanoi and Hồ Chí Minh City. The care is in principle fast and the price of the consultation is modest. Otherwise, very large hotels usually offer a list of often multilingual doctors.

Some foreign and private health structures have established themselves and offer very good quality care such as the Family Medical Practice based in Hồ Chí Minh City, Danang and Hanoi. However, these structures implementing premium prices, we advise you to take out a “travel insurance” before your departure.

In the event of a cardiovascular problem or other serious health concern, you can call on the International Medical Center in Hồ Chí Minh-City (former Heart Foundation), where highly trained doctors and surgeons receive both foreigners and Vietnamese nationals.
Outside of these institutions, it is better to seek urgent health care abroad: Bangkok is 1 hour by plane and offers good quality care. A little further, Hong Kong and Singapore. Otherwise, go back to your home country.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of Vietnam. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Healthy travel packing list

Packing a basic health kit is a good idea no matter where you are going, and truly imperative if you have any sort of health conditions or take regular medications.

  • Personal medical essentials plus Epi Pen if necessary
  • Copies of all your prescriptions/immunizations and your doctor’s phone number
  • First aid kit: Imodium, ibuprofen, paracetamol, tums/antacid tablets, Benadryl
  • Allergy meds, asthma inhalers, & eye drops
  • An adequate supply of prescription medications (knowing the generic name comes in handy)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Anti-diarrheal tablets
  • Antibiotic cream/ointment
  • Anti-malarial if necessary (check with your doctor and the CDC/WHO before going)
  • Anti-itch cream for bug bites
  • Tiger balm (for headaches/muscle soreness/sinus issues)
  • Band-Aids/bandages
  • Mints or ginger to aid digestion and upset stomach
  • Essential oils/travel diffuser for wellness regimen

Check the full list of Healthy Packing List from CDC HERE

You may want to learn more about Vietnam travel packing list

List of hospitals at some tourist sites

You can find below our list recommended hospitals and clinics at some tourist sites. You can also check the extended list HERE.

Hanoi 

Hanoi French Hospital

  • Add:    1 Phuong Mai St, Dong Da District
  • Web:   www.hfh.com.vn
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Tel:     +84 4 35771100
  • Emergency:    +84 4 35741111
  • Mr. Truong Kieu Nghi – Customer Services Manager

Vinmec International Hospital

  • Add:    458 Minh Khai St, Hai Ba Trung District
  • Web:   www.vinmec.com
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Tel:     +84 4 39743556
  • Hotline:           +84 4 39743558
  • Emergency:    +84 4 39744333
  • Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy – Customer Services Manager

Hô Chi Minh City 

Vinmec International Hospital Central Park 

  • 208 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh District
  • Tel.: + (84-24) 3622 11 66

Raffles Medical Ho Chi Minh

  • Address: 167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St, D3
  • Ho Chi Minh City.
  • Tel: (028) 38240777
  • Email: [email protected]

Halong Bay

Vinmec International Hospital – Ha Long City

  • Address: 10A Le Thanh Tong Street
  • Telephone: +84 203 3828 188

Quang Ninh General Hospital

  • Address: Tue Tinh, Bach Dang Ward
  • Telephone: +84 203 3825 499/ +84 203 3825 489

Hoi An

Hoi An Medical Services

  • Address: 503 Hai Ba Trung Street, Cam Pho
  • Telephone: +84 235 3862 257 / +84 913 457 219

Thai Binh Duong – Pacific Hospital

  • Address: 6 Phan Dinh Phung, Cam Pho
  • Telephone: +84 235 3921 656

Getting sick after your trip

Sometimes, travelers come home with more than souvenirs. Some travel-related illnesses may not cause symptoms until after you get home. Fortunately, most after-travel illnesses are mild and not a concern, such as a head cold or an upset stomach.

If you feel sick when coming back from Vietnam, you need to see your doctor immediately.

Below are some of the popular problems that may come back with you from your adventure in Vietnam.

Fever

If you have been in a country with malaria and develop a fever within a month after you come home, see a doctor immediately. Most fevers are caused by less serious illnesses. But because malaria is a medical emergency, your doctor must first rule it out.

A fever could be malaria even if you took antimalarial medicine, because the medicine is not 100% effective. Most malaria develops within 30 days, but rare cases can lie dormant for a year or longer. So always tell your doctor about any travel you have done, even if it was months ago.

Persistent Diarrhea

Most cases of diarrhea go away by themselves in a few days, but see your doctor if you have diarrhea that lasts for 2 weeks or more. Persistent diarrhea can make you lose nutrients and is often caused by a parasitic infection that might need to be treated with special drugs.

Skin Problems

Skin problems (rashes, boils, fungal infections, bug bites) are among the most common illnesses reported by people who have returned from international travel. Most skin problems are not serious, but they may be a sign of a serious illness, especially if you also have a fever.

At the Doctor

Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. This information will help your doctor consider infections that are rare or not found in the United States. Make sure to include all relevant details:

  • What you did on your trip.
  • How long you were gone.
  • Where you stayed (fancy hotel, private home, tent).
  • What you ate and drank while you were there.
  • Whether you were bitten by bugs or animals.
  • Whether you swam in fresh water.
  • Whether you received health care abroad.
  • Any other possible exposures (sex, tattoos, piercings).

NOT READY YET?

We believe you have the right to arm yourselves with as much information as possible before making any decision.

Check below our detailed tips & guide for every places to visit in Vietnam, recommendation regarding the inclusion in each theme you prefer, and what you can do based on the time frame you have.

PLACES TO VISIT IN Vietnam
Hanoi
bee-white Hanoi

Ha Long Bay
bee-white Ha Long Bay

Sapa
bee-white Sapa

Hoi An
bee-white Hoi An

Hue
bee-white Hue

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)
bee-white Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)

Vietnam PLANS BY TRAVEL THEME
Must-see
bee-white Must-see

Check out all the must-see places and things to do & see

Luxury
bee-white Luxury

Unique experience combined with top-notch services

Honeymoon
bee-white Honeymoon

Easy excursions combined with unique experience making the long-lasting romantic memories

Wellness & Leisure
bee-white Wellness & Leisure

Easy excursion combined with week-long beach break

Cruise
bee-white Cruise

The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

Family
bee-white Family

The combination of fun and educational activities

Unseen
bee-white Unseen

Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

Cycling
bee-white Cycling

Explore every corners of the destination on two wheels

Trek & Hike
bee-white Trek & Hike

Explore the least visited destinations and unknown experience on foot

Vietnam PLANS BY TIME FRAME
white-icon About 1 week
yellow-icon About 1 week
white-icon About 2 weeks
yellow-icon About 2 weeks
white-icon About 3 weeks
yellow-icon About 3 weeks
white-icon About 4 weeks
yellow-icon About 4 weeks
image
Already got a plan? REQUEST A FREE QUOTE
SPECIAL Vietnam TIPS & TOURS

Search for your nationality below to see our special Vietnam travel tips & advice for your country. CONTACT US if you cannot find yours.

Australian
bee-white Australian
United States
bee-white United States
United Kingdom
bee-white United Kingdom
Canadian
bee-white Canadian
German
bee-white German
French
bee-white French
Vietnam BLOG ARTICLES

On June 7th, 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased travel recommendations for more than a hundred countries and territories, including Vietnam and Laos in the list of "safest to travel".

Time to travel now? We do not think so! Let's check more detail below.

...more

The Hmong New Year celebration is a cultural tradition that takes place annually in select areas where large Hmong communities exist and in a modified form where smaller communities come together. During the New Year's celebration, Hmong dress in traditional clothing and enjoy Hmong traditional foods, dance, music, bull fights, and other forms of entertainment. Hmong New Year celebrations have Hmong ethnic traditions and culture and may also serve to educate those who have an interest in Hmong tradition. Hmong New Year celebrations frequently occur in November and December (traditionally at the end of the harvest season when all work is done), serving as a Thanksgiving holiday for the Hmong people.

...more

Backpacking Vietnam… If you are seeking epic adventures, unique experiences, mouth watering foods and ancient historical sights; Vietnam is the place for you. Once upon a time, the very mention of Vietnam conjured up images of war-torn destination but now Vietnam is a backpacker haven and travelling in Vietnam is a popular part of many Southeast Asian adventures.

Backpacking Vietnam offers an incredible opportunity to get off the beaten track… Explore dramatic mountains in the North, stop in for some corn wine and a friendly chat with the locals before heading south to party the night away…

Many travelers opt to explore Vietnam by motorcycle. Vietnam is a big country and there are lots of Vietnam backpacking itineraries on offer… The most popular backpacking route is heading from Hanoi to Saigon.

Backpacking in Vietnam is a great choice for backpackers on account of the super cheap cost of living and the plentiful adventures.

...more

The phrase ‘banana pancakes trail’ is the stuff of legend in Southeast Asia’s backpacker route. Along the banks of the Mekong, across many a dorm room and questionable dive bar, backpackers come to learn the story of the first tourists to travel ‘on the ground’, making a conscious effort to immerse themselves in local life. Decades later, their influence is having transformed the region: tourism here is now the fastest growing on Earth, receiving a quarter of total travelers worldwide. 

When you travel through Southeast Asia these days, it is hard to imagine that tourism was almost non-existent just a half century ago. Here is the story of how hippies, guidebooks and banana pancakes helped to create one of the most famous backpacker routes in the world.
 

...more

Lantern Festival is celebrated in China and other Asian countries that honors deceased ancestors on the 15th day of the first month of the lunar calendar (usually falls around mid-February of Gregorian calendar). The Lantern Festival aims to promote reconciliation, peace, and forgiveness. 

Originally, the holiday marks the first full moon of the new lunar year and the end of the Chinese New Year. In some other Asian countries such as Thailand or Laos, the festival is celebrated around late October or early November to mark the end of the Buddhist Lent & the beginning of the festive season.

During the festival, houses are festooned with colorful lanterns, often with riddles written on them; if the riddle is answered correctly, the solver earns a small gift. Festival celebrations also include lion and dragon dances, parades, and fireworks. 

...more

In Vietnam, nibbling on mooncakes and sipping tea with loved ones is an essential part of the Mid-autumn Festival, or Tết Trung Thu. As long as we can remember, it is tradition to serve bánh nướng and bánh dẻo — golden baked mooncakes and soft sticky rice mooncakes — on the night of the harvest moon. If you are in Vietnam during this festival, you can experience the fun of your own mooncake celebration. Here is all you need to know about Vietnam’s mooncake tradition.

...more
CHECK OUT OTHER DESTINATIONS
Thailand
bee-white Thailand
Friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious, Thailand tempts visitors with a smile as golden as the country's glittering temples and tropical beaches.
Cambodia
bee-white Cambodia
There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors. In Cambodia, ancient and modern worlds collide to create an authentic adventure.
Myanmar
bee-white Myanmar
It's a new era for this extraordinary and complex land, where the landscape is scattered with gilded pagodas and the traditional ways of Asia endure.
Laos
bee-white Laos
Vivid nature, voluptuous landscapes and a vibrant culture collide with a painful past and optimistic future to make Laos an enigmatic experience for the adventurous.
loading
back top