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Essential health advice for travelling Vietnam

smile Emma Nguyen
3 min. to read

With its rising popularity as a prime Asian destination, Vietnam offers distinct and niche lifestyles that set it apart from other countries. To fully embrace this unique experience, arming yourself with these invaluable Vietnam travel tips is essential.

Before your trip

Based on WHO’s statistics, approximately eight million out of the 30 million Americans traveling abroad annually encounter accidents or contract infectious diseases. To safeguard your well-being, especially if you belong to high-risk groups such as young children, older adults aged 65+, or pregnant women, it’s crucial to be thoroughly prepared by taking preventive health measures.

In countries with hot climates, the likelihood of falling ill during a trip lasting up to 90 days can be as high as 60-70%. To protect both your health and finances, obtaining travel insurance is highly recommended. Additionally, travelers should ensure they are vaccinated against prevalent diseases in their intended destinations.

For a trip to Vietnam, it’s essential to be up to date with standard vaccinations like diphtheria/tetanus/pertussis (Adacel) and measles/mumps/rubella (MMR). Vaccinations against hepatitis A and B, as well as typhoid, are also advisable.

For those planning an extended stay, considering a rabies vaccine (three doses for pre-exposure) is prudent. Travelers who intend to venture into rural areas of Southeast Asia or off the beaten track should also contemplate getting vaccinated against Japanese encephalitis (JE), which can be contracted in rural parts of Vietnam, particularly where there are pigs. Be prepared for extreme weather in Vietnam, with summer temperatures ranging from 34-38 degrees Celsius on most days and occasionally exceeding 40 degrees. Monsoon rains, lasting from the end of June to October, bring occasional storms, heavy rainfall, and strong winds to northern and central Vietnam.

“As some medications may be difficult to find in Vietnam, it is essential to ensure you carry an ample supply of any prescribed medicine you require during your travels.”

During your trip

Food and Water Hygiene: Avoid drinking tap water and opt for bottled water, which is widely available and safe. Choose restaurants that appear clean and ensure that all food, especially poultry, is thoroughly cooked. Steer clear of wild meats and be cautious even with salads, as they can harbor parasites. Make sure vegetables are well-washed to eliminate bacteria, cysts, and parasites.

Mosquito Precautions: Dengue, a common mosquito-borne disease, is prevalent throughout southern Vietnam all year and particularly during the northern monsoon (July through October). Malaria is present in rural border areas and the Central Highlands. Wear long-sleeved shirts and trousers to protect yourself from mosquito bites. Apply mosquito repellent on exposed skin, use bed nets at night, and ensure windows have mosquito screens. Sleeping with air-conditioning on can also be helpful.

Alcohol Consumption: Be cautious with alcohol consumption, as excessive drinking, especially when riding motorcycles, can lead to accidents. Drink in moderation and never drink and drive.

Sun Exposure: Vietnam’s hot climate can lead to dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke. Stay well-hydrated and avoid outdoor activities between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during the summer.

Medical Treatment Abroad: Medical treatment in a foreign country can be intimidating, especially with language barriers. Consider seeking a healthcare provider in town with international doctors who can cater to your health needs. Upon returning home, pay attention to your health for up to 30 days. If you experience symptoms such as fever, headache, joint pain, or persistent diarrhea, consult your doctor and inform them about your recent travel history. Remember, taking care of your health is paramount during your travels, and being well-prepared can make your trip to Vietnam a safe and enjoyable experience.

*Dr. William Brian McNaull specializes in internal medicine and is the Medical Director at Family Medical Practice Hanoi.

Healthcare in Vietnam

The healthcare system in Vietnam combines aspects of Eastern and Western medicine. At present, most Vietnamese citizens have to pay for medical services themselves at both private and public hospitals. In many cases, Vietnamese people opt for private hospitals as these are better equipped. Expats and visitors should take out health insurance before they travel to Vietnam. This will cover them for treatment at private healthcare establishments

1. Public hospitals in Vietnam

Foreigners may find that the standards of public hospitals do not match that of those found in North America or Western Europe. Doctors and medical staff working at public hospitals will generally only speak Vietnamese.

The quality and availability of healthcare is especially poor in rural areas, and in some of the remote parts of the country is not-existent.

2. International hospitals in Vietnam

By contrast, the standard of International hospitals in Vietnam is excellent, especially in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with doctors from USA, Korea, Japan, and France, as well as Vietnamese doctors trained overseas.

Private hospitals tend to cater for the needs of foreigners than public hospitals, and they do accept international health insurance. Doctors and medical staff at private hospitals in Vietnam often speak English, or French which makes it easier for foreigners.

Here is the list of private hospitals in some major cities:


No. 8, Alexandre de Rhodes, Bến Nghé, District 1, Hochiminh, Vietnam

+84 8 3823 8888

+84 8 3823 8888


Diamond Plaza, 34 Le Duan, District 3, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

+84 8 3822 7848

+84 8 3822 7859


No. 6 Nguyễn Lương Bằng, Tân Phú, District7, Hồ Chí Minh, Vietnam

+84 8 54 11 33 33

+84 8 54 11 33 34


No.167A Nam Ky Khoi Nghia street, district 3, HCMC, Vietnam

+84 8 3824 0777

+84 8 3829 8551


Van Phuc Compound, 298 Kim Ma Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam

+84 4 3843 0748

+84 4 3846 1750


55 Yen Ninh, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam

+04 8 39 275 568

+04 8 39 275 568


No.1 Phuong Mai, Dong Da District, Hanoi, Vietnam

+84 4 3577 1100

+84 4 3576 4443


51 Xuan Dieu Street, Tay Ho District, Hanoi, Vietnam

+ 84 4 3934 0666

+84 4 3934 0556


40 Trang Thi Street, Hanoi, Vietnam

+84 4 3825 3531

+84 4 3825 3531


458 Minh Khai Street, Hai Ba Trung District, Hanoi, Vietnam

+84 4 3974 3556

+84 4 3974 3557


 96-98 Nguyen Van Linh Street, Hai Chau District, Danang, Vietnam

+84 236 3582 699

+84 236 3583 049


161 Nguyễn Văn Linh, Thạc Gián, Q. Thanh Khê, Da Nang, Vietnam

+84 236 3650 676

+84 236 3650 676

We hope that the information mentioned above is of help for visitors in order to have a smooth trip in Vietnam.

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