Population: 92.7 million
Official language: Vietnamese
Time zone: Indochina time (ICT)
Emergency #: 115
Vaccinations required: No
Risk of malaria: Yes
Vietnam (officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam) is known for its beaches and temples and includes popular destinations such as the Marble Mountains, Imperial City, and Ha Long Bay.
The standards for patient care and medical services in Vietnam may differ from your home country. Vietnam has both public and private health sectors available. The private sector typically offers better care than the public sector, but healthcare throughout the country generally does not meet international standards. Facilities are often poorly equipped with outdated or insufficient medical equipment. The country has a shortage of doctors and nurses, and facilities can be overcrowded. Public hospitals need a special permit to treat foreigners and only a few are licensed to do so.
In the event of a medical emergency, contact your travel health insurance company immediately. Hospitals in Vietnam typically require upfront payment with cash, regardless if you have travel health insurance. Medical evacuation to Bangkok or Singapore may be required for specialist care or complex emergencies. You should ensure you have accessible funds to cover upfront fees and adequate travel health insurance, including evacuation. Before you depart, check with your insurer about the extent of their coverage in Vietnam.
Pharmacies in major cities are generally well-stocked, but medications may be out-of-date and specific medications may be in short supply or unavailable. Many medications that require a prescription can be purchased over the counter, but taking medication without consultation from a healthcare practitioner is not advisable. Avoid purchasing medication from markets or unlicensed pharmacies, as fake medication is a common problem.
If you are travelling with medication, check with Vietnam's embassy, consulate, or Ministry of Health for details on medication allowances and restrictions. Note that these sources may provide incomplete or out-of-date information.
To drive in Vietnam, travellers must obtain a local drivers’ license. However, car rentals to foreigners typically include a driver. Motorcycles are a common form of transportation in Vietnam but are not recommended, as the risk of accident or injury is high. Motorcycle drivers and passengers are required to wear a helmet at all times. Traffic is often chaotic and road rules are rarely followed or enforced, especially outside of major cities. Vehicles for public transit and tour buses may not be maintained to safety standards. Major roads are generally well-built but rural roads can be unpaved and are often flooded during the rainy season.
Before you go, check the list of vaccines and relevant health risks for Vietnam. For personalized advice, check out our Travel Health Planner to get health information that’s tailored to all the destinations on your itinerary:
IAMAT-affiliated doctors are available in Vietnam.