Essential tips for camping in Vietnam

Essential tips for camping in Vietnam
Photo by Tegan Mierle / Unsplash

For nature lovers and fans of exploring breathtaking landscapes, camping in Vietnam is an interesting activity that many travelers would like to discover at least once. To fully experience a camping trip and enjoy the scenery, first, make sure to block at least two days free on your calendar and then go through some essential information. Here are some tips from local campers you might want to know thoroughly:

When is the best time to camp in Vietnam?

For the best experience, you should choose a suitable time depending on the region. Photo by umove.com.vn

The time depends on the locations you want to camp. For example, if you plan for a camping trip in the South, you should choose the dry season from December to April. This is because it would be easier for you to trek, hike, and prevent slippery accidents along the path. On the other hand, the best time for camping in the Northern area is from April to August. Moreover, the National Parks especially have chilling weather during summertime so that you can comfortably enjoy camping there.

Apart from the shared information shared above, many campsites have their seasonal landscapes and activities. In case you already know where to camp, you can check specifically with the sites for further information.


You can find three main types of campsites along with the country. So even though you are an adventurous head or a comfort lover with family and kids, there are always choices for you.

National Parks Campsites

Camping at Nam Cát Tiên National Park. Photo by Tri HT/Flickr

Many National Parks throughout Vietnam open camping areas for travelers. This is an opportunity to wholly discover the untouched beauty of nature. Some even have available tents and camping tools for rent that you don't need to bring along your own. You should also check beforehand the terrain because parks may have many difficult paths to hike or to trek. Camping in Vietnam's National Parks, you should prepare food and water; it may be inconvenient to look for food supply at night or in the early morning.

Check out some recommended parks:

  • Ba Vì National Park (Hanoi)
  • Around 60 kilometers away from Hanoi, a place to regain a clean atmosphere.
  • There are separate fees for entrance access, parking, campsite, tent renting, etc
  • Manny attractions for sightseeing
  • Nam Cát Tiên National Park (Dong Nai Province)
  • A tropical national park located 150 kilometers away to the Northeast of Ho Chi Minh City
  • 30,000VND - 60,000VND ($1.30-2.60) for entrance fee. If you want to camp overnight, please contact the management team to arrange beforehand and pay an extra fee.
  • Campers can choose either a grass campsite or a wild forest camping. Camping in the forest will bring the unforgettable experience, being in the middle of the forest, exploring the dark night and listening to the sound of nature.

Private campsites

Since camping in Vietnam became popular, private campsites have been established rapidly all over the country. Private campsites usually go along with tourist areas, hotels, resorts, restaurants, etc and are commonly found along the coast. They provide services such as tent renting, F&B, bathroom, BBQ preparation. If you opt for a secured and convenient option, private campsites are the correct choice for you.

Sơn Tinh Camp

Located in Đồng Mô Tourist Site, 40 kilometers away from Hanoi's center.

Campsite by the lake at Sơn Tinh Camp. Photo by vntrip

  • Other activities: hiking, trekking, outdoor movie theater, BBQ, sightseeing, etc
  • The entrance fee is from 60,000VND/person ($2.60). Tent renting is from 200,000VND/pack for 2 people ($8.80)

Coco Beach Camp

Beach Party at Coco Beach Campsite. Photo by cocobeachcamp.vn

Coco Beach Camp is a colorful private campsite by the coast in Bình Thuận Province. It's about 150 kilometers from Ho Chi Minh City. They already set up tents for rent, a relaxing area with hammocks and chairs. Camping here, you don't need to worry about food. They provide BBQ parties, food stalls, and even a cocktail bar at night. On Saturday, there's a Beach Party at the campsite; we've got a DJ, dancers, singers, firework, campfire, etc. You can search for more information and detailed prices on the website.

Wild camping

Wild camping is an amazing experience, but you need to get ready for any unexpected situations.

Wild camping is a daring choice for adventurous campers. Wild camping, or free camping means you will not be secured or covered by any organization; hence the risk can increase. While, it is also a great opportunity to dig for hidden beautiful scenery in Vietnam and experience wildlife; the campsite is also a wide-open catalogue. If you plan for wild camping in Vietnam, there is something you should bear in mind:

You will prefer to camp in a remote area, far from the main routes so that you won't be disturbed or attract locals' attention. Free camping is regarded as illegal accommodation somehow; if you attract attention, the police may order you to take down the tent..Beware of restricted or private areas as well.

If it's likely to rain or to be wet, don't try to camp. Camping in the rain might be interesting but it will be tiring for you to deal with risky situations. Since it's illegal, be cautious in setting up campfires in order not to attract attention. Instead, storm cookers or solar cookers are worth investing in.

Finish setting up the tent before dusk because it will be really dark for you to do anything. If you don't want to take too much time setting up a tent, you should use a hammock instead. Forest walking, hill trekking, or riding a motorbike are the best means of transportation for free camping while it requires certain health conditions to try.

Choosing wild camping in Vietnam, or elsewhere, a survival skill set is a must-have package. You will need to navigate well in an unfamiliar land, in the middle of a jungle and be ready for any dangerous situation.

Equip enough water, food or energy bars, and medical kits for your trip.


Gear up for the camp

Equipment

Tents are your shelter when camping.
  • Tent: if you opt for National Parks or private campsites which are available for tent renting, you don't need to prepare your own. The tent is one of the must-have items for wild camping, it better have mosquito-proof. The most important thing is to get to know or revisit your tent before departure day. You don't want to have problems setting up a tent in the middle of nowhere, do you?
  • Sleeping bags: prefer waterproof sleeping bags, keep you warm and comfortable on chilling nights.
  • Waterproof camping rug: This can be used inside the tent as a mattress or outside the tent for resting and eating.
  • Emergency thermal blanket: to prevent body's temperature drop. It's foldable and lightweight to pack.
  • Hammock (with or without the tarp): in some cases, you can replace a tent with a hammock. It's easier to set up and lighter to carry on.
  • Flashlight, camping light
  • Compass: really necessary for wild camping in the forest
  • Multi-functional tool

Medical kits: first aid kit and essential medicine. If you are currently in some health problems, prepare your pills

Food:

  • Energy bars, pieces of bread, sandwiches, nuts: essential and quick energy sources for walking, hiking, or trekking.
  • Candies, cookies: for snacking or when you get tired
  • Clean water, ion water: rehydrate for the body, may be used for cooking, making tea or coffee.
  • Another protein source: bacon, sausage, ham
  • Fruits: bananas, oranges, etc
  • Instant coffee and tea

If you camp with a group of friends, it would be great to prepare dishes for an outdoor BBQ party such as beef, chicken, pork, mushroom, etc. You can either prepare and marinate in advance or buy them at local food stores near the campsite. It depends on your chosen location.

Cooking utensils:

  • Disposable eating utensils: chopsticks, spoons, plates, bowls, etc
  • Cooking pots, pans
  • Stove
  • Knife and cutting board
Camping with friends, you can't miss outdoor BBQ parties.

Last but not least, bring along your personal belongings: toothbrush, towel, extra clothes, anti-insect spray/cream, toilet paper, mobile phone with power bank, etc. In regard to clothing, it's preferable to choose comfortable and lightweight clothes, waterproof pants, and jackets.


Some last words

Don't hesitate to join camping groups/communities on Facebook. They provide really good local insights and beautiful campsites. On the other hand, members also offer tent/tool renting or exchanging. Here are some groups you can consider:

If you are not familiar with camping yet, you should book a tour or participate in a camping team to ensure your safety

Don't forget to check the weather in advance. Finally, clean the site and take your trash with you.
Stay safe and enjoy your camping trip in Vietnam!