Teaching in Hanoi Packing List

My teaching in Korea packing list is one of Journey Count’s most popular posts and therefore I feel it is my duty to be equally as helpful to the interwebs with a similar teaching in Vietnam packing list.

I have specifically referred to Hanoi for this post simply because there is a huge climate difference between the North of Vietnam and the South and therefore what you’d need to pack for moving to Hanoi compared with Ho Chi Minh or Dalat will be very different.

Basically, Hanoi is cold so bring a jacket!

Let’s get into this shall we?


  • Strappy tops x 4
  • Cropped tops x 2
  • Long sleeved tops x 3
  • Long sleeved shirts x 3
  • Smart tops x 3
  • Casual tops x 3

Bottoms and dresses

  • Short skirts x 2
  • Long skirts x 3
  • Dresses x 2 (B&W)
  • Smart trousers x 2 (black and colorful)
  • Jeans
  • Leggings
  • When packing bottoms for Vietnam it is important to consider the fact you will probably be riding a scooter to school. My long, tight skirt I always wore to school in Korea is so not happening here…
  • I’ve been wearing black jeans for school and it seems appropriate. In fact, I wish I’d bought more pairs as the smart trousers I brought don’t fit anymore!

Jackets and jumpers

  • Thick jumper
  • Thin jumper
  • Fleece
  • Smart blazers x 2
  • Casual kimono style jackets x 2
  • Rain jacket
  • Not pictured is my denim jacket.
  • In February Hanoi has been an odd mix of very cold overcast days where I have to wear every layer I have, and sunny days over 24 degrees where shorts and a t-shirt suffice. Bringing layers is key.


  • Smart sandal
  • Functional sandals
  • Indian slippers
  • Trainers
  • I plan to also buy a new pair of flip flops because I couldn’t find my trustee Havaianas when packing 🙁
  • It may have also been a good idea to pack a pair of smart closed-in shoes as I’ve simply been wearing my trainers to school which is rather casual. However, as I have to take my shoes off to go into class and my centres are actually quite relaxed, it hasn’t been such a big deal.


  • Thick scarf
  • Thin scarves x 2 (note the appropriate chillies)
  • Buff
  • Shoulder bag
  • Belt
  • Jewellery
  • Jewellery box
  • A small backpack would have been more useful than the shoulder bag for riding on scooters. Balancing your weight on a scooter is almost as important for safety as a helmet!
  • I packed my jewellery in this cute box to keep it safe during transit and also have something nice to decorate the house with.

Admin etc.

teaching in vietnam packing list

  • Letter writing kit
  • English camp notes (from teaching in Korea)
  • Indian cooking class recipes (+ spices, not pictured!)
  • Yoga school workout book
  • Random assorted stationery & stamps for students work
  • Colouring book and colours
  • Journal and diaries
  • Sketch book and paints
  • Blue tac (for photos, not pictured)
  • Assorted medicines, soap and bindis 😉
  • Important documents (CVs, Degree, TEFL cert, CRB check)
  • This random selection is based on both admin for jobs and settling into life smoothly
  • You may have plenty of free time as a teacher in Hanoi, so take up some hobbies!
  • Also make sure you bring some things from home like pictures to make your place feel like home and then, of course, blue tac to stick things up with!

Packing for the expat life

Packing for life as an expat doesn’t need to be difficult and you certainly don’t need to go out and buy tonnes of new stuff.

Pack clothes that you love and you feel comfortable in at home. In my experience you don’t have to be super smart for school but generally you need to make sure you are dressing appropriately for a more conservative culture.

Make sure you pack some home comforts and don’t pack too many cosmetic essentials as these are so cheap to purchase in country- which is why I haven’t given a breakdown of what I bought along.

If you are really curious to get more details on what I packed, then do not hesitate to get in touch!

Happy expat-ing fellow journey makers.

Looking to get a TEFL certificate so that you can teach English abroad? Browse this extensive TEFL store to find the right teaching certificate for you and be one step closer to your move to Vietnam!

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