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How can i avoid getting sick in Vietnam.?

So, this summer in about 2 weeks. I will be flying over to Vietnam for vacation. I've heard alot of people getting sick from eating the food. A few of my friends told me to drink bottled water only and drink coconut juice to help my stomach.
Do you guys have any other suggestions? That i can do or eat to avoid having stomach problems, i my self have a weak stomach so this trip might be one hell of a trip.


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Most people travelling in Asia do end up with a slight stomach complaint within the first week or so of being there. This, generally is NOT caused by dirty food, but due to your stomach's intolerance to things like the herbs and spices used in every single dish, as well as the beer and the heat.

Avoiding this, and also a major stomach upset is quite easy though, and you dont have to be paranoid about the foods you eat.

Generally, you're most likely to get sick from a meat based dish in Vietnam like Pho Bo, where the meat isnt as clean as you're used to. Because of this, I usually only eat vegetarian foods for the first 4-5 days or so, until my stomach is used to the sorts of bacteria found in the foods over there. Once your stomach is used to this bacteria, you can eat most foods without worrying about getting sick.

When buying street food (which you definately should NOT avoid) make sure you buy it from stalls that have lots of customers. This indicates that there is a high turn over of stock and therefore the food will be fresh. Also, check to make sure you can see steam coming from the pots and pans of the stall. This indicates that the food is being cooked to the right temperature to kill a lot of the bacteria in it.

To be honest, proper restaraunts are more of a health risk than street stalls. While a restaraunt might look super clean inside, unless you've actually seen the kitchen, dont assume it's clean. I have a vivid memory of eating in a 5 star restaraunt in Cambodia which i thought was clean, only to get a glimpse of the kitchen, and it was the filthiest thing Ive ever seen. At least with street stalls you can see for yourself how clean they are.

Finally, for the first few days, go easy on the spices. Unless you're eating spicy food everyday of the week at the moment, you'll find that too much chilli too quickly upsets your stomach. Start slow, and work your way up as you go.

Take some Immodium, as it's pretty well assured that you will end up with a slight dose of the runs in the first few days, but dont mistake this for "food poisoning". Food poisoning comes complete with a headache, stomach cramps and vomitting as well. IF, for some (very unlikely) reason you do end up with proper food poisoning, there are heaps of chemists in Vietnam that sell antibiotics over the counter. Ive used these, and they clear any sickness up REALLY quickly.

Have fun!

You should have proper immunization: tetanus, typhoid fever, hepatitis A and a new oral vaccine for travelers' diarrhea (named DUKORAL).You do not need antimalaria pills if you stay mainly in big cities.
Medications to bring along: Imodium, antibiotic (preferably a quinolone named Levofloxaxin), antibiotic eye drop,
Tylenol and a cortisone cream for mosquitoes bites.
Our family traveled to Vietnam last year and did not experienced any sickness with these preparation.
Happy travelling.

Most people get some sort of stomach bug because it is different food in Vietnam and also not as hygenic eg meat is not refrigerated.
Wash your hands especially after WC and before handling food.
Drink bottled water 50cents a litre or boiled water.
No raw, peeled food.
Take homeopathic Arsenicum 6c. Note there is not injection or drug to stop you getting food poisoning.
Ease into the local food gradually. Plenty of western food places.
You might like to use your own utensils as well

Azza has given you the best answer here. But... The street stalls have some of the freshest and most tasty food in Vietnam. I eat in them all the time and rarely if ever do I get sick. The trick is to pick a stall that is really busy. This means that their food turns over very fast. So it is fresh and clean and that's what makes the food so good. Many of the larger expensive restaurants store food for days and days because they sell less at the higher prices. Like Azza I have peeked into a hotel or high priced restaurants kitchen and been shocked at the absolute filth that I have seen. Another good thing about street stalls. You can see the kitchen and the food being prepared. Don't miss this great food because of paranoia. Its one of the best things about S.E. Asia. Have fun.

go somewhere else!!!!!!!!!

marie s
A coworker of mine who is from Vietnam was returning for a visit with her 5 yr old daughter who was born in the States. She was very concerned and took with her 2 brita water pitcher filters and some pepto bismol. I can't remember what else she did right now.

Gerald J
I've traveled to Vietnam on numerous occasions and live in Thailand, and only one time (in Thailand) have I contracted food poisoning. For sure only drink bottled water, many people will tell you not to eat street food, avoid ice (if you're in doubt whether it is from purified water), raw fruits and vegetables can be a source of bacteria. If you're too careful, it can take away from your travel experience, and you really never know what you can tolerate until you get sick. There are prescription medicines that can help to prevent as well as cure food born illnesses. I recently read a study that showed that utensils and dishes were a likely cause of bacterial infection. I would bring along medications and just try to use your good judgement when eating at a restaurant or places that sell food. Otherwise, have fun.

Avoid any raw foods such as salads & peeled fruit. Don't have ice in drinks or other foods & brush your teeth in bottled water too. Make sure the bottled water has an intact seal. Take a packet of Imodium with you just in case, as they are very effective. Any fats or oils in food often make a tummy bug worse, so avoid coconut juice if you're unwell. Chinese/Vietnamese tea is a better option.

Bon Voyage! :-)

Every time I went to Vietnam for a vacation I had to get a injection from my family doctor. The shot was for me not to get sick from the food or catching anything.

Sacha D
i was in vietnam last year - and tried to avoid eating from the streetside even it's a nice yummie looking - but i prefer eating proper foodsl at the proper restaurant - its more expensive but my stomach safe :) do not eat from the streetside.

I recommend that you should have some vacinations and take malaria medication. You should have no problem. i went to the clinic to get some vacinations againts stomach diseases and also typus before going and don't forget to bring some medecijn with you (immodium for diarea).

If you find that your stomach is sensitive to the spices you can order plain chicken breasts and baked potatoes or rice ....
you still enjoy the viatnemese foods without getting sick. not only food can make you sick but if you not get to used with the heat will be a problem for you too. Drink a lot of water....
And don't drink water from any source. Just use bottled water. coconut juice is nice ... but you have to get to use with it as well.

Enjoy vietnam, and vietnamese foods..Hmm...yummie

It's o.k to eat at the streetside because if you know how to buy them properly it wont hurt you :) And you dont need bottled waters. When you buy fruits from the street side make sure the seller has plastic on top of your foods. And PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE dont buy any food that looks yellowish

Boston Mark
Don't go?

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