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Are the below items easily enough to purchase and not over priced ?

Hello I am English but live in Switzerland and moving to HCMC next month and looking for some advice on which food and drinks to bring with me please.

This is what I think I need to bring -
For my one year old baby milk powder, yogurt, biscuits, bath wash and cream.

For my husband and me wine, pasta, breakfast cereal, tea bags, deodrants, shower gels and creams, toothpaste and mouthwash, washing powder (?) sun creams - basically all toiletries we currently use.

Are the above items easily enough to purchase and not over priced in hcmc or am I wise to bring all of this? Any advice welcome! 😊

Hi. Very glad you and your family to Vietnam. If you have any question , you can contact with me, I can help you , although I am not really very good but I have to ablity

Thinking about packing enough wine for a week? Or a year! You generally won't be able to get your favorite home brands of things but there will be local replacements, or imported substitutes at big supermarkets like Giant.

Previous extensive threads on this topic

Relocation to Vietnam - list of things to bring or not!

Moving to Ho Chi Minh City - Share your Move!

Thanks so much!

Welcome to Heaven.   For most of us.

Can't advise on wines (non-drinker) but everything
else you have listed is readily available (everywhere)

(Mostly) much cheaper.

Enjoy!     :top:

I can't see anything on your list that is not available in even medium sized towns.  Funny about formula milk...far too available and overused.  Every tiny market has it, along with yogurt and milk ( albeit, ultra-pasteurized. 
Granola, oats, and much more available here.  If you want to bring something valuable, bring cheese.  It is here but hugely expensive (to go with the wine of every sort here). 
You are not going to the Arctic.  Better you have games, good books, some quality toys ( I bring in countless dolls, as most here are crap, except in expensive shops).  Decent socks are hard to find, as are good shoes away from major cities though they are custom made cheaply and one can get good sneakers in the major cities.  Saigon has pretty much the best of e erything available.  If you are really loaded, you can get a luxury car.
Good idea to be assured you have enough meds, good bandaids...just think it through but stop thinking you need to pack the kitchen sink.

Great thanks everyone for the advice I think ill just pack the essentials as seems I can get all I need in HCMC. Cheese and medicine I will stock up on then! 😊

Medicine especially.   Super expensive here
even for Aspirin

* Large range of meds & bandaids most stores.  (& Cheap!)

I don't think you should bring anything. You can find everything here at shopping malls . The prices are nearly the same and very cheap if you buy local high quality products.

Story: I walked into a small western medicine pharmacy (nhà thuốc tây) (as opposed to an eastern medicine pharmacy which has piles of dried vegetation) and asked for a bottle of ibuprofen pain reliever. The clerk opened a drawer and pulled out a small bottle and asked how many pills I needed. No, I couldn't buy a bottle, she just had the one. Very strange for an american who is used to drug stores having shelves lined with competing brands and bottles with 50, 100, 500 pills. I got 20 pills in a tiny baggy for cheap. It turns out traditional Vietnamese don't like to keep a supply of medication in the house, because just having it will cause you to become sick and really need it. The clerk must have thought I was in a lot of pain.

The relevance to this post is: bring meds you like and trust.

in Aus my micardis is $5;99 for 28 pills in Vn it's $4/ pill, thank goodness for subsidy

A leading cause if the strengthening of resistance to antibiotics is the very methodology of drug dispensing here in Vietnam and elsewhere.  There is no such thing as a regimen.  You will be given one or a few antibiotic pills and various3 or 4 count capsules of who knows what to address your cold. 
The bug is not killed but grows stronger.  Better to take the herbal approach.

Vietrick :

A leading cause if the strengthening of resistance to antibiotics is the very methodology of drug dispensing here in Vietnam and elsewhere.  There is no such thing as a regimen.  You will be given one or a few antibiotic pills and various3 or 4 count capsules of who knows what to address your cold. 
The bug is not killed but grows stronger.  Better to take the herbal approach.

You are absolutely correct about the possibility of antibiotic resistance the way drugs are handled in VN.  What I did whenever my wife brought home one of those mystery packs was go to Wikipedia and look most of them up from the names on the back of the bubble paks.  A lot of what is handed out for common colds are combinations including Ibuprofen.  As I am already maxed out for arthritis on Naproxen, another NSAID, the added dosage could have been dangerous.  Sometimes others were from Japan but considered having no efficacy by the US FDA, basically herbal medicines in a pill form so not a problem.    If I felt that I needed the antibiotics, I would simply go back for a 10-14 day dosage as that seems to be the course that most western doctors prescribe.

There are a few oddities in the supply chain.  The 81mg Aspirin that I bought was Kirkland which Americans will recognize as the Costco chain brand.  To most from the US, drugs in VN seem cheap as the US is the only western country that allows drug companies free reign on pricing.  To anyone from another country with a civilized medical system, the drugs may actually seem a little expensive.

The only really useful pharmaceutical that I could never find in VN was the original form of Sudafed (pseudoephedrine hydrochloride.)  My ENT physician knew what it was and even wrote a scrip in case I could find it but he did not know anywhere it could be found.  It is still available in the US in a modified over-the-counter regimen as it is the base ingredient for illegal crystal methadrine.  It is the best thing for nasal congestion which is perhaps the most common malady for teachers in contact with children.  I have had friends bring it in for me a packet at a time, but I would be hesitant to carry a large supply through customs because of the tie to illegal drugs.

I always try and bring sunscreen back with me as it's very expensive with a poor selection here. Also the bottles are very small.

Hi,
You can find it all but some might be expansive to get. (Especially wine and cheese, so indeed do carry some ! It's what I do after each Christmas vacation back to France haha)

For the milk powder, you probably are using some specific brand (Gallia from our side, for our 2Y old daughter) and we can find it near our place, but they are frequently running out of stock...

For the usual toiletries,  no issue, at reasonable price.

There are couple of supermarket with international products. My favorite one is Giant, in District 7 (A bit far away, but worth it). The price is okay and you can find some good products.
If you want more choices, you can go to specialized shops like Annam Gourmet and others, but it will be more expansive.

When you come over, feel free to PM me for a beer or too ;)

Hi,,,,
I find it interesting that ex pats often give different, even conflicting advice to arriving future expats.
I have arthritis so am an active user of both Rx and non Rx meds and can assure you that the prices here are much lower than Canada.  My house-mate started her baby on powdered milk from Switzerland (because the hospital started junior on it) and it was 50% higher than Vietnam.  Vietnamese don't eat cheese like Europeans so it is very expensive.  Hope you enjoy Vietnam, it's a beautiful country,and you will love the beaches.

mickie119 Hoi An

I find it interesting that the Vietnamese adopted some French items, obviously bread and the hand held bidet, but not others.  I suspect that simply put the colonial French did not make cheese in Vietnam because the local agricultural with intensive cropping of the best land instead of pasture did not encourage a milk supply.  The classic colonial model is to remove raw materials and import finished goods.  Milk is perishable so it does not fit the model.  Now there are large industrial style dairies made possible by collectivization of the peasantry, and probably the use of rice byproducts, so cheese making should be possible.  I once asked a teaching assistant why she thought today's youth were so much taller than her immediately preceding generation and she replied without hesitation that it was milk.  It hasn't been that long.  Perhaps a taste for cheese will follow.

Toothpaste is different--bring your own.  Deodorant is different, but ok quality.  Bring cheese--expensive here.  Dairy products are good, Vinamilk is top quality and Greek yogurt here is good.  Cannot speak for milk powder.  We (wife is Vietnamese) avoid ALL products, & I mean ALL, products from China.  Chinese anything is probably fake and dangerous.  Vietnam is a dumping ground for Chinese food, meds, and milk powder.  Avoid everything & anything Chinese.  Many American products of good quality are available at reasonable prices at Phuong HA, the 'foreigner store '.  There are top quality food stores in Ho Chi Minh City and I'm sure in Hanoi as well.  Enjoy, try the local food, but use common sense.  If you find large crowds buying street food, it probably is a good place to shop.  If it looks dirty, avoid it. :D

Capt Bill :

Toothpaste is different--bring your own.  Deodorant is different, but ok quality.

I don't know where you are shopping but the supermarkets are full of deodorant and toothpastes made by Proctor & Gamble.  They may be slightly altered for local tastes but I never notice and they certainly are not nước mắm flavored.  It's hardly worth the trouble to bring more than what fits in the normal toiletry travel case.

I always bring formula milk from Canada to Vietnam. Last time I came back to Vietnam was June and still in Vietnam I brought back 12 cases of Similac Grow and Go. My daughter drank them all in addition to the 20 or so I brought back previously.

So I had to request my mom mail me 8 more cases of formula milk from Canada. I think shipping cost was $80 or so very expensive.

Vietnam has a huge problem with fake milk. They will change/alter the labels or mask expiry dates. I just want to be on the safe side knowing my daughter is drinking the right milk and not one that is altered even it comes with a steep price.

The one thing I have not found, despite extensive searching, is de caff coffee. So if you want this, or have guests coming who only drink de caff, tell them to bring their own.

Emma,
Lots of good advice. I agree with most of it. Here is my input from my experience in Hanoi:
1. Expect to shop around for what you need (small stores, larger shops).
2. Make "Pack" decisions based on what you consider essential (cannot live without/need in case of an unexpected emergency) versus price.
3. Pack a Pharmacopia (ALL essential medications, first aid, homeopathics etc. ). FIRST AID:  (a) bandaids, disinfectant/wipes, antibiotic creams, small ice packs: to deal with small scrapes and cuts, (b) cough lozenges, decongestant meds to deal with smog-induced throat and respiratory issues, (c) painkillers for unexpected incidents. Homepathics will depend on your approach or beliefs. I brought a few essential oils. As one post said writing a script  ~ for say painkillers ~ from another country won't make a difference if the product is not available here.
4. Baby Milk powder. Consider that most is coming from China and after the Fonterra China scandal I would not trust that supply.  May be time to "wean".
5. I have not been able to locate fresh milk; only UHT but with reputable milk source (e.g., New Zealand widely available; certified organic US milk now making an appearance).
6. ANTIBIOTICS.
I differ on what has been posted as I work in public health research on the Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) problem in Vietnam. Common for people to self-diagnose and got to the pharmacy. Traditional western medical assessment (basics: is this respiratory infection viral or bacterial respiratory) not the norm: rather more common for people do online research & then go to a pharmacy and negotiate what antibiotic and how many.
7. Counterfeit and outdated medication
My recommendation is that you find a reputable medical clinic and have any recommended medications filled at their pharmacy. Risk mitigation stratgey.

Op, are you moving here without ever coming to check the place out first? bold move.

I have a big place and huge garden. Wish I had brought some quality tools. 

As you have heard ... You can find what you need.

Buying medicines, due to my wife's health we live within wheelchair pushing distance of a hospital.

Yes most "drug stores do not carry large inventories of drugs. But they will cheerfully order what ever quantity you want and have it ready for you in a day or two. The corner "drug store" is roughly half the price of the hospital and the expiration dates are about the same. If they don't know you, they may ask for money in advance.

Note, the drugs may be brand name, but are mostly manufactured in Asia to meet the brand name standards. The drugs here are noticeably less expensive than in America for the same brand name drug. Do buy the unopened boxes and do check the expiration date.

Note, most drug stores don't have english speaking people. But, they can read the prescriptions.

Also note, a drug store with a green cross is for herbal medicines. The drug store with the red cross is for Western Medicine.

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