| Travel tips
Passport: Each passenger
must be in possession of a valid passport which must be
valid for more than 6 months after the return date of
travel. Passport number, date and place of issue, and
birth date is now required by airlines and trains, and
may be required to confirm services. Names on your
airline tickets must match the first and last name
listed on your passport.
Visa: Entry visas are obtainable at Vietnamese
diplomatic missions and required for almost visitors
with valid passports irrespective of nationality. Travel
permits are only required for trips to off-limit areas
such as border provinces, military bases and remote
Important: Please take a note that visa on
arrival in Vietnam means visa stamped on arrival with
visa approval from Vietnam Immigration Office (must be
obtained in advance).
to see more information and services for Vietnam visa
Vietnam visa service |
What to wear: Appropriate
dress differs from North to South. Southern Vietnam is
tropical year round and people dress comfortably and
casually. Lightweight cotton and wool fabrics will be
comfortable at any time of year. While they may resist
wrinkles, synthetics and are blends miserably hot.
Generally, short pants are inappropriate anywhere but a
beach resort or a farm and you will look like a foolish
tourist on the streets of most cities. Jeans are almost
always fashionable except for business occasions.
Winter (November through April) can be cool in Hanoi,
and a coat may be necessary. Dress here is a bit more
formal and somber than the fashionable South. If
traveling on business, jackets and ties are usually
appropriate, regardless of the weather. Saigon’s
business community is very image oriented. It’s alright
to ask your business partners here what kind of attire
is appropriate and expected.
Remember that Vietnam is a tropical country. Most of the
year it is warm and humid. If you are not used to
tropical weather, be prepared to shower and change your
clothes two or three times a day. During rainy season in
Saigon the rain is often short (20-30 minutes) and some
times quite sudden. Practically every hotel in Vietnam
has laundry service, which is usually quite inexpensive.
Arriving in Vietnam, all visitors must fill in
Declaration Forms and show their luggage to Customs
Officials upon request. There are no limited amounts of
foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious
metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold but
visitors must declare these in detail on the customs
ENTRY: Tourists are authorized to bring in the following
items duty-free: Cigarettes: 400 pieces; Cigars: 50-100;
Tobacco: 500 gram; Liquor: 1.5l.
Personal effects of a reasonable quantity. Small gift
items valued at not more than US$ 500.
Note: There is no limit to the amounts of cash,
precious metals and gems people can bring in, but
amounts of over US$ 7,000 must be declared.
It is prohibited for any visitor to bring into Vietnam
* Weapons, explosives and inflammable objects.
* Opium and other narcotics.
* Cultural materials unsuitable to Vietnamese society.
EXIT: Goods of commercial nature and articles of high
value require export permits issued by the Customs
Office. Antiques, some precious stones and animals
listed in Vietnam's red-book may not be brought out of
Baggage: Airline baggage
allowance regulations are based on a weight and
measurement system. Combined overall dimensions for
checked baggage can not exceed 106 inches. Carry-on
luggage cannot exceed 45 inches. For flights within
continents baggage is limited to 44 lbs. (20 kilos). One
bag not to exceed 106 inches may be taken on escorted
programs. For additional bags, there will be an
additional charge of approximately $3 per bag per
Vietnam currency: The
currency of Vietnam is "Dong" (abbreviated "d" or VND).
Bank coins are 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2000d, 5000d. Bank notes are
1,000d; 2,000d; 5,000d; 10,000d; 20,000d; 50,000d,
100,000d, 200,000d and 500,000d.
images of current Vietnam Dong
Unlike most of
Vietnam's neighboring countries, the US Dollar is widely
accepted. At this the official rate of exchange is
approximately VND 16,500 to USD 01.
Official updated exchange rate in
Credit Cards and Travelers' Cheques are accepted at most
of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops but in major
cities only. Visitors are recommended to carry US Dollar
in small notes. Travelers can change their money for
Vietnamese Dong (VND) at banks, hotels and jewelry shops
throughout the country.
Food: Vietnamese food often
comes as a wonderful surprise! It has a very distinctive
style, although it is also clearly influenced by Chinese
and, to a lesser extent, French cuisine. Freshness is of
paramount importance so ingredients are bought fresh
from the local market on a daily basis.
Meals will usually include rice or noodles as staples
along with a vast array of vegetables, and meats like
chicken, duck, beef, and pork. Good quality seafood
(fish, calamari, prawns and crab) is widely available
and you’ll find that fish sauce is a condiment which
accompanies almost every meal. The most famous
Vietnamese dish is spring rolls either deep fried (known
as cha gio in the south and nem ran in the north) or
served fresh (bi cuon/bo bia) with a combination of raw
vegetables and grilled prawns, crab, pork or chicken.
Pho (noodle soup) served with either chicken or beef,
fresh green leaves, beans sprouts, and red chilly is
also found throughout the country. If you are after a
snack try a banh cuon, a steamed dumpling stuffed with
minced pork or prawns, black mushrooms and bean sprouts.
The French colonial period has left a legacy of
delicious continental food. Often street cafés have a
distinctly French feel with crispy baguettes, pate,
crème caramel, banana flambé, and sweet pastries on the
Vegetarians: Vegetarians should not have any
difficulty in finding a great selection of food in
Vietnam as there is a strong Buddhist influence and
Chinese and Vietnamese vegetarian dishes abound.
Food Allergies: If you have food allergies or
preferences, please make them known to your Tour guide
who will do their best to ensure that your requirements
Drinking: Bottled water and mineral water are
obtainable at any shops in most cities. It is advisable
to drink boiled water and not to drink ice and tap
water. The most reliable local brand is LA VIE (Don’t
confuse them with the imitations such as La Ville or La
Vierge). Aquafina of Pepsi and real Evian also available
at many shops.
Tea, similar to Chinese green tea, is one of the most
common drinks in Vietnam. Coffee was introduced by the
French and is usually strong, thick and served complete
with drip filter, so you know it’s fresh! If you ask for
milk it will usually be sweet condensed milk.
Popular beer are: Local brand: 333, Hanoi beer, Saigon
beer and international brand Carlsberg, Heineken, Tiger
Film and developing: Fresh negative film is
widely available. Popular brands are Kodak, Fuji, Agfa
and Konica. Memory cards for digital camera could be
found easily, but be careful with its quality. Image
printing from both negative film or digital file are
obtainable in cities and towns. The tourists say that
the negative film is cheaper than abroad.
One-hour service photo shops have become ubiquitous in
places where tourists abound. Positive film can be
developed only in Saigon and Hanoi. Most reliable and
centered-located Film developing shops are 19 Nguyen Cau
– Ba Trieu St. and Photocen – 77 Ly Thuong Kiet in Hanoi
and Shops on Nguyen Hue Blvd., District 1 in Saigon.
Shopping: The following
items are quite unique and have good quality:
* Carved wooden furniture, fine lacquer ware (these can
be shipped home upon request).
* Traditional Vietnamese hand-made silk, linen and
cotton dresses, kimonos, embroideries, etc.
* Simulated antiques, ceramics, old watches or Zippo
* Copies of famous paintings.
Taxi: Taxis with meters are
available in big cities. The current price is about US$
0.5 per kilometer. Most metered taxi drivers can speak a
Business hours: (GMT + 7)
* Offices: 07:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 01:00 p.m. to
04:30 p.m., closed on Saturday and Sundays
* Banks: 08:00 a.m to 03:00 p.m, closed on Friday
afternoons, Saturday and Sunday.
Electrical current: 110-220 volts A.C.
Telephone: Long distance calls should be made at
post offices, hotels or telephone booths (phone cards
are available at post offices).
Internet: Internet cafes with ADSL can be found
easily in Vietnam. Cost for an hour is around 0,5US$.
Tip and Gratuities: Tipping is not obligatory in
Vietnam, however, if you meet with exceptional services
or kindness, a tip is always appreciated. A tip for good
service might be about 5% of the bill.
Bargaining: Bargaining is a way of life in much
of South East Asia. In Vietnam shops don't have fixed
prices so the shop keeper will start with a high price
which you are then expected to bargain down until you
reach a fair price. Bargaining should always be relaxed
and can be a lot of fun but you should remember that it
is considered disrespectful to agree a price but then
Laundry: Most of the hotels we use in Vietnam
provide a laundry service although this can be quite
expensive, sometimes as much as US$1 per item.
Alternatively the side streets of most towns and cities
are teeming with laundries where the average cost per
kilo of laundry is US$0.70.
experiences a fair degree of diversity in climate. The
north has distinct summer and winter seasons. Summer
lasts from May until October, when the weather is hot
and very humid with temperatures averaging about 30
degrees Celsius. November to April are the winter months
when the weather is mainly dry and average temperatures
are about 18-20 degrees Celsius. Please note that in the
mountainous regions of the country, temperatures will be
much lower than this, so warm clothing is required if
you are traveling to hill tribe areas during the winter
In the centre of the country (e.g. Hue, Da Nang and Hoi
An) the weather is very hot and dry from February to
August with temperatures of around 33-36 degrees
Celsius, but there can be heavy rainfall between
September and January.
The south of Vietnam has a hot, dry season from December
through until April with temperatures of around 28
degrees Celsius. May until November is the rainy season,
although there are rarely long periods of rain – it is
usually short heavy showers.
Useful phrases in
As Vietnamese is a tonal language (with six different
tones), the particular tone used determines the meaning
of a word. As the same word can mean many different
things depending on the tone it is a difficult language
to grasp but the locals will certainly appreciate your
The following words and phrases are spelled phonetically
to help you with pronunciation.
- Hello >> sin chow
- Goodbye >> chow, tam bi-ait
- Excuse me (sorry) >> sin looee
- Please >> lam on
- Thank you >> gum urn
- Yes >> vung (when spoken in the north)
>> roi (in the south)
- No >> kom
- Excuse me >> sin loy
- How much? >> bough new?
- Tea >> cha
- Coffee >> ca fe
- Water >> nook
- Beer >> bia
- I don't understand >> toy kom beet
Numbers in Vietnamese:
1 - mot
2 - hai
3 - ba
4 - bon
5 - numb
6 - sow
7 - buy
8 - tum
9 - chin
10 - moo-ee
11 - moo-ee mot
12 - moo-ee hai
20 - hai moo-ee
30 - ba moo-ee
100 - mot traam
1000 - mot ngan