Vietnam travel tips – Useful informations before you visit Vietnam

Vietnam is generally an easy country to travel. Here are some general Vietnam travel tips and advice on topics like: weather, what to bring, tipping, currency, etc.

What to bring when travel to Vietnam

Bring as little as possible. Keep in mind that you can and will buy things in Vietnam, so do not burden yourself. If you do forget to bring any ‘essential’ items, it’s quite likely that they can be bought in Vietnam, at least in the cities.

Currency, Exchange and ATM

The local currency is the Dong (abbreviated “d” or VND). Bank notes are 500d, 1000d, 2,000d, 5,000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d & 500,000d. Coin is no more used.

Money and traveler cheque particularly U.S. Dollars, can be exchanged at banks, hotels and authorized money- exchangers. It is advisable to carry U.S. Dollar bills in small denominations.

Credit cards are generally only accepted in most hotels, and in some up-market shops and restaurants in major cities. ATM facilities are readily available now in most cities.

Heath Requirements

No actual vaccinations are officially required. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B and Malaria.

Those visitors taking medicine for certain conditions such as diabetes or heart problems should make sure that they carry these medications in their hand luggage at all times in case the main luggage should be delayed.

It is recommended that all travelers take out comprehensive Personal Travel Insurance to cover personal belongings, in case of accident or illness etc.

Domestic Flights

If flights are required in your itinerary they are in coach class, unless specified otherwise. Flight timings quoted are local and are subject to change. Domestic flights require a check-in, 2-hour prior to the flight departure.
Carry-on luggage is limited to one piece plus a camera. In economy class air travel baggage allowance is 20kg per person.
We cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage to passenger’s belongings. Domestic flights are prone to last minute schedule changes and cancellation without ANY advance notice.

Internet

Vietnam joined the global computer age and internet-service providers are currently operating in most of the Cities. You can access the internet through hotels, Cyber Cafés & Internet/Computer Service Centers. ADSL technology and wifi are widely used in major cities. Most popular websites are found in Vietnam as www.google.comwww.yahoo.com, www.youtube.com, www.facebook.com

Language

Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam, beside many ethnic language as 54 different minorities. Learning foreign languages, particularly English, is currently popular among young people in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Danang and other cities. Tourist guides are available for English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian speakers.

Local Time and Working Hour

Local time is GMT + 7 hours.

  • Governmental agencies work Monday to Friday from 8.00am to 5.00pm (excluding one-hour lunch) and are closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Banks are open Monday to Friday from 7.30am or 8am to 11.30am and from 1pm to 4pm and are closed Saturday and Sunday.
  • Private shops are open from 8 or 8.30am to 9 or 10pm every day.

Overland Travel

The road system in Vietnam is reasonable in the main urban cities. The drives through the countryside can be a wonderful sightseeing experience. However, it must be noted that the roads are narrow and some may be poorly paved when outside the main cities, and as a consequence the drives can be rough and difficult at times. Day by day the road is better but in the remote areas the road is still poor condition sometimes.

The road system also depends on the weather conditions because of raining or flood…The journey timings described in your itinerary are based on the usual amount of time a particular journey will take. However, please appreciate that not all roads can be checked for their condition throughout the year.

Most cars used are manufactured locally by Toyota, Honda and Ford and are for the most part comfortable and ideally suited to local roads. Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle, under any conditions. There is ample opportunity to smoke during photographic, luncheon and sightseeing stops.

If you decide to leave the hotel and go out on your own, there are various means of transport that you may like to take such as taxis or “cyclos”. If taking a taxi or “cyclo”, insist on the meter being switched on before you begin your journey. Due to an effort to stop pollution, most “cyclos” are pedaled as opposed to motor. It is suggested that you carry the name of your destination or hotel written in local language in the event your driver does not understand English. The staff at your hotel can assist you in this regard.

Post and Telecommunications

A regular international post service is available. In addition Express Mail Service (EMS) is available to more than 60 countries worldwide with a delivery time of 2 to 10 days.

Vietnam has high international telephone charges. It is important to check the exact amount with the hotel before making a call, as hotel surcharges are often imposed. The better way if you want to make international phone is though internet as skype or you can make phone call from mobile when you can easy to get the sim-card for local phone network.

Service providers for mobile phone network are GSM of Vinaphone, MobilePhone and Viettel while CDMA are very rarely in Vietnam. Numbers begin with 091, 090, 098, 093, 094, 016….

Electricity

Electricity in Vietnam mostly runs at 220 V (50 Hz), but often you will find 110V (also at 50Hz) in very remote area. In the south and in the north, most outlets are the normal as international system, which usually carry 220V. Electrical sockets are two and three-prong.

Shopping

Foreign visitors to Vietnam have the opportunity to buy souvenirs made of rattan, gold, silver and stone. There is a diverse range of products, from woodenwares such as wooden buttons or beds to lacquer paintings, bowls and chopsticks, bamboo screens and stone tea sets. Woven tapestries, “tho cam” handbags and other handicrafts are produced by the traditional skills of the women of ethnic minorities in such rural regions in the north as Sapa, Mai Chau and Dien Bien.

Bargaining & Tipping

Bargaining is advised to do when visit Vietnam. You should ask the taxi driver or motortaxi (xe om) driver for the price of your travel distance made. The same when you go shopping in the local market or street. When you are surrounded by street sellers, it is better to say no and mind your way.

Tipping is widely practiced and expected
Porters: VND 10.000 – 20.000 per bag

Waiters in restaurants: 5-10% of total bill
Taxi drivers: 10% of total bill

Tour guides: VND 200.000 per person/per day
Drivers: VND 100.000 per person/per day

Note: Tipping is not must be, that is should be!
All of the above information is accurate at the time of publication.