General Information

GENERAL INFORMATION

Vietnam is bordered on China in the North, Laos and Cambodia in the West, and the Pacific Ocean in the East. Located in the centre of South-East Asia, Vietnamese territory stretches from Lung Cu village (Ha Tuyen province) in the North to Rach Tau hamlet (Minh Hai province) in the South.

Vietnam's mainland covers 331,689 square kilometers and its coast prolongs over 3,000 kilometers in length. This S-shaped peninsula, with thousands of offshore islands and archipelagoes; Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) are the biggest ones of Viet Nam.

As the crow flies, the distance from North to South is about 1600 km. The North, formerly Tonkin, is the greatest part of 600 km in width, whereas the Southern part - ancient Cochin China, is only 400 km. And the narrowest part – Quang Binh province, old Annam, is just a strip of land of 50 km. This part is bordered on one side by Laos and on other side by Oriental sea.

In the past centuries, under the dominance of different consecutive colonialism and imperialism,Vietnamese people have had plenty of fight for a long time to protect their territory and their culture. During the period of 1945- 1975, under the clear – sighted leadship of Ho Chi Minh, he was constantly fighting for independence and freedom and reunification.

Today, the bombardments of Yankee are stopped dropping, and replaced by the stream of travellers from over the world. They come and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Vietnam country that is called "Mountains and Sea". According to the legend, the first Vietnamese people were descended from the Dragon Lord Lac Long Quan and the Immortal Fairy Au Co. They have had 100 sons. One day, they have decided to part away. 50 of them have gone with their mother to the mountains and the others to the sea with their father. The eldest son has become the first earliest Vietnamese king. People have called him as Hung King (Hung Vuong Dynasty). The Hung kings named their country as Van Lang, it has been located on the Red River delta; today it’s the northern Vietnam. People of Van Lang have been known as the Lac Viet.

WEATHER

Vietnam is located in the tropical and temperate zone. It is characterized by a strong monsoon influence, a considerable amount of sunny days, and with a high rate of rainfall and humidity. Some places located near the tropics or in mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate. Average temperatures for the year range from 22o to 27oC. The climate in Vietnam is divided into two distinguished seasons: The cold season (from November to April) and the hot season (from May to October).

The most noticeable seasonal changes in temperature are found in the Northern provinces, where a difference of 12oC is possible. Whereas in the southern of Vietnam, the difference in temperature between the two seasons is estimated at 3oC which is almost unnoticeable. Four distinct seasons are most evident in the northern provinces: Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter.

PEOPLE

Ethnic Groups

At present, in Vietnam community there are 54 different elements of people. The Kinh (Viet) is the major one who is represented nearly 90% of Vietnam total population. There are also 3% of Chinese and major ethnic minority groups as the Tay, Thai, Muong, H'Mong, Dao and Khmer... and other mountain tribes. Vietnamese culture originated from the plains of the Red River and the Ma River where the Vietnamese are farming in the fields.

They live a simple farming life in the small village, usually around the public house of village. Today most rural people live in this lifestyle. Vietnamese people are influenced by the doctrine of Confucius (Confucianism), in particular they live on principle to respect the elders. Each nationalityhas its own language, script, tradition and custom. This feature makes Vietnamese culture colorful and plentiful. 

Languages

Vietnamese language used for all nationalities beside the tribal dialects (Khmer, Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian). However, Vietnamese people demonstrate to the world that they can speak foreign languages as well, such as: Russian, French, English, Chinese, Japanese, German…

Religion

Apart from popular religious belief, Vietnam still has some major religions such as Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, Cao Dai and Hoa Hao

Custom

·         In principle, we do not touch the heads of little girls (and children in general).

·         Clothing Question: No nudity on beaches. In town, please avoid be bared torso. Formal dress in temples and pagodas (where it has to remove generally their shoes before entering).

·         Do not come in a house or apartment without being invited.  There again, we take off our shoes mostly.

·         Do not enter first into the house at Lunar New Year Eve - after midnight. Doing this, you may cause the ruin of the unfortunate family for all the year!

·         Do not take offense if the Vietnamese do not open the gift that you gave him. As to his point of view, it would be impolite to open a gift straight after receiving it.

·         Begging is not only a real problem in the south, but also a little bit in the north. Please always have change ready if you want to donate money. Do it discretely, at the risk of keeping all the others on the back (including many professionals!).

·         In fact, white is the color of mourning.

CURRENCY

The Dong (VND) is the official currency. Bank- note are currently in denomination of Vietnamese monetary system: 200 / 500 / 1,000 / 2,000 / 5,000 / 10,000 / 20,000 / 50,000 / 100,000 and 500,000 Dong. Notes under 500 Dong have little value and are rarely used.

The U.S. dollar is more or less a second currency in Vietnam. Other foreign currencies are rarely accepted. A large supply of US$1, US$5 and US$10 is almost essential for small expenses, for tipping taxi driver or porter at the hotel… U.S. dollars are very common that the exchanges normally take place.

You could take an unlimited amount of foreign currency as long as it is declared in the form which is provided by customs officers. Foreign currency can be exchanged for Dong at your hotel or at the Vietnam State Bank.

THINGS TO KNOW

·         Population: About 78 Million People

·         Capital: Hanoi

·         Flag: The flag of Vietnam is red with a large yellow five-pointed star in the center.

·         Offices in Vietnam are usually open from Monday to Friday from 7:30am or 8:00am until 5:00pm or 6:00pm and often close for lunch between 11:30am and 1:30pm. Most of private - owned offices open on Saturday morning.

·         Shops open early from 7:00am -10:00am and close any time between 6:00pm and 10:00pm. Most shops are open 7 days a week.

·         Market: Markets open at 7:00am and close at 5:00pm, except Night market from 7:00pm to late night.

·         Bank Hours: open from 8:00am to 4:00pm (Mon – Fri) and Saturday’s morning. Some banks are closed on Saturday.

Holidays

January 1

Solar New Year's Day

January/February

Tet (Tet Nguyen Dan). The most important Vietnamese annual festival. This marks the new lunar year and the advent of spring. This is a three-day holiday, usually at the end of January or the beginning of February (according to the solar calendar).

March/April

Hung King Festival is being celebrated on March 10th of Lunar Calendar. It is a tradition for the Vietnamese people to express their gratitude to the Hung Kings - the legendary founders of the nation.

April 30

Liberation Day (before it was Saigon, today it's Ho Chi Minh City). People celebrate the national reunification anniversary.

May 1

Labour Day

September 2

National Day of Vietnam

Time: Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +7 hours. Vietnam is 11 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 14 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time.

Tipping: In Vietnam, It is not customary to tip but it is greatly appreciated.

A 5-10% tip for a meal is a very small amount of money; but to the average, it could be easily equal to a day's wages.

Restaurants: All restaurants are allowed by Governments to add 10% service charge to the tourists’ bill.

Porters: Porters, if they are available, can be tipped with American coins.

Hotel maids: All hotels are allowed by Governments to add automatically 10% service fee to the tourists’ bill

Taxis:  Tips are not necessary. However, a small gratuity is expected by car drivers.

CUSTOMS REGULATIONS

Duty-Free Items

Visitors could import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of alcohol and an unlimited amount of film. Commercial goods and high value items are taken out of Vietnam must be shown the permits of Customs Service. The antiques are confiscated permanently. No local currency may be taken out of the country.

The Customs Service Headquarters:

21 Ton Duc Thang Street, District 1. Ho Chi Minh City

Tel:  (+84 28) 3829 1422

Fax:  (+84 28) 3829 0912

Email: hqhochiminh@customs.gov.vn

Website: haiquan.hochiminhcity.gov.vn

TRAVEL TO THE COUNTRY

Airports
Noi Bai International Airport - Hanoi

Tan Son Nhat International Airport - Ho Chi Minh City

Da Nang International Airport - Da Nang City

Trains
There is only one international railway which links Vietnam and China via Hanoi – Dong Dang. This is the route to the north east of the country toward Nanning in the Guangxi province in China (and onward to Beijing)

Other than that, there are no currently railway that links Vietnam and neighboring countries.

Bus and Omnibus trans-Vietnam

More modern than rail network, road network is in very good condition from North to South Vietnam. Express buses depart from bus stations, bus stops have all along Vietnam. Here, we buy tickets and seats before boarding.

For the omnibus, whereas the price of the trip has to discuss with the driver or co-driver, and stop is depending on the customer's request. This often used by pack-backer travellers who love adventure and exploration.

Ships and Ferries

There are no official passengers services. There are boats that sail from Cambodia to Chau Doc and in the reverse direction, in the Mekong River.

EMBASSIES & CONSULATES GENERAL:

EMBASSIES

 

Country

Address

Tel

Fax

 

+ 84 24

 

Algeria

13 Phan Chu Trinh - Hanoi

38 253865

38 260830

 

Arab Emirates

44/3 Van Bao Street, Ba Dinh - Hanoi

37 264545

37 262020

 

Argentina

8th fl., Daeha Building 360 Kim Ma - Hanoi

38 315263

38 315288

 

Australia

8 Dao Tan Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi

37 740100

37 740 111

 

Austria

8th fl., Prime Center 53 Quang Trung - Hanoi

39 433050 

39 433055

 

Bangladesh

Villa # D6B-05, Vuon Dao Compound
Subway #675, Lac Long Quan Road - Hanoi

37 716625 

37 716628

 

Belarus

66 To Ngoc Van, Tay Ho - Hanoi

37 192974

37 197125

 

Belgium

9th fl., Hanoi Tower 49 Hai Ba Trung - Hanoi

39 346179 

39 346183

 

Brazil

14, Thuy Khue Street, Apt. T-72 - Hanoi

38 432544

38 432542

 

Brunei

Villa No 8 and 9, Van Phuc Diplomatik Quarter
44/8 and 44/9 Van Bao Street - Hanoi

47 262001

47 262010

 

Bulgaria

5 Nui Truc, Van Phuc Quarter - Hanoi

38 452908

38 460856

 

Cambodia

71 Tran Hung Dao - Hanoi

38 253788 

38 265225

 

Canada

31 Hung Vuong - Hanoi

38 235500

38 235333

 

Chile

C8-D8 14 Thuy Khue, Hanoi

39 351147

38 430762

 

China

46 Hoang Dieu - Hanoi

38 453736

38 232826

 

Cuba

65A Ly Thuong Kiet - Hanoi

38 254775

38 252426

 

Czech Republic

13 Chu Van An - Hanoi

38 454131

38 233996

 

Denmark

19 Dien Bien Phu - Hanoi

38 231888

38 231999

 

Egypt

63 To Ngoc Van Street - Hanoi

38 296788

38 294997

 

England

4th fl., Central Building 31 Hai Ba Trung - Hanoi

3936 0500

38 265762

 

Finland

6th fl. 31 Hai Ba Trung - Hanoi

38 266788

38 266766

 

France

57 Tran Hung Dao - Hanoi

39 445700

38 264236

 

Germany

29 Tran Phu - Hanoi

38 453836

38 453838

 

Greece

27-29 Au Co Street, Tay Ho District - Hanoi

37 152254

37 152253

 

Hungary

12th fl., Daeha Buidling 360 Kim Ma - Hanoi

37 715714

37 715716

 

India

58-60 Tran Hung Dao - Hanoi

38 244990

38 244998

 

Indonesia

50 Ngo Quyen - Hanoi

38 253353

38 259274

 

Iran

54 Tran Phu - Hanoi

38 232068

38 232120

 

Iraq

66 Tran Hung Dao - Hanoi

38 254141

38 254055

 

Israel

68 Nguyen Thai Hoc - Hanoi

38 433140

38 435760

 

Italy

9 Le Phung Hieu - Hanoi

38 256256

38 267602

 

Japan

27 Lieu Giai - Hanoi

38 463000

38 463043

 

Korea
(Republic of)

7th fl., Charmvit Tower buidling
117 Tran Duy Hung, Cau Giay District - Hanoi

37 710404

38 316834

 

Laos

22 Tran Binh Trong - Hanoi

38 254576

38 228414

 

Libya

A3 Van Phuc  Quartier- Hanoi

38 453379

38 454977

 

Malaysia

43 - 45 Dien Bien Phu Street, Ba Dinh District - Hanoi

37 343849

37 343832

 

Mongolia

Villa 5 Van Phuc - Hanoi

38 453009

38 454954

 

Myanmar

298A Kim Ma Street - Hanoi

38 453369

38 452404

 

Netherlands

6th fl., 360 Kim Ma Street
Daeha Office Tower - Hanoi

38 315650

38 315655

 

New Zealand

Level 5. 63 Ly Thai To St., Hoan Kiem District - Hanoi

38 241481

38 241480

 

North Korea

25 Cao Ba Quat - Hanoi

38 453008

38 321221

 

Norway

8th fl., Hanoi Tower
49 Hai Ba Trung Street - Hanoi

39 748900

39 743301

 

Palestine

Room 201, E4B Trung Tu Diplomatic Compound
6 Dang Van Ngu Street, Dong Da District - Hanoi

38 524013

35 739149

 

Philippines

27B Tran Hung Dao - Hanoi

39 437873

39 435760

 

Poland

3 Chua Mot Cot - Hanoi

38 452027

38 236914

 

Romania

5 Le Hong Phong - Hanoi

38 452014

38 430922

 

Russia

191 La Thanh street - Hanoi

38 336596

38 36996

 

Singapore

41-43 Tran Phu Street, Ba Dinh - Hanoi

38 489168

38 489178

 

Slovakia

12 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan, Ba Dinh - Hanoi

37 347601

37 347603

 

South Africa

3rd fl., Central Building 31 Hai Ba Trung Street - Hanoi

39 362000

39 361991

 

Spain

4 Le Hong Phong, Ba Dinh - Hanoi

37 715207

37 715206

 

Sudan

No.61 Ly Thuong Kiet, Hoan Kiem Disttrict - Hanoi

37 185911

37 185910

 

Sweden

No 2 Nui Truc Street, Ba Dinh District - Hanoi

37 260400

38 232195

 

Switzerland

Hanoi Central Office Building
15th Floor, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street - Hanoi

39 346589 

39 346591

 

Thailand

63-65 Hoang Dieu - Hanoi

38 235092

38 235088

 

Turkey

Hanoi Central Office Building
14th Floor, 44B Ly Thuong Kiet Street - Hanoi

38 222460

38 222458

 

Ukraine

6 Le Hong Phong - Hanoi

37 344501

37 344501

 

 

 

CONSULATES GENERAL

Country

Address

Tel

Fax

+ 84 28

Australia

20th Fl., Vincom Center, 47 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1- HCMC

35 218100

35 218101

Belgium

No 105,  Duong Van An Street, KP 5. Ward An Phu, District 2 - HCMC

62 818001

62 818010

Cambodia

41 Phung Khac Khoan, District 1 - HCMC

38 292751

38 292744

Canada

10th Fl., The Metropolitan, 235 Dong Khoi, District 1 - HCMC

38 279899

38 279935

Chile

79/2/1 Phanke Binh, Dakao, District 1 - HCMC

39 102903

39 102904

China

175 Hai Ba Trung, District 1 - HCMC

38 292457

38 295009

Cuba

45 Phung Khac Khoan, District 1 - HCMC

38 297350

38 295393

Czech

18 BIS/28 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1 - HCMC

38 290585

38 226043

Denmark

No. 505, Centec Tower, 5th floor
72-74 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1 - HCMC

38 219373

38 219371

England

25 Le Duan, District 1 - HCMC

38 251380

38 221971

France

27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1 - HCMC

35 206800

38 291675

Germany

126 Nguyen Dinh Chieu, District 3 - HCMC

38 291967

38 231919

Hungary

22 Phung Khac Khoan, District 1 - HCMC

38 290130

38 292410

India

55, Nguyen Dinh Chieu Street, District 3 - HCMC

38 237050

38 237047

Indonesia

18 Phung Khac Khoan, District 1 - HCMC

38 223799

38 299493

Italy

The Manor 2 Bldg. Floor 13 (12A) Unit 07
91 Nguyen Huu Canh, Binh Thanh District - HCMC

62 586473

62 586473

Japan

216 Dien Bien Phu, District 3 - HCMC

39 333510

39 333520

Korea

(Republic of)

107 Nguyen Du, District 1 - HCMC

38 225757

38 225750

Kuwait

24 Phung Khac Khoan, Da kao District - HCMC

38 270555

38 270111

Laos

93 Pasteur, District 1 - HCMC

38 297667

38 299272

Malaysia

1208 Me Linh Point Tower
No. 2, Ngo Duc Ke Street. District 1 - HCMC

38 293132

38 299027

Mongolia

18K30 Pho Quang, Tan Binh District

39 970691

39 970537

Netherland

Saigon Tower, Suite 901. 29 Le Duan Blvd., District 1 - HCMC

38 235932

38 235934

New Zealand

Suite 804, Level 8, The Metropolitan Building
235 Dong Khoi Street. District 1, HCMC

38 226907

38 226905

Norway

Somerset Chancellor Court, 5th Floor
21-23 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, District 1 - HCMC

38 221696

38 272696

Panama

7A Le Thanh Ton - District 1 - HCMC

38 250334

38 236447

Philippines

40-5 Pham Viet Chanh St., Ward 19. Binh Thanh District - HCMC

35 180045

35 180047

Poland

2 Tran Cao Van. District 1 - HCMC

38 245244

38 290114

Portugal

3rd fl., 19 – 21 Dinh Tien Hoang str., Hoan Kiem District - Hanoi

39 352357

39 352356

Romania

33/5 Dang Van Ngu Street, Phu Nhuan District - HCMC

82 829226

89 910896

Russia

40 Ba Huyen Thanh Quan. District 3 - HCMC

39 303936 

39 303937

Singapore

8th fl., 65 Le Loi. District 1 - HCMC

38 225174

39 142938

Slovakia

64-68 Hai Ba Trung, District 1 - HCMC

38 250999

38 250999

South Africa

25 Phung Khac Khoan. District 1 - HCMC

38 238556

38 238557

Spain

25 Phung Khac Khoan. District 1 - HCMC

38 250173

38 250174

Sudan

194 Nho Trang Long, Binh Thanh - HCMC

35 165052

-

Sweden

8A/11D1 Thai Van Lung, 1st floor. District 1 - HCMC

38 236800

38 236817

Switzerland

42 Giang Van Minh Street, District 2 - HCMC

37 446996

37 446990

Thailand

77 Tran Quoc Thao - District 3 - HCMC

38 222637

38 291002

Ukraine

11D Phan Ke Binh Street, Dakao Ward, District 1 - HCMC

39 104054

39 104053

United States

4 Le Duan - District 1 - HCMC

35 204200

35 204244