Travel Tips

Weather

The Vietnam is in a region of tropical and subtropical climate with monsoon, it has much of sunshine, abundant of rainfall volume and high humidity. Some locations near the Tropic of Cancer and the Highlands have a temperate climate.

 

The average annual temperatures are around 22 to 27ºC and they vary from one area to another. For example when it is 23ºC in Hanoi, the thermometer can be 26ºC or 30ºC in Ho Chi Minh City and 25ºC in Hue.

In northern Vietnam, there are 4 seasons: Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring, but the South has only two distinct seasons: the dry and cold season (November to April) and hot rainy season (May to October ). Thus, the temperature difference reaches North to 12 ºC while in the Southern provinces, it is only about 3 ºC.

 

What to bring

Before you leave home, please complete the following checklist:

 

  • Light and quick dry clothing is most suitable for the summer and warmer clothing for the winter; sun hat; Bathing suit (respect local modesty).

     

  • Torch lights with extra bulbs and batteries, alarm clock, sunglasses, sun block, insect repellent, personal first aid kit, personal toiletries. Plastic bag to keep clothes and cameras dry in case of rain.

     

  • Raincoat, comfortable walking shoes.

     

  • Thin towels (they dry quicker in the humid climate)

     

  • Cable locks or padlock for luggage.

     

  • Travel Documents: Passport, visa, Travel Insurance, Air Tickets.

     

  • Health requirements and travel insurance arranged.

     

  • Money: Us dollars or travelers cheques and/or credit card.

     

Visa

Visitors are required to have a valid visa to enter Vietnam (except for some countries are waived for entry visa such as Singapore, Russia…). 
At present, one-month tourist visa can be obtained either at the Vietnamese Embassies abroad or upon arrival. The three-month business visa can only be obtained through Vietnamese Embassies abroad.

 

When you request a visa, be sure to stipulate whether you need a ‘Multiple Entry or ‘Single Entry” visa.

 

If you request, Vietspace Travel can arrange a visa approval letter which will be sent the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate where your visa is collected once the following information has been forwarded to us:

 

  • Full name

     

  • Date of birth

     

  • Nationality

     

  • Passport number

     

  • Gender

     

  • Occupation

     

The above information should be forwarded at least 10 days before  departure. One copy of visa approval letter will be sent to the Embassy or Consulate where your visa is to be collected and the second will be forwarded to the person collecting the visa. 

 

On entering Vietnam, all visitors must complete a departure / arrival card (white / yellow card) and a customs declaration (white / yellow colour). It is important that the copies of both these forms are kept safe to be presented to the Customs and Immigration Officials on departure.

 

 

Registration

 

Upon check-in to an accommodation, you will be expected to hand over your passport, along with your valid visa number for the hotels’ procedure.

 

What to wear

The weather is the most important thing to consider when you intend to travel to Viet Nam. It can be freezing cold in the mountainous North, and at the same time hot and humid in the Central Coast. If you are travelling in the North or in the Central Highlands during the winter, you must bring jeans and a warm coat or sweater with you. It seems that it’s always raining somewhere in Vietnam, so the light rain gear is essential to be with you on the way.

 

In the hot months, you can dress coolly but politely. As the people in the region dress modestly, so if you are dealing with an official of any rank, make sure you are dressed appropriately.

 

Currency exchange

The official currency “Đồng, is non-convertible. The US dollar is widely accepted among major shops and restaurants. Travelers checks can be cashed at authorized foreign exchange outlets and banks, and it’s required the holder’s passport to complete the process. There is normally a 2 to 5 percent transaction fee for cashing travelers' checks. Visa and Master card are also accepted in the international hotels and some restaurants.

 

Some international banks are now operating in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city with 24-hour cash withdrawal facilities, including ANZ bank.

 

Health

By consulting with doctor, visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio before traveling. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track or trekking in the forest. While medical facilities are limited in all countries, so it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed.
Besides, if you are coming from an area where the yellow fever disease is present, the vaccinations are definitely required.

Food

Vietnamese cuisine is a style of cooking derived from the nation of Viet Nam with fish sauce, rice, fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables all commonly used. Vietnamese recipes utilize a very diverse range of herbs, including lemongrass, mint, Vietnamese mint, long coriander and Thai basil leaves. Traditional Vietnamese cooking is greatly admired for freshness of the ingredients and for the healthy eating style.

 

The most common meats used in Vietnamese cuisine are pork, chicken, fish, and various kinds of seafood. The Vietnamese also have a strong vegetarian tradition influenced by Buddhist values.

 

These features make Vietnamese cuisine become a pleasant surprise to many visitors and it is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed. One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always fresh being bought the same morning straight from the market. The typical Vietnamese dishes you can try include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast, cha gio, deep-fried spring rolls and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad made with lotus stems, shrimps, pork and peanuts. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.

 

Electricity

Mainly 220V but in some areas 110V is also used.

 

Tipping

Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in some cases. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guide and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped.

 

Water

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice in drink is generally fine in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid using it in on the street stalls or in country areas.

 

Business hours

Offices are usually open from Monday to Friday from 07:30 or 08:00 until 17:00 or 18:00 and often close for lunch between 11:30 and 13:00. Some offices also open Saturday morning. Shops open early and close any time between 18:00 and 22:00. Most shops are open 7 days a week.

 

Etiquette

Vietnamese people are very friendly, polite and generous. They are willing to do every effort to make foreign tourists feel comfortable. In the cities and country towns alike, do not be surprised when you are invited home to meet the family of someone you have just met, these are the experiences that will enrich your visit to Vietnam.

 

People in the region dress modestly because we are still conservative in our dress. Women visitors are not expected to wear skirts, but miniskirts and revealing shorts, may often be viewed as 'not polite' specially when you enter a culturally sensitive area such as a temple or pagoda. You’d better to dress modestly like the locals.

 

Unfortunately, there are still some problems with petty theft and pickpockets. This is more prevalent in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Nha Trang. You should not be paranoid about this but just be aware of your surroundings.

 

Below is a list of what you should do and what you should not do to avoid some of the social taboos during your trip in Viet Nam. Take these advices into consideration and you will be rewarded with a culturally and socially enriching experience.

 

 

Do's

Before getting out from your hotel, ensure that you have a hotel business card from the reception desk. This will make your return to the hotel much easier.

 

Always dress appropriately. Not only for the prevailing climatic conditions, but also not to cause offence to the local people. Vietnamese have conservative dress codes and it is only in larger cities that these codes are relaxed a little.

 

Always leave your excess cash, valuables, airline tickets, passports at the hotel safety box.

 

During the summer, you should drink a minimum of 2 liters bottled water per day. If you drink tea, coffee and alcohol, you should increase you water intake accordingly as these will dehydrate you.

 

Always be aware of taking off your shoes at the front door when entering someone’s home as this is a must at some homes.

 

Always ask his or her permission first when you want to take a photograph of someone. If they refuse your invitation, then you should respect to their wishes.

Don'ts

Never sleep or sit with the soles of your feet pointing towards the altar of ancestor in someone's house.

 

 

Never bring too much cash with you when going out. Just take enough for the day.

 

 

Never lose your temper in public or when bargaining for a purchase. This is considered a serious loss of face for both parties.

 

 

Never wear singlets, shorts, skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples and Pagodas. To do this is considered extremely rude and offensive.

 

 

Never try to take photographs with the military or the military installations. This can be viewed as a breach of national security.

 

Never make video recorder the ethnic minority villages.