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Vietnam Travel guides

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most compelling countries, and Asia Discovery Travel’s original vacation destination. It offers a fascinating blend of tradition and modernity, with vibrant cities, fascinating villages and a wide variety of landscapes to discover.

Traverse the lush waterways of the fertile Mekong Delta, enjoy a beach break in scenic Nha Trang, or soak up the country’s heritage and culture in the central cities of Hue and Hoi An. See beautiful limestone karsts on a boat trip in stunning Halong Bay, or get to know Vietnam’s colorful hilltribe people in mountainous Sapa in the far north.

Explore Hanoi’s atmospheric Old Quarter with its French-colonial era buildings, fabulous local eateries and traditional merchants, and enjoy the international delights of pulsating Saigon. Fantastic food, friendly people, history, culture and an abundance of natural beauty make Vietnam an unforgettable vacation destination.

Official Name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Population: 93 million
Capital City: Hanoi, population 6.5 million
People: Viet (Kinh), 53 ethnic minorities
Language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnam Dong (VND)
Time Zone: GMT +7 Hours
International Dialing Code: +84

Geography

Vietnam covers an area of 330,363 sq. km and is about as big as Italy or New Mexico. The country has three main geographic regions – the tropical south dominated by the Mekong River estuary, the dry central region, and the more temperate north comprising the Red River delta and mountain highlands.

Climate

Vietnam’s climate is very diverse because the country covers a wide range of latitudes and altitudes.

The North: The cold season is between November and April when average temperatures are around 60°F/16°C and it is often wet and chilly. In the hot period, between May and October, the average temperature is about 86°F/30°C.

The Central: Central Vietnam offers a combination of climates: northern and southern. The southern part has less rainfall and the temperatures are similar to those in the south. The northern part has more rain and significant changes in temperature. The rainy season in the center lasts from September to December. Especially during the months of October and November, central Vietnam is hit by typhoons with strong winds and heavy downpours.

The South: The temperatures in the south are constant all year, ranging from 77-86°F/25-30°C. The dry season is from November to April and the wet period from May to October.

Pre Departure Check List

– Travel Insurance
– Valid Passport (at least six months remaining) and visa (or two passport pictures as well as 35 US$ for visa on arrival)
– Immunizations/Vaccinations
– Foreign currency (US$) or ATM card
– Flights tickets
– Photocopy of passport either scanned into email account or separate from the original

Travel Insurance (Compulsory)

ADT will try our best to ensure you have a safe and good trip. However, certain risks might be occurred and should be identified by participants. Thus, we require all guests to purchase full travel insurance prior to their trip. Travel insurance is best way to protect yourself and your property in the event of problems due to cancelled trips, delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss or damage. It also gives you peace of mind for your trip.

Visa/Passports

Passports should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Vietnam. We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan it and keep it in an accessible email account.

Visitors must have a visa before entering Vietnam, and a visa on arrival can only be obtained with a letter of approval. A visa on arrival is granted to many nationalities for stays 15 days or less. Asia Discovery Travel can arrange this for you. Otherwise, you must apply online or at the embassy for all 30-90 day single or multiple entry visas.

Some nationalities are eligible for visa exemption. Please click here to see if you are exempted for a visa to Vietnam.

Currency
The currency of Vietnam is the dong. All goods and services can and should be paid for in dong. Exceptions are made in hotels and when buying international air tickets. Shops and restaurants in the bigger cities will also accept US dollars, but you should be aware of the fact that usually a lower exchange rate will be used. It is therefore advisable to change a certain amount of Vietnamese dong to cover your day-to-day expenses.

Travelers Cheques

Travelers cheques must denominated in US dollars. You can change them to dong or to US dollars (with a 2 percent commission). Those issued by American Express, Bank of America, Citicorp, First National City Bank, Thomas Cook, and Visa are accepted. They are also accepted at major tourist hotels, but not in most shops. Vietnam is still very much a cash economy.

Credit Cards

Visa, Master card and – with exceptions – American Express are accepted in virtually every hotel in major cities throughout the country, as well as in upmarket restaurants, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Health

No vaccinations are officially required by the Vietnamese authorities, but immunization against hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus and polio is advised. Vaccination for typhoid fever is recommended for long stay and intensive traveling tourists. Rabies is widespread in Vietnam, so you are advised to avoid dogs and other animals that may bite as a precaution.

Malaria
Malaria is widespread in the Central Highlands and some parts of the Mekong Delta. The best protection against malaria is to avoid being bitten in the first place. Check with your physician about taking a course of anti-malarial. If it is considered necessary given your itinerary, you might need to begin before your trip and continue for a time after you return. But if you are not traveling to the Central Highlands nor going on overnight treks in the mountain region of Sapa, no anti-malarial drugs are needed.

Dengue fever, which is also transmitted by mosquitoes, is often mistaken for malaria. Its symptoms are severe pain in the joints, high fever, and extreme headache. Aside from avoiding being bitten altogether (this mosquito is active in daytime and is often a striped variety), there is no prevention available. Hospital treatment is urgently required.

Food & Water

As with most underdeveloped countries, stomach upsets and diarrhea are a common problem and can ruin a visit. Most problems stem from contaminated water. Unless it has been thoroughly boiled, do not drink tap water. You should also avoid ice in drinks, especially in the countryside. Imported bottled water is available in most cities, but beware of bottles that have been refilled with tap water. Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages are fine and in hotels you can use the hot water in your room to make Chinese tea. You should have no problems with thoroughly cooked food, but stay clear of anything that looks like it has been reheated from a previous meal. Take care with seafood and avoid undercooked meat. Only eat fruit that you have peeled yourself, and salads should be given a miss.

Security

When planning your trip abroad, take steps to protect yourself from crime or theft. Vietnam is a relatively safe destination, with a low record of petty crime experienced by travelers but crimes against travelers are a growing problem worldwide.
Mines & Munitions
Although most of the land mines have been cleared you should avoid walking through jungle or remote areas, especially in the north of the country.
Communication
Telephone
The country code is 84, the area code for Hanoi is 04, Saigon 08, Hue 054 and Danang 0511. International calls from international hotels cost between US $3 and US $5 per minute.
Mobile Telephone
More roaming contracts being signed with cellular phone providers in different countries.
Time Zone
Standard time in Vietnam is 6 hours ahead of Central European Time (CET), 7 hours ahead of GMT, 12 hours ahead of time in New York, 3 hours behind time in Sydney and in the same time zone as Bangkok.
Electricity
Electricity: 220V / 50V.
However, electricity supply can be unreliable in smaller towns.

Country Vietnam
Visa requirements Visa/Passports

Passports should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Vietnam. We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan it and keep it in an accessible email account.

Visitors must have a visa before entering Vietnam, and a visa on arrival can only be obtained with a letter of approval. A visa on arrival is granted to many nationalities for stays 15 days or less. Asia Discovery Travel can arrange this for you. Otherwise, you must apply online or at the embassy for all 30-90 day single or multiple entry visas.

Some nationalities are eligible for visa exemption. Please click here to see if you are exempted for a visa to Vietnam.