Travel Guide for Vietnam

by YourTravelScout

Facts you should adhere to before visiting Vietnam

Facts about Vietnam

  • Vietnamese is the language that is used (by the majority of the population).
  • Dong (VND) is the currency’s official unit of measure.
  • 95 million people. The country boasts one of the most significant rural population densities in Southeast Asia, with around two-thirds of the population living in the countryside. At the same time, the literacy rate is about 95%.
  • Two million visitors in 2000; fifteen million in 2018.
  • Politics: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam, with its capital city of Hanoi, is one of the world’s last remaining one-party Communist regimes. It has shared land boundaries with China, Laos, and Cambodia and is more than 330,000 square kilometers, with more than 3400 kilometers of coastline.
  • Vietnam contains eight UNESCO World Heritage sites. The largest known cave in the world, Hang Son Doong, is located in the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

Travel Visa Requirement for Vietnam

Most foreigners require a visa to enter Vietnam; however, some Asian and Nordic nationals are granted 15–30 days without one starting in 2016. In 2016, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain passport holders were given this privilege. However, it is only valid for a short period, so check with your local consulate.

You must submit an application form, two passport-sized photos, and the required cost to apply for a tourist visa. The procedure to do so varies. Any of Vietnam’s land borders are open to foreigners, and the international airports in Da Nang are eligible entry points.

The application can be made at any Vietnamese embassy or consulate or through a professional agent. While it takes less time (a few days compared to a week) to obtain a “visa on arrival” online, visas are typically suitable for only thirty days. More extended periods can be obtained. Several trustworthy websites, including the Vietnam Visa Center, provide this service.

How to Reach Vietnam

Vietnam is becoming an increasingly popular tourist destination, as seen by the rise in recent months in the number of international flights to the country.

Most tourists arrive in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi via plane. At the same time, a sizable portion still chooses to travel less expensively through an indirect flight that passes through Bangkok, Singapore, or Hong Kong.

While it is possible to go directly from London, there are no direct flights from Ireland, North America, New Zealand, or even a small number of flights from Australia. If no direct flights are available from the location, you wish to go, taking an indirect route can be your only choice. View your options on Skyscanner.

You may travel from several places in Vietnam if you’re coming from one of its neighboring nations by taking advantage of the inexpensive flights provided by low-cost carriers.

Best Time to Travel Vietnam

Vietnam is long and thin, and different locations experience various weather conditions at any one moment, making it challenging to choose the ideal time to visit.

The nation experiences tropical monsoon weather. The driest months in the nation’s south are generally between December and April, whereas spring and autumn are often the driest in the north.

Regional variances exist within this general weather pattern, and different temperatures are also largely influenced by differences in height. Winters in the north are much colder than in the south, which typically has a tropical climate all year.

Food and Drinks

Of all the Southeast Asian cuisines, Thai food may be the most well-known internationally, but true culinary experts will always choose Vietnamese cuisine. Vietnamese cuisine is light, delicately flavorful, and astonishingly diversified. Instead of being stir-fried, Vietnamese foods are boiled or steamed, and a strong focus is placed on herbs and seasoning, which is not surprising given the country’s varied climates.

While other regions have developed their variety of specialties, most notably the dishes of Hué and Hoi An, the southern part has influences from India and Thailand that bring curries and spices to the menu. A vegetarian tradition was brought to Vietnam by Buddhism, whereas bread, dairy products, pastries, and the entire café culture were introduced to Vietnam much later by the French. Today, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other popular tourist destinations are well-served by everything from street vendors to hotels, Western-style restaurants, and even ice cream parlors. A few of these eateries also offer cooking classes.

The national beverage of Vietnam is green tea, which is regularly sipped following meals and is the perfect complement to any social or professional gathering. There is also rice wine, which is on the more robust end of the spectrum, while some local beers are also outstanding, and there is an expanding selection of imported wines and spirits.

Cost and Money

The dong is the money used in Vietnam, and you’ll often see it written as “d,” “VND,” or other similar abbreviations. A good suggestion is to have some dollars as a backup currency if you need to pay significant bills because the American dollar is also often accepted.

Daily costs, including entrance fees to historic places, for food and drink, are modest, and it’s virtually always possible to bargain. Although it’s not customary at restaurants, tipping is always appreciated and often ranges from 10% to 20%.

Budget hotels will cost you between $6 and $10 for a bed in a dorm room and $15 to $25 for a basic private room. Midrange hotels will cost you between $35 and $80, while luxury hotels will cost you anything they want. Typically free of charge are pagodas and temples.

Culture of Vietnam

Vietnamese society is both traditional and compassionate, so it’s essential to abide by some straightforward guidelines to avoid offending anyone: shorts and sleeveless shirts are appropriate for the beach but not at religious places, and nudity is not permitted on the beach. Modest clothing is essential for women.

It’s uncommon to display open anger, as it is in the majority of Asian nations. It is always welcomed and frequently utilized in discussions, bargaining, and other situations to pass around cigarettes (to men only).

Shopping in Vietnam

Vietnamese ethnic minorities produced textiles and basket ware, colonial money and stamps, limpet-like conical hats, and bogus US Army Zippo lighters, among other eye-catching handicrafts and souvenirs, making Vietnam a lucrative destination for souvenir hunters. The finest quality, selection, and prices can generally be found in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Hoi An; however, we’ve highlighted shopping spots throughout our Rough Guide to Vietnam. Prices in marketplaces and rural areas are nearly always negotiable, even though more stores now have fixed prices, especially those that cater to visitors.

Sports and Outdoor Activities in Vietnam

Even though Vietnam took a while to realize how much of an outdoor adventure destination it might be, a lot has changed recently. In addition to hiking in the northern mountains, visitors can now engage in sports like kitesurfing, sea kayaking, rock climbing, and canyoning. Even though some activities, like mountain biking, may be practiced nationwide, Da Lat has emerged as the country’s center for adventure sports and Mui Ne as its surf city.

  • Trekking

The northwest hills around Sa Pa and, to a marginal extent, Mai Chau is the most accessible and well-liked trekking destinations. Sa Pa is also the beginning point for climbs up Fan Si Pan, the highest peak in the nation, a problematic endeavor best left to seasoned hikers. Other choices include hiking in Vietnam’s several national parks, such as Yok Don, Cuc Phuong, Bach Ma, Cat Tien, and Cat Ba, or the central highlands around Kon Tum or Da Lat. Even elephant trekking is possible in Yok Don, albeit the cost is relatively high.

  • Biking

In Vietnam, mountain biking is growing in popularity. The traditional trip takes two to three weeks and goes from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The most forward-thinking tour operators are now offering outings down the Ho Chi Minh Highway, which travels ahead the western Truong Son hill chain and is so far free of significant traffic. Previously, this would have brought you along Highway 1, fighting with trucks and buses.

  • Watersports

Vietnam should be a paradise for watersports with its three thousand kilometers of coastline, but the alternatives are now somewhat limited for various reasons. One is only an issue of accessibility: the infrastructure is still being built. More significant are the undercurrents along much of the coast that could be hazardous, along with severe winds at specific times of the year. Many large beach resorts employ guards or fly flags during certain seasons designating safe swimming areas. Before jumping, carefully check.

Travel Safety

Visitors can go to Vietnam with some level of safety, and the people there are typically kind to visitors from other countries. If you use common sense when traveling, you shouldn’t have any issues with petty crime, which is on the rise on a small scale. Avoid wearing expensive jewelry, keep your passport and other essential documents hidden in a money belt, and keep an eye on your bags when using public transportation, especially if they’re on a luggage rack or the top of a bus.

Additionally, carrying cameras or pricey sunglasses around your neck puts you at risk of being snatched by robbers on mopeds when you are strolling or riding a bicycle.

Ho Chi Minh City, which has a horrible reputation for pickpockets, con artists, and bag snatchers, is where you are most likely to experience street crime. Be aware of children and older adults who appear to be acting innocently since they could be luring criminals, especially in places where many tourists congregate.

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