Vietnam Overview

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries, attracting travelers to its lush mountains, bustling cities, and golden sand beaches. Despite rapid modernization in Vietnam’s urban centers of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, time-honored traditions remain intact amongst the locals. There are numerous ancient landmarks and colonial structures that have survived throughout the bumps and scrapes of history. Buddhist shrines can be found next to towering skyscrapers, where you can experience vibrant festivals and ceremonies dating back hundreds of years. Long, sandy beaches are home to luxurious resorts and fine-dining venues, making them ideal romantic getaways, while expansive rice terraces on the hills make for excellent hiking excursions. Whether you’re planning a historical tour of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, a relaxing beach break or simply want to escape the bustling city life, our Vietnam travel guide caters to just about any holiday preference.

Population: 95 million

Capital City: Hanoi

People: 54 ethnic minorities

Language: Vietnamese

Currency: Vietnam Dong (VND)

Time Zone: GMT +7 Hours

International Dialing Code: +84

Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Vietnam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S” which borders China to the north, and Laos and Cambodia to the west. Its natural borders include the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, and the South China Sea and Gulf of Tonkin off the eastern shores. The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650kms. Its width, stretching from east to west, is 600kms at the widest point in the north, 400kms in the south, and 50kms at the narrowest part, in the center, in Quang Binh Province. The coastline is 3,260kms long and the inland border is 4,510kms. Vietnam is also a transport junction from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

I. PASSPORT

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.PLEASE MAKE SURE NONE OF THE PAGES IN YOUR PASSPORT ARE TORN OFF OR MISSING AS YOU WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO ENTER THE COUNTRY

II. VISA

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. VAC 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 and check your condition for the Vietnam entry visa here with the link. https://www.vietnam-immigration.org.vn to see if you are exempted from a visa to Vietnam.

If you are not close to a Vietnamese Embassy to personally apply for your visa, please share with us and we will support you to get the arrival visa at the international airport in Vietnam ( look the visa service detail at Here).

III. PHONE & INTERNET SERVICES

The Vietnamese postal service is reliable and there are also courier services widely available. Do not put postcards into letterboxes. Please give them to your hotel to post or go to a post office.Telephone connections to the rest of the world are widely available, however, they aren’t cheap. A Vietnamese SIM card is a less expensive way of calling other countries. However, your phone will need to be unlocked in order for it to work. 200,000VND ($10) worth of phone credit can last for up to 25 minutes to the US.Internet access is available in all major hotels and WiFi can be found in most cafes in developed areas.

IV. TRANSPORTATION

At first, glance, crossing the road in Vietnam may seem impossible. Newcomers can spend a considerable amount of time trying to find a gap in the stream of motorcycles, only to be led across the road by a sympathetic local. After a bit of practice, most travelers realize it is much easier than it looks. There is a rhythm to Vietnamese traffic that, with a predictable stride and a bit of bravery, will flow around you like water as you cross to the other side unscathed.

V. TAXI

Taxis can be easily found in Vietnam’s major cities and are a popular means of transportation for visitors. The most reputable companies include Thanh Cong and Taxi Group in the north, and Vinasun, Mai Linh in the south.Motorbike taxis, or “xe oms” are not recommended for tourists. Pricing is unregulated and commutes are often dangerous. This mode of transport is not recommended by VAC Travel and there is no travel insurance policies with this option.

VI. WEATHER

Vietnam lies in the Southeast Asia inter-tropical monsoon zone. There are neither good nor bad seasons to visit. When one region is wet, it is sunny and warm somewhere else. The average temperature ranges from 20°C/68°F to 32°C/90°F. The hottest seasons are March and April in the south (Ho Chi Minh City), and June and July in the north (Hanoi). The rainy season is from May to October in the south. The Central Highlands enjoys a milder climate year-round. Vietnam is a long and narrow country in a tropical region, and the climate can be different between Northern, Central and Southern regions. Therefore, don’t expect the same weather while traveling in the country. You may have warm, beautiful weather in the South, but it can be cold in the Northern border regions, so please pack properly before traveling to Vietnam. 

VII. CLOTHING & MISCELLANEOUS

Know where you are traveling and the weather you should expect. Traveling to a tropical area you will expect to see mosquitoes, so bring some long sleeve shirts and long pants for evenings.Traveling to Asia it is frowned upon to wear shorts that are 6 in. above the knee, especially when visiting temples or places of worship. Wearing a dress is fine if you plan to dress light.

VIII. HOLIDAYS

There are many holidays in Vietnam, almost one for every occasion. Western holidays are celebrated in Vietnam but not as official national holidays.

TET: The Lunar New Year. The celebration of the Lunar New Year falls between January and February on the Western calendar and changeable date year after year.Officially three days long, but Vietnamese will spend for weeks. It is a time for the spirits of ancestors home and makes temple pilgrimages. TET holiday is also a time for Family reunion to eat, drink and cheering for the best luck of the upcoming year.We suggest you visit Vietnam before or after TET a week. Because the actual date of the TET celebration as most stores and shops are closed and food prices are much higher than usual and fewer choices services.

IX. FOOD

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh ingredients and healthy.The national dish is Pho, or noodle soup, spring rolls which is very popular of any menu at any restaurant even small store on the street.

X. HEALTH

Travelers are advised to be up-to-date on pneumonia, tetanus, typhoid, and polio immunizations. Bottled water is available throughout the country. Always keep hydrated as you are traveling in a warm humid region where you can lose fluids quickly from perspiration. There are still some issues regarding sanitation and tropical diseases, such as dengue fever in some periods of the year, but Vietnam is less susceptible to malaria due to the local government’s constant educational awareness of malaria prevention. Tap water is not potable anywhere but it’s safe for brushing teeth. Bottled water is abundant and can be purchased anywhere in the country (foreign and local brands). Avoid eating raw (uncooked) vegetables for the first 2 or 3 days until your body adjusts to local cuisine. The restaurants in the larger cities like Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), food preparation is to world standards.

XI. SHOPPING

Vietnam is a shopper’s paradise. Here are a few tips before making purchases: Wood products are better purchased in the south, ceramics in the north. Fine handicrafts, embroidered articles, rattan and bamboo products, lacquerware and marble carvings of high quality can also be found. Silk in Vietnam is of some of the highest quality in the world. Women and men can have clothing custom-tailored in a day or two. Jewelry can also be made to customer specifications. Precious stones should only be bought from the government jewelry company (SJC) as they have certification of origination, which you will need when you leave Vietnam and reenter your home country. Please let us know if you would like recommendations. If fine jewelry is too cheap to be true, then it’s too cheap to be true!Negotiation is part of the culture in Asia, mostly in the markets or small shops (start at 20-30% below).   It can be fun to negotiate on items without a price tag. In the end, it comes down to what the seller is willing to sell and what the buyer is willing to pay, so don’t stress over good deals or bad deals.  But do be aware that precious stones should be purchased from a government certified shop with the certification of authentication. 

XII. TRAVEL INSURANCE

Emergency Travel and health insurance are not included in our tour package. This is an important requirement when you travel with us for your safety and peace of mind in the unexpected event that you need urgent international standard care. You should buy travel insurance in your country as it will be more convenient for you to deal with any claims and adjustments upon your return home. We do not endorse any one travel insurance company but suggest you consider www.travelguard.com, as past clients of ours have had good experiences with them in times of need. Also, check with your insurance provider to see if they cover:
  1. emergency evacuation during your travels, and
  2. 2. emergency airlift to an international hospital or provide professional medical care to transport you home. The cost alone for airlifting a person home can cost up to the 100’s of thousands of USD. Travel more safely with fewer worries.

XIII. TIPPING

Tipping is always a sensitive matter for visitors to a country with different cultural expectations than the country you are from. You don’t want to over tip, but at the same time not under the tip. Some countries don’t accept tips. Our philosophy for tipping in Vietnam is, if someone had done a good job it’s always nice to acknowledge their service. Our friendly suggestions: Tipping 2 USD (50,000 VND) for hotel porters are welcomed. Tipping Guides (2 travelers): 15-20 USD/day; (4-6 travelers): 30-50 USD/day. Drivers (2 travelers): 10-15 USD/day; (4-6 travelers) 20 USD/day.. Tipping is not expected but appreciated. Tip only if they’ve done a good job, and tip as you feel at the end of their service. Tipping in restaurants is not expected either but if the waiter provided good service then you can leave a tip in the local currency of about 2 USD (50,000 VND).

Places to go

Our Vietnam trips

Trip name Days From USD
Ho Chi Minh Food Tour Experience Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Ho Chi Minh Food Tour Experience Full Day $50 View Trip
Best Vietnam World Heritage Tour In 14 Days Hanoi City, Vietnam to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam Best Vietnam World Heritage Tour In 14 Days 14 days Contact us View Trip
Halong Bay Escape Luxury Cruise 02 Days 01 Nights Hanoi City, Vietnam to Halong Bay, Vietnam Halong Bay Escape Luxury Cruise 02 Days 01 Nights 2 days $420 View Trip
Nha Trang - Hon Khoi Salt Field - Doc Let Beach Full Day Khanh Hoa, Vietnam to Doc Let Beach, Vietnam Nha Trang - Hon Khoi Salt Field - Doc Let Beach Full Day Full Day $95 View Trip
Vietnam Essential Holiday In 12 Days Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam to Hanoi, Vietnam Vietnam Essential Holiday In 12 Days 12 days Contact us View Trip

Shopping

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Blogs

Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia’s most beautiful countries, attracting travelers to its lush mountains, bustling cities, and golden sand beaches. Despite rapid modernization in Vietnam’s urban centers of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, time-honored traditions remain intact amongst the locals. There are numerous ancient landmarks and colonial structures that have survived throughout the bumps and scrapes of history. Buddhist shrines can be found next to towering skyscrapers, where you can experience vibrant festivals and ceremonies dating back hundreds of years. Long, sandy beaches are home to luxurious resorts and fine-dining venues, making them ideal romantic getaways, while expansive rice terraces on the hills make for excellent hiking excursions. Whether you’re planning a historical tour of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, a relaxing beach break or simply want to escape the bustling city life, our Vietnam travel guide caters to just about any holiday preference.

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