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Facts

Population

91,500,000

Capital City

Hanoi

Another fact

Answer

Plug types

Voltage: 127V/ 220V, Frequency: 50Hz

Religion

Buddhist

Currency

Dong (VND) exchange rates

Timezone

UTC +7 hours

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  • What to expect

    Tourism in Vietnam has come a long way in the last 10 years. The industry is still evolving but these days you will find that services and facilities are similar to what you would find in Australia. Travelling in more remote areas could involve bumpy roads, noisy trains, and overnight stays in clean but basic accommodation.

    Over 2,000 km separates the capital, Hanoi, from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), so most holidays to Vietnam will involve some combination of plane, bus (or private car), and train travel. Domestic flights between major centres are readily available and an efficient way to travel long distances. Travelling by train on the Reunification Express is a unique and rewarding experience.

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Flight times

From Sydney, Melbourne, Perth

approximately 9 hours

From Adelaide, Brisbane

approximately 12 hours

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Events

Banks, public offices and some tourist sites will be closed on the holidays listed below. As major holidays such as Tet (Vietnamese New Year) are set according to the lunar calendar, dates change every year. Please check with our Asia specialists for details.

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  • 1 January

    . New Year's Day

  • January/February

    , is Tet Festival

  • March/April

    , the anniversary of Hung Kings (Vietnam's one-time imperial rulers).

  • 30 April

    , is Independence Day, commemorating the reunification of Vietnam (1976).

  • 1 May

    , is Labour Day.

  • 2 September

    , is National Day.

  • 31 December

    . is New Year's Eve. It is celebrated in Vietnam with festive meals and fireworks.

 

 

 

  • Health & Fitness

    As with travelling to other parts of Asia, you need to take precautions when visiting Vietnam. Some of the diseases known to exist in Vietnam include hepatitis A and B, typhoid, tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, rabies and HIV/AIDS. We strongly recommend you consult your doctor with regards to vaccinations and up-to-date health advice at a month before you depart.

    International standard medical care facilities are available in Hanoi, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Danang. In other areas, medical care facilities are more basic.

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  • Visa Information

    Citizens of Australia require a visa to visit Vietnam. You must organise your visa before departing your country of residence, unless you have gone through the official channels to obtain a visa on arrival service. You can arrange your visa up to six months before your scheduled arrival date into Vietnam. In addition, your passport should be valid for at least six months beyond the date of your departure from Vietnam.

    All Vietnam visas are SINGLE ENTRY unless you have specifically requested MULTIPLE ENTRY and this is stamped into your passport. If you are entering Vietnam twice or more you will need to ensure you have a MULTIPLE ENTRY visa before you leave home. The status of your tourist visa cannot be changed after you arrive in Vietnam.

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  • Safety and security

    Though it Vietnam is considered safe by world standards, you should apply common sense when travelling as you would anywhere. Petty crime in Vietnam’s major cities has risen along with rising numbers of tourists.

    We advise you to take a photocopy of your passport, airline tickets and credit card numbers, and keep these in a safe place separate from the originals. In large cities, such as Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) and Hanoi, it is advisable to keep valuables in your hotel safe, and wear as little jewellery as possible when you are out. Keeping your money and other valuables close to your body in a secure place is also a good idea.

    We recommend you take taxis rather than cyclos when travelling at night; taxis in Vietnam are numerous, metered and inexpensive. To assist in finding your way back to your hotel, make sure you obtain a hotel address card to show drivers. Read our safety guidelines for further information.

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Reading

 

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  • Ho Chi Minh by William J. Duiker (2000)

    will give you a solid overview of the life of Ho Chi Minh, who is affectionately called ‘Uncle Ho’ throughout Vietnam.

  • A Bright Shining Lie: John Paul Vann (2010)

    America in Vietnam by Neil Sheehan is a biography of Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann and his experience with the US Army during the war.

  • Shadows and Wind by Robert Templer

    examines the problems that arose in Vietnam as it sought to modernise after decades of conflict.

  • Once Upon A Distant War by William Prochnau (1995)

    tells the stories of some of the Vietnam War's prominent correspondents, such as Neil Sheehan and Peter Arnett.

  • In Retrospect - The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam by Robert McNamara (1996)

    a fantastic account from one of the war's key players. McNamara tells the inside story America’s experience in Vietnam.

  • Lonely Planet World Food Vietnam by Richard Sterling (2012)

    is the definitive guide to Vietnamese cuisine, complete with mouth-watering photographs.

Useful words & phrases

  • Hello

    Xin chao

    (sin chow)

  • Goodbye

    Tam biet

  • What's your name

    Ban ten gi

    (ban thane zee)

  • My name is...

    Toi la

    (thoy la...)

  • Thank you

    Xin cam on

    (xin gahm un)

  • You're welcome

    Khong go gi

    (khom go zee)

  • Hello

    Xin chao

    (sin chow)

  • Goodbye

    Tam biet

  • What's your name

    Ban ten gi

    (ban thane zee)

  • My name is...

    Toi la

    (thoy la...)

  • Thank you

    Xin cam on

    (xin gahm un)

  • You're welcome

    Khong go gi

    (khom go zee)

  • Hello

    Xin chao

    (sin chow)

  • Goodbye

    Tam biet

  • What's your name

    Ban ten gi

    (ban thane zee)

  • My name is...

    Toi la

    (thoy la...)

  • Thank you

    Xin cam on

    (xin gahm un)

  • You're welcome

    Khong go gi

    (khom go zee)

  • Getting around

    Arrival and departure transfers

    Arrival and departure transfers: Ensure your transfer driver is wearing a Travel Indochina t-shirt and carrying a Travel Indochina signboard with your name. This will help you to avoid scams, especially at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi.

    Road: For six travellers or more, air-conditioned Hyundai with 25-40 seats are used. If you are travelling in a smaller group, travel will be by air-conditioned minibus or modern sedan car. Metered taxis are cheap and plentiful in most towns and cities throughout Vietnam.

    Air: Modern Airbus 320 or Fokker 70 planes. Flight schedules frequently change in Vietnam, which may impact travel plans.

    Train: The Reunification Express travels the length of the country, and there are also overnight trains to and from Sapa. We travel in shared, four-berth soft bed sleeping compartments. Earplugs are advisable.

    Other: Cyclos, boats of varying sizes, bicycles and your feet.

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  • Internet

    Internet: Internet is inexpensive and widely available throughout Vietnam. You will also find free WiFi at many hotels, cafes and restaurants.

    Phone: There is extensive mobile phone coverage in Vietnam, though you will need to contact your service provider to enable roaming before you leave. Purchasing a local SIM card on arrival is another option. International phone calls can be very expensive in Vietnam, with rates from 4-6 AUD per minute. Reverse charge calls cannot be made.

    Mail: International post generally takes 7-10 days to reach its destination, with the cost similar to charges in Australia.

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  • Food & drink

    Vietnamese cuisine is real highlight of any journey in Vietnam, with fresh, fragrant flavours, wonderful use of seasonal, locally grown produce, and a French influence apparent. Rice and rice noodles are staples, along with baguettes. Fresh seafood is in abundance, and vegetarians are well catered for. Vietnam's famous soup, pho, is a must to try, and there are many more delicious dishes on offer from pork cooked in claypot to succulent lemongrass prawns and fresh spring rolls.

    In Hanoi, try the local fish dish cha ca, and in Hue, enjoy the country's famed imperial cuisine. There are also many places serving cuisines from around the world, particularly in the cities. Travellers should be aware that eating raw, cold food has a higher risk of stomach upset than cooked dishes. Tap water should be avoided, however bottled water is readily available and provided free in most hotel rooms.

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  • Tipping

    With its fresh flavours, fragrant herbs and spices, and wonderful use of seasonal produce, the cuisine in Vietnam is a highlight for many travellers. The French influence is apparent in the crispy baguettes and tempting pastries and lovers of seafood will be delighted by the range and abundance of fish and shellfish. As in other parts of Asia, rice and rice noodles are staples. Be sure to sample pho, the rice noodle soup with either beef or chicken, that is ubiquitous throughout Vietnam. Some other highlights include ca kho to (caramelised fish in claypot), ga xao xo ot (lemongrass chicken) and nem cuon (fresh spring rolls). Each region has its own highlights, such as cha ca (fried fish with dill) in Hanoi and banh bao or white rose (delicate dumplings filled with prawn and pork) in Hoi An.

    Be mindful that in Vietnam, like other parts of the developing world, eating cold, uncooked dishes such as salad is more likely to lead to stomach upsets than cooked dishes. It is unadvisable to drink water from the tap, even in hotels; however bottled water can be purchased cheaply and is also provided complimentary in most hotel rooms.

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  • Swimming

    On many of our holidays in Vietnam, you will have the opportunity to swim in the ocean, whether at the beach or from a boat. The water is usually warm and clear and swimming is safe. Occasionally jellyfish are present in the seas off the coast of Vietnam, especially during the summer months (June-August) in the north, and August-September in the south. You can still swim during this time but you may like to check with your tour leader or local guide as to the current conditions.

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  • Responsible travel

    Travel Indochina is committed to responsible travel in all our destinations, including Vietnam. When you travel to Vietnam with Travel Indochina, especially on a Small Group Tour, you may have the chance to support sustainable projects, or provide funding for worthwhile causes.

    Whenever you a homestay with a family in the Mekong Delta or in a hilltribe community in Mai Chau helps to create wealth in smaller, lesser-visited communities, at the same time giving our travellers an opportunity to gain an insight into the unique lifestyle of Vietnam’s rural areas. We also work with a number of local not-for-profit organisations throughout Vietnam.

    Read all about our responsible travel partners, projects and causes in Vietnam.

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