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Travel tips

Facts

Population

91,500,000

Capital City

Hanoi

Language

Vietnamese

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

    Vietnam is a nation of captivating diversity. From north to south you will find ‘authentic’ Asia - the fertile plains of the Mekong Delta, majestic mountains in the north, classical pagodas and temples, bustling cities and street markets, and the faded elegance of the French colonial era. You will also encounter a nation rich in culture, tradition and history, and people with a refreshing warmth and friendliness unequalled in Southeast Asia; a people who have put the war torn past behind them and are clearly focused on a brighter future.

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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

    Travellers to Vietnam should take precautions as they would elsewhere in Asia. In remote areas medical facilities can be particularly basic. Some of the diseases known to exist in Vietnam include malaria, hepatitis A & B, typhoid, tuberculosis, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, diphtheria, tetanus, polio, rabies and HIV/ AIDS. We recommend you take adequate preventative measures to minimise your risk of exposure to these health risks.

    We are a travel company and we are not qualified to provide detailed medical information appropriate to your individual needs; it is recommended you consult with your local doctor or a specialist travel medical centre for current health information on vaccinations and medicine for your trip at least one month prior to departure.

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  • Visa Information

    To enter Vietnam you will require a passport (with at least six months remaining validity) and a tourist visa. For most nationalities this visa must be obtained prior to arrival, unless you have gone through the official channels to obtain visa on arrival service (Insider Journeys can assist with this upon request). Some nationalities, including British passport holders, are able to enter Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa. This is applied from 01 July 2015 to 30 June 2017. To date no further information has been received on the extension of this policy. Until further notice a visa is required for all visits after 30 June 2017. There is no entry or exit paper work which now needs to be filled out for travel in Vietnam. It is your responsibility to ensure all visa and entry requirements are met prior to your arrival in 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

    On the road we generally use late model air-conditioned buses with either 26 or 30 seats for our Small Group Journeys - depending on the size of the group. Modern sedan cars and minibuses are used for transporting smaller numbers.Most tours include domestic flights. Vietnam Airlines operate relatively modern fleets, however schedules frequently change or flights can be cancelled and this can sometimes result in alterations to your tour program.

    Metered taxis can be used in the towns and cities, however it pays to be vigilant about scams and to use reputable taxi companies. if being greeted by a transfer driver, ensure they are wearing an Insider Journeys t-shirt and carrying an Insider Journeys signboard with your name to avoid scams, particularly at Hanoi's airport.

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  • Internet

    Internet: Internet services are widely available in main urban centers, and rates are usually minimal. Most of the larger cities and towns' restaurants, cafes, hotels and bars have complimentary Wi-Fi.

    Phone: Fixed line phone calls and faxes, most often found in hotels, can be the most expensive, usually from 4 USD to 6 USD per minute. It is possible to use your cell phone in Indochina, although you may need to organise roaming with your service provider prior to travel.

    Mail: It usually takes 7-10 days for international post to reach its destination, with rates similar to those in Western countries.

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  • Food & drink

    Vietnamese cuisine is diverse and tasty and one of the many highlights of a visit to the country. Most food presented is well cooked, however some optional dishes may be served cold. Travellers should note that raw, cold food presents a higher risk of stomach upsets than well cooked food. Lunch should cost around 6-12 USD and dinner approximately 10-25 USD, depending on the restaurant.

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  • Tipping

    If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides, drivers and your tour leader, a tip is appropriate and appreciated. While it may not be customary to you, tipping inspires great service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across Asia. You are free to tip as much or as little as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip.

    Should you be dissatisfied with the services provided by your Local guide, driver or Tour leader, please let us know.

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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

    Insider Journeys practices a thorough, realistic responsible travel policy. We believe that travel should entail an exchange of knowledge and perspectives, a sharing of wealth, and a genuine appreciation of Asia’s beautiful natural environments. This philosophy underpins the heart and soul of our style of travel. It drives all that we strive to deliver to our travellers, and shapes the contact we have with our supplier colleagues in Asia. We recognise that poorly planned itineraries or poorly informed tourists contribute less to cross-cultural understanding and less to the livelihoods of local people. We also recognise that we largely work in a developing part of the world.

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