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Vietnam Travel Tips
   
 

Geography

Land area : 330,991 km2
Population : More than 78 million
On the world map, Vietnam lies at the center of South East Asia making an S-shaped stretch of land on the East side of the Indochina peninsula, facing the Eastern Sea ( South China Sea) on the Pacific Ocean. Vietnam's coastline is more than 3,260 kms in length or almost twice that of the country from North to South, a natural endowment that gives it a great tourism potential. Vietnam has common borders with many countries: to the North with China, East and Southeast with Laos and Cambodia. Other neighboring countries include Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Brunei.

The topography is very diverse with mountain ranges, rivers, forest, sea, highland, deltas, etc. Although it is a country that is located entirely in the tropical region, it has areas that enjoy conditions of temperate zone like Sa Pa or Da Lat, which has been dubbed Switzerland of South East Asia by passionate travelers.

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Climate

Vietnam is located in the tropical zone characterized by sunshine, high rainfall, humidity and monsoon. Most mountainous regions are temperate. The annual average temperature is from 22ºC to 27ºC with two distinguished seasons in general: the cold and dry one from November to April and the other hot and wet from May to October. Especially the North has four distinct seasons: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The best time to visit the country is from October to April.

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Currency

The Vietnamese currency is Dong (VND). Banknotes in circulation are 500 Dong, 1,000 Dong, 2,000 Dong, 5,000 Dong, 10,000 Dong, 20,000 Dong, 50,000 Dong and 100,000 Dong, 500,000 Dong recently issued by The State Bank of Vietnam. The rate of exchange is approximately 1 USD = 16,000 dong. Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the bank, exchange bureau or hotel reception desk. Travelers' cheque and most of Credit cards are accepted in the major cities.

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Visa

The entry visas are obtainable from the nearest Vietnamese Embassy, a travel agent or upon arrival. The validity of tourist visas is about one month and could be extended. Photo, passport and personal data required should be given. click here for get more information

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Local Transportation

Bus, train, taxi, cyclo, taxi-motor "Xe Om" and car, motor & bike for rent are available in the major cities.

Emergency Call

Police: 113. Fire Brigade: 114. First Aid: 115.

Heal care Centers

Vietnam International Hospital, Phuong Mai road - Tel: 5740740
(24 hour emergency clinic).

International SOS: 24 hour alarm center and medical emergency teams.  Tel: +843 916611886

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Airport

The following are airports for international flights`arrival in and departure from Vietnam. Airport tax is payable: 10 USD for international flights . 02 USD for domestic flights at main airports and 01 USD at others.

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Electricity

Electric current in Vietnam is 220 volts at 50 Hertz but outlets of 110 volts at 50 hertz are somewhere also available. Today, most outlets are flat pins. The rest are round pins.

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Post and Telecommunication

Vietnamese postal system offers you most telecommunications services. At present, telecommunications fee in Vietnam is said to be the most expensive in all over the world. But the situation is changing overtime. Otherwise, you could find herein some special services such as: EMS ( Express Mail Service ), DHL Worldwide Express, Freight Forwarders...

Email & Internet : Thank to the technology, E-mail and Internet services are available in most hotels and posts in Vietnam. An other place where you could find the same service is Cafe Internet in the street of major cities. Normally the post will charge you 100 VND per minute for internet service ( about 0.006 USD ) but it could be 150 VND ( 0.009 USD ) or more in the hotel or Cafe Internet. Evident, isn't it ?

Telephone Box & Telephone Card : Telephone box is the cheapest way for you to call home . You can find telephone box at post offices or in the street of major cities. Telephone cards are on sales at GPO, shops, restaurants, book stores...

Mobile phone :
In Vietnam, GMS ( Global Mobilephone System ) is presently operated by two main suppliers: VINAPHONE, VIETTEL,  SFONE, HTMOBILE and MOBIFONE so your mobile phone could be used here by roaming service. These suppliers offer alsoVIETEL, VINA and MOBI Pre-Paid Card service. The best way for you to use mobile phone in the country is to rent a mobile phone and buy a pre-paid card. It is easy to rent a mobile phone at your hotel or at a Mobile Phone Service Center in the street.  According to Officials, CDMA will be operated from January 2002 and replace GMS time over time.

Time : Like Thailand, Vietnamese timing zone is seven hours ahead of GMT/UTC. So close to the equator, Vietnam has no daylight saving time (summer time ).

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Film and Photography

It is so easy to find in Vietnam popular color print film brands including Kodak, Fuji, Konica, AFGA. Western-made slide film, batteries and spare parts for cameras are also available. You can develop your roll at any Photo Processing Shop by the latest Japanese one hour color printing equipment.

One thing to keep in mind: recheck your roll store before going to visit somewhere and buy more film immediately in the street if it is not enough film for you to take photo because you will be charged by sellers at tourist spots at an extremely expensive price when buying film these.

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Business Hours

Office hour is from 07h30 to 12h00 and 13h00 to 17h30 and working days from Monday to Friday. Some offices are open on Saturday until noon. Museums are usually closed on Monday but you can visit temples and pagodas every day. Opening hour for most shops is at about 08h00 till 18h00. In busy streets, shops are closed later at night.

Public Holidays

The following are Vietnamese official public holidays :

01 January : New Year's Day
Late January to mid-February: Vietnamese Lunar New Year ( 04 days off ).
03 February : Vietnamese Communist Party Foundation.
30 April : Saigon Liberation Day
01 May : International Worker's Day.
19 May : Birthday of the president Ho Chi Minh.
02 September : National Day.

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Food

Every day, Vietnamese people eat rice by bowl and chopsticks as western people eat bread by knife, fork and dish. There is a wide range of sauces, snacks, soups, noodles, desserts and tropical fruits. Traveling to Vietnam is a good time to taste these delicious dishes. Otherwise vegetarian food, dietary dishes and western menu are also available at restaurant.

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Drinks

At some hotels in Vietnam, water are potable but you can not drink it from public water system in the street. There are too many kind of drinks such as: coffee, tea, mineral water, fruit juices, soft drinks, alcohol, wine, champagne and liquor... The most suitable for you while traveling is the mineral water sealed in plastic bottles ( well-known marks like La vie - Vittel France... ). At leisure, you can drink coffee and Vietnamese green tea or coconut milk, coca-cola, Pepsi. If you like alcoholic drinks, you should taste local beer 333, tiger Beer, Heineken beer and Hanoi Beer or local alcohols made from rice. Otherwise if you are curious or adventurous to try a little bit of snake wine or the like. It said to be more powerful for men. Frozen drinks usually are better than drinks with ice.

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Accommodation

In the whole country, there are enough kind of accommodation for your choice from dormitories, camping, guest houses, mini-hotels to luxurious hotels. On the other hand, a system of houses, apartments and residences for rent are also available. If you want to be more independent and come back to the nature, camping in jungle is at your disposition or you want to discover the local life, you can share and pass the night at a house of local inhabitant in some remote areas

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Entertainment

Cinemas, opera house, theatres, discos, karaoke ( sing along ), pubs, video games, video parlours, sport clubs, fitness centers and other recreations are available for you in major cities.

MAP

click here to view Vietnam map

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Travel Tips

As you are planning your trip or vacation there are many things that you are going to need to plan for and take care of before your trip starts. You will definitely want to have purchased some type of travel health insurance so that you are covered on your trip in the event of a medical emergency. Travel medical insurance is what is going to protect you if you are taken ill from a virus or from something that you eat. If you have an accident and are injured your travel health insurance will pay to have you taken to safety and for your stay in the hospital.

Most travel medical insurance will offer you several different policies. If your own personal health insurance already offers you some type of coverage when you are on vacation to out of the country you can think about skipping travel health insurance or you may want to purchase some travel medical insurance to supplement your personal health insurance. The most important thing to consider when buying travel health insurance is the length of time that you will be away. If you are going to be gone for a long period of time or will be traveling often you will want to buy an extended coverage policy. Different travel medical insurance policies will cover different types of medial issues. Some of this coverage may include:

• Medical and hospital expenses.
• Dental emergencies
• 24 hour medical emergency care
• Emergency evacuation
• Accidental death
• Lost luggage
• Trip cancellation

When you are purchasing your travel health insurance make sure that your discuss exactly what you are looking for with your travel agent.

Traveling can be as easy or as complicated as you make it. Here are some travel tips and international travel tips to help make your vacation or trip that much easier:

• Local currency. This is one of the most common travel tips that you will hear. Before leaving on your vacation change some of your money into the local currency of the country that you are visiting. This will be one less thing for you to worry about when you arrive at your destination.

• Secure your valuables. Always make sure that your money and traveler’s checks are in safe in your purse or in your hand luggage rather than in your suitcase. Suitcases get lost and stolen and you don’t want to arrive at your destination without and funds.

• Hotel safe. If the hotel in which you are staying has a safe be sure to take advantage of it and leave your money and valuables in the safe.

• Luggage. Never leave your luggage unattended in an airport or outside of the airport while you are waiting for your taxi. Always keep a close eye on your bags.

• Confirmations. After you arrive at your destination take some time to make sure that all your return flight are on time. Making sure that the times you have on your ticket are correct will save you lots of time in the event that there has been a scheduling change that you are unaware of.

When you are traveling a big concern is always what and how much to bring. Here are some travel packing tips for you to take into consideration:

• Pack lightly. This is probably one of the most important travel packing tips that you will get. The less you pack the better since you can always pick up those extras or that forgotten sweater at your travel destination.

• Books on language. If you are traveling to a foreign speaking country you may want to think about taking a long a book that has some common phrases in the language of the country that you are visiting.

• Color combination. If you pack all of your clothes in two matching colors you will able to mix and match all of the clothes that you have packed, creating a variety of outfit choices.

• Raincoat. If you are packing a raincoat find one that will double as a windbreaker so that you aren’t taking too many pieces of outer clothing.

• Jeans. Leave the jeans at home if you can since they weigh more and are harder to carry around. As well they take a longer time to dry if you have to wash some of your clothes and hang them to dry in your hotel room

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