You are planning a trip to this beautiful and peaceful country but this is the first time you come to Vietnam and everything in this country is still very new that makes you keep wondering and researching for your wonderful vacation? Why don’t we just spend a few minutes looking at the following essential traveling tips in Vietnam for the best preparation and most enjoyable moments?
1. Best time to visit
Bad news is that there not a truly best time to visit Vietnam since the country’s climate and seasons are kind of different between its three main regions due to the peculiar long and thin dimension of Vietnam. However, this is also a good new because there is always a favorable time somewhere in the country.
For the best balance, travelers are recommended to visit Vietnam on April, May and October while the most comfortable seasons in the North fall between November and February when the weather is cool and dry. From July to beginning of November is the most annoying time of the year in both Northern and Central areas due to violent unpredictable typhoons.
2. Health Care
Although Vietnam possesses a developed healthcare system, most of the high quality hospitals and clinics concentrate on big cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, while in rural areas ones may encounter a variety of health risks and inadequate medical care. Below is a list of international hospital/clinics in Hanoi and HCMC where you would be treated by American, French and German doctors and bilingual staffs.
In Hanoi: (Tel code: 84-4)
- Hanoi French Hospital
1 Phuong Mai Str.
Tel: 577-1100, emergency: 574-1111
- Family Medical Practice
Unit 109-112, Van Phuc, Blog A1, Kim Ma Str.
Tel: 843-0748 (24hours)
- International SOS
31 Hai Ba Trung Str.
Tel: 934-0666, emergency: 934-0555
- Vietnam-Korea Friendship Hospital
12 Chu Van An Str.
In Ho Chi Minh City: (tel code: 84-8)
- International SOS
65, Nguyen Du Str.
Tel: 829-8520, emergency: 829-8424
- Saigon International Clinic
8 Alexandre de Rhodes Str., District 1
- Gia Dinh International Hospital
1 Trang Long Str., Bin Thanh District
- Franco Vietnamese Hospital
6 Nguyen Luong Bang Str., District 7
3. Necessary items
In Vietnam, all of the necessary commodities and clothes can be bought at ease and relatively cheap prices compared to Western country, so the first recommendation here is to bring as little as possible.
Certainly, your passport and visa are indispensible for any trip. Also, several copies of the two documents plus 4 photos (2×3 and 4×6 cm) might be useful under some circumstances.
Besides, other helpful items to bring with your trip to Vietnam can be listed as ear plugs to block the ever-present noise; a universal plug adaptor; a soft jacket or sweater for the highlands and mosquito repellent to drive away mosquito in tropical forest or coastal areas; and a folding umbrella to prevent unpredictable rain during damp seasons.
The currency of Vietnam is “Dong” (abbreviated “d” or “VND”) while US dollars are widely accepted at an exchange rate of around VND 20,000 per US$ 1, so don’t be freak out when the bar tag come along.
Common bank notes that foreign passengers should acknowledge are 10,000d; 20,000d; 50,000d; 100,000d; 200,000d; and 500,000d that all made of polymer.
Although credit cards are widely accepted in Vietnam, the most common mean to do any commercial transaction in this country is cash. At some international ATMs like HSBC, ANZ, VIB or Vietcombank can you withdraw money; and exchange USD into VND at a commission fee of around US$2.
5. Things you should do
- Store money and valuable items at safe place, while most of the high-star hotel have in-room safes; you are advised to register your valuables things with hotel reception when going out.
- Remember to take the hotel’s business card with you in case you can’t remember the hotel’s name and address that might help taxi driver to find its location much quicker.
- Dress appropriately since Vietnamese have a kind of conservative dress code. Fortunately it is much more flexible in big cities nowadays.
- Remove your shoe at the front door before entering whenever you are invited to come to a home.
- Ask for permission before taking a photo of someone, especially old people or at some stores in wet-market.
6. Things you should avoid
- Never bring more money than you need when coming out in order to avoid pick-pocket, especially at crowded sites. Also, try not to wear too much jewelry because it is offensive to flaunt wealth in public.
- Don’t be paranoid about your security; just be aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t wear revealing clothes to temples and pagodas because this is considered extremely rude and offensive.
- Don’t ever think of taking photographs at any military related site since it is considered breaching of national security.
- Don’t take video cameras at ethnic minority villages because it may make the locals feel intrusive.
7. Shopping/What to bring home?
Although there are a number of shopping malls in metropolises like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City where you may find any brand name products; it would be ridiculous to come to Vietnam and buy things available everywhere in your country, so choose something authentic Vietnamese to bring home should be much more reasonable.
Propaganda posters and water puppets are undoubtedly unique for Vietnam and they are also the hottest souvenirs on the shelves bought by foreigners in Hanoi. Silks and silk made goods are also a steal of the capital city while fake Vietnam War style Zippo lighters , dog tags and the like seem to be on every hawker’s stall in HCMC. The traditional conial hats (Nón Lá) and Áo Dài would allow you to bring home a Vietnamese look.
- New printable Vietnam e-visa to be available by January 2017
- Vietnam to issue 1 year visas for US passport holders in May 2016
- 40 percent off stamping fees for Vietnam visa since November 23, 2015
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