Land area : 330,991
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.
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.
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
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.
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Bus, train, taxi, cyclo,
taxi-motor "Xe Om" and car, motor & bike for rent are
available in the major cities.
Police: 113. Fire
Brigade: 114. First Aid: 115.
Heal care Centers
International Hospital, Phuong Mai road - Tel:
(24 hour emergency clinic).
International SOS: 24 hour alarm center and
medical emergency teams. Tel: +843 916611886
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.
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.
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 ).
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.
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.
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
30 April : Saigon Liberation Day
01 May : International Worker's Day.
19 May : Birthday of the president Ho Chi Minh.
02 September : National Day.
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
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.
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
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.
here to view
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
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
• 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
• 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
• 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