Top Vietnam Hotels
Vietnam Quick Guide
- Banking Hours
- Local Telephone Codes
- International Airports
- International Airport Departure Tax
- Domestic Airports
- Domestic Airport Departure Tax
- Etiquette/Dress Code
- Diplomatic Missions
- Useful Sources of Information
- 5 Star Hotels in Vietnam
- 4 Star Hotels in Vietnam
- 3 Star Hotels in Vietnam
All foreign nationals visiting Vietnam require a visa and this should be obtained prior to arrival from a Vietnamese Embassy, Consulate or a travel agent. The visa takes around five working days to process and once issued, you must enter the country within 90 days. Tourist visas are available on a single or multiple entry basis and there is also a business visa for frequent travellers to Vietnam (although a letter of invitation from a recognised Vietnamese company will be required). Ensure that the correct entry and exit points are entered on the visa as these tend to be strictly enforced - especially when using overland border crossings. If the visa is issued as a loose piece of paper make photocopies and keep these separate from your passport. This will save you extra hassle and a lot of time and expense should you lose the visa while in Vietnam.
Entry into Vietnam can be extremely bureaucratic; lots of forms to fill in and pieces of paper to keep. Make copies and take great care of all customs forms issued on arrival, as these must be presented upon departure. If the paperwork cannot be produced, you may be fined and it all becomes very time consuming. Keep all Foreign Exchange Certificates and receipts for goods purchased in Vietnam. In order to bring items such as electronic goods, laptops and cameras into the country you must write down the details for customs - so note these before arrival to save time and paperwork. Be aware that customs officers may wish to view videotapes. Foreign currency in excess of US$3,000 must be declared on arrival and no more than VND5,000,000 can be imported/exported.
Visitors are allowed to take the following into Vietnam duty free:
- Alcohol - 1 litre of alcohol
- Tobacco- 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
Restrictions are placed on antiques being exported from the country and current information should be confirmed with a local Vietnamese Embassy.
Penalties for carrying or trafficking illegal drugs are severe, ranging from long prison sentences to the death penalty.
Vietnamese time: GMT + 7
- Dong (VND or d) - Check current exchange rates
- Notes issued -VND50,000, VND20,000, VND10,000, VND5,000, VND2,000, VND1,000, VND500, VND200, VND100
- No coins are issued
The government is trying to enforce a policy where all business transactions in Vietnam are carried out in VND. Certain establishments are officially licensed to trade in US$ (some hotels, travel agents and a small number of businesses) but despite the fact that it is officially illegal for other businesses, the reality is that the dollar is widely accepted. In actual fact, paying for items in VND generally gets you a better deal than the rate given for US$.
The official language is Vietnamese; however French, English, Russian and Chinese are spoken to varying degrees in different parts of the country. Some English tends to be spoken in most tourist areas and is actually now taught as the second language in Vietnamese schools - local people are often keen to practice their English.
Tipping is not expected but definitely appreciated. Some of the more expensive restaurants add 10-15%. About US$ 0.50 - US$1 is considered acceptable for a chambermaid or porter.
Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 11.30 am and 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm
The international dialling code for Vietnam is + 84
When making international telephone calls from Vietnam first dial 00 + country code + area code + telephone number
Local Telephone Codes
|Ha Long Bay||033|
|Ho Chi Minh||08|
Mostly 220 V AC, 50 cycles, however some places still use 110V. Be aware that the current can be uneven so appliances may not perform very reliably, even with adapters. In the south, sockets tend to be for American style flat 2 pin plugs, while the north mainly uses Russian style round 2 pin plugs.
Avoid using ice cubes and stick to (sealed) bottled water, as even in the cities the chlorinated tap water still needs boiling for up to 20 minutes to kill any bacteria.
There are reasonably good medical services in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh but away from these major cities, medical services can be poor and comprehensive health insurance covering evacuation is recommended. Think seriously about being inoculated against hepatitis A, polio and typhoid; consider Japanese encephalitis, pre-exposure rabies vaccination and anti-malarials. The major cities and coastal areas are considered low risk for malaria but elsewhere it is best to be vigilant. Be sure that you have decided your itinerary when discussing health requirements with your doctor prior to the trip. It is essential that you check the current situation with regard to all potential health hazards and any vaccination requirements.
- Hanoi - Noi Bai
- Ho Chi Minh - Tan Son Nhat
International Airport Departure Tax
US$10 (payable in US$ or VND)
All international airports mentioned above plus the following:
- Bao Loc
- Buon Me Thuot
- Can Tho
- Da Nang
- Dien Bien Phu
- Nha Trang
- Plei Ku
- Qui Nhon
- Rach Gia
Domestic Airport Departure Tax
From VND15,000 to VND20,000 depending on airport
In recent years young Vietnamese have enthusiastically embraced Western fashions and culture but away from the beach revealing clothes are still considered quite shocking and disrespectful. Modest dress is recommended in Vietnam - avoid short skirts, shorts and sleeveless clothing. Dress even more respectably when visiting temples and churches ensuring that shoulders and legs are covered.
A number of countries have representative offices and consulates in both Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.
Useful Sources of Information
Further information on Vietnamese culture and tourist attractions.
- Vietnam Now travel information
Being over 1,600km long, Vietnam experiences some distinct climatic variations.
- Northern Vietnam - has two distinct seasons - hot and wet summers and cool and dry winters.
- Central Vietnam - coastal areas are more temperate than the sticky south (although they do experience high rainfall), while the Central Highlands are pleasantly cooler.
- Southern Vietnam - is fairly consistently hot and humid all year round.
Carry a lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during summer.
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Summer (May - October)||24 - 33°C||238mm|
|Winter (November - April)||16 - 23°C||41mm|
Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hai Phong
North Vietnam has two main seasons - the hot and rainy summer and the cool and dry winter.
- Summer - is hot and humid, especially inland, which is not touched by cool coastal breezes. Tropical rain showers and the occasional typhoon are also possibilities - light clothes and an umbrella are recommended.
- Winter - It remains fairly dry up until late February/March, when it starts to drizzle almost constantly and waterproofs become a necessity. Warm clothes are a must during the cool months, especially when travelling in the hill areas.
Although temperatures can drop unexpectedly between December and February, it can be a good time to explore the sights as days are cool and rainfall is limited. It is also a safer time to visit the hill tribe region avoiding mosquito related problems - although temperatures can fall to freezing in these elevated areas.
Best time to visit: During winter when rainfall is minimal and temperatures are not too low.
Central Vietnam - Lowlands and Highlands
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Summer (May - October)||23 - 24°C||210mm|
|Winter (November - April)||17 - 23°C||95mm|
Dalat, Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang
The central belt of Vietnam comprises the lowlands and the highlands. The weather is fairly similar across both, although the highlands tend to be slightly cooler with higher rainfall as the majority of rain normally falls on the mountains before arriving at the low coastal areas.
- Summer - the weather is warm and reasonably dry from May to September. The monsoon winds then change bringing above average rain during late September. This time is not very pleasant as it can rain constantly - there is a high probability of flooding, visibility is poor and typhoons are also a possibility.
Best time to visit: During the winter between February and April, when rainfall is low and temperatures are warm.
Winter temperatures can fall slightly below the average and rainfall is higher than at lower elevations. However, most rain tends to fall during the summer months when it can be very wet - although these summer months do provide a respite from the often intense heat of other areas.
Light cotton clothes are required, although a few warm layers are necessary throughout the year as temperatures can drop away, especially at night. Waterproofs are also a good idea as rain can fall at anytime of the year.
Best time to visit: winter days are pleasantly warm and rainfall is lower from November to March - nights can be chilly.
Southern Vietnam & Mekong Delta
|Season||Average temperature||Average rainfall|
|Summer (May - November)||24 - 31°C||265mm|
|Winter (December - April)||22 - 33°C||25mm|
Ho Chi Minh, Bin Thuen, Mekong Delta
Sitting below the line of the equator, this area maintains a tropical climate throughout the year.
Light clothes are required all year round and an umbrella would be very useful.
- Summer - is hot, humid and rainy but heavy downpours are usually short lived.
- Winter - remains hot and humid, although humidity levels are more bearable between December and February. During April and May the southwest monsoon winds bring rain showers to the Mekong Delta and southern Vietnam.
Best time to visit: Temperatures are not as extreme from September to February as they can be during March and April when the heat is fierce.