Offices are usually open from Monday to Friday from 07:30 or 08:00
until 17:00 or 18:00 and often close for lunch between 11:30 and
13:00. Some offices also open Saturday morning. Shops open early and
close any time between 18:00 and 22:00. Most shops are open 7 days a
January 1: New Year's Day
January/February: Tet or Vietnamese New Year. The actual dates vary
from year to year according to the lunar calendar. Officially 3 days
holiday but many businesses close down for a full week. This is the
busiest time of the year for traveling in Vietnam and hotels, flights
and trains are often full.
April 30: Liberation of Saigon Day
May 1: International Labor Day
May 19: Birthday of Ho Chi Minh
September 2: National Day
Vietnamese people are very friendly,
polite and generous in general and will make every effort to have
foreign guests feel comfortable. In the cities and country towns
alike, do not be surprised to be invited home to meet the family of
someone you have just met, these are the experiences that will enrich
your visit to Vietnam.
We are conservative in our dress.
Wearing shorts are tolerated, unless you enter a culturally sensitive
area such as a temple or pagoda. Keep in mind that, although tolerant,
people may be judgmental.
Unfortunately, there are still some
problems with petty theft and pickpockets. This is more prevalent in
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) and Nhatrang. You should not be paranoid
about this but just be aware of your surroundings. Below is a list of
Do’s and Don’ts to help you avoid some of the social taboos during
your visit. Take these into consideration and you will be rewarded
with a culturally and socially enriching experience.
ALWAYS drink plenty of bottled water. During the summer months you
should be drinking a minimum of 2 litters per day. If you drink tea,
coffee & alcohol you should increase you water intake accordingly as
these will help to dehydrate you.
Before venturing out from your hotel, ensure you have a hotel business
card from the reception desk. This will make your return to the hotel
in a taxi or cyclo a lot easier.
For longer excursions from your base hotel, it is always a good idea
to carry a roll of toilet paper in your daypack. You never know when
you will need it.
ALWAYS dress appropriately. Not only
for the prevailing climatic conditions, but also not to cause offence
to the local people. Vietnamese have conservative dress codes and it
is only in larger cities that these codes are relaxed a little. Do not
wear revealing clothing.
ALWAYS leave your excess cash, airline
tickets, passports and valuables with the hotels safety deposit
ALWAYS notice when entering someone’s
house, at some houses it is a must to remove your shoes at the front
ALWAYS ask his or her permission first
when taking a photograph of someone. If they indicate that they do not
want you to, then abide by their wishes. DO NOT push the issue or
NEVER wear singlets, shorts, dresses
or skirts, or tops with low-neck lines and bare shoulders to Temples
and Pagodas. To do this is considered extremely rude and offensive.
NEVER give your empty water bottles,
sweets and candies to the local people when trekking through ethnic
minority villages. You cannot guarantee that the empty bottles will be
disposed of in a correct manner and most of these people do not have
access to dental health. If you would like to give pens/paper, ask
your guide to introduce you to the local teacher and hand them to the
teacher for distribution.
NEVER sleep or sit with the soles of
your feet pointing towards the family altar in someone’s house.
NEVER venture out from your hotel with
more cash than you really need for that day. It is NOT something to be
paranoid about, simply do not make yourself a target for pickpockets
or drive-by bag snatchers in the big cities. Ho Chi Minh City seems to
be a little worse than anywhere else in Vietnam is. On the whole it is
one of the safest countries you could wish to travel in.
NEVER lose your temper in public or
when bargaining for a purchase. This is considered a serious loss of
face for both parties. Always maintain a cool and happy demeanor and
you will be reciprocated with the same.
NEVER try and take photographs of
military installations or anything to do with the military. This can
be seen as a breach of national security.
NEVER take video cameras into the
ethnic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by
many local people.