What to bring
Airport taxes
What to wear

Currency exchange

Business hours
Public Holidays


Hanoi and the north of Vietnam have a distinct winter and summer season with the mainly dry winter lasting from November through to April with average temperatures of 18-20ºC. Summer lasts from May to October and is hot and humid with temperatures around 30ºC. Hue and Danang in the center of the country have very hot, dry weather from February to August with temperatures reaching the mid 30s-Celsius, but can experience some quite heavy rainfall between September and January. Ho Chi Minh City and the south have a hot, dry season from December till April with average temperatures around 28ºC and a rainy season lasting from May through till November. It rarely rains for long periods even in the rainy season with most rain coming in short, heavy bursts.

What to bring
It is best to travel light in Vietnam. One medium sized bag and a day pack will provide more than enough room to carry everything you'll need to survive, and enough space for the things you'll buy in Vietnam.
There is extensive black market for smuggled consumer goods in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, so do not worry about running out of something.
Before you leave home complete the following checklist:
• Lightweight and quick dry clothing is most appropriate for the summer months and warmer clothing for the winter months; sun hat; swimming costume.
• Travel Documents: Passport, visa, Travel Insurance, Air Tickets.
• Health requirements and travel insurance arranged.
• Flashlight/Torch, alarm clock, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, personal first aid kit, personal toiletries.
• Money: Us dollars or travelers cheques and/or credit card.
• Raincoat or umbrella, good hiking shoes.
• Cable locks or padlock for luggage.

Obtaining a single entry, 30-day tourist visa is easy. For a business visa it is a little more complex. (more expensive!) but you'll have the advantage of a longer stay, either 3 or 6 months, and multiple entries. Both visas can usually be extended once in Vietnam. Just ring up Vietnam Embassy and request a visa application.
To obtain a business visa you must also include a visa authorization letter with your application. Your Vietnamese sponsor will submit a request to the Ministry of the Interior on your behalf. You must provide your sponsor with your full name, profession, expected date of arrival and passport information, including passport number, date of issue and expiration, date and place of birth. Upon approval, your sponsor will send a visa authorization letter to you.
You will receive your passport back with a visa stamped inside as well as one copy of your application and photo stapled to the page. When you enter the country the immigration officer will take this copy. Some travelers have been told they need to have additional pictures and copies of their visa application. You're directed to a person with a polaroid camera who snaps the needed photos for US$2. You then get back in the immigration line.
Visa extensions can usually be obtained once in Vietnam. You'll see numerous travel agencies and hotels offering this service in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Rates vary, as does the official policy regarding extensions!


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