International Flights: US$14 from Hanoi / US$12 from Ho Chi Minh
City Domestic Flights: US$2 (approx). Kids under two exempt.
Hotels and private hosts must register your presence with the police.
You will be expected to hand over your passport, along with your visa
number. A handy tip is to photocopy your passport details several
times and then hand this copy in instead of your original visa.
What to wear
The main thing to consider is the weather, as it can be freezing cold
in the mountainous North, and at the same time hot and humid on the
Central Coast. If you are traveling in the North or the Central
Highlands during the winter months definitely bring jeans and a warm
coat or sweater. It seems that it is always raining somewhere in
Vietnam, so lightweight rain gear is essential.
In the hot months, dress cool but conservative. Many Vietnamese cannot
understand why foreigners insist on wearing shorts, tank tops and
sleeveless T-shirts when they have the money to dress well. For the
Vietnamese, appearance is very important, so if you are dealing with
an official of any rank, make sure you are dressed appropriately.
The official currency, the dong, is non-convertible and at the time of
writing trades at 15,890 (Oct, 2005) dong to USD 1. The US dollar,
preferably crisp clean bills, is widely accepted among major shops and
restaurants. Travelers checks can be cashed at authorized foreign
exchange outlets and banks, and require presentation of passport.
There is normally a 2 to 5 percent transaction fee for cashing
travelers’ checks. Visa and Master card are accepted in some of the
bigger hotels and restaurants.
There are also a small number of international banks now operating in
both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city, with 24-hour cash withdrawal
facilities including A & Z bank.
No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming
from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be
inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and
polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to
take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. Medical
facilities are rather limited in all countries and it is essential to
take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case
evacuation is needed.
The cuisine of Vietnam comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors
and is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed.
One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always
fresh being bought the same morning straight from the market. Food is
usually prepared with a minimum of oil and served with the ubiquitous
fish sauce called nuoc mam. Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect
to try include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast,
cha gio, deep-fried spring rolls and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad
made with lotus stems, shrimps and peanuts. Due to the strong Buddhist
influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.
Mainly 220V but in some areas 110V is also used.
charges are steep in Vietnam and many hotels, especially up-market
ones, add extra fees.
Faxes can be sent
from hotels, business centers and post offices. Again, rates vary. To
rent a mobile phone call 821-8465 in Hanoi or 824-2382 in Ho Chi Minh
There is recently an
exist of the new telecom suppliers providing the saving code, just get
to any post offices or phone boxes to have number 171 or 178 dialed
first and the international code then the country code... costs 1.30
$US/min to any country.
Tipping for good
service is not expected but is always appreciated in these developing
nations. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides
and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should
also be tipped.
It is not advisable
to drink tap water in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar but bottled
mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice in drinks is
generally OK in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to
avoid it on street stalls or in country areas.