Travel guide and tips


What to bring
Airport taxes
What to wear

Currency exchange

Business hours
Public Holidays

Business hours

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 week.


Public holidays

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

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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.

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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 facility.
ALWAYS notice when entering someone’s house, at some houses it is a must to remove your shoes at the front door.
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 offer money.

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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.

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