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
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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.
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.
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
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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.
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.
your excess cash, airline tickets, passports and valuables with the
hotels safety deposit facility.
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
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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