Vietnam Travel Information
Vietnam is one of the few countries that showcase every element of past, present and future – this amalgamation of history makes this country unique, enthralling and sometimes overwhelming to explore. Discover the hidden charms of the country’s history; and let the natural beauty enchant you while the welcoming culture embraces you.
Vietnam will have you falling in love with this magical country from the moment you arrive. If you are planning an exciting vacation in this mystical land then look no further than our entry and exit information and let SC Travel Adventures make planning your trip effortless and enjoyable.
Entry and Exit
Tourists travelling to Vietnam are required to have a valid passport with an expiration date of at least one month after the visa expires. Citizens of countries which require a tourist visa will also need to show proof of sufficient funds, as well as a proof of return ticket. In order to obtain a tourist visa one must contact the nearest embassy to find out the latest fees (which are adjusted quite regularly).
Citizens from the following countries will need to obtain a tourist visa prior to their travels:
- Members of the European Union
- South Africa
Tourists travelling from Finland, Denmark and Sweden will not need a visa for a stay of up to 15 days. Tourist visas obtained from the consulate are valid for periods of between 30 and 90 days.
Every country has its own set of rules governed by custom officials. It is strongly advised that all tourists find out the regulations of the customs authorities for the country they are visiting. Failure to abide by these rules may result in delays, fines, confiscation, imprisonment and an unfortunate start or end to an enjoyable stay in Vietnam.
Tourists over the age of 18 may carry the following items when travelling to Vietnam:
- Tobacco products: 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco
- 1.5 litres of alcoholic liquor
- 2 litres of alcoholic liquor with a volume of less that 22%
- 3 litres of other alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages
- 5 kilograms of tea
- 3 kilograms of coffee
- A reasonable quantity of perfume and other personal belongings
- Goods not exceeding VND 5,000,000
- Amounts exceeding VND 15,000,000 must be declared upon arrival
Tourists travelling to Vietnam should consult a medical practitioner for advice and recommendations. A full medical exam should be obtained approximately 4-6 weeks before travelling, and tourists should be sure to obtain any medical prescriptions along with the appropriate quantities and documents. Travelers should always ensure that routine vaccinations are up to date and that all warnings and recommendations are followed.
Visitors travelling to Vietnam are recommended to obtain the following vaccinations:
- Hepatitis A
- Hepatitis B
- Malaria – in certain areas and at a certain time of the year
- Rabies – in certain areas
- Yellow Fever – if travelling from a high risk yellow fever area
Only use bottled or sterilised water, bottled water must have an unbroken seal. Avoid dairy products made from unpasteurised milk and opt for tinned or powdered milk when travelling in rural areas. Fruits and vegetables should be peeled, washed and cooked beforehand and only well-cooked meats and fish should be eaten. Be sure to take necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites as dengue fever and malaria are problems in some areas. Vaccinations against tuberculosis are sometimes recommended.
Travel Facts for Belize
Vietnam enjoys two very distinct summer and winter seasons. The winter season is mostly cool and dry and runs from November until April. During the winter months the temperatures range from 17°C - 22°C on average. Vietnam experiences a very hot and humid summer season, this runs from May until October and brings with it most of the country’s rainfall. During the summer months the temperatures reach extreme highs of up to 36°C.
Vietnam falls under the Indochina time zone of UTC/GMT +07:00. The country does not make use of daylight savings time.
The Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of the country. Large resorts, some shops and restaurants do accept major credit cards and travellers’ cheques, but it is strongly advised that small amounts of cash are kept on hand in order to experience the charm of smaller Vietnamese shops, cafés and street markets. ATMs are available in major cities but be sure to convert any foreign currency upon arrival.
Vietnam uses a 220-240 Voltage alternating at 50 Hertz. The standard plug types of the region are types A, C and G. It is important for all tourists to know that in order for an appliance with different electrical requirements or fittings to work in Vietnam a universal adaptor and transformer will be required.
Vietnam’s country dialling code is + 84 and should be preceded by an international prefix of 00. After the country code has been dialled, the area code and telephone number can follow. In order to phone abroad from Vietnam the same format is to be used with the receiving country’s official telephone code. Ask your hotel concierge for a directory of all country codes in order to make keeping in touch effortless.
The easiest way for tourists to stay connected in Vietnam is to purchase a SIM card upon arrival. Data and mobile bundles are available and inexpensive, making mobile phone usage a convenient and cost-effective way of staying in touch.
For tourists who don’t need to be available 24/7 and just need internet connectivity every now and then – the local internet cafés are ideal. These cafés charge an hourly fee that is very cheap although internet speeds are not the greatest. Some resorts, hotels and restaurants do offer wireless internet services as well.
Visitors should always find out the local emergency numbers of a region upon arrival, it is also important for tourists to find out the address and contact details of the nearest medical practitioners, hospitals, police stations and relative embassies. These numbers should be kept on hand at all times in case of an emergency. It is a good idea for tourists to keep banking contact details readily available in case of credit card loss or theft. The details of their next of kin should also be available.
- Police – 113
- Fire Station – 114
- Emergency / Ambulance / First Aid – 115
People and Landscape
There are over 89 million people living in Vietnam. With an overwhelming 86% of the population being made up of the Kinh ethnic group. The rest of the population is made up the Tay, Thai, Muong, Khmer, Mong and Nung communities.
Vietnamese is the official language of the region and is spoken as a native language by about 65 million people. Minority mountain languages are spoken in minority ethnic groups, especially in the rural areas of the country.
Vietnamese culture has been strongly influenced by Chinese culture and Confucianism, in particular. This is due for the most part to the 1000 years of Chinese rule. Ancestor worship is very important in the Vietnamese culture and symbols such as dragons, turtles, lotuses and bamboo are held in high regard by all. Martial arts, dance, water puppetry, theatre and music are all important aspects of the culture and offer a first-hand look into the colourful intricacies of Vietnamese culture.
Vietnam is a Buddhist country with a number of other large religions. Amongst the major religions of the region visitors will find Confucianism, Taoism, Caodaism and Christianity. The freedom to practice these religions has resulted in a number of religious influences making their way onto the streets of Vietnam. While Buddhism and Taoism have the largest number of followers, it is evident that Westernisation has resulted in more and more Christian followers.
Let the landscapes of Vietnam inspire you as you embrace the wonders of the country’s geographic diversity. The country boasts exquisite beaches, lush mountainsides and tropical lowlands. Vietnam is one of the biggest exporters of rice and is famous for its incredibly rich coffee plantations. Vietnam accounts for more rice exports than South Korea and Japan combined. Through many of the low lying areas rivers and streams intersect these regions offering tourists many floating towns to discover by land or ferry.
Vietnam is home to an abundance of plant species, over 310 species of mammals and 2,000 species of tropical marine life. In total there are over 11,217 animal species in the region including elephants, bears, tigers, leopards, crocodiles and turtles. This abundance of wildlife is one of the country’s main attractions and is the focus of a number of Save Vietnam’s Wildlife programs.
Some consider Vietnamese food to be simple, while others describe the tastes as simply exquisite. The balance of sweet and sour, herbs and heat make this country’s local cuisine something to write home about. The Yin and Yang are forever present in every meal, from fresh ingredients to fermented additions – every meal is guaranteed to be an adventure. Most meals are influenced by Chinese cuisine with stir-fries, noodles and soups all playing vital roles on most menus.
Enjoy the elements of lemon grass, mint, cilantro, ginger, beef bones, chilli and the infamous fish sauce and get ready to tantalise your taste buds in Vietnam.
Travel and Security Information
There are a few guidelines that every traveller should follow in order to have the best vacation possible.
- Tourists are required to have a valid passport. This passport must be valid until after the last day of your trip. Visas are also required for some nationalities.
- Medical and travel insurance are strongly recommended for all tourists.
- Tourists are advised to travel in groups and should never walk alone after dark.
- Obvious shows of affluence can sometimes welcome unwanted attention from criminals. Tourists are advised to keep valuable belongings safely stowed in their hotel safes if possible. It's never a good idea to keep large amounts of cash or expensive jewellery where they are clearly visible and it's important to remember to never leave valuable items in unattended vehicles or any other public spaces, including on public transportation and luggage holds.
- It's essential that tourists keep emergency details on hand at all times. These include the numbers and addresses of nearby hospitals, ambulances, consulates, and contact details of their next of kin.
Exclusion of Liability
Those who choose to travel do so entirely at their own risk. SC Travel Adventures endeavours to inform tourists of the risks involved with travelling but cannot be held liable for any events which occur outside of their direct control. Tourists are advised to avoid areas considered unsafe, remain vigilant and cautious at all times throughout their stay, and heed the advice of local authorities.