But don’t worry, relations were normalized between the US and Vietnam in the mid-1990’s thanks to efforts by then-President Bill Clinton and Senator John McCain, who spent 5 years as a POW in Hoa Lo prison in Hanoi during the war. What an absurdity! So don’t wait until the last minute to withdraw cash or give yourself a small window of time. I am not trying to sell anything here. Richard. The thing is Vietnamese they WILL try to inflate prices. Traffic in Hanoi is not any better too. It was not a “piece of paper”, it was a sticker on the back of the card. You’ll rarely pay more than $2 USD to get around the city. All by plane. 1 Fill out visa options and contact information. From your blog to the comments, it seems like Hanoi is a better option for a short 2 day stay? WiFi networks are reliable and can be found pretty much everywhere. “100USD or 100EUR are worth more than 20 million Dong!”. Very nice and really good article! 1.2 2. Tour scams are common, pollution can be disappointing and the fact is an extremely poor country makes many look at you with dollar signs on their eyes.” I don’t really agree with this. Is November cheaper than June/July. I saw that you challenged your readers to name a country that had no petty thieves and I am pretty sure there are no pick pocketers or petty thieves in South Korea. We got our SIM card from Viettel right at Saigon‘s airport and it was an incredible deal: less than $20 for 20GB (!) The staff member took my card to a room inside the restaurant (my mistake for letting this happen) and about 1 min later returned without the sticker on. English is taught in schools in many countries in SE Asia so locals tend to be multilingual. It is a country filled with history and amazing places. My husband would like to hire a private car and driver who would take us right to the hotel.. Like you mentioned, for me the most annoying was bikes driving on pavements. Many travelers don’t know that it is possible to get a visa on arrival for Vietnam. Vietnam is the second highest country in SE Asia for traffic fatalities with 24.5 per 100,000. Really preciate it. You’ll find that even in remote areas of the country such as Sapa, Halong Bay, and Ninh Binh, the wifi signal is strong. 2. During multiple trips to Vietnam, we have used Mobifone, Viettel, and Vinaphone. I have a question about your boat tour of Ha Long Bay. At the same time quality has a price and a few extra bucks in Vietnam can make all the difference. I’m saying you pay for a AC private bus and a tiny little van with a temperature of 35C inside comes pick you up. Remember: prefer data over text/voice as you can communicate solely using data through Whatsapp, Skype or Apple’s Facetime. Don’t get fooled! Maybe pollution or all those tin lanhs running around. It’s surprising that the number of people that are too lazy to sort out their visas before they get to Vietnam. I didn’t realize how massive and spread out Vietnam is until you search for directions on Google Maps. Don’t underestimate the size of the country. I’ve been to Portugal 2x and your itinerary sounds fantastic! Any less and you’ll be rushing and/or forcing you to take flights, taking away a bit of the experience. Ho Chi Minh (affectionately known as “Uncle Ho”) is still revered as the liberator of Vietnam from both the French and the Americans, but the tides seem to be rapidly and decidedly turning towards capitalism. While we have many basic travel tips we suggest you use when travelling to Vietnam, there are also plenty of Vietnam-specific tips that will make your visit the best it can be. Good news: there are many options available at very affordable prices. O gosh how I miss Vietnam. If the budget allows, go for one of the top cruise boats, which include transport from Hanoi, top-notch food and all sorts of activities (kayaking, tai-chi, etc). silver, chicken, etc). Ask away all the questions you might have including what I learned to be the most important one: “how many people are going in this tour?”. Upon arrival, triple check all of your documentation and make sure you bring the visa-on-arrival pre-approval papers, photos and cash with you. Vietnam is one of only 5 communist countries that still remain in the world today. Wait 2 working days (usually less) for the letter of approval. Use Google Translate and pick up a Vietnamese phrase book to help you get around. They have security cameras pretty much covering every inch of the city so not much crimes happen there. Here are top things to do in Vietnam you should never miss. While this is a GREAT tip, a bottle of water alone doesn’t avoid diarrhea, simply prevents you getting hydrated. Actually it was more of a rhetorical question to relativize the danger in Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh City is the place to be and be seen. The scenery level is outstanding, the locals are extremely friendly and the whole place still looks and feels an authentic gem. Fortunately there are many companies that do this for you online for a small fee. Thank you so much for all the details and info. 4 Make sure you pack the pre-approval letter, 2 photos, passport, the entry/exit form and cash. We are planning to travel May 2021 – Covid permitting. The best time to go depends on where you’re going and what type of experiences you want to have. It’s a city with other great things – cafés and restaurants are top-notch in my opinion and superior to Hanoi. I went further and decided to skip the entire Central part during my 3-week stay. I am flying into Hanoi in August and I’m trying not to book too far ahead but I was wondering if it would be better to book a tour I’ve researched online prior to arriving, or just wait until I get there. Check out our favorite books and travel guides! You may feel a bit uncomfortable wandering around town in a half-shirt but don’t be afraid to pack shorts or dresses for your Vietnamese vacation. I had a blast touring Vietnam. I love Vietnam and hope to be there soon. Explore this list of places to stay in the Old Quarter, with top reviews, and of course, free WiFi. Get passport photos taken if you don’t have them already. Surprisingly we had the most difficult time finding ATMs that would take foreign cards in downtown Hanoi. We love the Charles Schwab debit card that offers zero international fees and refunds all of your ATM fees. If you’re unsure what to wear, do as locals do. The AIP Foundation estimates that 15,000 fatalities and 500,000 injuries have been prevented in the 10 years since the law was enacted. Thanks for all the tips! Superb breakfast and host. After traveling all over Vietnam we decide to move to Saigon last year and all of our time here has allowed us to figure out some pretty good Vietnam travel tips. We toured the Vietnam going from Hanoi all the way to Phu Quoc and your article is so spot on. Note: If you are a US citizen there is now an option for a 6-month multi-entry visa and a 1-year multi-entry visa. So because a piece of paper was missing from the back of your credit card you assumed something shady? Note: No, didn’t see dog in the restaurant menu. Here are seven things you should consider before you head there. Vietnam is relatively a safe country to travel to. The country has certain quirks, such as a certain way of crossing the street, that are best to know before you go. Hi Summary of 25 Things to Know Before Traveling in Vietnam Above are 25 things to know before traveling in Vietnam. Quite possible my least favorite place in Vietnam. I notice that the cruises leaves from different places, and my consern is that we won’t be able to find the right spot if we book in advance. Pollution was very disappointing in some places in Vietnam, especially Phu Quoc. A little preparation before you go can take the headache out of simple things like crossing the street or avoiding dog or cat meat. It has provided me with an excellent guide. I’m going alone next month and for sure this tips will help me a lot! Thinking of travelling south from there by train and we know we want to see hoi an and possibly danang. . Basically everything that you buy in Vietnam will be a bargain. Just curious. I tend to avoid tours everywhere I go. The line is drawn when girls wear bikinis and guys walk around with no shirt. I went alone and met up with some girls i meet online. In between explorations, sit down and enjoy a hearty bowl of pho, the national dish. Vietnam is a very long, thin country. Same things have happened to other travelers in Vietnam. And if you’re visiting the North during winter time, don’t forget to bring some pieces of warmer clothing! From what you have said , if we fly into Hanoi ( and with the exception of maybe booking a cruise in Halong Bay to get the right dates ) can the rest be easily sorted one we have arrived? I wouldn’t advise getting a private car at all in Vietnam. With its stunning natural scenery, steaming pho stands, water buffaloes, cyclos and ancient monuments, there is plenty to see and do on a 2 week tour in Vietnam.. Hi there.. We are trying to decide how to get to Hoian from Hue the day after tomorrow. I’m saying buying a transport to a place X and being left in Y, 20km away. Can’t wait! And if you plan on shopping for souvenirs you’ll be expected to haggle a bit on prices. Glad you found useful Lee, have a safe and amazing trip! Best you can do is to be informed and prepared to get a good price. Vietnam is not by any means a conservative country in what it comes to clothing. A backpacking paradise and slowly becoming a tourist hotspot. The fascinating maze of streets of the Old Quarter is the ideal place to get lost and shop for local handicrafts in great food or just do a fair bit of people-watching. Some basic words of Vietnamese can go a long way. Perhaps I went in the worst possible time or additional factors that created a different atmosphere (e.g. The Best Time To Visit Vietnam. With this Vietnam travel blog I am giving you 20 essential things you need to know before your trip and that help you enjoying this beautiful country even more. The first thing to do before you go to Vietnam and is the most important one. Because Danang beaches are incredibly beautiful and clean. And the rules are more relaxed when visiting temples in Vietnam than some of its neighbors. We basically have three weeks but we hope to be back in south east asia next year for 3 months and most will be in Hua hin thailand but we are looking for places to return to in Vietnam. And if you use the Grab app instead of taxis, you’ll rarely pay more than a few dollars to get anywhere in the city. 10 Things To Know Before You Travel to Vietnam Visa on Arrival. There are a lot of official-looking websites that aren’t really official. I’d go for the 2 nights cruise for a more complete and relaxing experience, but that’s highly dependent on the time you have available. As a general rule, you should begin walking confidently once you see a break in traffic and have faith that the cars and motorbikes will weave around you. Guide to Halong Bay, Vietnam: How to Choose the Best Cruise, The Best Vietnam SIM Card for Tourists: Viettel vs. MobiFone vs. Vinaphone, Guide to Eating Snails, Shellfish, and Seafood in Vietnam, The 20 Best Things to do in Hoi An, Vietnam, The Best Breweries and Craft Beers in Saigon, Vietnam, 1. If you are planning a visit to Vietnam and have never been to SE Asia before, be prepared for a bit of culture shock. It’s astonishing the amount of people who land in Vietnam with no idea what they need to do for their VISA. From the city of Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the distance is over 1,000 miles and would take about 30 hours by car. . Plus any makeup you apply will slide off your face within 30 seconds of stepping outside. Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA) is recommended for those of you who will be arriving to Vietnam via air. Are you planning to visit Vietnam? I know its peak tourist season so I don’t want to miss out! Walk signals and the white lines that generally indicate “pedestrian crossing” zones don’t hold much weight here. The best method to cross a road in Vietnam is to always keep a slow pace all the way. Food is quite cheap as well. How can I get the most out of HCMC for 2 days?? Be sure to check with your bank prior to departing to ensure that they refund international ATM charges. 1. Look into the VIP sections of trains or buses or look into getting a private transfer. I’ll be visiting Vietnam on February for 18 days.. Land in Hanoi and leave from Ho Chi Minh. So getting around without a phrasebook or any basic conversational dialect is no problem. You need all 3. Even fancy meals rarely cost more than $10 USD per person. Thinking of spending 3 days in the Ninh Binh region, so which town would be best as a base please.? My main concern is that Pho is mainly made with the tap water there plus the ingredients are washed with local water. Quite honestly Ninh Binh was a last-minute addition to our itinerary. Below, I’m sharing all the things to know before you go to Vietnam. You’ll also need to call your bank to release your cards for international use. There are plenty of wide sidewalks in the cities of Vietnam so you might think you can escape the crazy traffic right? I just let them. I didn’t use any local guides, I much rather travel independently. Vietnam Travel Tips The Great Divides on Where to Go. As a Vietnamese, I find this blog about Vietnam is 99% accurate (truly excellent as a foreigner understanding my country) and practical. But even this shouldn’t be a major issue if you take basic common–sense precautions: Halong Bay is the #1 destination in Vietnam and it shows by the incredible number of cruise boats navigating the seas. Following all these points will surely help to keep all your belongings safe and secure. Concern levels drop! Hi – very helpful website! Apart from the potential of being ripped off by a few thousand dong by travel agents, the only type of crime you are likely to encounter is petty theft. If you’re living in Vietnam long-term you can rent an apartment or house for around $200-500/month. Most businesses are privately owned and there is a strong sense of capitalism in the country. Heck Vietnam is a giant tour factory! To help you further, I’ve narrowed down your search to the best cruise boats in Booking.com and dedicated a full article to picking the right Halong Bay cruise. 3 things: the food, the greens and the dipping sauce. Vietnam is an incredible country to visit, full of rich history, wonderful food and reasonable prices. I’m planning a trip next March with my drone for a magazine feature, not sure if to have a guide for a week or go it alone? And not just if/when you rent a motorbike, you’ll also need one if you take one of the many Grab bikes that dominate the roadways. As always, please let us know if you have any questions or anything to add to the list. If you have visited already, I want to hear your very own useful travel tips! However, with such an elongated country, it’s only natural the weather changes significantly. Guides & Tips 15 Tips Americans Should Know Before Traveling Abroad. You welcome, I imagine Vietnam is a special place for you! Cheers for the list, I’ll take it on board, and it helps it alievate my nerves, I’ve found less overthinking, and more improvisation does the mind good. I’ll start with the positives. We are going next month for 4 weeks and this is some great information. And not to mention the rooftop bars. GENERAL VIETNAM TRAVEL TIPS . I mean: insane. Food is the best example. Domestic beer is generally less than $1 USD per can. We then put it into our mobile WiFi router and done deal: we had data abroad for 2 people for an entire month for under $20! No need to upgrade your cell service from home to an international plan while visiting Vietnam! Other beach towns south? Same for the 10,000 and 100,000 Dong ones. I used a Uber, cheap and convenient! At the time of writing this article, 1 EUR = 26,200 dong and 1 USD = 22,700 dong. Perhaps this is a place for an all-inclusive resort type of vacation. These people may not have much, but they are still able to gladly share what they have with you. 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