FAQ about VN
Vietnam is one of the safest countries for traveling. Women and independent travelers have found it relatively hassle-free and easy to travel throughout the country. Petty theft, such as pickpockets and drive-by bag snatchers, is more rampant in HCMC than elsewhere in the country. Visitors are advised to avoid wearing extravagant jewelry or carrying large amounts of money when walking in the streets. If you do choose to drive a motorbike or ride a bicycle, always wear a helmet.
The best time to travel in Vietnam is when there is a reduced chance of rain:
October – January (Hanoi)
February – April (Hue and Danang),
December – March (from Dalat to the Mekong Delta).
At any time of the year, climate may not so good in some regions but it’s still good in some others. So, You can always select a suitable trip in Vietnam. Just prepare air ticket from/to your country, apply Vietnam entry visa. In case you do not have time to apply visa in your country, we can help you obtain visa on arrival (getting visa at the arrival airport)
To enter Vietnam, you need a passport valid up to 6 months beyond your travel date and a Vietnam visa. If you are citizens from: Singapore, Thai Land, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Laos…. “01 month Vietnam entry visa is not required. Citizens from some other country like Japan, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden… can travel in Vietnam within 15 days without visa. Otherwise, you need apply Vietnam entry visa, in two ways:
Option 1: Getting Vietnam visa at Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
Option 2: Getting Vietnam visa at the airport when you arrive at Vietnam (in case there are no Vietnam Embassy in your area, or when you have no time to do visa).
Choose the option that suits you best, and then send us the following information:
Your passport details (full name, sex, date of birth, passport number, nationality)
Date of Entry
The city where you have visa stamped (if you take option 1)
Your arrival flight details (if you take option 2)
Your information will be submited to Vietnam Immigration Office. After 3 working days, we will get the “visa approval letter” and send it to you accordingly.
For Option 1: You will bring this “visa approval letter” to get the visa Vietnam at the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in your country
For Option 2: You will show this “visa approval letter” to Immigration police counter at your Vietnam’s arrival airport to get visa stamped. Our tour guide can help you with all the formalities at the airport.
No vaccination is required to enter Vietnam. However visitors are advised to have up-to-date inoculations for Cholera, Hepatitis A and B, Malaria, Typhoid and Tuberculosis. Malaria is prevalent in the remote mountainous regions. Please ask your doctor regarding immunizations and for the best preventative measures.
Entering Vietnam, passengers are expected to declare:
Cameras, camcorders and other electronic equipment not for personal use
Jewelry not for personal use.
Currency over USD 3,000
Video tapes (they may be kept for a few days and screened).
Upon completion of this process, the Customs Declaration forms will be stamped with one retained by the Custom Declaration and a yellow copy returned to the visitor to be submitted upon departure. Don’t lose it!
Firearms, narcotics and other internationally prohibited goods are banned and those found in possession of such will be liable to prosecution.
Duty-Free Items: Visitors may import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of liquor and an unlimited amount of film. Commercial goods and items of high value being taken out of Vietnam require export permits from the Customs Service. Antiques may be confiscated permanently. No local currency may be taken out of the country.
Vietnam has strict laws on bringing in anti-government literature, pornography, firearms and weapons. CDs and tapes are often retained for screening, but will be returned after a few days. It is illegal to remove antiques from Vietnam. When buying handicrafts, especially those that look old, ask the retailer for a receipt and a declaration that the item may be exported.
In Vietnam the local currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND), which has a variety of notes ranging from 200 all the way to the 500,000 note. However the main notes are the 10,000 – 20,000 – 50,000 – 100,000, 200,000 and the 500,000. Please take care with 20,000 and 500,000 notes since they are both blue and can cause some confusion (and not everyone is honest enough to give you the right change).We recommend that you keep your 500,000 notes separate from your 20,000 and other VND notes to avoid confusion and loss of money. The US Dollar is widely accepted at major shops and restaurants throughout Vietnam, though the exchange rate chosen may often vary from the official one, making it more costly than VND. It is, however, very easy to exchange at banks, hotels and other exchanges throughout the country. The British Pound, the Euro and various other major currencies are also easily exchanged for VND. When exchanging your home currency for VND, ensure that your notes are undamaged, banks and exchanges wont accept notes which are torn, very crumpled, or have writing on them. Similarly, also make sure the VND that you receive is not damaged. The exchange rates fluctuate a lot, however the approximate rates can be viewed at:http://www.xe.com/currency/vnd-vietnamese-dong. ATM machines are now readily available throughout most cities and resorts. However, its still highly recommended that you always have some local currency with you. Visa and Master card are now becoming more accepted in many of the larger hotels and restaurants, especially in the bigger cities, the surcharge is usually around 3%.
Eating in Vietnam ranges from noodle soup for 1 USD, eaten on the street to a banquet style in one of the luxury hotels. Vietnamese restaurants offer a broad selection of tempting international fare that includes French, Italian, American, Indian, Chinese and Japanese food.
Seasonal fruits (including tropical fruits such as dragon fruit, rambutans, and longans), fresh vegetables, and local seafood are readily available. All fruits and vegetables should be cooked or peeled.
Vietnamese eat mainly rice and noodles. Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try include “pho”, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast. “Com”, boiled rice is eaten for lunch and for dinner. Nuoc Mam, the fermented fish sauce is commonly used in almost all Vietnamese foods. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.
Running water is available in cities. Water from wells is common in the countryside. For drinking, bottled water or mineral water which is safe and available everywhere are highly recommended. Ice at international hotels is safe. Beer is provided locally and also imported. Some of the most popular brands of beer are Bia Hoi, 333, Saigon, Hanoi, Tiger, Carlsberg and Heineken.
Vietnam is particularly known for its various styles of lacquer ware and its growing silk industry. A wide array of other handicrafts is also available, including conical hats, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, silver jewellery, quality hand embroidery, wood carvings, ceramics, silk painting, brass and marble figurines and ivory and tortoise shell accessories.
Dong Khoi street in HCMC is a good place for Vietnamese silk, handicrafts while Hanoi old quarter of 36 streets is full of queer local souvenirs. Hoi An in the centre of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains. it is advisable to buy items at the your departure point like Hanoi Capital or Saigon to avoid having to carry all the goodies for the rest of the trip. Fine handicrafts, embroidery articles, rattan and bamboo products, lacquer wares, marble carvings are some of the products are worth buying in Vietnam.
Silk in Vietnam are some of the highest qualities in the world. Women and men can have their clothes custom tailored in a day or two. A pair of suits costs only USD 100 to USD 150 including materials and labor. A t-shirt costs USD 2 and USD 4 an embroidered one.
Tailors are located along all main streets downtown. Let us know if you like recommendations.
Visitors are free to buy products in Vietnam for personal use. The exception to this principal is antiques. Antiques considered of national interest will be confiscated without refund or recourse to their return. In general this applies to articles of ancients ( over 50 years old ) or religious nature. “National Interest” is interpreted by an expert at the airport.
No airport tax is required for both International filghts and Domestic flights as it is included in when you buy the ticket.
It is easy to stay in touch with friends and family when in Vietnam, via internet and phone. Internet is widely available throughout the countrys cities and towns and many hotels, cafes and restaurants provide free Wi-Fi for paying guests to access via their personal computer or mobile device. As well as free Wi-Fi, pay-as-you-go internet SIM cards can be easily purchased from airports, mobile phone stores, post offices and convenience stores and loaded with 3G internet credit. The most reliable pre-activated SIM cards are; Mobifone, Vinaphone and Viettel; they provide the best wireless coverage and cost around 80,000 VND (around $4usd). All three of these service providers offer 3G service throughout Vietnam as cheap as 50,000 VND (around $2.50) for 1GB of data. For those who dont have a computer or mobile device that can connect to Wi-Fi, Cyber Cafes are a good option and very cheap, as little as 2,000 to 3,000 VND an hour (2 or 3 US cents). It is also very cheap and easy to buy a pre-paid phone card to enable you to call your home country. International calls can be as cheap as 4,000VND (around 0.19USD) per minute and service providers often run special offers where they give extra call credit (e.g. recharge VND 100,000, get VND 150,000 in your account).
Tipping for service is at very much at your discretion, however, it is much appreciated and particularly rewarding when a good job has been done. Normally a tip of a couple of dollars is very well received, if you have a private guide around $5 per day is the average rate. We can advise you directly about this, if you require it.
In Viet Nam we use 220V. Power outlets usually feature two-prong round or flat sockets however, there is no set standard. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor
FAQ about other countries
Cambodia is basically a very safe destination. As in every part of the world, it is important to never leave your belongings unattended. At some places you might meet some annoying souvenir sellers. A friendly “no” however, is mostly sufficient here.
The dry season lasts from November to May with the cooler period in December and January
Approval is not required for visas to Cambodia (except for citizens from Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, Pakistan Sri Lanka, Sudan and Nigeria). Foreign tourists are generally admitted into Cambodia for 30 days with a visa on arrival without prior authorization or for 30 days with a visa issued at a Cambodian embassy.
This costs USD 35 USD and requires the filling in of an application form and one passport photo. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your expected departure date. Please contact your local Cambodian embassy for the most accurate information.
We recommend however to vaccinate the following: Typhus, Cholera, Hepatitis A&B, Tetanus, Rabies and Polio.
Malaria and Dengue fever can still be found in parts of Southeast Asia
The national currency of Cambodia is the Cambodian Riel. It is available in 100, 500, 1’000, 2’000, 5’000, 10’000, 20’000 and 100’000 notes. Since the Riel is linked with the exchange rate of the US Dollar, the US Dollar became the main cash.
Riel are mostly given back as change (1 USD = 4000 Riel). Both currencies are accepted equally.
Khmer cuisine has many similarities to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine, with lots of aromatic herbs and spices such as lemon grass, chilies, ginger, garlic and tamarind used to flavor dishes. To refine sauces, Cambodians use their fermented fish “Prohok”, fish sauce, oyster sauce and soy sauce. Besides chicken, pork and beef, a lot of fish and seafood I served.
Noodle soups which are cooked with a lot of vegetables and meat, can be found everywhere. The two national dishes of Cambodia are beef “Lok-Lak” and fish “Amok”.
There are many local and touristic markets in Cambodia. Especially the night markets in Phnom Penh and Siem Reap offer a huge variety of nice souvenirs. Particularly the “Khmer Kroma”, the typical Cambodian scarfs, are a popular souvenir. Other popular things are silverware and stone and wood carvings.
Airport tax for international and national flights are included in the ticket price. (Subject to change)
The internet coverage in Cambodia is very good. Each hotel has Wi-Fi and most of the time also a business center with computers. Most of the restaurant, bars and cafes offer Wi-Fi free of charge too. Ask the staff for the username and password. Internet cafes can be found in all bigger cities.
Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in Cambodia. 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 a small amount for their troubles. In restaurants, a tip of 10% should be given.
Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for traveling in Cambodia. The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects.
A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. Warm clothing is needed for visiting the northern Laos during the winter months from November to February.
Visitors to Cambodia should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings. Women do also have to cover their shoulders. Shoes should be removed before entering a private home.
Power use at 220V. Power outlets usually feature two-prong round or flat sockets however, there is no set standard. It is recommended to bring a universal plug adaptor