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Vietnam travel guide - Wikitravel
Asia : Southeast Asia : Vietnam
Vietnam (Việt Nam)
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Quick Facts Capital Currency Area Hanoi đồng (VND) total: 331,690 km2 land: 325,360 km2 water: 4,200 km2 85,262,356 (July 2007 est.) Vietnamese (official), Chinese, English, French, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian) Buddhism (Mahayana and Theravada), Daoism, Confucianism, Hoa Hao, Cao Dai, Christian (predominantly Roman Catholic, some Protestant), indigenous beliefs, Muslim 220V Government Socialist republic
Calling Code 84 Internet TLD vn
Vietnam travel guide - Wikitravel
Vietnam's history is a history of war, colonization and rebellion. Occupied by China no fewer than four times, the Vietnamese managed to fight off the invaders just as often. Even during the periods in history when Vietnam was independent, it was mostly a tributary state to China until the French colonisation. Vietnam's last emperors were the Nguyễn Dynasty, who ruled from their capital at Hue from 1802 to 1945, although France exploited the succession crisis after the fall of Tự Đức to de facto colonize Vietnam after 1884. Both the Chinese occupation and French colonisation have left a lasting impact on Vietnamese culture, with Confucianism forming the basis of Vietnamese social ettiquette, and the French leaving a lasting imprint on Vietnamese cuisine. After a brief Japanese occupation in World War II, the Communist Viet Minh under the leadership of Hồ Chí Minh continued the insurgency against the French, with the last Emperor Bao Dai abdicating in 1945 and a proclamation of independence following soon after. The majority of French had left by 1945, but in 1946 they returned to continue the fight until their decisive defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. The Geneva Conference partitioned the country into two at 17th parallel, with a Communist-led North and Ngo Dinh Diem declaring himself President of the Republic of Vietnam in the South. US economic and military aid to South Vietnam grew through the 1960s in an attempt to bolster the Southern Vietnam government, escalating into the dispatch of 500,000 American troops in 1966 and what became known as the Vietnam War - although the Vietnamese refer to it as the American War. What was supposed to be a quick and decisive action soon degenerated into a quagmire, and US armed forces were withdrawn following a cease-fire agreement in 1973. Two years later, on April 30, 1975, a North Vietnamese tank drove into the South's Presidential Palace in Ho Chi Minh City and the war ended. Over 55,000 Americans and an estimated 3 million Vietnamese were killed.
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(http://www.vietnamtourism.com) , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (Cộng hòa xã hội chủ nghĩa Việt Nam) is a country in Southeast Asia. Its neighboring countries are China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west.
The American Vietnamese war was only one of many that the Vietnamese have fought, but it was the most brutal in its history. Over two thirds of the current population was born after 1975. American tourists will receive a particularly friendly welcome in Vietnam, as many young Vietnamese aspire to American culture.
The tank that ended the war, Ho Chi Minh City
Economic reconstruction of the reunited country has proven difficult. After the failures of the state-run economy started to become apparent, the
the daytime hours are devoted to visiting -. in the Highlands both extremes are amplified. People get a little bit stressed out and the elbows get sharper. Tết is mostly a private. Normally summers are hot and dry. meaning that storms are more common and stronger than before. Mosquitoes are most numerous in the rainy season. with mid-day temperatures of 33°C or more most days. and occasional street flooding occurs. where the usual hectic level of traffic becomes almost homicidal. December to February is the most pleasant time to visit. streets are decorated with lights and public festivities are organized which attract many thousands of residents.org/wiki/en/index. singing karaoke. Holidays By far the largest holiday of the year is Tết.ph… 3/23 . However.) In the major cities. with Vietnam recording near 10% growth yearly (except for a brief interruption during the Asian economic crisis of 1997).Wikitravel country launched a program of đổi mới (renovation). Like most Communist countries around the world. rainy from June/July to November. closest friends and important colleagues on the second day. with cool evenings down to around 20°C. and hotels operate as usual. The economy is much stronger than those of Cambodia. Finally on the first day of the new year an abrupt transformation occurs: the streets become quiet.except that the extremes are occurring more often and seasons are not as predictable. playing. and enjoying traditional snacks and candy (women and http://wikitravel. which takes place between late January and March on the Western calendar. North East Monsoon conditions September . families gather together and exchange good wishes (from more junior to more senior) and gifts of "lucky money" (from more senior to more junior). The North has four distinct seasons. Then a few days before Tết the pace begins to slow down. the traditional household decorations. with a comparatively chilly winter (temperatures can dip below 15°C in Hanoi). Guys on motorbikes rush around delivering potted tangerine trees and flowering bushes. The policy has proved highly successful. Nearly all shops and restaurants close for three days. almost deserted. In the first three days of the year. Many people also visit pagodas. introducing elements of capitalism.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . In the period leading up to Tết. with occasional snow in the winter and temperatures hitting 40°C in the summer. In the Central regions the Hai Van pass separates two different weather patterns of the North starting in Langco (which is hotter in Summer and colder in Winter) from the milder conditions South starting in Danang. celebration of the New Year (as marked by the lunar calendar). there is a fine balance between allowing foreign investors and opening up the market. the country is abuzz with preparations. On the eve of the new year. downpours can happen every afternoon.houses of relatives on the first day. and other neighboring developing countries. as thousands of city residents depart for their ancestral home towns in the provinces. and everyone else on the third day. family celebration. Bustling central Hanoi The South has three somewhat distinct seasons: hot and dry from March to May/June. Global climate is becoming more difficult to predict . April is the hottest month. But for Vietnamese. large sea swells and rain make this a miserable and difficult time to travel through Central Vietnam. a hot and wet summer and pleasant spring (March-April) and autumn (October-December) seasons. During the rainy season. and cool and dry from December to February. Temperatures range from stifling hot before a rainstorm to pleasantly cool afterward. Climate Vietnam is large enough to have several distinct climate zones. The evening hours are spent drinking and gambling (men) or chatting. (the exception being a few that cater especially to foreign visitors. especially in big cities.February with often strong winds. Laos.
Best to book far in advance. On the plus side.) Visiting Vietnam during Tết has good points and bad points. Da Nang. Vietnam's national day.Wikitravel children. Na Meo. trains and planes tend to be sold out. When visiting during Tết. Kontum. Sapa. Qui Nhon. Visitors also stand a chance of being invited to join the festivities. On the minus side: modes of transport are jammed just before the holiday as many Vietnamese travel to their home towns. and the foreigner-oriented travel industry of backpacker buses and resort hotels chugs along as usual. Dalat. Vinh) the ancient city of Hue (Huế) is the home of the still recent Vietnamese kings and in Hoi An features one of the nicest old seacoast towns in Vietnam Central Highlands (Buon Ma Thuot. the traditional socialist labor day. Dong Hoi. Cuc Phuong National Park. and accommodations at the beach or in Dalat are hard to find. no admission is charged to those museums and historical sites that stay open. it's wise to get settled somewhere at least two days before the new year. http://wikitravel. and your choice of shopping and dining is severely limited in the first days of the new year (with a few places closed up to two weeks). Regions North (Hanoi. Chau Doc . Ngoc Hoi) lush forest covered hills featuring indigenous tribes and the occasional elephant South (Con Dao. Can Tho. hotels fill up. Ninh Binh. Cao Bang. My Son. especially if you have some local connections or manage to make some Vietnamese friends during your stay. pagodas are especially active. Ha Long Bay. Ho Chi Minh City. My Tho.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . and don't try to move again until a couple of days after. you can observe the preparations and enjoy the public festivities. Thanh Hoa. Phan Thiet. Dong Ha.ph… 4/23 . Lesser holidays include May 1. Tam Coc) harbors some of the most magnificent views of Vietnam as well as the capital city and the chance to visit indigenous hill tribes Central Coast (Cham Islands. Hoi An. and September 2. Dien Bien Phu. Nha Trang. Dong Dang. Around those times. Haiphong. Hue. Lao Cai. Bac Ha.org/wiki/en/index. Mui Ne. especially in smaller towns.
the rice basket of Vietnam Map of Vietnam with regions colour-coded Cities Hanoi (Hà Nội) .former home of Vietnam's emperors Nha Trang .home to some of Asia's rarest wildlife and the Muong hill tribe The DMZ Ha Long Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long) . Cambodia. near the ruins of Mỹ Sơn Hue (Huế) .org/wiki/en/index.ph… 5/23 ."the resort capital" with Mui Ne beach. Singapore. Vinh Long. Malaysia. at a cost of US$35. A single-entry tourist visa valid for 30 days costs US$35 (although exact fees vary depending on issuing country) and takes around 4-7 days to process. Japan.vietnamembassy. Vinh . Laos.site of the Cu Chi Tunnels Cuc Phuong National Park . although exact entry and exit points have http://wikitravel. Sweden. with visas taking 2-3 days to process. Thailand All other nationalities will require a visa in advance to visit Vietnam.island off the Mekong Delta Cu Chi (Củ Chi) . Other destinations Con Dao (Côn Đảo) .ancient Hindu ruins which are a a UNESCO World Heritage Site Tay Ninh (Tây Ninh) .main temple of the Cao Đài Tam Coc (Tam Cốc) .famous for its unearthly scenery Kontum .uk/) . A 30-day visa can also be obtained from the Vietnamese consulate in Battambang. Finland. built around Ho Chi Minh City but also covering the lush and little-visited Mekong Delta.relaxed little town providing access to a number of ethnic minority villages My Son .un Ninh Binh province south of Hanoi with Ha Long Bay-like scenery Get in Visitors from the following countries do not require a visa and can stay for the following number of days.delightfully well-preserved ancient port.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide .the major city in northern Vietnam with very nice Cua lo beach. Norway.org.Wikitravel Phu Quoc. formerly Saigon (Sài Gòn) Hoi An (Hội An) . a 30-day single entry visa will cost you £44 (£59 for fast-track).the largest city in the highlands Ho Chi Minh City (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) . Vung Tau.the capital Haiphong (Hải Phòng) . If purchasing your visa from the Vietnamese embassy in London (http://www.burgeoning beach resort Phan Thiet (Phan Thiết) . a major port in north Vietnam Dalat (Đà Lạt) .the "port city".Vietnam's largest city and the economic centre of the south. 15 days: Denmark. Tay Ninh.) the economic engine of Vietnam. Russia 21 days: Philippines 30 days: Indonesia. South Korea. while a 30 days multiple entry visa costs £70 (plus £8 postage if you need it posted back to you). express visas take 2-3 days at twice the price.
another fee. 1 day). By train There are direct international train services from Nanning and Beijing in China to Hanoi. Canadian Passport Holders. By road Cambodia http://wikitravel. Most require a change of trains at the border at Pingxiang/Dong Dang. Keep the departure portion of this just as safe as your passport. There are no train links to Cambodia.ph… 6/23 . China. Malaysia and Taipei. Macau. Turkey and the United States. but the Chinese-operated daily Nanning express (T871/MR2) runs through. but is approved instantly. visas are now valid for all entry and exit points. they have started to use arrival/departure cards which are very similar to those found in Cambodia. Brunei. Visa upon arrival can be received if you are coming from Laos right on the border control. passport photo and cash payment (cards not accepted). Ho Chi Minh City. Hong Kong. Laos. This service costs US$92. Singapore. Qatar. as of 2009. as you will have to produce it when leaving the country to avoid a fine. Ho Chi Minh or Saigon city and Danang city. The Kunming-Hanoi line was shut down by landslides in 2002 and. but yet another form to fill in and.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide .800 baht (nearly $50 US!) for a 30 day single entry visa. India. There is no examination. It takes 10 to 20 minutes and cost about $35 US for most nations (2009). Thailand. Approx 3 days to process. and Da Nang. where a single entry visa can be gained in 15 minutes. France. although it still spends about four hours at the border for immigration.Wikitravel to be specified. otherwise no check-in in BKK (Air Asia)! Vietnam has moved away from the old A4 carbon copy arrival forms. This Visa on Arrival works fine. Cambodia. If you come from Bangkok to Saigon you have to present this approval letter by the check-in. Taiwan. In general. You are required to bring a valid passport. non-stop long-distance flights are limited and most visitors transit via Bangkok. Depending on the present level of SARS. you get it quick after you paid for it (with credit card. Pre-approved letter with code for picking up visa upon arrival Vietnam at the airports of Hanoi capital city. May 2010 . Indonesia and Singapore. Recently. Some Vietnamese Embassies offer a "While you wait service" (May 2008). Japan. Indonesia. Philippines. If you can get hold of a handful of dong it is only 2000 dong per person. New Zealand. They do not take US Dollars. though. of course. Singapore. Russia. Germany. A fairly convoluted visa on arrival process has recently been introduced. Direct flights are available from Australia. remains closed. However. costs 18 US$ then you pay still 26 US$ at the arrival for the stamp in the pass.Vietnam Embassy in Bangkok charges 1. South Korea. avian flu you may be subjected to a so-called health-check. but this requires a prior application to Hanoi and is generally intended mostly for groups and citizens of countries without Vietnamese embassies.org/wiki/en/index. Malaysia. Hong Kong. but they charge US$2 for the same "service" if you only have greenbacks! By plane Vietnam has international airports at Hanoi.
Phu Quoc. The men will take your passports. Cambodian Visas not available) The Vietnamese consulate in Sihanoukville issues 30 day tourist visas on a same-day basis. Da Lat. a return connecting Hanoi to Da Nang will probably run around $80 US (including all taxes). stopping for several hours in order to wait for the border to open at 7am. Whilst waiting. but will actually provide the service they promise.Vinh Xuong (in some guidebooks as Tonle Mekong. I recommend a VIP bus.Mong Cai (by road. but no international passenger train services) Youyi Guan .19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide .vietnamair.Tinh Bien Xa Xia. Most of these flights are cheap compared to North American or European standards. which is of similar price (10k kip difference) from Savannakhet. often underfoot) but many buses run in the middle of the night. Near Chau Doc in Vietnam) Phnom Den . It is unclear whether you can just wait for the border to do this. which can be incredibly disconcerting. I assume that these men are entirely superfluous. Hai Phong. If you bargain hard (tiring. There are quite many flights connecting the two largest cities.Moc Bai Kaam Samnor . to major towns such as Da Nang. you will be herded off the bus (for several hours) where you will be approached by pushy locals offering assistance in getting a Laos exit stamp in exchange for money (usually 5USD to more).Wikitravel There are at least four border crossings between Cambodia and Vietnam that can be used by foreigners. Cambodia (Ha Tien crossing.by road and/or rail) Laos There are at least six border crossings between Laos and Vietnam that can be used by foreigners.vn/wps/portal/vn/welcome/) . at 4am) you can get the figure down to about 2USD. Hanoi and HCMC.Lao Bao Kaew Neua . Can Tho. Be wary of catching local buses from Laos to Vietnam. Vietnam/Prek Chak.Huu Nghi Quan (Friendship Pass . the trip from Hanoi to HCMC will take about 2 hours by plane. For example. These include: Donsavanh . at least. onward travel Mong Cai to Ha Long by sea or by road) Hekou . Domestic carriers are Vietnam Airlines  (http://www. Jetstar http://wikitravel.Lao Cai (by road and/or rail. Hue. These include: Bavet .com.ph… 7/23 . Nha Trang.Cau Treo (Keo Nua Pass) Nam Can Tay Trang Get around By plane Flights are the fastest way to travel the distance of this long country.org/wiki/en/index. Not only are they often crammed with cargo (coal and live chickens. China There are three border crossings between China and Vietnam that can be used by foreigners: Dongxing .
Be cautious when using a travel agent to purchase your train tickets. It is important to note that average road speeds are typically quite slow.  (http://www. with international crossings into China.org/wiki/en/index.ph… 8/23 . of pax and class. since there is nothing printed on the ticket saying the class you are booked in. Open Tour buses are run by a multitude of tour companies. Booking at the train station itself is generally the safest way. offering ridiculous low rates (Hanoi to HCMC: US$20-25) and door-to-door service to your desired hostel. you often have to use local transport to get into the city center from there. and you have the chance to interact with locals. Indochina Airlines ceased operations as of November 2009. to avoid disappointment. You can break the journey at any point and continue on a bus of the same company any time later. For example a 276km journey from the Mekong Delta to Ho Chi Minh City by bus will likely take about 8 hours. Most hotels and guesthouses can book seats for any connection. HCMC to Hanoi is more than 30 hours. They cater especially to tourists. By bus Long-distance bus services connect most cities in Vietnam. trains are undoubtedly the most comfortable way to travel overland in Vietnam. there are shorter routes from Hanoi leading northwest and northeast. In bigger places. Note that if you're not planning to make more than 3-4 stops. Buses are generally in reasonable shape. Always try to buy your tickets at least 3 days in advance. AC Soft or hard sleeper is recommended. especially during peak holiday season.aspx) . on which the Reunification Express runs. There is one major train line in Vietnam. date. and purchasing as early as possible is a good idea as popular berths and routes are often bought out by tour companies and travel agents well before the departure time (hence being told the train is sold out at a station ticket window or popular tour company office does not mean there are no tickets available--they've simply been bought by another reseller). Most depart early in the morning to accommodate traffic and late afternoon rains. but unless you are traveling in a sleeper car it is no more comfortable than buses. and you don't know you've been scammed until you board the train and your berths are in the lower class. as the railway company will add cars when demand is high. unsold tickets can often be bought last minute from people hanging around at the station--a train is rarely sold out for real.indochinaairlines. during which you should try to book at least a week in advance. Commissions on these tickets will drop away as the departure time draws nearer. just prepare on a piece of paper the destination. By then with the train on the verge of departing it is too late to go back to the scamming agent to demand compensation. if not entirely convenient. it might be cheaper to buy separate tickets as you go (ie Hanoi to Hue can be had for as little as US$5).vn/?culture=en-US) By train Although more expensive than buses. In addition.Wikitravel Pacific  (http://www. the 1723-kilometer trunk between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . time. Going to the bus company office may net you a commission-free http://wikitravel. Public Buses travel between the cities' bus stations. One of the most popular of the shorter routes is the overnight train from Hanoi to Lao Cai (with bus service from Lao Cai to the tourist destination of Sapa). even when travelling between cities. However. This results in a common scam with private travel agents where you will pay them to book a soft-sleeper ticket. although you're better to shop around at travel agents. or simply buy tickets just for the stage you're willing to cover next. It's a good way to see the countryside and meet upper-middle class locals. they then book you a cheaper hard-sleeper ticket. and overnight hops between major destinations are usually possible. or run overnight.jetstar. no. as prices will vary on any given ticket/bus company.com/vn/en/index.
you will be glad you left the driving to a professional. as they will demand that you pay the taxi fare.not very pleasant if you are stuck on an overnight bus with several Vietnamese throwing up behind you. especially for overnight buses. now offers chauffeur driven services in Vietnam. If you are travelling with an iPod DO NOT FALL ASLEEP WITH IT IN YOUR EAR. Vietnamese can easily charter anything from a small car to a 32-seat bus.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . Second. so make sure you tell the hotel/agent exactly where you want to go. things may get a little ugly. The concept of renting a car to drive yourself is almost non-existent. may be just somewhere where there are a lot of bushes. special occasions. more beat-up car.) Since few Vietnamese own cars. they will charter a taxi for you and probably drop you at a hotel which they can collect commission. it is advisable to book a sit at the middle rather than at the front of the bus. where you do not have to buy. people (including bus employees) have been known to look through passengers bag's and take expensive items such as iPods and phones and sell them on for profit. as rest stops. If you say you have not booked one.) Few drivers speak any English. due to the number of stop offs. WARNING . Even though you haven't. which they may quote as several times the actual fare for a ten minute ride. http://wikitravel. especially on overnight buses.Be very careful of your possessions on the overnight bus. that is about every 10 seconds).bigger Westerners will be very uncomfortable. you will avoid viewing directly the short-sighted risks the driver is taking on the way. A scam that you may encounter is that after arriving at your location. etc. The offices are generally located in or near the tourist area of town. as the chances are it will be nowhere to be found in the morning. you will probably get an older. one of the largest car rental companies in the world. First.Wikitravel fare.. If you are paying more than bare minimum. Hiring a small car for a day trip returning to the point of origin costs around US$60 for eight hours (though the price changes with the cost of gas). which can only be circumvented through a travel agent. Also. but most major bus operators have fixed pricing policies. Vietnamese buses are made for Vietnamese people . Additionally. you will somewhat escape the loud noise of unceasing honkings (each time the bus passes another vehicle. Tourists can tap into that market indirectly by way of hotels and tour agents found in every tourist area.org/wiki/en/index. and holding out for something comfortable. and a thriving industry exists to serve that need. they have frequent occasion to hire vehicles for family outings. say that you have and prepare the name of a hotel. (After a short time on local roads with their crazy traffic. Simply get a padlock for your hand luggage and lock everything up in there before you go to sleep. many Vietnamese are not used to riding on long-haul buses. the guides will ask you whether you have booked a hotel. and have that communicated to the driver. international car brands have started to surface. they always have toilets and drinks and water available for purchase. boarding at the company office will guarantee a choice of seats and you'll avoid getting stuck at the back or unable to sit next to your travelling companions. Collecting the passengers at the start of the journey can also take quite a while too. and will sometimes get sick . Always be at least half an hour early to catch the bus.ph… 9/23 . Although the bus company will usually be happy to collect you at your hotel or guest house. (If you shop around and bargain hard for the lowest possible price. If you decide not to stay. Since tour companies charge very little. for one day or several. and a short walk might make your trip that much more pleasant. Try not to drink too much water. Even if you are sometimes bus-sick. The estimated time for a bus trip will not be accurate and may be an additional couple of hours sometimes. and when Vietnamese speak of renting a car they always mean hiring a car with a driver. Budget Car Rental. they do make commission on their stop-offs which are often at souvenir shops. By car International driving licenses are not accepted in Vietnam. it's worth asking what sort of car it will be.
which should get you anywhere within the city center. since they will cheat you anyway or they will act as if they don't understand even if they do. a tourist will often be quoted an above-market price initially. attempting to cycle in Hanoi or HCMC is virtually suicide without proper experience of traffic rules (or lack thereof. end of discussion. By motorcycle The 110-cc motorbike is the preferred mode of transport for the Vietnamese masses. It's common to see whole families of four cruising along on a single motorbike. As with most things. drivers generally ignore the lane markings. this is not useful. describing Vietnamese driving habits as atrocious would be an understatement. you can easily rent your own. Walk the city streets.000 dong for a 10 minute trip.) In cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. with prices ranging from 100. Several adventure travel tours provide package tours with equipment. By motorcycle taxi The xe ôm (literally 'hugging vehicle') is a common mode of transport for Vietnamese as well as tourists. Hoi An and Hue. and you'll have to go to a pay parking lot. They are widely available and reasonably cheap -. and Dalat to Mui Ne about US$90. It's advisable not to pick them since they will always make you pay much more than to locals and they will surely take you around for hours before getting you to the point you requested. By cycle Adventurous travelers may wish to see Vietnam by motorcycle or bicycle.org/wiki/en/index.000 to 160.or 5-hour trip depending on traffic.000 dong. with average speed less than 50 km/hour. Always agree on the fare before starting your trip. and you need to be firm.ph… 10/23 . the north-south backbone of the country. Most of the population gets around on two wheels. most roads do not have lane markings and even on those that do. In addition. A small car from Saigon to the beach resort of Mui Ne.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide .000 dong per day.000 dong for a short trip. Keep in mind that long-distance road travel in Vietnam by whatever means (bus or car) is slow. so it's an excellent way to get closer to the people. as it provides a flexible schedule and flexible access to remote sites. If quoted anything over 10. Taxi-motorbikes. costs about US$70. Occasionally drivers will demand more than the negotiated price at the end. In most places where tourists go. In some cases they will take you wherever they want (tourist attractions or shops you didn't request to go) and sometimes they will wait for you to come back (even if you don't want them to wait) and will ask you for more money for having been waiting. is a two-lane road with very heavy truck and bus traffic. 2000 dong per bike. and are often a great way of covering larger distances. remind the driver that you could take an air-con taxi for 15. as well as off the beaten path. at somewhat higher cost. Even if you speak some Vietnamese. Desk clerks at small hotels often run a side business renting motorbikes to guests. Then you can pay the agreed amount and walk away. Generally speaking. Bicycles can be rented cheaply in many cities. Vietnamese drivers also tend to use their horn very often to get motorcyclists out of their way. and the large cities swarm with them. so it's best to have exact change handy. Good spots for cycling are Dalat. Long distance travel by car may be a good choice for several people traveling together. a 4. Road courtesy is non-existent and drivers generally do not check their blind spot or wing mirrors. As such.Wikitravel It's also possible to hire a car and driver for inter-city travel.000 so forget it. or have a friend or relative who http://wikitravel. On the other hand. parking bicycles on the sidewalks is not allowed. and every couple of minutes a guy will flag your attention and say "You !! MotoBike?" Longer trips to outlying areas can be negotiated for 20-25. driving yourself in Vietnam is not recommended and you should leave your transportation needs in the hands of professionals. Highway 1. known as xe ôm are available everywhere and they will constantly harass you offering you a ride (no matter if the drivers speak English or not).about 10.
although many people have been known to drive without them. no clutch so is relatively easy to ride. Most places you would want to stop have parking attendants who will issue you a numbered tag and watch over your bike. some drivers (particularly in the South) are very friendly and happy to give you a running commentary on the sights. The ubiquitous Honda Super Cub is a common 4speed bike that has a semi-automatic gearbox i. and you only have one life. Traffic is intense and chaotic. Riding long distance in the countryside can also be harrowing depending on the route you take.000 dong.ph… 11/23 . Motorcycles of 175cc and above are only legal to ride if you make a connection with a Vietnamese motorcycle club. Helmets are also required by law as from the December 15th. You should also check that your travel insurance covers you for any accidents that occur. on the (plausible) assumption that they don't know how to ride motorbikes that require shifting gears. especially Ho Chi Minh City. Roads are usually decent. Sometimes these parking operations are overseen by the establishment you are visiting. On the plus side. though it's advisable not to ride too fast and always keep an eye on the road for the occasional pothole.this takes a lot of skill and it's all too easy to over-rev and pull a wheelie or stall the engine . Major roads between cities tend to be narrow despite being major. the gears of which you shift with your left foot.g Pho Quoc. particularly if you do not have a motorcycle license in your own country. Two main categories of motorbike are available to rent: scooters (automatic transmission). They are especially common in scenic smaller. Riding in HCMC is like finding yourself in the middle of a 3-D video game where anything can come at you from any direction. before attempting to ride themselves. and not advisable unless you are an experienced rider with a very cool head. cyclo pedicabs still roam the streets of Vietnam's cities and towns. Though the ride will be slow. Parking is sometimes free at restaurants and cafes (look for "giu xe mien phi"). and leaving not much room at the edge for motorbikes. Obeying the traffic laws is advisable just to be sure. with a long list of unwritten rules that don't resemble traffic laws anywhere else. less busy cities like Hue. 2007. or just put it in neutral and let the staff position it. In small towns and beach resorts where traffic is light. but conventional wisdom has it that they rarely bother foreigners due to the language barrier.org/wiki/en/index. you might park the bike yourself. Other models may be fully manual and therefore you must also operate the clutch using your left hand .000 to 5. and four-speed motorbikes.if you end up with such a bike then practice releasing the clutch gently before hitting the roads! Rental agents tend to steer foreigners toward scooters if available. By cyclo While slowly being supplanted by motorbikes. passing slow trucks where maybe they shouldn't have tried.e. and much cheaper than taxis if you make several stops or travel any distance. In all but rare cases you keep the key. Cyclo drivers are notoriously mercenary and will always ask for a http://wikitravel. is a very different matter. Extreme caution is advised for short-term visitors. You will usually see rows of bikes lined up parked. Depending on circumstance. and full of tour buses hell-bent on speed. it's a delightful way to get around and see the sights. e. fees range from 2. ask your rental agent to provide them. and sometimes they are free-lance operations set up in places where a lot of people go.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . "Right of way" is a nearly unknown concept. Riding in the big cities. hot and sometimes dangerous. Licenses (to operate motorbikes) are required. you'll generally need to pay more than for a motorbike for the equivalent distance. Expats who brave the traffic at all typically have an apprenticeship of a few weeks or months riding on the back of others' motorbikes to learn the ways of the traffic. where it's pleasant to cruise slowly along taking in the sights. if you don't have it already. Tour booths can usually do the same. Traffic police in the cities pull over lots of locals (often for reasons that are hard to discern). Elsewhere.Wikitravel does.
Snorkel .000 dong each way -. which it usually is there are approximatly 200 people on board.lunch trips are available from Nha Trang.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . other parts of Vietnam seem less affected.to three-day boat trips among its scenic limestone islands. The major difficulties lay on tones and certain sounds.the fastest way to reach the beach from the city. Problem is that all the boats seem to visit the same places . By boat You will be missing a big part of Vietnamese life if you do not spend some time on a boat.) A reasonable price is about 20.and with high prices and poor quality boats and service real value is hard to come by! Seafood is about the same price as Europe in some places! Dozens of small family-operated boats ply the river in Hue taking visitors to the imperial tombs southwest of the city. a traveler may be surprised to learn that the basic grammar is pretty simple. http://wikitravel.February. you can just lay your cash on the seat and leave. This journey is long because the boats are slow taking about 4 hours or so to make the journey in one direction. Hoi An.Wikitravel high price to start with. Verbs are static regardless of the past or future and parts of speech are pretty straightforward. The idea of an emergency exit also does not exist there.ph… 12/23 .org/wiki/en/index. especially women. (You won't get far before that driver or another takes your offer. While it is very different from Western languages. Sometimes they will also demand more Cyclo in Hue than the agreed price at the end. but beware of safety issues if you charter a boat.) are paid very little of the total amount! Ha Long Bay is a famous destination for one. Or you can book a tour through a tour company. Talk Like Thai and Mandarin. Vietnamese is a tonal language that uses a change in pitch to inflict different meanings. To avoid trouble. but be aware that in Vietnam most Tour Agents charge whatever markup they want and therefore the tourist is often paying margins of 30-40%! and the boat owner and operator (of anything from a van to a boat etc. An example is the ferry from Phu Quoc to the mainland. and start fresh later. simply walk away.fishing . In the event of an accident. This ferry has one tiny entrance for all passengers to board. and if the driver disagrees. make no promises. and Phu Quoc to nearby islands.000 dong for up to 2 km. A day-long boat trip forms the core of almost any tour of the Mekong region. so if the driver tries to revise the deal. it's also best to have exact change for the amount you agreed to pay. When full. If you plan to stop somewhere for any length of time. (Japanese tourists. it's best to settle up with the driver. In Central Vietnam North East monsoon season limits many sea boat tours during the months September . A 90-minute hydrofoil boat operates from Saigon to the seaside resort of Vung Tau for about 120. Tour boats can be chartered for around US$20 for a day's tour. the chance of everyone getting out of the boat fast enough would be very small.) Prices for a sight-seeing circuit with intermediate stops are more complex to negotiate and more subject to conflict at the end. Do be careful though because many boats are although seaworthy are not designed to first world standards. Rivers tours are perhaps the most interesting. make sure the boat is registered for carrying Tourists and has enough lifejackets and other safety equipment on board. are most often targeted with this scam since they are more responsive to the threat that the driver will call the police and make trouble for them if they don't pay as demanded.
However. They usually speak good English or French and offer customised tours if desired.19/07/2010 sounds. The knowledge on the Chinese language will make it much easier to learn Vietnamese. Hue Vietnamese consists of 4 main dialects: the northern dialect spoken around Hanoi. this can be a particularly authentic means of traveling through the country and visiting those off-the-beaten-track places.Wikitravel Tomb of Khai Dinh. See Do Motorbike adventure tours .ph… 13/23 . Unlike English. 10000. is much less useful than English when trying to communicate with locals. VND). French is basically a dysfunctional language in Vietnam and aside from a few educated elite among the elderly. drivers if necessary and entry tickets to local places of interest. although their sounds on certain alphabets are different or even don't exist in English. Although the Vietnamese people do appreciate any effort to learn their language. but the choice of accents should depend on where you plan to live. 1000. Vietnamese is also full of loanwords from French and English from more recent times. Buy The national currency is the dong (đồng. http://wikitravel. Despite Indochina's colonial history in which French was the medium of education.There are many tour operators which provide customized motorbike tours around the remote regions of Vietnam. Given that motorbikes are the main mode of transport in Vietnam. there is no de facto standard in the education system. 50000. Directional signs are generally bilingual in both Vietnamese and English. 100000. Some words are loanwords from China like hotel (khach San). Tai-Kadai and Austronesian language families. 20000. For learners. Most operators provide all-inclusive accommodation. most hotel and airline staff will know enough English to communicate. Staff in hotel and kids tend to have a more tolerant ear to foreign accents and it is not unheard of for a kid to effectively help translate your 'Vietnamese' into authentic Vietnamese for adults. and the southern dialect spoken around Ho Chi Minh City. like representative (dai dien) or bird flu (cum ga). Bills are available in denominations of 500. communist party (dang cong san). the capital of economy. 500. Vietnam travel guide . As English is the most popular foreign language taught in Vietnamese schools. which has stabilized in the past few years but is difficult to find or exchange outside Vietnam. 5000. children (nhi dồng). Northerners naturally think that southern accent is for 'hai lua' (countrymen) and will always recommend you to be stick to the northern accent. the north-central dialect spoken around Vinh. some are formed based on Chinese characters (roots). helmets. In 2003.org/wiki/en/index. most seldom experience foreign accents. many young people have a basic grasp of English but proficiency is generally poor. While the Hanoi dialect is taken as the 'standard' and widely used in broadcasting. petrol. 200000 and 500000 dong. the written latin alphabet is a relief. south accent is what you will hear every day. Ho Chi Minh City is home to a sizeable ethnic Chinese community. coins were also introduced in denominations of 200. 2000. The more remote parts of the country are also home to many ethnic minorities who speak various languages belonging to the Mon-Khmer. For working in Saigon. many of whom speak Cantonese. Learners may find it frustrating that no one can understand what they try to say. Besides Vietnamese. the central dialect spoken around Hue. Vietnamese phonetics are accurate at reflecting true pronunciations. Vietnamese lexicons are heavily influenced by the Chinese languages.
000 dong in one transaction with typically an additional 20.000. On most land borders connecting to Cambodia. They will accept a selection of credit and bank-cards. Mastercard. basic grocery stuff. 2000 and 5000 dong. so it's usually better to pay in dong. BIDV bank ATM's are generally the best value ATM's to use for foreigners if taking out the maximum 3. but "Vietcombank-ATMs" are known for the broadest variety. Note that all gold shops will exchange the majority of hard currencies (Sterling. When it comes to foreign tourists. According to this school of thoughts.000 dong per transaction with 20. Be advised that travel agencies (like StaTravel in Saigon) will rip you off offering you a very low rate. In addition to US dollars many vietnamese informal shops(which is pretty much all of them) will accept almost any kind of currency in order to make a sale. Swiss Francs.or mastercard at most banks. Not every machine will like your particular card. Fees might also be the only thing that would keep you from getting cash advances on visa. and Laos there are freelance moneychangers to take care of your financial leftovers.000 dong charge. Inflation in Vietnam has been skyrocketing as a result of the world financial crisis. There are mentions in some popular travel books about Vietcombank not charging any commission fees to cash Amex travelers cheques.000 dong charge. meal.000 dong per transaction with 40. so expect the rate of dong-dollar as well as other currencies to go up in 2009/2010. Your coffee suddenly becomes 100% more expensive and a restaurant may present you an English menu with inflated prices. US $2 bills (especially those printed in the 1970's) are considered lucky in Vietnam and are worth more than $2. The amount of your withdrawal may not exceed 2. and many Vietnamese will keep them in their wallet for luck.ph… 14/23 . you might opt for US$ cash as the basic staple of your money belt. ANZ bank ATM's allow up to 4. so it won't hurt to keep some of your home currency handy as well. this is not true anymore.S. Vietnamese holds a diverse view on this issue but in general it is more common in Vietnam than other neighbouring countries to see it socially acceptable to overcharge foreigners. Traveller cheques of well known companies are widely accepted.org/wiki/en/index. They may argue inflated prices are still cheap and they may blame on the cheap cost of living which attracts a lot of backpackers with barebone budgets. There are branches of money transfer companies like Western Union. Euro etc. BIDV banks are found all over Vietnam whereas ANZ banks are found only in Hanoi and Saigon. the standard exchange rate for small quantities being 19000 dong to US$1. but this is always one of the more expensive ways to get money. ATMs are getting more and more common and can be found in most bigger cities and every tourist destination.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . a ride on taxi.000.000 dong per day.) at reasonable rates. but usually a small fee is charged.S. Maestro or Cirrus and several other systems. ANZ bank allows withdrawals of 15. including Visa. A friendly local who spent 30 minutes talking with you may also feel like overcharging you on anything. Hassle and Bargain Overcharging has long been an issue in Vietnam tourism. Through both ways you can also get hold of U. this is some 5% below the bank rate. clothing. Also note that dollar bills in less than perfect condition may be rejected. dollars. if tourists complain about it.000.000.000 dong each time. U. dollars are widely accepted. it's because they're stingy.Wikitravel 1000. coffee. though there will be even higher fees. US$50 and US$100 notes get a higher exchange rate than notes of lower denominations. They make a good tip/gift. It can happen anywhere on anything from an hotel room. BIDV bank ATM's allow up to 3.000. Yen.000 dong charge. Rich http://wikitravel. China. However. but be assured they'll get the better of you if you don't know the going rate. but bear in mind that it is always wise not to rely on just one leg when walking.
pretending that the price isn't right. The good news is that standard price is much more common than early 90s.) High-end restaurants tend to serve "Asian-fusion" cuisine. marriage and death. nước mắm dipping sauce and local beer At the same time. so tipping can be considered unnecessary in most circumstances. with elements of Thai. and when friends get together. Vegetables. Definite regional styles exist -. and Chinese chef. You will absolutely spoil your travel if you assume that everyone is cheating you. The most authentic Vietnamese food is found at street side "restaurants" (A collection of plastic outdoor furniture placed on the footpath).19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . water. and compare it.org/wiki/en/index. (Try taking home a bottle of fish sauce.ph… 15/23 . notably Vietnamese coriander or http://wikitravel. Many Vietnamese dishes are flavored with fish sauce (nước mắm). In any case. and southern. Costs Costs for a month's stay can start from a backpacking US$250-500 Using basic rooms. each with unique dishes. banh canh cua (crab soup with thick rice noodles) and bun bo Hue (beef soup with herbs and noodles). Vietnamese cuisine varies slightly from region to region. it's definitely a scam and move to other places. learn some common dish names in Vietnamese. the Vietnamese are surprisingly modest about their cuisine. and the anniversaries of ancestors' deaths. cao lầu noodles (a specialty of Hoi An). Preparing food and eating together remains the focus of family life. More business deals are struck over dinner tables than over boardroom tables. insist that you need to read Vietnamese menu. with many regions having their own specialities. If owners argue that the portion of dishes in the English menu is different.northern.you will be pleasantly surprised with the results. ask for big discount and walk away.Wikitravel tourists from developed countries should not have a problem being overcharged. with the exception of bellhops in high end hotels. served on the table with most meals. and shrimp). just try to be smart. Also try basic bargaining tactic: Think how much it is back home. they eat together. the price quoted to you is often many times what locals will pay. local food and open bus transportation can keep it very close to the US$250 per month Tipping is not expected in Vietnam. central. pork. Generally. and using it instead of salt in almost any savory dish -. and Chinese mixed in.) Fish sauce is also mixed with lime juice. (And old proverb/joke says that a fortunate man has a Western (French) house. herbs and spices. but blends into food very well. Eat Food sits at the very epicentre of Vietnamese culture: every significant holiday on the Vietnamese cultural calendar. all the important milestones in a Vietnamese person's life. Central style is perhaps the most celebrated. northern Vietnamese cuisine is known for being bland while southern Vietnamese cuisine is known for being spicy. with most walk-in restaurants being mainly for tourists. Special dishes are prepared and served with great care for every birth. Japanese. and indeed. most of the important day-to-day social events and interactions food plays a central role in each. Learning some Vietnamese numbers and try to see how much local pays a vendor. sugar. Gỏi cuốn fresh spring rolls. with dishes such as mi quang (wheat noodles with herbs. Many products tend to be standardized and compare more. Japanese wife. and spices to form a tasty dip/condiment called nước chấm. which smells and tastes like anchovies (quite salty and fishy) straight from the bottle. In a restaurant.
Phở bò. etc. dozens seem to appear out of nowhere on http://wikitravel. Generally speaking. Phở is normally served with plates of fresh herbs(usually including Asian basil). along with chili paste. Most phở places specialize in phở and can serve you a bowls as fast as you could get a Big Mac. Bánh mì Hanoi are French bread sandwiches: freshly baked white bread baguettes filled with grilled meats or liver or pork pâté. and often served in friendly surroundings with spectacular views. Once the sun goes down though. baguettes. These will inlcude all types of vietnamese food. hot chilis and and scalded bean sprouts which you can add in according to your taste. plus fresh herbs and vegetables.ph… 16/23 . which locals grab for a quick meal. flank. Phở is the original Vietnamese fast food. but all three have been localized and remain popular contemporary aspects of Vietnamese cuisine. but coffee shops that also serve light fare can be found in almost village and on multiple street corners in the bigger cities.). it is almost impossible to see a bar anywhere. Though they may look filthy. cut limes. but anything else can be suspect. but with chicken broth and chicken meat. that after you have ordered your meal a young child of the family will be seen running out the back towards the nearest market to purchase the items. More on cà phê below. but locals eat it most often for breakfast. tripe. is made with beef broth that is often simmered for many hours and may include one or more kinds of beef (skirt. very affordable by Western standards. possibly some chinese and maybe a pad thai as well. Phở gà is the same idea. Pubs/bars Drinking in a vietnamese bar is a great experience. In rural and regional areas it is usually safest to eat the locally grown types of food as these are usually bought each day from the market. and sweet soybean sauce. the phở served at roadside stalls tends to be cheaper and taste better than those served in fancier restaurants. It's available at any time of the day. chili sauce. the classic form of phở. the sign means the restaurant serves a plate of rice accompanied with fish or meat and vegetables.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . and pastries were originally introduced by the French colonials. you may find heaven in Vietnam.org/wiki/en/index. and are now owned by Vietnamese. accompany almost every dish and help make Vietnamese food much lighter and more aromatic than the cuisine of its neighboring countries. Famous phở restaurants can be found in Hanoi. a broth soup with beef or chicken and rice noodles (a form of rice linguini or fettuccini). Bánh mì: French baguette stuffed with pâté. crab. streetside eateries are generally safe so long as you avoid undercooked food. Follow the locals to a good restaurant: the food will still be swimming when you order it. Most restaurants/cafes in Vietnam will have a bewildering variety of food available. especially China. It is very common for menus to be up to 10-15 pages. it will be well-prepared. Factory-made ice is generally safe.Wikitravel cilantro (rau mùi or rau mgò). herbs and pickles Drink Watch out for ice in drinks. plus some token western food. Vietnam's national dish is phở. and locallycaught fish. If you like seafood. It is not uncommon. Streetside eateries in Vietnam typically advertise phở and cơm. mint (rau răm) and basil (rau húng). One of the interesting things is that during the day. Though cơm literally means rice. It is generally best to stick with the specialty of the area as this food will be the freshest and also the best prepared. Coffee. The ultimate seafood experience is traveling to a seaside village or beach resort area in the south to try the local seafood restaurants that often serve shrimp. Most pastry shops serve a variety of sweets and quick foods.
Bia Saigon is also available as little stronger export version. nước mía. however this is very hard to find. Wine and liquor Vietnamese "ruou de" or rice alcohol (ruou means alcohol) is served in tiny porcelain cups often with candied fruit or pickles. look for Bia Saigon in the green bottle and a bigger bottle than Bia Saigon Special. Beer Don't miss out on bia hơi. It's available throughout Vietnam. You feel free to drink a health to somebody. Coconut wine . and you can get extremely good red and white wine for about $2-3US. (literally "gas beer"). for a bit more flavor. Vietnam adopted a tradition of viticulture.ph… 17/23 . Copra of coconut can purify Aldhyt in rice wine which cause your headache and tied. It's commonly served to male guests and visitors. Coffee Another popular drink among locals and tourists alike is the coffee (cà phê). Wikitravel founder Evan quaffing bia hoi in Hoi An The most popular beer (draft. well at least in public. sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. The beer is brewed daily and each bar gets a fresh batch delivered every day in plastic jugs. You can also have it blended in a mixer. bottle or can) among the Vietnamese is Tiger. combined with crushed ice. 333. Most wine is Australian that is served in restaurants and you will be charged Australian prices as well making wine comparitively quite expensive compared to drinking beer or spirits. It's a very light (3% alcohol) refreshing lager at a fraction of the cost of draft or bottled beer in the Western-style bars. Dalat is the center of the winelands. Soft drinks Coconut water is a favorite in the hot southern part of the country. but it's somewhat bland. Be sure to ask for the local http://wikitravel. Every traveler can easily find these bars to experience what the locals are enjoying. mostly from small bars on street corners. pronounced "ba-ba-ba" is a local brand.Wikitravel the streets. Bière Larue is also good. or sugar cane juice. Bia hoi bars will give you the opportunity to relax drinking in a typical Vietnamese bar surrounded by the hustle and bustle of everyday life.org/wiki/en/index. or draught beer made daily. It's regular practise for beer in Vietnam to be drunk over ice. Another thirst-quencher is the fabulous sinh tố. If you are drinking with Vietnamese people it is considered polite to top up their beer/ice before re-filling your own drink. This wine is made by traditional material and coconut form natural.ruou dua : This is special VietNam wine.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide .Rượu dừa . Bia hoi is not always made in sanitary conditions and its making is not monitored by any health agency. and you can find local brands in every larger city. It's not recommended for tourists. a selection of sliced fresh fruit in a big glass. This means that the cans or bottles need not be chilled. Dating back to French colonial times. is served from distinctive metal carts with a crank-powered sugar cane stalk crushers that release the juice. Vietnamese women don't drink much alcohol.
visit the American Language School. Do be careful when drinking locally prepared coffee as the locals tend to drink it incredibly strong with about 4 teaspoons of sugar per cup. In Ho Chi Minh City (aka Saigon).org/wiki/en/index. As milk is hard to come by outside of the tourist hotels. Hotels in Vietnam range from scruffy US$4-a-night (Per couple) backpacking hostels to world-class resorts. has written a good introduction to most aspects of life in Vietnam the economy. spa treatments. For this reason they will always ask for you passport when you check in. Work http://wikitravel. However very few people have had a problem with this as it is much of an routine across the country. although modern amenities like television and room service in some cases are hard to come by.ph… 18/23 . have very good high-speed Internet access. The Vietnamese love to meet new people. stop by a school. It is a legal requirement for all hotels to register any forigners that stay the night with the local police. such as elaborate buffets with local cuisine. and even cheap US$4-6 per couple hotels often supply very clean rooms with towels. as it has a unique taste and is often of higher quality than the imported varieties despite the lower prices. Even backpacking hostels and hotels are by far cleaner and nicer than in neighbouring countries (Cambodia. disposable toothbrush and so on. clean white sheets. social life etc. and teachers welcome the opportunity for their students to meet foreigners. etc. The process will usually only take a few minutes after which they will return your passport. but there is a fee (3000-15000 dong/hour) to use the computers in some cases.Wikitravel Vietnamese coffee instead of those imported from France or Italy. Laos). However. If the place looks dodgy then ask that they register you while you wait and take your passport with you afterwards.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . where you'll be welcomed enthusiastically and invited to go into a class and say hi. Adequate plumbing is a problem in some hotels. Thailand. Former BBC reporter in Hanoi. Homestay accommodation is easily booked through travel agents. It's called Vietnam: rising dragon and was published in May 2010. mostly Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. You'll feel like a rock star. it is also often served black or with sweetened condensed milk. An excellent novel set in modern-day Vietnam is "Dragon House" by John Shors. The more high-end hotels have a multitude of free/low cost amenities. Service in a lot of the more inexpensive hotels is actually quite good (since the fares that a person pays per night could equal a Vietnamese national's monthly pay). politics. local sightseeing packages. Dragon House is the story of two Americans who travel to Vietnam to open a center to house and educate Vietnamese street children. both in the city and in popular rural destinations. but these are horribly overpriced and you would be much better off buying these items on the street. Definitely an aquired taste. Bill Hayton. Sleep Lodging is not an issue in Vietnam. even if you're traveling on a pretty tight budget. there are often drinks and snacks in the mini-refrigerators in Vietnamese hotels. Learn If you want to meet local people. Many hotels in the larger cities. some tourists are disappointed to learn that the "homestay" they booked is really a commercial hotel. Like many hotels.
During the early Doi Moi (the reform in 90s). Avoid dangling your bags along traffic roads. Staff of legitimate hotels should never feel bothered to receive payment from a guest when they check in. Remember to stand your ground and all officers are required to write all traffic violations in their notebook and give your a receipt and pay to the station (not the officer). in a crowded road with hundreds of drivers. If you have a cell phone. Vietnam is really a place worth more precaution. it is absolutely risk-free and acceptable if you don't bribe. bribes could be a few US dollar. though basic precautions are definitely needed. Hotel owners may tell you the room price is VND200. Reports that a foreign tourist got crashed to death when she tried to drag back what was robbed has been heard. Thieves on motorbikes are ready to snatch bags.org/wiki/en/index. Also infamously common are thefts on popular beaches. Prostitution Prostitution is illegal in Vietnam and the age of consent is 18. camera.000. Violent crime towards foreigners remains low. threaten to call your embassy and he may back down. that price is for a fan room only and it's another price for an air-con room. In hotel rooms. jewelery of pedestrians and other motorbike drivers. Today although officers still seem to feel okay at taking it. hotel prices and two-menu system practiced by some restaurants. There is no need to be overly paranoid because most tourists do not get hurt. reports that belongings are stolen have been heard occasionally. Watch out if they insist that you http://wikitravel. fine you around $20 for each offense (the average traffic fine should only be about $1-$5). You might though just find it easier to pay the fine and get on your way. including five star ones. It is true as long as you don't hold your belongings too tight. they insist that the price is US$20. charging you almost a double. police officer may stop you for any reasons including missing insurance papers or driving license. Another trick is to tell customers a "room" is a few dollar. pickpockets and motorbike snatching has found their home especially in Ho Chi Minh City. When checking out.ph… 19/23 . For motorcycle driver. but on the other day. a few packs of 555 cigarette. Corruption Corruption is a big problem in Vietnam and locals are convinced that the police are not to be trusted. Never leave your bag unattended on beaches. It could happen days and night.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . Immigration officers are known to take bribes. Stay safe Crime While many safety warnings in travel guide book are no more than scaremongering. Locals suggest that they won't kill you but will take all your money. Talking to your mobile phone next to car road and putting your bag on the front basket of a motorbike will tempt a robber. Pham Ngu Lao is the buffet place for all first witness accounts and all veterans seem to have certain experience on it. Scam Most scams in Vietnam are involved in transportation. Vietnam has laws on the books with penalties up to 20-40 years in prison for sexually exploiting women and children. and several other countries have laws that allow them to prosecute their own citizens who travel abroad to engage in sex with children. mobile phone.Wikitravel You can volunteer as an English teacher through Travel to Teach or other volunteering organizations.
You should consult some guidebooks and travel forums to prepare yourself for those petty scams and to learn more about how to avoid them. Then move forward until you hit your destination. Hospitals will also not accept your admission unless you prove that you can pay the bill. Taking a bicycle or motocycle on highways is an adventure for risk takers. He even tries to show you his book of comments from international tourists. stand next to them in the opposite side of the traffic (if you get hit. he will get it first) and he will give you the best chance of crossing a road. This kind of driver has to be a scammer. end up charging 2 to 5 times more. The only way to deal with it is to learn a few Vietnamese phrases and insist that you can only read the Vietnamese menu. if available. The simplest way.ph… 20/23 . Many taxi drivers in Sai Gon and Ha Noi intall rigged meters. "never mind how much you would pay" or "you can pay whatever you like at the end of the trip". seeing injured victims lying on the road. Taxi and cyclo drivers may claim that cannot make change when accepting payment for an agreed-upon fair. or hearing the BANG sound. don't try to avoid the cars. To cross the road.Wikitravel should pay when you check out. you will have fair chance of experiencing all these. Some restaurants are known to have two menus for local people and foreigners. Nightlife http://wikitravel.org/wiki/en/index. You may see a tourist standing on the road for 5 minutes without knowing how to cross it. Make sure you tell local clearly that you will pay the ambulance fee. Having a clear agreement on price with the driver before getting into his taxi is also recommended. a little more. Highways are also risky with an average of 30 deaths a day and some locals will not even venture on them if not in a big vehicle (car or bus). is to follow a local. Make your pace and path predictable to other drivers. The best way to avoid this is just taking taxi from reputable companies such as Mai Linh. When you meet an over-friendly cyclo driver who says. If you are injured. Traffic in Vietnam is a nightmare. Ho Chi Minh City) have traffic lights patrolled by police. Traffic The first discovery for many tourists who just arrive in Vietnam is that they need to learn how to cross a road all over again. Staying in Vietnam for more than a month. Vinasun. but to prevent this scam from becoming more popular it is advised to stay calm and firm about the price. The best way to handle this is to either carry smaller bills or be ready to stand your ground. Many Taxi drivers in Sai Gon and Ha Noi try to overcharge thin-faced. Some intersections in main cities (Hanoi.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . you may never witness the moment of crash. If you still want to use his service you should make it clear about the agreed price and won't pay more than that. Back home. let them avoid you. and gullible travelers. just-arrived. Don't turn your speed or direction suddenly. and Saigon Tourist in Sai Gon and Mai Linh and Ha Noi Tourist for Ha Noi. don't expect that local people are willing to help for even calling an ambulance because it is not free. most are either non-functional or ignored. or go to another way. Roads are packed. Step a little forward. Generally the driver is only trying to get an extra dollar or so by rounding the fare up. If they feel hesitated to show you the local one. and you will see motorcycle drivers to slow down a bit. you better walk away. definitely not for a family with children.
Saltwater crocodiles once thrived in southern Vietnam but have been locally extinct for at least 20 years. let alone anything dangerous to humans. with most of them disliking http://wikitravel. being considered lovers. which may make some feel uncomfortable. It may be very useful.ph… 21/23 . Do not assume that all Vietnamese think alike as many Vietnamese in the South are still bitter about having lost against the North. but this concept is disappearing. Southerners are usually more open. and it is best to avoid any conversations that could be taken as an insult to the sacrifices made by both sides during the wars. Stay healthy Tropical diseases such as malaria. Clubs are full of prostitutes looking for their admirers but be aware that they may also take your wallet and mobile phones away. In some cases Asian women traveling with nonAsian men could even receive some unwanted comments. sweet talk you. but you shouldn't let any local girls getting into conversation with you. Well over 3 million Vietnamese died. That said. Malaria isn't as much a concern in the bigger cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. and then steal something from you without you knowing it at that moment. General precaution is just enough. as it is called in Vietnam) is that the Vietnamese do not bear any animosity against visitors from the countries that participated. Walking very late by yourself on the streets in the tourist area is safe. Two-thirds of the population were born after the war and are quite fond of the west.org/wiki/en/index.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide .Wikitravel Petty crime in night clubs can happen. Be sensitive if you must discuss past conflicts. Differences of character among Northerners and Southerners are still very palpable. especially when there are girls around him." Many overseas Vietnamese are highly critical of the government of Vietnam you may want to consider this before wearing communist paraphernalia in their communities back home! A less controversial purchase would be a nón lá (straw hat) instead. and in rural areas. especially in the central and northern side of the country. there are some attractions which present a very anti-American viewpoint on the war's legacy. Thanks to much improved hygiene conditions in recent years. Avoid quarreling with local people because drunken Vietnamese can be violent to foreigners. Respect Souvenir shops in Vietnam sell lots of T-shirts with the red flag and portraits of "Uncle Ho. Otherwise. Wildlife Much of Vietnam's ecology has been severely damaged and very little wildlife remains. The most surprising thing about the topic of the Vietnam War (the American or reunification war. they will touch you. It's common to be stared at by locals in some regions. dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are endemic in rural Vietnam. especially in the countryside and crowded neighborhoods. Tigers may exist in very small numbers in remote areas. but always remember to take mosquito liquid repellent with you. escorts or prostitutes by some people. but this is yet to be proven. Venomous snakes (such as Cobras) may still be common in rural areas but virtually everything else has either gone extinct or exist in such small numbers that the chances of even seeing them are remote. Asian women traveling with non-Asian men could attract attention. including blended ice drink. food sold in street vendors and restaurants. is mostly safe. Don't leave your belongings unattended.
Prepaid account charges vary from 1. 122.Wikitravel each other.700-2. Vietnam international code: +84 Hanoi area code : (04) Ho Chi Minh area code : (08) VoIP calls Telephone bills are 30% to 40% cheaper if dialed with 171 or 178 services.ph… 22/23 . 200.000. 168. Northerners are more closed and less friendly to foreigners. or showing their network's brands. subject to agreements between operators. 166. Recharge cards are available in denominations of 50. 97. but foreigners are often charged 100. try to find a post office or any reliable public service. International call : 171 (178) + 00 + Country code + Area code + Number. 94. 165. Hospital 115.000 dong. 100.000 dong. Roaming onto Vietnam's GSM networks are possible with foreign mobile phones.500 dong per minute.000 and 500. and sometimes even rude. The standard price is no higher than 75. 126 (GSM 900/1800) Viettel: 98. Time 117. others have seven. 124. Domestic call : 171 (178) + 0 + Area code + Number. Since hotels and guesthouses often charge higher for telephone calls. 125 (GSM 900) Mobifone: 90. 169 (GSM 900) SFone: 95 (CDMA) Vietnamobile: 92 (CDMA) EVN Telecom: 96 (CDMA) Beeline: 199 (GSM 900) You can buy a SIM card in every shop selling mobile phones. 93. Fire Brigade 114.000. 123. particularly Americans. General Information 1080 Telephone Landline numbers in Hanoi and HCMC have a sequence of eight numbers. Contact Phone Police 113. Mobile phones There are many mobile networks with different codes: Vinaphone: 91. 167. Internet cafes are available in most tourist spots and http://wikitravel.000 dong. 121. In general.org/wiki/en/index.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . Internet Internet access is available in all but the most remote towns.
org/wiki/en/index. see each image for details. Text is available under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3. http://wikitravel. Wikitravel user(s) Globe-trotter. Paulle. several providers offer mobile internet services (EDGE/3G) services as well. Many hotels and restaurants provide free WIFI or terminals for their guests. Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel and others. Superdog and Burmesedays. This article is an outline and needs more content.000 dong per hour. Facebook has been blocked in certain provinces but you can still try Facebook lite. There was also a report that telecom companies block the use of Skype. As of February 2010. Please plunge forward and help it grow! Retrieved from "http://wikitravel. Based on work by Ryan Holliday and JST. images are available under various licenses.0.org/en/Vietnam" Category: Outline articles This page was last edited at 07:17.Wikitravel rates are fairly cheap. but there is not enough information present.19/07/2010 Vietnam travel guide . ranging from 2000-10. although the ban has apparently been lifted. It has a template.ph… 23/23 . Internet censorship is applied to small number of internet services. on 17 July 2010 by Anonymous user(s) of Wikitravel. especially in the big cities. If you bring your own phone and/or laptop. Connection speeds are high.
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