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Vietnam Information

Facts at a Glance

Area
329,560sqkm

Capital City
Hanoi

Population
85,262,356

Language
Vietnamese (official), Chinese, English, and French.

Religion
Buddhism, Taoism, and Catholic.

Climate
North Vietnam has Southern Mediterranean type climate. South Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate.

Local Time
GMT +7

Currency
Vietnamese Dong (VND) in denominations of 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20,000; 10,000 banknotes. Coins include VND 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500 and 200. These values have paper note equivalences.

Exchange
Travellers cheques are accepted at most banks. Hotels sometimes charge a commission. Cash dollars in good condition are accepted in many places, so small denominations are useful to carry. The exchange rate can fluctuate considerably. Remaining Vietnamese currency can be exchanged for US dollars at the exchange bureau at the airport.

Credit Cards
Most major hotels and big restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi accept Visa and MasterCard.

Business Hours
Most shops, banks and businesses open from 8am to 4 or 5pm with a 1-2 hour lunch break

Tipping
Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, but is appreciated. A 5-10% tip for a meal in a good restaurant may equal a day's wages.

Nightlife
There are numerous discos and karaoke bars. As in most places, it is preferable to explore in the company of a long-term resident, to avoid the traditional rip-offs.

Electricity supply
220V, 50Hz / 110V, 50Hz

Photography
Print film is widely sold, but risks having been badly stored, so best buy from reputable photo dealers rather than street vendors. Slide film is available only in large cities. Photo-processing shops are everywhere with one hour processing facilities.

Tourist Information
Vietnam Airlines-Hanoi: (84-4) 8253824;
Ho Chi Minh City: (84-8) 8292118;
Bangkok: (66-2) 6569056-8;
Phnom Penh: (855-23) 424426;
Vientiane: (856-21) 216761
Vietnam National Administration of Tourism-Tel: (84-4) 8261061; Fax: (84-4) 8261115

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