This section of Vietnam travel tips and FAQs covers all of the important information you may need to know when visiting the country. Home to a wide range of sightseeing, dining, and shopping opportunities, Vietnam is arguably one of the most visited countries in Southeast Asia.
As with any place around the world, doing your research on getting around, visas, weather, geography and hot spots to visit as well as information on shopping and orientation, not to mention cultural issues and customs is crucial for a hassle-free holiday experience. While more detailed information on each city in Vietnam can be found on our website, this page comprises all the basics and essentials such as currency, safety tips, and social etiquette – what you need to know about travelling in Vietnam.
Before you Get to Vietnam
Nationals from most European and Asian countries can enter Vietnam without a visa, with a maximum stay duration of up to 30 days (depending on which country you’re travelling from). Others will need to apply for a visa from their local embassy, with one-month fees priced at US$25 for single entry and transit visas, while US$10 is charged if you want to extend your single entry visa.
Vietnam enjoys a tropical climate, with the dry season lasting from November to April while the monsoon season is between May and October. The best time to go is from September to November or from March to April, when temperatures are mild enough for sightseeing and outdoor activities.
You will need an International Driving License to rent a car or motorbike.
Cabs are metered, but try to use either Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis as taxi scams are common. Motorbike taxis (xe om) are not metered, so bargain hard to get the best deal.
Congestion is common around major attractions and shopping malls in cities, particularly Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Aside from taxis, there are cyclos, local buses and minibuses as well as sleeper buses and trains for long distance travels.
US$1 = VND 22,000 approx (most people round it down to 20,000 when calculating prices)
Widely available all over Vietnam. All major banks’ ATMs accept international cards and provide instructions in several languages, including English. Most major hotels and restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi also accept payments using Visa and MasterCard.
Most vendors tend to respond well as long as you are polite. Tourists tend to be charged more than locals so don’t be afraid of walking away if you’re unsatisfied with the final price.
Not necessary, but always appreciated.
VAT is 5%, but can be reclaimed at the airport if your purchased goods are a value of at least VND 2,000,000 and come from a single shop within a one-day duration.
Available at the airport and convenience stores, with MobiFone, Viettel and Vinaphone as the most popular brands. You will also need to register the number by presenting your passport.
220 Volts, 50 Hz or 110 Volts, 50 Hz. Type A, C & G (USA-style) plugs.
Customs and Etiquette
When visiting Buddhist pagodas, dress conservatively and remove shoes before entering. It’s also considered impolite to have your back facing Buddha statues. Donations to the upkeep of temples are welcomed but not expected. Always ask for permission before photographing people or places of worship.
Do not drink from the taps. Always use bottled water.
Often sourced from reputable vendors and made with clean water. Perfectly safe for consumption with drinks.
The penalties for drug-related offences are severe.
Traffic in Vietnam’s cities, especially Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, is notoriously dangerous, so be very careful when driving and crossing the roads.
In case of an emergency, dial 113 for police, 115 for ambulance, or 116 for phone number enquiries.