Mekong Delta Travel
USEFUL INFORMATION >> Vietnam
 

LANGUAGE :

More than 80 percent of the population speaks Vietnamese or Kinh/Viet, the national language. Many ethnic minority people speak King and their own native language. Vietnamese is a difficult language for most foreigners to speak despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese. The same word can have six different meanings depending on the tone used to pronounce it. In the cities and larger towns English is becoming popular and is now spoken by many younger people while some of the older generation still speak fluent French. Chinese is also spoken by some people

 

WEATHER:
The North has 4 seasons. Winter starts in December, Spring in March, Summer in June and Autumn in September.
The South has 2 seasons: the dry one is from December to May and the wet from May to November. The temperature is about 22 to 28 degrees centigrade.

CURRENCY:
The currency in Vietnam is Dong (VND) . The current exchange rate is around VND 21,000 to the US $ 1.00; VND 27,000 = EU$ 1.00. US dollars remain widely accepted at hotels, but you should have local currency for use in taxis and shops. Credit card acceptance, especially for Visa, is spreading in higher-end hotels, restaurants and shops in big cities.  There are some ATM machines appearing now in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.

TRANSPORTATION:

Airlines: Vietnam Airlines and Pacific Airlines serve domestic and international daily flights to all big cities and neighboring countries.
Taxis:Charged by meter & called by phone or caught at random. Starting meter is USD 0,50.
Public buses: Available in cities like Saigon, Hanoi, Danang, Haiphong. A distance of 2km is 0.20 USD
Trains: Daily departure from Hanoi to Saigon and vice versa. Sleeping compartment is for 4 or 6 people. Airconditioned car is available. It stops at big cities and connects China.
Popular public transportation: Motorcycles and bicycles are popular. Right side is taken but not strictly followed. bicycles and motorcycles are hire at 3 USD to 10 USD per day. Pedicabs are popular.

TIPS:
The Vietnamese have no customs of giving tips. However, visitors have given tips to some service people like guides, drivers, hotel staffs for their good services.

AIRPORT TAX:
International Flights 14 USD; Children under two exempt. Airport tax for domestic flights is included in the ticket price.

BUSINESS HOURS:
Government offices and museums open early, around 8.00a.m and close at 5.00.pm. Avoid doing business from 11.30a.m to 1.30.pm, when people are either at lunch or napping. Shops open at 7.00a.m untill 9.00p.m. Open markets start from dust till dawn. Museums do not open on Monday.

ELECTRICITY:
Vietnam uses 220V electricity nation-wide, but some areas 110v is also used. In the South, outlets are often US-style flat pins. In the North, many outlets fit round pins. As the electrical current varies, use a surge protector when  running sensitive electronic equipment like laptops.

FOOD:
The cuisine of Vietnam comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors and is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed. One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always fresh being bought the same morning straight from the market. Food is usually prepared with a minimum of oil and served with the ubiquitous fish sauce called nuoc mam. Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast, cha gio, deep-fried spring rolls and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad made with lotus stems, shrimps and peanuts. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:
There are 7 public holidays a year in all (4 days for New Year, 1 for Labour Day, 1 for National Day, and 1 for Western New Year).

RELIGION:
The three main religious influences in Vietnam are Buddhism, Confucianism and the Cult of Mother-Worshipping.

SHOPPING:
Souvenirs to look out for in Vietnam include lacquerware, silk, conical hats, woodcarvings, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, embroidery, marble, ceramics, silver jewellery, antique watches and paintings. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have the best choice when it comes to shopping but Hoi An in the centre of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains.

TELECOMMUNICATION:
International phone charges are steep in Vietnam and many hotels, especially up-market ones, add extra fees. Check the rates before dialing. One long-distance service offers a flat fee of US$ 1.30 per minute to 50 countries; dial 171 followed by the country code and number.
Public phones require phone cards, which are available at Post Offices. Faxes can be sent from hotels, business centers or Post Offices. Again, rates vary. Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer dozens of Internet cafes.

VISAS:
Except Asean offical passports, visitors need entry visas. We need the following information: Full name, Date of birth, Nationality, Passport number and Sex. Where to pick up visa?

1. Get visas at Vietnam Embassy or Consulate
After 3 to 5 weekdays, contact the Embassy for visa stamping and pay visa fees. Keep 1 copy of application form with a photo for immigration at the airport on arrival.

2. Get visas on arrival
Inform us of arrival flight number and airlines. We fax a letter of boarding to the airlines. Prepare 2 photos, 1 application form and USD 45 to pay the visa issuing charge at the airport.

WATER:
Running water is available at cities. Water from wells are common in the countryside. For drinking, bottled water is highly recommended. Ice at international hotels is safe..

SAFETY:
While Vietnam is one of the safest countries in Asia, you should take care with your possessions. Secure your valuables, documents and credit cards in your hotel’s safe. beware of pickpockets, pure-snatchers and mobile phone thieves, especially in HoChiMinh City. If you do choose to drive a motorbike or ride a bicycle, always wear a helmet.
 

 
 
 
 
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