Vietnam travel hints - Indochina Travel

TRAVEL DOCUMENTS

You should bring a money-belt to safely carry your travel documents and cash. Bring photo-copies of your passport and visa, plus some extra passport-sized photos if you’re applying for on-arrival visas. When flying into or within the region, you will probably be given baggage claim tags (they will be stuck in to the back of your ticket or on the cover of your passport). Keep these, as you will need to show them when check out the airport.

CLOTHING & LAUNDRY

If your long trip to Vietnam includes stops at beaches and mountainous areas, you will need clothes for all temperatures. A swimsuit, sunglasses, a hat, t-shirts, shorts, long trousers, some light-weight, long-sleeved tops and a light jacket like wind-breaker and rain-resistant will get you through most trips. But if you plan to visit northern Vietnam in the winter (December-Jan), you will need a warm coat. Mountainous areas can get chilly then choose clothes you can layer. If trekking is on your agenda, you will need sturdy footwear plus lots of socks. Larger cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer upscale bars and restaurants, so be sure to pack some clothes and dress shoes for a nice evening out. Local laundry services are available, inexpensive and advisable in many towns, usually near the hotels and within a day service.

PACKING ALONG

Though purveyors of beauty products are already putting their foots in major cities, you would be wise to pack travel camaraderie’s like sunscreen, contact lens solution, tampons and mosquito repellent, as well as prescribed medication. Many kinds of medicines are available in Vietnam without prescriptions, easy to reach but they might not be as of that good quality like home. If you travel with a companion or with family, should it be a nice idea to cross-pack, i.e., pack half of your belongings in to other’s suitcase and vice versa. Just in case any baggage delayed might happen.

BOOKS & COPIES

Reading materials may be hard to find, especially in less-touristy areas, so bring some good books. Many locals book stores and street vendors also offer cheap copies but check it out to make sure the printing text is eligible or not. While cheap, counterfeit CDs are also tempting, remember that you may face trouble when you bring these illegal copies home.

VISA REQUIREMENTS

Travelers may apply for a tourist or business visa from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate abroad, or obtain a visa on arrival. Check this link if you would love to proceed it by yourself from home.
Visa on Arrival to be handled by Indochina Voyages Travel
To arrange for a visa on arrival, please send Indochina Voyages Travel via fax or e-mail the following information:
– Arrival date
– Flight number
– Full passport details (number/name/gender/nationality/issued and date expiry)
It takes three to five (3-5) working days to secure a Visa authorization letter, which Indochina Voyages Travel will fax to you. You must present this letter when boarding your flight. At the airport, your Visa on arrival stamping will cost US$ 25 by cash. Bring two passport photos.
When entering Vietnam you will be presented with a form that covers customs and immigration. Keep this form as you will need to present it again upon departure.

LUGGAGE ALLOWANCE

Depending on route and class of travel, Vietnam Airline offers up to 30kg (66 pounds) if you possess a Business class. Otherwise, a 20kg (44 pounds) regulation is applied in all domestic flights and for the Economy class. Carry-on bags should weight less than fifteen pounds and have a size limit of 9 X 14 X 22 inches. Many a case, travelers were lucky with help and flexibility of check-in staffs at the airport, a stretching 10 to 15 more pounds of weight free of surcharges. Just give them a warm smile when you check in the counter.
When you take the flights out or within Vietnam, locking your suitcases or the duffel bags is legal and advisable.

IMMUNIZATIONS

Except for some parts of old day Ho Chi Minh trail that sharing border with Laos, almost all other destinations in Vietnam are worry-free for malaria though the following immunizations are still recommended for travelers. Consult your doctor or local health department to discuss which shots you need:

– Diphtheria and tetanus: Combined vaccinations for these two diseases are usually given in childhood and should be boosted every ten years.
– Hepatitis A: Vaccination provides immunity for up to ten years and involves an initial injection followed by another six months to one year later.
– Typhoid: Vaccination takes the form of an injection or capsules.
-Meningococcal Meningitis: This vaccine is only recommended for travellers making extended visits to rural, northern Vietnam. Protection lasts for three years.
– Rabies: People making longer trips to remote areas should consider rabies vaccination, which involves three injections over a period of three to four weeks.
– Japanese B Encephalitis: People on trips of a month or more to areas suffering from recent outbreaks should consider getting this vaccine, which involves three shots over one month.

LOCAL CURRENCY

Vietnam’s currency is Vietnam Dong (VND), rate of exchange is 21.000 to the US Dollar. You will find moneychangers in Vietnam’s airports, banks, and various high-end hotels. Many banks (open Monday to Friday) issue cash advances for Visa and Mastercard, usually for a four percent commission. Credit cards and traveller’s cheques are widely accepted in major cities. ATMs are of every corners and issue Dong only, familiar banks like HSBC, ANZ, CITI bank are showing their faces in all big cities also. American dollars are welcome in most hotels and high-end restaurants, although our good advise is to get some VND for taxis and to spend in smaller shops.

ELECTRICITY

Most of the electrical current in Vietnam is 220V, 50Hz. Round, two-plug pins are more common although some places use flat pins or three-pronged pins. Luxurious hotels provide multi sockets adaptor in room. Anyway, cheap adaptors are sold in local markets or can be requested at the hotel’s desk.

MOBILE & TELEPHONE

While using a GSM mobile phone network. Vietnam also activates a new CDMA network that easy to get an inexpensive phone kits.
You can place international phone calls and send faxes at post offices or at most hotels, although hotels often charge extra fees. Public phones require phone cards, which are sold at post offices. For the best long distance rate, put 171 or 178 prior to all the calling numbers. This line has a flat fee of $ 80 cents per minute to call overseas.
To call: 171 (or 178) – 00 – your country code – area code – your number.

INTERNET

Vietnam offers Internet access either broad band services or wireless net work which is available in most hotels, high-end cafes or at the internet shops. More touristy areas also offer low-priced as of 50 cents/hour in Internet shops with not much quality reduction.

SHOPPING & SHIPPING

If you go shopping in Vietnam, bargaining is necessary and actually full of funs. It is also recommended to check prices of the same items in the neighbor hood shop before coming to a deal. If you choose to ship items home, we highly recommend that you buy shipping insurance and check the policy details. As shops are not responsible for damages incurred en route, it is better to be safe than sorry. Beside local post offices’ services, DHL, UPS and FEDEX have their hands in every big cities.
Knock off products or genuine fake i.e. Luis Vuiton… is of a variety in Hanoi, Hue and Saigon, make sure if there is any problem at your country’s customs before you purchase them home.

TIPPING

High-end restaurants will often add a service charge of five to ten percent to the bill. While tips are not expected in more casual restaurants and bars, they appreciated with thanks since waiter staffs earn low wages. Indochina Voyages Travel suggests tipping drivers about US$5 – US$7 per day, tour guides about US$10 -US$15 per day.

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