At the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Vietnam at http://www.mofa.gov.vn/en/bng_vietnam/dscqdd/ns050119142406 you can find the contact data of the Vietnamese Embassy in your country.
Vietnam is located in both a tropical and a
temperate zone. It is characterized by a strong monsoon influence, a
considerable amount of sunny days, and a high rate of rainfall and
North (from Hanoi to Sa Pa):
Summer in the north is
from May to October where temperatures are in the mid 30° with
occasional heavy rains. In the winter, temperatures average in the low
teens from December to March. February and March can be damp with
drizzling rain and overcast sky.
Central (from Nha Trang to Hue):
patterns in this region can vary due to the Truong Son mountain range
situated in the north western part of the country. Nha Trang has
periods of rain from November to December. While Da Lat, located in the
interior, is cooler than the coastal regions from November to March. Da
Nang and Hue may experience some typhoon activity from mid October to
mid December when it is cooler, overcast and drizzly.
South (from Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet):
south is hot year round and has a wet and dry season. The wet season is
from May to October where there are daily downpours that are brief and
predictable. Considering that temperatures average in the low 30°
(Celsius), rain showers can be a blessing in disguise and provide
relief to the sweltering heat. The dry season from November to April is
generally sunny and humid and can be uncomfortable if no precautions
are taken for sun protection.
A brief weather report on all major cities in Vietnam is available at http://www.findlocalweather.com/AsiaWeather/VietNamForecastsA-Z.htm
CURRENCY / CREDIT CARDS
The official currency in Vietnam
is Vietnam Dong ( VND ). At the time of writing, 1 USD is around 16,825
VND. Local VND or USD are both accepted. Banks are open Monday to
Friday and some are open on Saturday morning. In the main cities,
travellers’ cheques can be exchanged at banks and some exchange
bureaus, but this can be very difficult in small towns. ATMs can be
found in the major cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, Hoian and
DOMESTIC/FOREIGN CURRENCY ACCOUNTS
and non-residents are allowed to hold domestic or foreign currency
accounts locally or abroad, upon submission of various documents and
approval of the State Bank of Vietnam.
The current exchange rate is available at http://de.finance.yahoo.com/waehrungsrechner/convert?amt=1&from=USD&to=VND&submit=Umrechnen
credit cards (Visa, American Express, JCB, MasterCard) are gradually
becoming more widely accepted in Vietnam, particularly in Hanoi and
HCMC. All top level and many mid-level hotels accept them, as do a
growing number of restaurants and upmarket shops catering to the
tourist trade. But watch out for the extra taxes they wap on when using
a credit card - these can amount to an additional 5 percent. Outside
the major cities you will have to rely on cash and travellers' cheques.
Credit cards (e.g. Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Diners Club)
are accepted in most international hotels and in tourist stores.
Electricity in Vietnam is 220 Volts,
alternating at 50 cycles per second. If you travel to Vietnam with a
device that does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a
voltage converter. There are three main types of voltage converter.
Resistor-network converters will usually be advertised as supporting
something like 50-1600 Watts. They are light-weight and support
high-wattage electrical appliances like hair dryers and irons. However,
they can only be used for short periods of time and are not ideal for
Transformers will have a much lower maximum Watt
rating, usually 50 or 100. Transformers can often be used continuously
and provide better electricity for low wattage appliances like battery
chargers, radios, laptop computers, cameras, mp3 players and
camcorders. However, they are heavy because they contain large iron
rods and lots of copper wire.
Some companies sell combination
converters that include both a resistor network and a transformer in
the same package. This kind of converter will usually come with a
switch that switches between the two modes. If you absolutely need both
types of converter, then this is the type to buy.
Most visitors still need to apply for
a Vietnamese visa in advance to enter the country. Vietnamese visa is
inexpensive in comparison to any other countries' visa fees ranging
from US$45 - 85 if application is sent directly to the Embassy or
US$25-55 if your visa has been pre-approved. A fairly convenient visa
on arrival process has recently been introduced, but this requires a
pre-arranged application to Hanoi Immigration Department and is
generally helpful to nationals of countries without Vietnamese
Who need visa:
Only citizens of certain countries
can visit Vietnam without an entry visa (valid for visit within 30
days). Those countries include: most Asean countries, Korea, Japan
& Scandinavians (2005). All other citizens are required to get an
entry visa before departure (visa issued prior to departure by
Vietnamese consulates or embassies) or a pre-approved entry visa (visa
is issued on arrival at Vietnam’s International Airports)
supplied before arrival in Vietnam.
VISA EXEMPTION INFORMATION
- No visa required for travel less than 30 days: Citizens of Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos.
- No visa required for travel less than 15 days: Citizens of Japan and South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland.
- No visa required for travel less than 90 days or several visits
within 6 months: Citizens of France holding valid diplomatic or
- No visa required for travel less than 60 days: Citizens of [updating] holding valid diplomatic or official passports.
- No visa required for travel less than 60 days: APEC Business Travel
Card (ABTC) Holders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Special Phu Quoc Exception: Foreigners and Vietnamese nationals
bearing foreign passports who enter Vietnam through an international
border gate and then travel to Phu Quoc Island and stay in Phu Quoc
less than 15 days will also be exempt from visa application. Passports
must be valid for at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc Island,
if visitors want to travel other localities or stay in the island for
more than 15 days, the immigration department will be responsible for
issuing visas right on the spot.
- No visa required for Japanese citizens who hold valid diplomatic or official passports
When entering Vietnam to implement diplomatic or Government’s
official tasks without concerning about the time of stay. For those who
entering Vietnam not for the diplomatic tasks but hold valid diplomatic
or official passports can be exempted from entry visa and permitted to
stay within 90 days.
Vietnam visa types
A. Tourist Visas
Visas are generally issued as one-month single entry visas.
Multiple-entry tourist visas are also available, but they often require
special attention and processing to receive. It is quite common to
apply for a multiple entry visa and instead receive a single entry
visa, so please confirm that you are getting the visa that you need. If
you would like to stay longer that one month, you can extend your visa
after your arrival in Vietnam.
B. Diplomatic and Official Visas
- No fees unless otherwise agreed upon between Vietnam and applicant’ s country
On applying this visa, the applicant must submit an official letter
from the concerned agencies of local government, foreign embassies or
consulates accredited to the applicant’s country, international
organizations, or other accredited organizations based in that country
C. Business or other types of Visas
Business visas are
usually issued as 3- or 6-month multiple-entry visas, although one-year
business visas are also possible with special permission. To get a
business visa, you often need a letter from a business sponsor in
For a visa application the following documents are needed:
• passport (with a validity of min. 2 month of the end of the travel)
• completed visa application form
• 1 passport photograph
• Fee for visa (cheque for deposit only or transfer voucher in an envelope)
• Sufficiently stamped envelope for certified mail
At the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Vietnam at http://www.mofa.gov.vn/en/bng_vietnam/dscqdd/ns050119142406 you can find the form for visa application (Consular Section => Forms).
FOREIGN EMBASSIES IN VIETNAM
At http://www.embassiesabroad.com/embassies-in/Vietnam you find the addresses of your own Embassy and Consulate in Vietnam.
HEALTH / VACCINATIONS
All travellers should visit their
doctor at least 4-6 weeks before departure. There are no particular
immunizations required for entry into Vietnam. All travellers should be
up-to-date with routinely recommended immunisations. For children and
adolescents, this includes diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, hepatitis B,
Haemophilus influenzae type b, polio, measles/mumps/rubella,
meningococcal C, varicella and pneumococcal vaccines. For older adults
this includes influenza and pneumococcal vaccines. All travellers
should be immune to diphtheria, tetanus, measles and polio.
LANGUAGE / COMMUNICATION
Vietnam's official language, is a tonal language that can be compared
to Cambodia's official language, Khmer. With each syllable, there are
six different tones that can be used, which change the definition and
it often makes it difficult for foreigners to pick up the language.
are other languages spoken as well such as Chinese, Khmer, Cham and
other languages spoken by tribes inhabiting the mountainous regions.
Although there are some similarities to Southeast Asian languages, such
as Chinese, Vietnamese is thought to be a separate language group,
although a member of the Austro-Asiatic language family. In written
form, Vietnamese uses the Roman alphabet and accent marks to show
tones. This system of writing called quoc ngu, was created by Catholic
missionaries in the 17th century to translate the scriptures.
Eventually this system, particularly after World War I, replaced one
using Chinese characters (chu nom), which had been the unofficial
written form used for centuries.
MAIL / TELEPHONE / INTERNET
Mail: Almost all of the major
hotels have internet and/or email access or you can go to an Internet
Cafe. Internet access is easiest in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but
also available in better hotels and a few internet cafes in smaller
cities as well.
Post offices are usually open from 8.00 am to 8 or
9.00 pm. Postcards cost about VND 10 thousand for a booklet of ten from
the post office. Children also sell them, but they are more expensive.
Don't be too annoyed by them, if they save you a trip to the post
office it's probably worth paying a few dong more. A postcard to
Europe/USA costs VND 5400, a letter VND 8400 (depending on the weight).
They take about 2 weeks to be delivered.
international country code is +84. The outgoing code is 00, followed by
the relevant country code. City/area codes are in use, e.g. Hanoi is
(0)4 and Ho Chi Minh City is (0)8. All hotels will let you make local
phone calls, many don't even charge you. International phone calls are
possible from many post offices. At some places, international direct
dialing (IDD) has become commonplace. There is a telephone card, the
UniphoneKad. Cell phones are popular. If you have one you can buy a
prepaid phone-card and own your private contact number while traveling
in Vietnam. The system in Vietnam is GSM.
Internet cafes are available in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Internet access is often available at post offices in rural areas.
||Mo to Fr 8am – 11.30am and 1pm – 4pm |
Mo to Fr 7.30am – 11.30am and 1.30pm – 4.30pm;
||Mo to Su 8am – 8pm|
There is no official closing hour.
||Mo to Su 6.30am – 9pm|
||Mo to Su 7.00am – 11pm|
||usually 8am - 11am and 2pm – 4pm|
Vietnam is a very safe country to visit. Violence
directed toward foreigners is recently plagued many other countries.
The vast majority of the population are honest, but it is always wise
to take some precautions to ensure you have a trouble free stay in
For Germans: Additional information in German is available at the homepage of the Federal Foreign Office at http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/ (Reiseinformationen => Länder- und Reiseinformationen => please enter Vietnam => Sicherheitshinweise).
Vietnam Standard Time is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT+7).
Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, but
it is enormously appreciated. A 5-10% tip for a meal is a very small
amount of money, but to the average Vietnamese, it could easily equal a
day's wages. Avoid tipping too much, as it will set a precedent for
Restaurants: Government-run restaurants catering to tourists add a 10% service charge to the bill.
Porters: Porters, if they are available, can be tipped with American coins.
Hotel maids: Government-run hotels catering to tourists charge an automatic 10% service fee.
Taxis: Generous tips are not necessary. A small gratuity, however, is expected by cab drivers.
TRANSFER FROM HANOI AIRPORT
services, including public taxis, minibus and public buses, are
available to Hanoi Noi Bai Airport arrivals level.
Hanoi city bus
number 07 and 17 connect Noi Bai Airport with Hanoi city center. The
bus stop is just on the right side of the terminal exit. Traveling by
bus costs 5,000 VND (0.3 USD) per person and takes about one hour.
Buses run from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Airport taxi costs a fixed
160,000 VND (10 USD) for a sedan, 190,000 (12 USD) for an SUV, and toll
charges are included in the price. A taxi to city center takes about 30
minutes. There is also the Airport Minibus, which is 22,000 VND for
Vietnamese or 32,000 VND (2.0 USD) for foreigners but only leaves after
it is completely filled. Minibuses and taxis park right in from of the
airport exit gate. There are 3 companies operating several kinds of
taxi/minibus and they are almost the same in price and service.
USEFUL INTERNET LINKS
The following websites provide useful information about Vietnam:
• http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/ (Reiseinfo => Länder- und Reiseinfo => please enter Vietnam)
The following applies:
No responsibility is taken for the
correctness of this information. The author also expressly distances
himself from the material of all third party internet web sites, even
if this document links to these external sites. The declaration is
valid for all links given in this document.
Subject to change! As of June 2008.