vietnam travel advice Vietnam is a beautiful and diverse country that offers something for everyone. Whether you are looking for stunning natural scenery, rich cultural heritage, delicious cuisine, or vibrant nightlife, Vietnam has it all. But before you pack your bags and book your flight, there are some things you need to know to make your trip smooth and enjoyable. Here are some of the most important Vietnam travel advice you should follow.
Plan Your Itinerary Wisely
Vietnam is a long and narrow country that stretches from north to south for about 1,650 kilometers (1,025 miles). It has three main regions: the north, the central, and the south. Each region has its own climate, landscape, culture, and attractions. Depending on your preferences and time, you may want to focus on one or two regions, or try to cover all three. vietnam travel advice
The north is home to the capital city of Hanoi, the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ha Long Bay, the mountainous area of Sapa, and the historical city of Ninh Binh. The north has four distinct seasons, with cold winters and hot summers. The best time to visit the north is from October to April, when the weather is dry and pleasant. vietnam travel advice
The central region is known for its ancient town of Hoi An, the imperial city of Hue, the coastal city of Da Nang, and the national park of Phong Nha-Ke Bang. The central region has a tropical climate, with hot and humid weather all year round. The best time to visit the central region is from February to May, when the rainfall is low and the temperature is moderate. vietnam travel advice
The south is famous for its bustling metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), the Mekong Delta, the island of Phu Quoc, and the beach resort of Mui Ne. The south has a tropical climate as well, but with only two seasons: dry and rainy. The best time to visit the south is from December to April, when the weather is dry and sunny.
Apply for a Visa in Advance
One of the most important Vietnam travel advice is to apply for a visa in advance. Vietnam requires most foreign visitors to have a valid visa to enter the country. There are three ways to get a visa for Vietnam: through an embassy or consulate in your home country, through an online e-visa system, or through a visa on arrival service.
The first option is to apply for a visa at a Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your home country. This is the most traditional and reliable way to get a visa for Vietnam. You will need to fill out an application form, provide your passport and photos, pay a fee, and wait for your visa to be processed. The processing time may vary depending on your location and the type of visa you apply for. vietnam travel advice
The second option is to apply for an e-visa online. This is a new and convenient way to get a visa for Vietnam that was introduced in 2017. You will need to fill out an online form, upload your passport and photo, pay a fee with a credit card or PayPal account, and receive your e-visa by email within three working days. You can then print out your e-visa and present it at the immigration checkpoint when you arrive in Vietnam. The e-visa is valid for 30 days and allows you to enter Vietnam through 33 designated ports of entry. vietnam travel advice
The third option is to apply for a visa on arrival service. This is a popular and fast way to get a visa for Vietnam that many travelers use. You will need to fill out an online form with a reputable travel agency or website that offers this service, pay a service fee with a credit card or PayPal account, and receive an approval letter by email within two working days. You can then print out your approval letter and bring it with you when you fly to Vietnam. Upon arrival at one of the six international airports in Vietnam (Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Hai Phong, or Phu Quoc), you will need to show your approval letter, passport, photos, and pay a stamping fee at the visa on arrival counter. You will then receive your visa sticker on your passport.
Pack Light and Smart
Another Vietnam travel advice is to pack light and smart. Vietnam has a diverse climate and terrain that may require different types of clothing and gear depending on where and when you go. However, you don’t want to overpack and carry too much luggage that will weigh you down and cost you extra fees.
Here are some general tips on what to pack for Vietnam:
- Pack clothes that are comfortable, breathable, and easy to wash and dry. You may want to bring some layers for the cooler nights and mornings in the north or the highlands. You may also want to bring some modest clothes that cover your shoulders and knees for visiting temples and pagodas.
- Pack shoes that are sturdy, comfortable, and suitable for walking and hiking. You may want to bring a pair of sandals or flip-flops for the beach or the shower. You may also want to bring some socks and insect repellent to protect your feet from mosquitoes and leeches. vietnam travel advice
- Pack a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and a raincoat or umbrella. Vietnam can be very sunny and hot, especially in the south and the central region. You will need to protect yourself from the sun and the heat. Vietnam can also be very rainy, especially during the monsoon season from May to October. You will need to protect yourself from the rain and the humidity. vietnam travel advice
- Pack a backpack or a suitcase that is durable, lightweight, and easy to carry. You may want to bring a backpack if you plan to travel by bus, train, or motorbike, as it will be easier to store and move around. You may want to bring a suitcase if you plan to travel by plane, taxi, or car, as it will be more secure and spacious. vietnam travel advice
- Pack some essential items such as toiletries, medications, electronics, documents, and money. You may want to bring some toiletries such as shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, etc., as they may not be available or of good quality in some places in Vietnam. You may also want to bring some medications such as painkillers, antihistamines, anti-diarrhea pills, etc., as they may not be easy to find or require a prescription in Vietnam. You may also want to bring some electronics such as a phone, camera, laptop, charger, adapter, etc., as they may be useful or necessary for your trip. You may also want to bring some documents such as your passport, visa, e-ticket, insurance, etc., as they may be required or helpful for your trip. You may also want to bring some money in both Vietnamese dong and US dollars, as they are widely accepted and useful for your trip. vietnam travel advice
Respect the Culture and the People
The last but not least Vietnam travel advice is to respect the culture and the people of Vietnam. Vietnam is a country with a long and rich history, a diverse and vibrant culture, and a friendly and hospitable people. However, there are also some cultural differences and sensitivities that you should be aware of and respect when you visit Vietnam.
Here are some dos and don’ts when traveling in Vietnam:
- Do greet people with a smile and a handshake. Vietnamese people are generally warm and welcoming to foreigners. A smile and a handshake are common ways to greet someone in Vietnam. You may also want to learn some basic Vietnamese phrases such as hello (xin chào), thank you (cảm ơn), goodbye (tạm biệt), etc., as they will show your interest and appreciation for the culture and the people. vietnam travel advice
- Don’t point with your finger or your feet. Vietnamese people consider pointing with your finger or your feet rude and disrespectful. Instead, use your whole hand or nod your head when you want to point at something or someone.
- Do dress appropriately when visiting religious sites. Vietnamese people are mostly Buddhist or follow other traditional beliefs that require modesty and respect when visiting temples, pagodas, shrines, etc. You should dress conservatively and cover your shoulders and knees when entering these places. You should also remove your shoes and hat before entering these places. vietnam travel advice
- Don’t touch someone’s head or show public affection. Vietnamese people consider touching someone’s head offensive and disrespectful, as they believe the head is the most sacred part of the body. You should avoid touching someone’s head unless you have a close relationship with them. You should also avoid showing public affection such as kissing or hugging in public places, as Vietnamese people are generally shy and conservative about these matters.
- Do bargain politely when shopping at markets. Vietnamese people love to bargain when buying or selling goods at markets or street stalls. Bargaining is part of the culture and the fun of shopping in Vietnam. You should bargain politely and respectfully with a smile and a sense of humor. You should also be prepared to walk away if you don’t agree with the price or the quality of the product. vietnam travel advice
- Don’t talk about politics or sensitive topics. Vietnam is a socialist country that has a complicated history with wars, conflicts, colonialism, etc. There are some topics that are sensitive or taboo for many Vietnamese people such as politics, human rights, democracy, corruption, etc. You should avoid talking about these topics unless you have a good understanding of them or you have a trusted friend who can guide you through them.
Vietnam is an amazing country that deserves your visit. By following these Vietnam travel advice, you can make your trip more enjoyable and memorable. You can experience the beauty and diversity of Vietnam, learn about its culture and history, taste its cuisine and drinks, and meet its people and make new friends. Vietnam is a country that will surprise you, delight you, and inspire you. So what are you waiting for? Book your trip to Vietnam today and discover this wonderful country for yourself. You won’t regret it!