Vietnam has some amazing sites to see. It is one of our favourite countries that we have ever visited. From great natural wonders to fantastic shopping, mountain adventures and chilling beach life, Vietnam has something to offer for everyone. Once you get passed the aggressive nature of the touts on the street, it can be a wonderful and fulfilling travel. The people will soon win over your hearts and it will become one of your top travel destinations like it is ours. These Vietnam travel tips will help you plan your next vacation.
Vietnam Travel Tips
- Vietnamese power voltage is 220 V 50 Hz; Power sockets A, C & G
- The Vietnamese currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND) and is around 2,000 VND for 1 USD
- Vietnam has some of the cheapest beer in the world – a glass of bia hoi can be as low as 0.16 USD.
- Get ready to haggle: tourists tend to get charged more than locals so make sure to drive a hard bargain and don’t underestimate the power of walking away.
- Watch out for gambling scams in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (particularly in the Pham Ngu Lao neighbourhood). The scam starts with a friendly invitation to someone’s home. While waiting, visitors are invited to play a game of cards. Even though the game starts with small wagers, victims have reported losing thousands of dollars over the course of an evening.
- Etiquette plays an important role in Vietnamese society: public displays of affection should be avoided, when you give something to another person, always use both hands and you should avoid pointing with your finger, putting your hands on your hips or crossing your chest with your arms.
- Travel is not recommended during Vietnamese New Year (Tet), which falls in late January or early February as prices are sky high and it can be a little hectic.
- Shop until you drop! Hoi An is a town in Central Vietnam that attracts tourists for its tailor made clothing. The talented seamstresses will have you measured and sized up in an instant. Just be sure to ask for double stitching, otherwise your clothes won’t last to the next city.
Top Packing Tips
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, moderated by two monsoons. The weather varies greatly from North to South, depending on elevation and the type of landscape. Northern Vietnam has four seasons with a cold winter and hot summer. Central Vietnam has high temperatures all year round, with possible flooding occurring from October to December. Southern Vietnam has a distinct dry season and wet season.
- Dress modestly. Shorts and beachwear, which includes bikinis and swimsuits, should be worn only at the beach, as this kind of dress is really frowned upon in the towns and cities. People visiting pagodas are recommended to cover their legs and shoulders.
- The protection basics – Travellers should stock up on the essentials: sun block, mosquito/insect repellant containing DEET or a pyrethroid insecticide, sunglasses and a hat.
- Pack for Humidity – for humid weather it is best to pack fabrics that breathe as much as possible and natural fabrics, like cotton, linen or rayon (avoiding silk, wool and polyester). Clothing should be loose and comfortable to encourage the flow of air and allow moisture to evaporate. Think: cool but conservative.
- Proper footwear – pack a pair of comfortable sandals that can be slipped on and off easily (as many places require footwear to be left at the door) and if you plan on trekking or hiking, a pair of supportive hiking boots. And don’t forget about those flip flops for the beach!
Top Things to do in Vietnam
- Explore the Cu Chi Tunnels – fascinating 200 km system of underground tunnels. You can visit Cu Chi from Ho Chi Minh City on a day tour.
- Go on a Mekong Delta Tour – You will explore the Mekong area by tour boat, traditional rowboat and minibus. The highlight of the trip is a visit to the famous Cai Ba floating market
- Visit Ha Long Bay – Located about 165 km East of Hanoi on the Gulf of Tonkin. It is a spectacular destination.
- See Sapa – Sapa has become a little overcrowded with tourists, but if you book a multi-day trek to stay in a home stay with one of the ethnic minority peoples, you will get a feel for traditional life and will be far enough away from the hustle and bustle of Sapa for an authentic experience.
- Explore Cat Tien National Park – Measuring around 720km² Cat Tien National Park is a treasure trove of wildlife and it is home to many endangered species.