- Air access - Currency
- Overland - Securities
- Entry Formalities - Languages
- Customs Regulations - Drinking
- Climate - Shopping
- Health equipment - Time and Business Hours
- What to take with you - Public Holidays
- What to wear
Vietnam has three international airports: Hanoi (Noi Bai), Danang (Danang) and Saigon (Tan Son Nhat). Noi Bai Airport is 34 km from the downtown of Hanoi whilst Danang Airport and Tan Son Nhat Airport are almost in the centre of the cities.
Cities with directs flight to Hanoi/Noi Bai Airport are Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Nanning, Paris, Seoul, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo and Vientiane.
Airline Companies currently serving in Hanoi are Aeroflot, All Nippon Airway, Air France, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Airlines, China Southern Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Laos Aviation, Malaysian Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Thai Airways and Vietnam Airlines.
LCCs ( low cost carriers ) have flights to Hanoi is Air Asia and Nok Air, mainly serve en route Bangkok - Hanoi - Bangkok.
Cities with directs flight to Saigon /Tan Son Nhat Airport are Bangkok, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Melbourne, Osaka, Paris, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Siem Reap, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Vienna, Vientiane and Zurich.
Airline Companies currently serving in Saigon are Aeroflot, All Nippon Airway, Air France, Asiana Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, China Southern Airlines, Japan Airlines, Korean Air, Lauda Air, Laos Aviation, Lufthansa, German Airlines, Malaysian Airlines, Pacific Airlines, Royal Khmer Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Swissair, Thai Airways, Qatar Airways, and of course Vietnam Airlines.
LCCs (low cost carriers ) have flights to Ho Chi Minh city is Tiger Airways with route Singapore - Ho Chi Minh - Singapore and Jetstar Airway with route Sydney - Hochiminh – Sydney.
Domestic flights are served by Jetstar Pacific Airlines, Indochine Airlines and Vietnam Airlines (mainly). Jetstar Pacific Airlines and Indochine Airlines are LCC.
Hanoi: 1 Quang Trung St., Hanoi, tel: (84) 4-8320 320
Saigon: 116-118 Nguyen Hue Blvd., tel: (84) 8-8292 118
Jetstar Pacific Airlines
Hanoi: 152 Le Duan St., tel: (84) 4-5181 503
Saigon: 77 Le Thanh Ton St., District 1, tel: (84) 8-8231 285
Hanoi: 63 Ly Thuong Kiet - Tran Hung Dao Ward - Hoan Kiem district
Saigon: Floor 9 – C.T Plaza Building 60A Truong Son, Ward 2, Tan Binh District.
You can also get into Vietnam by land from China, Laos and Cambodia but the Visa must be indicated clearly by Vietnamese Embassies with one or two of the below Entry Points. Tourists can pass the border at the following Entry Points
Huu Nghi Border Gate in Lang Son province, Northeast Vietnam - connect Guangzhi province, China.
Mong Cai Border Gate in Quang Ninh province - Northeast Vietnam - connect Guangzhi province, China
Ha Khau Border Gate in Lao Cai province - Northwest Vietnam - connect Yunnan province, China
• Tay Trang Border Gate in Dien Bien Province - Northeast Vietnam - connect to Phongsaly province, Laos.:
• Na Meo Border Gate in Thanh Hoa Province - north Centre of Vietnam - connect to Samnua province, Laos.
• Nam Can Border Gate in Nghe An Province - north Centre of Vietnam - connect to Xieng Khoang province Lao
• Keo Nua (Cau Treo) Border Gate in Ha Tinh Province - north Centre of Vietnam
• Lao Bao Border Gate in Quang Tri Province - north Centre of Vietnam - connect to Savannakhet province Laos.
• Cha Lo Border Gate in Quang Binh Province - north Centre of Vietnam
• Bo Y Border Gate in Kon Tum Province - Central highland of Vietnam - connect to Attapeu province, Laos.
• Le Thanh Border Gate in Gia Lai Province - Central highland of Vietnam - connect (Ratanakiri, Cambodia):
• Moc Bai Border Gate in Tay Ninh Province - South Vietnam
• Sa Mat Border Gate in Tay Ninh Province - South Vietnam
• Dinh Ba Border Gate in Dong Thap Province - South Vietnam - Mekong delta - connect Prey Veng, Cambodia.
• Tinh Bien Border Gate in An Giang Province - South Vietnam - Mekong delta
• Xa Xia Border Gate in Kien Giang Province - South Vietnam - Mekong delta
connects Kampot province Cambodia
Entry visas are obtainable at Vietnamese diplomatic missions and required for all visitors with valid passports irrespective of nationality. Please allow 3-7 days for processing. Travel permits are only required for trips to off-limit areas such as border provinces, military bases and remote islands.
Bilateral visa exemption agreement
• Citizens of Thailand, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Laos holding valid ordinary passports are exempt from visa requirements and are allowed to stay for not more than 30 days.
• French citizens holding valid diplomatic passports are exempt from visa requirements when visiting Vietnam and are allowed to stay for up 3 months at one time or on several visits within six months since their first immigration dates. Vietnamese citizens holding valid diplomatic passports also enjoy similar privileges.
• Citizens of Chile and Vietnam holding valid diplomatic or official passports from one of the two countries are exempt from needing entry, exit and transit visas in the other's territory and are allowed to stay for up 60 days on each visit.
Unilateral visa exemption agreement
• Visa with 30-day validity is exempted for officials from ASEAN secretariat holding different kinds of passports.
• Citizens of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Japan and South Korea holding different kinds of passports are exempt from visa requirements and are allowed to stay for not more than 15 days.
In case visa approval is arranged by CJ Travel, we would like to offer you two ways to obtain visa
IMPORTANT: Please take a note that visa on arrival in Vietnam means VISA STAMPED on arrival. Guests must get visa approval by Vietnam Immigration office in advance. Being misunderstood, many tourists must spend at least 1-2 day at entry gates to arrange the visa.
Arriving in Vietnam, all visitors must fill in Declaration Forms and show their luggage to Customs Officials upon request. There are no limited amounts of foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold but visitors must declare these in detail on the customs forms.
ENTRY: Tourists are authorized to bring in the following items duty-free: Cigarettes: 400 pieces; Cigars: 50-100; Tobacco: 500 gram; Liquor: 1.5l.
Personal effects of a reasonable quantity. Small gift items valued at not more than US$ 500.
Note: There is no limit to the amounts of cash, precious metals and gems people can bring in, but amounts of over US$ 7,000 must be declared.
It is prohibited for any visitor to bring into Vietnam the followings:
* Weapons, explosives and inflammable objects.
* Opium and other narcotics.
* Cultural materials unsuitable to Vietnamese society.
EXIT: Goods of commercial nature and articles of high value require export permits issued by the Customs Office. Antiques, some precious stones and animals listed in Vietnam's red-book may not be brought out of the country.
Vietnam shares borders with Cambodia, Laos and China, and features 3,200 km of coastline bordering the Eastern Sea. With an area of 332,000 square km, Vietnam’s topography varies from coastal plains to mountain ranges .Vietnam stretches over 1,800 km from north to south ; therefore weather patterns in the principle cities are very different.
The North: Winter lasts from November to April , with temperatures averaging 160C but little rainfall. Summer begins in May and lasts until October, with temperature of 300 C, heavy rainfall and the occasional Violent typhoon.
The Center: Central Vietnam experiences a transitional climate, halfway between those of the north and south.
The South: Temperature are fairly constant through the year; 250 C – 300 C, Seasons are determined by the rain – the dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October . the hottest period is March and April, before the rain have broken . Typhoon s are quite common in coastal areas between July and November.
The Highland Areas: In the hill resorts of Dalat (1,500m) , Buon Ma Thuot and Sapa , nights are cool throughout the year, and in the winter months, October to March ,it can be distinctly chilly with temperature falling to 40 C. Even in the hottest months of March and April the temperature rarely exceeds 260 C.
No actual vaccinations are officially required. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended but visitors are advised to check with their doctors or travel immunization clinics regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B.
What to take with you
There are a few things you should bring with:
* A map, certainly
* Photocopies of your passport and visa.
* Cash in US$ 20’s and $ 100’s.
* A folding umbrella if you plan to visit during the rainy season. The wettest months are July and August.
* Zip lock bags. They are cheap, disposable, and keep all kinds of things fresh and dry.
* Hotel cards: You should keep your hotel cards or brochures to show people to get guidance in case of missing way back home.
* Business Cards. You will discover that practically everyone in Vietnam has a calling card of some kinds. The proper way to offer your card is to hold it by the corners with both hands.
What to wear
Appropriate dress differs from North to South. Southern Vietnam is tropical year round and people dress comfortably and casually. Lightweight cotton and wool fabrics will be comfortable at any time of year. While they may resist wrinkles, synthetics and are blends miserably hot. Generally, short pants are inappropriate anywhere but a beach resort or a farm and you will look like a foolish tourist on the streets of most cities. Jeans are almost always fashionable except for business occasions.
Winter (November through April) can be cool in Hanoi, and a coat may be necessary. Dress here is a bit more formal and somber than the fashionable South. If traveling on business, jackets and ties are usually appropriate, regardless of the weather. Saigon’s business community is very image oriented. It’s alright to ask your business partners here what kind of attire is appropriate and expected.
Remember that Vietnam is a tropical country. Most of the year it is warm and humid. If you are not used to tropical weather, be prepared to shower and change your clothes two or three times a day. During rainy season in Saigon the rain is often short (20-30 minutes) and some times quite sudden. Practically every hotel in Vietnam has laundry service, which is usually quite inexpensive.
The local currency is the dong (abbreviated "d" or VND). Bank notes are 500D, 1000D, 2,000D, 5,000D, 10,000D, 20,000D, 50,000D, and 100,000D and 500.000D. The rate of exchange at updating time is approximately VND 19.200 to one US. Dollar. Credit cards are generally only accepted in major cities. Visitors are recommended to carry US Dollar in small denominations. Travelers can change their money for Vietnamese dong (VND) at banks, hotels and jewelry shops throughout the country.
In big cities, do not bring along anything valuable as you go shopping or sightseeing on the street.
It is dispensable to give aims to beggars and to buy souvenirs from street vendors.
Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks, or authorized exchange bureaus. Never exchange money on street.
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam but there are various dialects spoken by hill tribe people in remote areas. Leaning foreign languages , particularly English and French, is currently in vogue among young people in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang and other cities.
Bottled water and mineral water are obtainable at any shops in most cities. It is advisable to drink boiled water and not to drink ice and tap water. The most reliable local brand is LA VIE (Don’t confuse them with the imitations such as La Ville or La Vierge). Aquafina of Pepsi and real Evian also available at many shops.
Vietnamese arts and crafts products have been displayed at many international fairs. Articles made of lacquer, rattan, bamboo, and palm are quite popular. Vietnamese are also experts in making items out of wood, animal hide and horns, tortoise and oyster shells. Other items such as embroidered articles, objects inlaid with mother-of-pearl, ceramic objects, gold and silver jewelry, and paintings are also very popular. These can be purchased in shops or directly from the manufacturers.
Time and Business Hours
GMT plus 7 hours
All Government offices are open Monday to Friday from 7.30am to 4.30pm (with a one-hour lunch break). Saturday and Sunday are holidays. In local regions, offices are open from 7am to 11.30am and from 1.30pm to 5 pm.
Banks are open from 7.30am or 8am to 3.30pm. They are closed on Saturday and Sunday. Private shops are open from 8am or 8.30am to 9pm or 10pm.
Saturday and Sunday are holidays. There are eight public holidays in a year.
- January 1: New Year’s Day, one-day holiday
- April 30: Saigon Liberation Day, one-day holiday
- May 1: International Labour Day, one-day holiday
- September 2: National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, one-day holiday
- Vietnam traditional Lunar New Year Festival (Tet Nguyen Dan): four-day holiday. This holiday begins on the ever of the last lunar month and lasts through the first three days of the 1st lunar month.
Other major anniversaries (solar calendar)
- February 3: Anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party
- May 19: Birthday of President Ho Chi Minh
Traditional events (lunar calendar)
- Tet Nguyen Dan (The lunar New Year Festival) is the biggest festival that takes place every year in Vietnam. According to Vietnamese customs, Tet is a family oriented celebration and an occasion for family members to meet. It is also an occasion for people to light incense to commemorate their deceased relatives. The lunar New Year’s festival is the most sacred celebration in Vietnam during which people wish each other health and happiness.
- Tet Khai Ha on the 7th day of the 1st month heralds the coming of spring. This is a sign of bumper harvest and prosperity.
- Tet Thuong Nguyen (or Tet Nguyen Tieu) on the 15th day of the 1st month. Devout Buddhists celebrate at Buddhist Shrines. This is also called the anniversary of Buddha’s death.
- Tet Han Thuc (cold goods) takes place on the 3rd day of the 3rd month. People make offerings of banh troi and banh chay (rice flour doughnuts stuffed with bean paste or lumps of brown sugar).
- Tet Thanh Minh (serene sky) falls on the 5th day of the 3rd month. This is an occasion for people to visit and tidy the burial mounds of relatives.
- New Year of Khmer people in the Mekong Delta on the 2nd day of the 4th month.
- Buddha’s Birthday on the 8th day of the 4th month.
- Tet Doan Ngo also called “Exterminating pest Day”, is the 5th day of the 5th month. It is tradition to get up early, bathe, eat fruit and drink sticky-rice wine.
- Tet Trung Nguyen on the 15th day of the 7th month. This day is held to forgive the lost souls, to fulfil filial duty, and to remember the dead. Shoes and dresses made of paper, along with votive paper, are burned in every household.
- Tet Trung Thu (Mid Autumn festival) on the 15th day of the 8th month. This is a joyful occasion for children to enjoy several activities, such as singing, dancing, parading with lanterns shaped as moon and stars, and eating pastries.
- Kate Tet is celebrated by the Cham people of the Brahmanist group on the 29th day of the 8th month.
- Tet Ha Nguyen (New-Rice Tet) fall on the 1th day of the 10th month.
- Lantern Festival is celebrated by the Khmer population in the south-west of Vietnam in honour of the moon, on the 15th day of the 11th month.
- Tet Tao Quan (Household Gods) is on the 23th day of the 12th month. It ends a year of working and heralds the coming of Tet Nguyen Dan.