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Vietnam Travel Information

Visa Information

In order to enter Vietnam, you will need a valid visa. You cannot get a visa on arrival. We recommend you get your visa in advance in good time by application to the London consulate. In exceptional circumstances, we can pre-arrange your visa for collection on arrival, but this is normally only appropriate for late bookings.
When you book your holiday with Dragon Travel, we will send a booking pack containing full visa application details and application forms.

Airport Departure Taxes

Airport departure tax (service charge) is now included in your air ticket. It is no longer necessary to pay it in cash at the airport.

Money Matters

The currency in Vietnam is called the 'Dong' (VND).
At the time of writing 1 = 35600 VND approx.
US$1 = 21200 VND approx.
There is no point in trying to obtain Dong in the UK, it is best to buy what you need on arrival. As it is awkward to change Dong back into Sterling, change only moderate amounts to cover your immediate needs.
The US dollar is also universally accepted. Sterling can readily be changed to Dong in the larger cities, but we have experienced some difficulties changing sterling in smaller places. In summary, we recommend you carry US dollar bills and a credit card for settling hotel incidentals bills and major purchases.

Mobile Telephones.

If your mobile phone is enabled for roaming, you will find it works in the most parts of Vietnam except perhaps remote country areas.

Electricity.

Electricity supply is 220VAC, 50Hz. Power sockets are generally two flat pin ('V' configuration), or Euro style 2-pin.

Health.

We strongly recommend you take medical advice from your doctor before visiting any part of Indochina. He or she will be be able to advise you on the latest health-related recommendations and preventive measures. Water is drinkable in major hotels, but we recommend you stick to bottled water which is available everywhere. In particular, when ordering beer or other drinks, ensure that any ice offered is safe to drink.

Sensible Precautions.

Visitors to Vietnam rarely experience crime or other difficulties but please remember that there are bad people everywhere and, particularly in the main cities (especially HCMC), petty crime e.g. theft can be a problem. Please take sensible precautions as for any 'third-world' country.
Please do not carry passports, important papers or a lot of money when walking in the street: make use of hotel safes where available. Handbags and cameras have been snatched by motor-cycle pillion riders. Ostentatious jewellery or watches are a temptation.
Cyclos (bicycle rickshaws) are now scarce in Vietnam and those that are left are primarily a tourist attraction and best avoided in major cities due to the very busy traffic. Always negotiate fares with cyclo drivers before embarking, and avoid cyclos after nightfall. Taxis are inexpensive and a much better bet for city travel beyond walking distance. Most taxis are clearly marked with the taxi company's name and drivers are licensed and usually reputable.

Weather.

Northern Vietnam
(Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Hai Phong) has two distinct seasons - hot and rainy summers and cool and dry winters.
Summer: May - October. Average temperature 24 - 33 C It is hot and humid, especially inland, which is not touched by cool coastal breezes. Tropical rain showers and the occasional typhoon are also possibilities - light clothes and an umbrella are recommended.
Winter: November - April. Average temperature 16 - 23 C It remains fairly dry up until late February/March.
Best time to visit: During winter when rainfall is minimal and temperatures are comfortable.

Central Vietnam
(Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang) coastal areas are more temperate than the sticky south (although they do experience high rainfall), while the Central Highlands (Da Lat) are pleasantly cooler.
Summer: May - October. Average temperature 23 - 24C
Lowlands (Hue, Da Nang, Hoi An, Nha Trang) The weather is warm and reasonably dry from May to September. The monsoon winds then change bringing above average rain during late September. This time is not very pleasant as it can rain constantly - there is a high probability of flooding, visibility is poor and typhoons are also a possibility.
Winter: November - April. Average temperature 17 - 23 C
Best time to visit: During the winter between February and April, when rainfall is low and temperatures are warm.
Highlands (Dalat) Temperatures can fall slightly below the average and rainfall is higher than at lower elevations. However, most rain tends to fall during the summer months when it can be very wet - although these summer months do provide a respite from the often intense heat of other areas.
Light cotton clothes are recommended, although a few warm layers are advisable throughout the year as temperatures can drop away, especially at night. Waterproofs are also a good idea as rain can fall at anytime of the year.
Best time to visit: During winter when rainfall is minimal and temperatures are comfortable.

Southern Vietnam
(Ho Chi Minh, Bin Thuen, Mekong Delta) is fairly consistently hot and humid all year round. Worth Carrying lightweight jumper as it can be chillingly cold inside air-conditioned buildings during summer.
Summer:May - November. Average temperature 24 - 31 C It is hot, humid and rainy but heavy downpours are usually short lived.
Winter: December - April. Average temperature 22 - 33 C Remains hot and humid, although humidity levels are more bearable between December and February. During April and May the southwest monsoon winds bring rain showers to the Mekong Delta and southern Vietnam.
Best time to visit: Temperatures are not as extreme from September to February as they can be during March and April when the heat is fierce.

Map of Vietnam

Map of Vietnam>