Vietnam, the beautiful country in Southeast Asia is a popular tourist destination. The land of ascending dragons hosts over 10 million tourists annually. People prefer travelling to Vietnam for its picturesque natural beauty, safe and hospitable environment and ancient Vietnamese culture. Travelling to a new country requires some essential planning beforehand. Especially when travelling to a less fancy country like Vietnam, there are a few things to be taken care of. From Visa and local currency to packing-essentials, here’s a Roughguides.com guide to help you plan your trip to Vietnam.
The Visa regulation and process in Vietnam differs from country to country. Most of the Asia Pacific countries passport holders do not require a visa to visit Vietnam for a stay up to 30 days. The passport holders from Philippines do not require a passport for a stay up to 14 days. Few of the European countries are exempted from visa regulation. Depending on different countries, if required, visa can be obtained from the embassy or visa on arrival is applicable for the passport holders of a few countries.
The Vietnamese dong is the second lowest valuable currency in the world. A few bucks of strong currencies will convert to some millions of dongs. Of course, keeping track of such big-digit currency is difficult, it is advisable to mentally prepare yourself for this big mathematical challenge. Also, there is a minimum amount of dongs that a person should possess to get an entry into Vietnam. It is advisable to carefully read the visa guides before travelling.
Accommodation and Return
For citizens of many countries, it is mandatory to book a place of accommodation and have a printed copy of the return ticket to get an entry into Vietnam. It is advisable to check the status and entry rules in Vietnam for your country and plan accordingly before you travel to Vietnam. The general accommodation in the country is not an issue, the best of the hotels are available at relatively cheaper prices.
What to pack
Vietnam sees many seasons throughout the year. The best time to travel to Vietnam is from February to April and August to October. The climate is mild at these times, a pair of cotton shirt and chinos will do. Expect a light shower from time to time, so an umbrella always comes in handy for the rain or sunshine. It is advisable to keep a few sprays for insect bites just in case you need it.
The Vietnamese people speak the native language only. However, a few people understand a little English and can speak. Communication is not a big issue, it’s pretty much the same as in any non-English speaking country.
Vietnamese time is +7 hours than GMT, which means it lies in the same timezone as Bangkok, Jakarta, Phnom Penh etc.
Culture and Tradition
Vietnam has a very rich culture, and the Vietnamese people are very proud of their culture, heritage and traditions. There are good chances that you might get to be a part of one of the Vietnamese annual festivals. Though the Vietnamese people are polite and hospitable, try not to offend someone when it comes to their cultural practices. Be a part of one of their festivals if possible, the experience is truly mesmerizing.
Where to go in Vietnam
Vietnam is known for its natural beauty and vibrant culture. Also, there is no shortage of water sports activities and other fun activities for adrenaline junkies with a budget. There are cool shopping malls and street markets for shopping and hanging around enjoying the cultural vibes and traditional food. Here is a guide to a few must-visit places in Vietnam.
Dalat: Dalat enjoys a pleasant climate all year long, take some moments to appreciate the beautiful architecture and picturesque sites.
Ho Chi Minh City: Visit the capital city of Vietnam and enjoy a luxury living at some of the best high-end restaurants and hotels. Seek nearby places to enjoy some water sports.
Sapa: This region is blessed with the beauty of nature. Sapa is the hub of trekkers, the view at the top of the mountains is breathtaking.
Hanoi: The city is the cultural hub of Vietnam. There are museums and great historic cafe for a look into history. Great markets for shopping and a visit to beautiful sites like The Presidential Palace and The Grand Opera House are sure to please you.
Hoi An: This is the perfect place to take a stroll around and learn more about the culture and tradition of Vietnam. You can find traditional souvenirs at the local markets of Hoi An.