Vietnam: Travel tips

The Vietnamese used to greet one another by clasping their hands, prayer-like, in front of their faces and bowing slightly. Unfortunately, this charming custom has been replaced by the handshake.

Vietnam: Travel tips
Vietnam: Travel tips

Etiquette

The Vietnamese used to greet one another by clasping their hands, prayer-like, in front of their faces and bowing slightly. Unfortunately, this charming custom has been replaced by the handshake.

When trying to gain the attention of a Vietnamese, try not to point or gesture excessively as this is regarded as rude. Call out their names if possible, or beckon by using the whole hand, palm downwards.

Do not touch people on the head as it is regarded as spiritually the ‘highest’ part of the body.

When visiting a temple or a pagoda, take off your shoes and socks before entering any religious place. Let them both at the entrance and walk barefoot in the temple or the pagoda. Wear tee-shirt and shorts hiding at least your shoulders and your knees. Don’t wear hats or caps in the temples and pagodas

Health Requirements

Travelers are advised to go to see their doctor for a check-up prior to the trip. Some countries will require specific vaccinations and your doctor will have access to the most up to date information about this. It is also a good idea to have a dental check-up before you go, as the facilities in many of the countries to which we travel may not be of the same standard as you are used to.

Currency, Money Exchange & ATM

The local currency is the Dong (abbreviated "d" or VND). Money, particularly US dollars can be exchanged at banks, hotels, and authorized money exchangers. Most retailers do not accept checks. But Visa, Master & JCB cards are widely accepted. Some merchants also accept AMEX. A 3% bank charge on transactions (4% for AMEX) is pretty common, due to bank policies. ATMs are very popular in most tourist destinations.     

What to bring

Walking shoes for exploring Vietnam’s numerous natural wonders and attractions is a must regardless of the weather. Warm clothes for the north and mountainous areas throughout the country are also highly recommended, especially in the cooler months. Light clothes for the beaches and lowland areas of the south and a jacket for air-conditioned transfers is recommended.

Internet

You can access the internet at hotels, cyber cafés & Internet/Computer Service Centers. ADSL technology is widely used in major cities. Also, WIFI internet is available at some cyber cafés, restaurants, and most hotels in major tourist destinations.

Free WIFI is also available in some international airports.    

Emergency contacts:

Police: 113

Ambulance: 115

Fire department: 114

Gratuities

While not compulsory, tipping is greatly appreciated throughout Southeast Asia, especially in the service industry, when you are pleased with the services provided. For reference, we have provided a general guideline below:

  • Guides (>4 travellers): $10-$15 per day per traveller
  • Drivers (>4 travellers): $5-$7 per day per traveller
  • Guides (<5 travellers): $5-$10 per day per traveller
  • Drivers (<5 travellers): $3-$5 per day per traveller
  • Restaurants: 10-15% of the total bill
  • Hotel Maid Service: $2 - $3 per day
  • Porters: $2 - $3 at time of service
  • Local Boat Transport: $5 - $10 per boat
  • Overnight Cruise: $5 - $10 per night per traveller (to cover all crew) Please note all prices are quoted in USD