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Vietnam Travel Information

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WHAT TO WEAR
Throughout the year, it is advisable to wear summer clothing: thin clothes in light colour. In December and January, warm clothes are recommended for visits to the northern provinces.
 
It is advisable to bring umbrellas or raincoats in the rainy season from May to November in southern and northern Vietnam, from August to January in central Vietnam. 
 
The wearing of suits for business is now common in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Dress should be respectable, especially if entering religious premises such as temples and pagodas. 
 
SECURITY
In big cities, do not bring along valuables as going shopping or sightseeing in the street. It is dispensable to give alms to beggars and to buy souvenirs from street vendors. 
 

Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks or authorized exchange bureaus. Do not exchange money in the street. It is advisable not to ride on pedicabs or “honda-om” by oneself.

 
LANGUAGE
English, French, Cantonese and Japanese are spoken by hotel staff. Guides and interpreters speaking English, French, Russian, Japanese, German, Cantonese, Mandarin, etc. are available from the Saigontourist Travel Service Co. 
 
FILM AND DEVELOPING
Fresh negative film is widely available. Popular brands are Fuji, Kodak, Agfa and Konica. Positive colour print film is only obtainable in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
 

One-hour service photo shops are ubiquitous in tourist areas. Positive film and digital card can be processed and printed only in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
 

SHOPPING
The following items are preferred by foreign travellers:
  • Carved wooden furniture, fine lacquerware (these can be shipped home on request).
  • Traditional Vietnamese hand-made silk dresses, kimonos, embroideries, etc.
  • Simulated antiques, fine ceramics, old watches or Zippo lighters, etc.
  • Copies of famous paintings.
     
HEALTH
No vaccinations are presently required for visitors to enter Vietnam. However, it is advisable that precautionary measures be taken for cholera, malaria, hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tuberculosis. 
 
Although international medical centres are available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, it can be expensive for emergency care. Therefore, health and emergency medical insurance prior to visiting Vietnam is highly recommended for foreigners.
 
Clinics with qualified Vietnamese and foreign doctors to treat foreign patients:
 
Hanoi:
+ Viet Duc Hospital
40 Trang Thi St., Hoan Kiem District
Tel: (84.4) 8253531
+ Asia Emergency Assistance
31 Hai Ba Trung St., Hoan Kiem District
Tel: (84.4) 9340555
Ho Chi Minh City:
+ Asia Emergency Assistance
65 Nguyen Du St., District 1
Tel: (84.8) 8298520
+ Columbia International Healthcare
08 Alexandre de Rhodes St., District 1
Tel: (84.8) 8238455
 

NATIONAL HOLIDAYS

1 Jan New Year’s Day
1 Feb 2003 and 22 Jan 2004 Lunar New Year (Tet)
30 Apr Saigon Liberation Day
1 May International Labour Day
2 Sep National Day
 
OTHER USEFUL TIPS
  • Business hours: (GMT + 7)
    - Offices: 8: 00 a.m to 11: 30 a.m and 1: 00 p.m to 5: 00 p.m, closed on Saturdays & Sundays.
    - Banks: 8: 00 a.m to 3: 00 p.m, closed on Saturdays & Sundays.
  • Airport tax for every passenger on every departure
    - International flights: US$ 14 at Noi Bai Airport, US$ 12 at Tan Son Nhat Airport, US$ 8 at Da Nang Airport.
    - Domestic flights: already including in airfares.
  • Electrical current: 110-220 volts A.C.
  • Long distance calls should be made at post offices, hotels or telephone booths (phone cards are available at post offices).
  • A tip for good service might be about 5% of the bill.
  • 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.
  • Travel permits are only required for trips to off-limit areas such as border provinces, military bases and remote islands.

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