Travel Guide for Beginner
Vietnam's currency is called the Vietnamese dong (VND). It's around 20,000 dong to US$1. International access ATMs can be found in most tourist centers all around the country. You will be expected to use dong for cash purchases is rural area, but in bigger centers US dollars are also accepted. Credit cards are accepted such as in shopping malls, travel agencies, luxury restaurants, hotels, etc. However, somewhere may not accept it, especially in restaurants, small stores, etc.
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While visible, local police generally don't speak English. Police are not paid much, so corruption is a problem. Police are most commonly contacted with complaints about dodgy travel agents - in practice, what they can do is just not much, but if it makes you feel better, why not.
Some special units' hotlines for tourists:
- Ho Chi Minh City Criminal Police: 08.38.387.200
- Inspectors of Department of Transportation: 08.38.300.701
- Supporting visitors forces: 08.39.250.000
- Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism: 08.38.234.056
- Ho Chi Minh City Criminal Polices receive and resolve cases related to social security and order, the property infringement cases, the lives of tourists.
- Inspectors of Department of Transportation receive and resolve issues related to tourist transportation, the taxi incident involving blocking, collecting excess of visitors, and forgeting belongings on taxi ...
- Supporting visitors forces guide and support visitors declare the occurrence of property and lives damage cases, prevent objects unsettled, clingy to visitors.
- Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism will guide and assist visitors with information about how to handle the occurrence of infringement cases on property papers, IDs and lives.
Vietnam's health care, while better than that of neighboring Cambodia and Laos, is still inferior to Western standards. For serious injuries, you want to get evacuated to Singapore or Thailand.Yyou have travel insurance, right?
- Emergency hotline: 115
Vietnam has a comprehensive public transport system. Planes, trains and buses cover the entire country comprehensively. The going is slow and doesn’t make the mistake of trying to fit too much of Vietnam into a short trip - otherwise you'll spend the bulk of your time travelling. Both bus and train fares are very affordable. If you're travelling over Tet, you need to book as far in advance as humanly possible.
Trustworthy Taxi hotlines:
- MaiLinh Taxi: (08) 38383838
- Vinasun Taxi: (08) 38272727
TraveloVietnam want to make sure your trip starts, and ends, on the right foot. Whether you're the type of person loves to be early, or the last person on the dancefloor at a party - our accommodation services allow you to squeeze every last drop of excitement out of your adventure. When booking your trip, just let us know if you are planning on extending your trip, and Intrepid can handle all your pre and post trip accommodation requirements for you.
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Most nationalities require a visa for Vietnam - most organize their visa in advance, but it is possible to organize a visa - on arrival if you are flying in. For more information see Visa On Arrival page.
Vietnam visas are the responsibility of the individual traveler. The visa requirements for trip vary depending on traveler’s nationality. Some special nationality are exempted Vietnam visa 15 days for tourist, such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. The others are required visa before entering Vietnam.
As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
In addition, there are some information are related the getting Vietnam visa exemption certificate. For more information, please go to: http://www.vietnam-evisa.org/news/view/getting-visa-exemption-certificate-at-vietnam-embassy.html
We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
The Vietnamese language is difficult. It uses a modified Roman script and is tonal. The script can be confusing to foreigners as some of the roman letters have very different sounds. It is absolutely not like English. Getting the basic (counting, hi and thank you, etc.) are easy, but you'll need a bit of time to get a good grounding in the language. In tourist centers, there are many Vietnamese can speak English, but a number of others cannot. In more remote areas, English speakers can be very rare. Some older Vietnamese will speak more French than English.
There are two seasons - the hot dry season and the hot wet season. Chances are if you're from anywhere outside the tropics, you will feel really hot and sweaty. Vietnam is affected by three main weather patterns, meaning different parts of the country can have wildly different weather at the same time of the year.
Vietnam can be challenging to travel in
Vietnam sees a lower return rate than its neighbors and it is believed that the root of this problem are the scammers. One needs to understand that not every Vietnamese person you meet is out to scam you, but unfortunately many in the tourist industry are. The further you get off the tourist trail you get, the more scam free the experience is likely to be, though it will be a trade off as the remote areas are logistically more difficult to travel.
Vietnam is worth it
It truly is a magnificent country, but it's more work to travel here than in neighboring Cambodia, Laos and Thailand. Have your wits about you, always, always, always ask for personal recommendations from other travelers, and don't obsess about being ripped off. You will be ripped off at some stage or another - that's just a part of the Vietnamese experience unfortunately. On the upside, the vast majority of people are honest, hardworking Vietnamese who have no interest whatsoever in ripping you off but will more than likely enjoy a few fresh beers with you on the street corner. Relax, don't let the scammers get to you, and you'll enjoy it.
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