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Vietnam Travel Tips


Visa

Most tourists travelling to Vietnam will need a visa except citizens of 23 visa-free countries including Germany, Italy, England, Malaysia, Singapore, etc. Tourists can apply the visa in a Vietnam embassy in advance or apply the approval letter for a land visa and get it upon arrival. Citizens from 40 countries can apply for a 30-day e-visa.


Cost

Dong is the basic money unit. 1$ ≈ 22,690 dong. The most expensive city is Ho Chi Minh City. As for food, a baguette is about 15,000 dong, a cup of yogurt costs about 6,000 dong and a bowl of Vietnamese noodles is about 25,000 dong. For accommodation, a standard room in a 3-star hotel costs about 1 million dong and a bed in one hostel costs about 100,000 dong covering the breakfast.


Accommodation

1. Big cities all have high-quality hotels. Besides the popular ones, high-end resorts and villas can also be found in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and other famous tourist destinations. Tourists don’t have to give tips except in some hotels and restaurants.
2. Most cities have hostels where the price is low and the rooms are clean. Some even provide tour guide service. It will be one-third off the regular price if tourists check-in in the afternoon.
3. Guest houses spreads all over Vietnam which targeted at backpackers. Although the conditions are not as good as grand hotels, the atmosphere there gives tourist a kind and warm feeling. Besides, Open Tour buses directly picks up passengers from some famous Guest Houses. Prices differ depending on the room conditions. Generally speaking, the price is between $6-10 per room and 30-50% extra money will be required if using air conditioning service.


Food

Pho
The ingredients in pho include yellow cattle meat and thin rice noodles. The fresh meat and chewy noodles are a perfect match.

Glutinous Rice
Vietnamese cook glutinous rice in an impressive way. Five-colored glutinous rice can be seen everywhere on the streets and there are even franchised stores selling glutinous rice exclusively. Soft and fragrant glutinous rice mixed with mung bean flour, roasted meat, spiced eggs, pork floss and other ingredients give diners an endless aftertaste.

Spring Roll
The stuffing of spring rolls is generally made by bean vermicelli, mushrooms, meat, eggs and vegetables. The wrapper of spring roll is made of rice flour. Fish sauce, vinegar, pepper, garlic are often blended together to be added onto the spring rolls, endowing the food a mixture of flavors.

Recommended Restaurants:
Quan An Ngon in Hanoi: A chain restaurants which provides all kinds of Vietnamese street food.
Pho 2000 in Ho Chi Minh City: In 2000, President Clinton visited this restaurant, so it was named Pho 2000 since then. Its specialties include beef pho, chicken pho and seafood pho.


Shopping

Dong Xuan Market
Only 600 meters (1,969 feet) to the north of Hoan Kiem Lake, Dong Xuan Market is the liveliest old market in Hanoi. It is famous for the attractive price and quality of goods.

Nha Trang Night Market
It is a small night market where all kinds of souvenirs, clothes, accessories, and daily necessities are for sale. Besides, you can savor local food at the stalls.

Ben Thanh Market
It is the largest trade market in Ho Chi Minh City providing food, daily necessities, handicrafts, etc. All kinds of souvenirs can be found but the quality differs a lot and the price is negotiable. Except souvenirs, traditional Vietnamese food can also be found in this market and the price is reasonable.


Festivals

Spring Festival
During the Spring Festival, families worship the the Kitchen God and ancestors, set fireworks, paste Spring Couplets and hang out red lanterns. Traditional cultural activates such as dragon and lion dances are held on streets.
Date: 1st, lunar January

Hung Kings' Temple Festival
Vietnamese believe that Hung Kings are their ancestors so they pay much attention to this festival. On that day, all temples would hold grand celebrations.
Date: 10th, lunar March

National Day
Grand gathering would be held on streets to celebrate the independence of Vietnam.
Date: 2nd, September


Power Supply

Vietnam's voltage is 220 v and the socket is two-round-hole type in Germany standard.


Wifi

Wifi is popular in the country and tourists can connect with it in most public places like hotels, restaurants, cafes.


Phone Card

Tourists can directly buy a phone card at the airport. Currently, there are operators like Mobi Fone, Vina Fone, Viettel and Vietnammobile. It is advised to choose Viettel for the signal is very strong and the phone charge is cheap.


Do's and Don'ts

1. Tourists should be careful about the cheap private taxis. Although their price is low, they may be stopped by the police. If so, you would not only be delayed but also face a fine.
2. The overall political situation is stable and the public security is in good condition, however, robbing occurs sometimes. So it is advised that tourists should not take the valuables out and watch out for bags.
3. It often rains cats and dogs with no warning, so tourists are recommended to take an umbrella.


Useful Numbers

Calling Code: +0084
Emergency Center: 115
Fire: 114
Police: 113


Further Reading: 
Things to Do in Vietnam   Vietnam Transportation