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Vietnam Traveler’s tips

by activetravelvietnam | March 2, 2008 at 09:32 pm | 623 views | 1 comment
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1.1. Weather

Expected temperature and weather in locations in your itinerary
Hanoi – Halong: Sunny and hot: 22 -30oC
Hue – Hoian: Sunny and hot: 24 -35oC
Saigon -Mekong: Sunny and hot: 23- 34oC
Seam Reap – Phnom Penh: Sunny and hot: 23- 34oC

1.2. Local flight schedule could be changed at short notice. This is beyond our control. However, we undertake to do our best to minimize any inconvenience caused

1.3. What need to be brought in Vietnam
– International Airline ticket
– Passport and photocopies of your passport
– Visa or Visa approval letter and some color passport photos (size4x6cm) (at least 2)
– Insurance document (if had)
– Cash in US$ or Euros 20’s and 100’s
– Other equipment (please refer to our suggested equipments list below)
• Suggested Equipment List
Below is a suggested equipment list. Dress in Southeast Asia tends to be quite casual because of the warm, humid, tropical climate. For women, casual cotton pants and skirts are most acceptable for daytime wear, but bare sundresses and short shorts are frowned upon, especially in pagodas & temples.
A sweater, sweatshirt, light jacket, or fleece pullover is a good idea when visiting the northern areas in the winter ( from November to March); and, because the climate is tropical, it is useful to have a windbreaker or rain poncho as protection against the unexpected rain showers that tend to occur.
• Duffel bag – waterproof and with a lock, or easily wheeled suitcase
• 5-6 zip lock bags (They come in handy for all kinds of uses.)
• Sun glasses or reading glasses
• Good walking shoes and sandal
• Good trekking shoes ( for trekking tour) or slippers ( for beach relaxing tour)
• Camera and film
• Mobil phone
• Head phone and your favorite music compact dis (CD).
• Favorite Books/ Vietnam Guide book ( highly recommended Lonely Planet)/ Dairy
• Biro pens, pencils/note book
• Pictures of your family

1.4 Basic Clothes
• Good walking shoes or cloth sneakers (They are light and dry easily. Good for driving.)
• 3-4 pairs of socks
• Polar fleece pullover or jacket or sweater ( if travel in the north from November to March)
• 4-5 T-shirts or blouses
• Wide-brimmed sun hat
• Underwear (3-5 sets, depending on your desire to wash)
• Mid-calf lightweight walking skirts or dresses or loose pants (women)
• 1-2 bandannas
• Bathing suit
• Long-sleeved shirts
• Raincoat or poncho

1.5 Health equipment and Medical Items
No actual vaccinations are officially required. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended but visitors are advised to check with their doctors or travel immunization clinics regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B.
Although we do not expect you to get sick, it is better to be prepared. We do carry a medical kit with bandages, splints and the like. However, our leaders (tour guides) are not permitted to dispense personal medicines to clients. It is important if you bring a complete, personal medical and first aid kit along with a few other essential items. We suggest the following (Note: You will need to pack sharp objects in checked baggage due to tightened airline security):
• Aspirin or Tylenol Band-Aids and betadine ointment
• Throat lozenges and cough medicine
• Cold medicine and antihistamines
• Cipro – an antibiotic for indigestion
• Chaps tick
• Suntan lotion 100% UV effective (25 SPF or higher)
• Biodegradable soap (The blue bottles of Mountain Suds are excellent)
• Pack towel/washcloth
• OB tampons (women)
• Hand/body lotion
• Brush/comb
• Toothbrush/toothpaste
• Eye drops
• Facial breathing filters (optional for Kathmandu)
• Antiseptic toilettes
• Insect/ mosquito repellent
• Sewing kit with scissors, tweezers, and needle. (Note: You will need to pack sharp objects in checked baggage due to tightened airline security.)

1.6 Customs regulations
Arriving in Vietnam, all visitors must fill in Declaration Forms and show their luggage to Customs Officials upon request. There are no limited amounts of foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold but visitors must declare these in detail on the customs forms.
ENTRY: Tourists are authorized to bring in the following items duty-free: Cigarettes: 400 pieces; Cigars: 50-100; Tobacco: 100 gram; Liquor: 1.5l.
Personal effects of a reasonable quantity. Small gift items valued at not more than US$ 500.
Note: There is no limit to the amounts of cash, precious metals and gems people can bring in, but amounts of over US$ 7,000 must be declared.
It is prohibited for any visitor to bring into Vietnam the followings:
* Weapons, explosives and inflammable objects.
* Opium and other narcotics.
* Cultural materials unsuitable to Vietnamese society.
EXIT: Goods of commercial nature and articles of high value require export permits issued by the Customs Office. Antiques, some precious stones and animals listed in Vietnam’s red-book may not be brought out of the country.

1.7 Security
In big cities, do not bring along anything valuable as you go shopping or sightseeing on the street.
It is dispensable to give aims to beggars and to buy souvenirs from street vendors.
Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks, or authorized exchange bureaus. Never exchange money on street.

1.8 Drinking
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. The most reliable local brand is LA VIE (Don’t confuse them with the imitations such as La Ville or La Vierge). Aquafina of Pepsi and real Evian also available at many shops.

1.9 Tips for guides and drivers
The amount of tip money is totally based on your trip satisfaction with service of guide and driver and it does not compel (according to your culture). However, US$ 2-3/ per day/ per tourist is acceptable for both guide and driver.

1.10 Others

Taxi: Taxis with meters are available in big cities. The current price is about US$ 0.5 per kilometer. Most metered taxi drivers can speak a little English.

Business hours: (GMT + 7)
* Offices: 08:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. and 01:30 p.m. to 05:00 p.m., closed on Saturday afternoon and Sundays
* Banks: 08:00 a.m to 03:00 p.m, closed on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday.

Electrical current: 220 volts A.C.
Telephone: Long distance calls should be made at post offices, hotels or telephone booths (phone cards are available at post offices). Normailly, hotels will get 15-20% service charge of the bill.


The currency of Vietnam is “Dong” (abbreviated “d” or VND). Bank notes are 500d; 1,000d; 2,000d; 5,000d; 10,000d; 20,000d; 50,000d; 100,000d and 500,00d. Unlike most of Vietnam’s neighboring countries, the US Dollar and Euros is widely accepted.

Credit Cards and Travellers’ Cheques are accepted at most of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops but in major cities only, subject 3-5% bank fee. Visitors are recommended to carry US Dollar or Euros in small notes. Travelers can change their money for Vietnamese Dong (VND) at banks, hotels and jewelry shops throughout the country

2.1 Exchange rate (exactly exchange rate depends on date you make transaction)

• 1 USD = 15.800 VND (fifteen thousand eight hundred Dong)
• 1 EURO = 19.100 VND
• 1 AUD = 11.900 VND
• 1 CAD = 12.200 VND
• 1 GBP = 28.000 VND

2.2 Exchange money places and ATM machines

• In Hanoi
– ANZ bank @ 14 Le Thai To St.,
– Vietcom bank @ 198 Tran Quang Khai St,,
– City bank @ 17 Ngo Quyen St.,
– Bank of American @ 27 Ly Thuong Kiet St.,
– Gold shops in Hang Gai, Hang Ngang, Hang Dao St…, and in your hotel.
– Trang Tien Plaza @ Trang Tien St.,
– 110 Cau Go St.,
– Intimex supermarket @ 30-32 Le Thai To
– Lake side post office @ 75 Dinh Tien Hoang St.,
– Hanoi tower @ 49 Hai Ba Trung St., and so on.

• In Hue & Hoian
– Vietcom bank –Hue branch @ 78 Hung Vuong St., Hue
– Industrial & Commercial bank @ 2A Le Quy Don St., Hue
– Vietcombank Hoian @37B Tran Hung Dao St., Hoian

– 78 Hung Vuong St.,
– Saigon Morin hotel @ 30 Le Loi St.,
– Huong Giang hotel @ 51 Le Loi St.,
– Century hotel @ 49 Le Loi St.,
– 37 B Tran Hung Dao St., Hoian

• In Nha Trang
– Vietcom bank – Nha Trang branch @ 17 Quang Trung St.,

– Yasaka hotel @ 18 Tran Phu St.,
– Nha Trang Lodge hotel @ 42 Tran Phu St.,
– Nha Trang post office @ 4 Le Loi St.,
– Tran Phu night market @ Tran Phu seashore

• In Saigon
– ANZ bank @ 11 Me Linh Square, Dist.1
– Vietcom bank @ 29 Chuong Duong St, Dist.1
– City bank @ 15th floor, 115 Nguyen Hue St, Dist.1
– Bank of American @ 1 Phung Khac Khoan St., Dist.1
– Deutsche Bank @ 65 Le Loi St., Dist.1
– Gold shops in Dong Khoi St…, and in your hotel.

– Saigon Trade Center @ 37 Ton Duc Thang St., Dist.1
– Diamond Plaza @ 34 Le Duan St., Dist.1
– Caravel hotel @ 19 Lam Son square, Dist.1
– Majestic hotel @ 1 Dong Khoi St., Dist.1
– Saigon tourist center @ 45 Le Thanh Ton St., and so on.

• In Hanoi

1 Ba Trieu St.,
? 943 8578 Serves Fusion cuisine and offers a nice ambience for the late evening with drinks and shisha.

61 Van Mieu St.,
? 747 0338 Project for street kids. Very friendly and dedicated staff and real good food. Located in opposite to the Temple of Literature. Breakfast and lunch, dinner in from Fri to Sun.
Don’t miss it!

57 Ly Thai To St.,
? 825 7807 Courtyard setting, snack and dishes from all over, reasonable prices. Located just in opposite to the Metropole hotel.

36 Hang Manh St.,
? 824 2402 Nice courtyard setting with water cascading down one wall. Delicious Vietnamese fare and good prices

LITTLE HANOI –The Original
9 Ta Hien St.,
? 926 0639 Located in the Old Quarter. Serving authentic Vietnamese cuisine at very reasonable prices. Good service.
Don’t confuse with another place also called little Hanoi. Ask for the original!

5 Hang Tre St.,
? 926 0639 Vietnamese authentic and Rice wines. Sometime really unique are the house made liquors.
A must!

59A Ly Thai To St.,
? 934 0888 Fine dining
Deli also offers from Mon to Fri set lunches at very reasonable prices.
A highlight!

3 Nguyen Khach Can St.,
? 826 9080 Italian Restaurant and Enoteca.
Located near the Opera House.
Italian Chef Marco offers excellent food and a good choice of wines at reasonable price.

16A Duong Thanh St.,
? 828 9065 Irish Pub
Cold beer and snacks. Very recommendable

31 Luong Van Can St.,
? 828 7890 Hanoi’s first Jazz club.
Located in the Old Quarter. Daily Live Jazz.

14 Nha Tho St.,
? 825 6334 Very popular Bistro in a picturesque street closed to the Cathedral.

3 Xuan Dieu St., Tay Ho Dis
? 719 8000 Wine & Food
Among the best international spots in town; excellent service.

• In Hue & Hoian

51 Le Loi St., Hue Located on the top of Huong Giang Hotel.
Good Vietnamese and Western food in a superb view.

5 Chu Van An St., Hue
? 847 143 Classic Vietnam restaurant. Good price.

Le Loi St., Hue Good food at reasonable price. Friendly staff.
Located at the north of Trang Tien Bridge.

28 Vo Thi Sau St., Hue
? 830 995 With the restaurant set in a sublime lush tropical garden, dinners can enjoy quite romantic corners as well as seating with fine view overlooking pool and the garden.

44 Le Loi St., Hue Popular spot for travelers in the evening for eating, playing pool and dancing

12 Hung Vuong St., Hue Geared to the small budget travelers, vegetarian dishes and famous banana pancakes.

1 Cua Dai road, Hoian
? 927 040 Located at Victoria Hoian resort. Excellent food and good value fro money. Vietnamese delicacies and good service.

27 Phan Boi Chau, Hoian
? 914150 Daily buffet lunch and dinner in the courtyard of an old house.
Very recommendable.

Hoian Riverside resort, Cua Dai road Very nice restaurant offers the superb view of Hoian river and green field. Good Vietnamese and International cuisine. Price is a bit expensive but worth.

22 Nguyen Hue St., Hoian
? 861603 A true Hoian institution. Good local food at reasonable price. Close very late.

52 Bach Dang St.,
? 861616 Offer both seafood and vegetarian menus at good price.

98 Nguyen Thai Hoc St.,
? 863210 Located in a pleasant courtyard. Its serves sandwiches, light meals, real cappuccinos and lattes, and cocktails.

• In Nha Trang

72 Tran Phu St.,
? 826528 An authentic Italian ristorante, serves excellent pasta and fine wine. Fresh seafood menus can be found there.

14 Biet Thu St.,
? 812790 Excellent seafood in a pleasant atmosphere

2D Biet Thu St.,
? 813009 Is a popular spot with excellent vegetarian fare. The restaurant is decorated with many Vietnamese paintings.

96A Tran Phu St., The bar boats a roof terrace overlooking Nha Trang bay, two pool tables, good music and cheap cold beer.

72 Tran Phu St.,
? 826528 This is an open- air beach bar. It’s best known for thumping music, wild dancing, flowing shots, pool and general mayhem. It also offers Vietnamese food.

• In Saigon
11A Ngo Van Nam St.,
? 822 9783 Fine selection of traditional dishes drawing from southern, central and northern cooking style. The food is superb and the pleasant decor and traditional music performances make it an all–round good bet.

4 Nguyen Thiep St.,
? 822 0496 This is one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in the city center.

TU DO ( Liberty)
80 Dong Khoi St.,
Excellent and affordable Vietnamese food, expensive Chinese and Western food.

13 Ngo Duc Ke St., This is highly popular with locals and expats alike. Fresh and good food.

10 Nguyen Thiep St.,
? 829 2941 Popular French food and many consider it the city’s best cheap French restaurant.

86 Le Thanh Ton St.,
? 823 8174 Famous for seafood and Vietnamese dishes.

11 Mac Dinh Chi St.,
? 822 9796 Good Pizza and Sandwiches at good price in nice atmosphere.

6 Nguyen Thiep St.,
? 822 8855 One of the trendier bar –restaurants in the Dong Khoi area, does good French and Italian dishes, including praiseworthy pizza.

BODHI TREE ( vegetarian)
174/6 Pham Ngu Lao
? 837 1910 Located in a narrow alley, two streets east of De Tham St., The food is excellent and very cheap.
Don’t confuse with a neighbor restaurant has same name.

KEM BACH DANG ( Ice -cream)
28 Le Loi St.,
? 829 2707 Famous since a long time, you can find some of the best ice cream in Vietnam. A specialty is ice cream served in a baby coconut with candied fruit on top ( Kem Trai Dua)

31 Ly Tu Trong St.,
? 824 3483 Is a major Aussie hang-out with the coldest beer in town. The music is good- if you like Australian music – and you can shoot pool or watch sport on the haft-dozen or so TVs.

2B Thi Sach St.,
? 825 6124 Is one exception to the rule. It’s been around forever and leads the pack for those seeking a naughtier aged. The music is loud and the patrons are from all walks of life and apocalyptically rowdy.

Normally, our guide will give you the guidance and take necessary actions in all cases. However, there are some contacts that you should have during your trip.

Tony Tran– Travel consultant
Hand phone: 0979800588
Hotline: (+84-4) 9446230
Email: [email protected]

113 Police
114 Fire Brigade
115 Ambulance
00 International Direct Dialing Access Code
0 National Domestic Direct Dialing Access Code
101 Long Distance Domestic telephone service
102 Directory assistance for long distance domestic telephone service
103 Operator-assisted long distance domestic telephone service
110 International telephone service
112 International telephone service rate
113 International telephone service inquiries
116 Phone number inquiries
117 Time inquiries
118 Ring back test
119 Advice on telephone repairs
1080 Information about society, economy, culture.
1088 Consultation in areas of employment, health, law, informatics, psychology, living skills…
171 Discount international phone charges, at US$ 0.85 per minute
178 Discount international phone charges, at US$ 0.75 per minute

We wish you a pleasure trip in Vietnam

March 2, 2008 at 09:32 pm by activetravelvietnam, 623 views, 1 comment
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