NEED TO KNOW
FOR MORE INFORMATION, SEE SERVIVAL GUIDE.
•Currency : Dong (d)
•Visas: most nationalities need a visa, which must be arranged in advance. If you’re arriving by air. Online visa agents (www.vienamvisachoice.com) are more efficient than embassies.
•Money: ATMs widely available, except well off the beaten track. Credit card accepted in most midrange and luxury hotel, but rarely in restaurant and stores…
•Mobile phones: to avoid roaming charges, local sim cards can be used in most European. Asian and Australian (and many North American )phone.
•Time: Vietnam is even hours ahead of GMT/UTC.
•High season (JUL-AUG):
1.The prices increase by up to 50% by the coast; book hotels well in advance.
2.All Viet Nam, except the far north, is hot and humid, with the summer monsoon bringing downpours.
1.During the Tet festival, the whole country is on the move and prices rise.
2.North of Nha Trang can get cool weather. Expect cold conditions in the far North.
3.In the south, clear skies and sunshine are the North.
•Low season (APR-JUN, SEP-NOV):
1.Perhaps the best time to tour the whole nation.
2.Typhoons can lash the central and northern coastline until November.
1.Vietnam Coracle (https://vietnamcoracle.com) excellent independent travel advice from a long - term resident.
2.The Word (www.worldhcmc.com) this comprehensive magazine has excellent features.
3.Thanh Nien News (www.thanhniennews.com) government – approved news. But includes diverse and interesting content.
4.Lonely Planet (www.lonelyplanet.com/vietnam) Destination information, hotel bookings, traveller forum and more.
5.The Economist (www.economist.com/topics/vietnam) Analytical and provocative articles.
6.Vietnam Online (www.vietnamonline.com) good all – rounder.
•Important Numbers: to call Vietnam outside. Drop the initial 0 from the area code. Mobile numbers begin with 09 or 01.
1.Country code: 84
2.International Access Code: 00
3.Directory assistance: 116
5.General Information Service:1080
1.Australia: A$1 23,301d
2.Canada: C$1 20,305d
3.Euro: €1 29,070d
4.Japan: ¥100 21,678d
5.New Zealand: NZ$1 17,676d
6.UK: £1 34,093d
7.US: US$1 21,085d
For current exchange rates see: www.xe.com
1.Budget: less than US$40
Glass of bia hoi: from US$0.50
One hour on a local bus: US$1-1.50.
Cheap hotel: US$10-15 a night, dorms less.
Local meal of noodles: US$1.50-2.50.
Comfortable double room: US$20-50
Meal in a smart restaurant: from US$5
One – hour massage: US$6-20
Ten-minutes taxi ride: US$4
3.Top End: more than US$100
Luxury hotel room: from US$15
Gourmet restaurant: from US$15
Most internal flights: US$30-75
4. Opening Hours: Opening hours vary very little throughout the year.
Banks: 8am-3pm weekdays, 8am-11.30am Saturday.
Offices and museums: 7am or 8am to 5pm or 6pm. Museums generally close on Monday.
Temple and Pagodas: 5am – 9pm
Shops: 8am – 6pm
1.Tan Son Nhat International Airport: taxis to central districts cost 175.000d and around 30 minutes. There’s also an air-conditioned bus (Route 152) to the central (5000d, every 15 minutes, 6am-6pm, around 40 minutes).
2.Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi): taxis to the central cost 400.000d and take around one hour. The Vietnam Airlines minibus costs 60.000d and runs every 30 minutes. Route 17 public bus from airport to Long Bien bus station (working distance the Old Quarter) is 5000d.
•Getting Around: busses are the main mode of transport for local in Vietnam, but travelers tend to prefer planes, trains, automobiles.
1.Train: reasonably priced and comfortable enough if you score an air conditioned carriage (and a sleeper on overnight routes). But not these are not real express train.
2.Plane: very cheap if you book ahead (often less than the equivalent bus fare) and the network is pretty comprehensive. However, cancellations are quite common.
3.Car: very useful for traveling at your own pace or visiting regions with minimal public transport. Cars always come with a driver as part of the rental deal.
4.Bus: On the main highways services are quite good, although it’s not a particularly relaxing way to travel. In remote areas things deteriorate rapidly.