• Travel Guide

    Travel Guide | Vietnam

    guide to vietnam

    Vietnam is a Southeast Asian country on the South China Sea known for its beaches, rivers, Buddhist pagodas and bustling cities. Hanoi, the capital, pays homage to the nation’s iconic Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, via a huge marble mausoleum. Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) has French colonial landmarks, plus Vietnamese War history museums and the Củ Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers.

    Basic info & culture

    CURRENCY

    In Vietnam they mainly use Vietnamese Dong which is quite a funny currency to both say and also it’s worth. Vietnamese Dong literally comes in the thousands and millions. You really do feel like a millionaire walking around with all these notes. The cheapest note we had was 20,000VND but I think you can get lower notes. They do also take USD’s but its quite rare in terms of pricing of food and items to buy.

    Top Tip:
    Download the app “Currency Plus” to get currency conversions on the go. It updates daily and when connected to WiFi or Network to give you the latest conversion and you can have multiple currencies shown in one go.

    Download here: Apple App Store // Google Play Store

    LANGUAGE

    In Vietnam they obviously speak Vietnamese but they also speak English. (Some speak it more than others depending on their schooling). They also speak French as Vietnam was previously run by the French Colonists.
    Basic Phrases To Know:
    Hello – Xin Chao (Sin-chow)
    How are you? – Ban Khoe Khong (Ban Kwe Khom)
    Thank you – Cam on (kahm uhn)
    Sorry – Xin Loi (Sin Loy)
    No Problem – Khong co gi (Khong koh zi)
    Goodbye – Tam Biet (Tarm Byeet)
    No, Thank You! – Khong! Cam on (Khong kahm uhn)

    TIMEZONE

    Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of the UK. They are on the same timezone as many Asian countries including Cambodia and Thailand. Their time zone is Greenwich Mean Time ( GMT+7:00)

    CUISINE

    There is a mixture of cuisines around Vietnam especially Asian and Continental. If you are in Vietnam, I highly recommend you check out the Vietnamese Egg Coffee, Banh Mi and Pho which are all delicious.


    Budget Tips

    Suggested Daily Budget – 47-51 EUR / 40-47 GBP (Note: This is a suggested budget assuming you’re staying in a hostel, eating out a little, cooking most of your meals, and using local transportation. Using the budget tips below, you can always lower this number. However, if you stay in fancier accommodation or eat out more often, expect this to be higher!)

    01. Eat at street markets and with the locals – The best place to get cheap food is on the street markets or go where the locals go. The food will be around 50p or maybe a little bit more and you can eat so much of it as it’s so cheap. It might not be a quality restaurant atmosphere but the food is still amazing.

    02. Don’t book taxis, book tuk tuks – Tuk tuks are so cheap, easy and quick to get around. They will cost you a few hundred Dong but it’s so much cheaper than a taxi and you won’t always get stuck in the horrible road traffic. Just ask the driver to take you somewhere and they will.

    03. If you are looking to buy souvenirs, go to the street markets – They might sell all the same things but they will be priced really cheaply and you can buy lots of different things. Make sure you go around the stalls to find the best priced item.

    04. Buy drinks in happy hour – Most drinks in Vietnam will be cheap anyway but make sure you make the most of happy hour deals. Drinks that are imported will be a lot more expensive especially compared to local beers and it’s quite hard to find draught beer.


    Travel tips

    VISAS

    You will need a visa for when you visit Vietnam if you are staying longer than 30 days, which you can get from multiple different websites – most of them produce e-visas which you can staple into your passport. If you are staying up to 15 days you will not need a visa.

    INJECTIONS

    The injections you will need for Vietnam include Tetanus and Diphtheria, Measles, Mumps and Rubella. If you have had these injections for other Asian countries, you may not need them again or if you’ve had them a little while ago you may just need the booster injections.

    CAPITAL/CITY

    Vietnam’s capital is Hanoi but most people seem to believe that Ho Chi Minh City is their capital. Although it is their biggest city along with Da Nang which is an upcoming city.

    HOTELS

    The hotels in Vietnam that we stayed in were lovely. We stayed in quite a few different places across Vietnam and our hotels are listed below. My favourite hotels were in Hoi An and Hanoi.


    guide to vietnam

    EXPLORE VIETNAM
    Hoi An | Da Nang | Hanoi | Halong Bay | Ninh Binh 

    DRIVING

    It’s best not to drive in Vietnam as the roads are manic just like any other Asian city. It’s best to hire a driver, get a taxi or tuk tuk if you want to get around Vietnam. Tuk tuks are very cheap and there are also motorbike pickups called GRAB who are all around the centre of Hanoi, should you wish to be picked up and dropped off anywhere quickly and cheaply especially if you are a backpacker.

    FLIGHTS

    There are no direct flights into Vietnam from international airports and will have to either be flown in from Bangkok in Thailand, Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia or any other asian airport categorised as a domestic flight. Flights to an asian airport can either be with British Airways, Eva Air, Etihad, Thai Airways, Jet Airways and many other airlines.


    Packing Tips

    WHAT TO WEAR

    Make sure you wear lightweight and cool clothing in order to keep cool during the hot weather. When visiting temples and religious places make sure you have a thin scarf or sarong to cover your shoulders and legs and don’t show too much cleavage for a woman. The weather in Vietnam really does vary from place to place so make sure you check out the weather before you travel and pack your suitcase. Halong Bay can be rather cloudy and cold whereas weather in Hoi An can be very hot and humid. So if you are travelling to multiple places make sure you cater for all climates with your clothes and research the weather before you travel.

    WEATHER

    The best time to visit Vietnam is during our winter in the UK, from the months December to April the weather is typically drier and warmer than the rest of the year which is usually Asia’s monsoon weather. Temperatures could usually reach around 27-29 ‘C throughout their warmer months, but it also varies between which places to you travel to. Hoi An, Da Nang and Hanoi were all quite hot but Halong Bay was a lot cooler and you needed a jacket to wear.

    VIETNAM WEATHER


    Activities & things to see

    ACTIVITIES & THINGS TO DO

    There are plenty of things to do throughout Vietnam as there are so many different places to visit. You can visit Halong Bay and go on a cruise to visit the mountains in the see, visit Hanoi and see Ho Chi Minhs Mausoleum or the famous Train Street, Da Nang and visit Ba Na Hills park and lots of other things. I also have plenty of other posts on and coming up about Vietnam so feel free to check those out as well.

    HIGHLIGHTS OF VIETNAM:
    • – Halong Bay
    • – Train Street, Hanoi
    • – Old Town, Hoi An
    • – Ba Na Hills, Da Nang
    • – Latin Quarter, Hanoi
    • – Tam Coc
    • – Ninh Binh
    TRAVEL TIPS FOR VIETNAM
    • – Make sure you keep your bags on your front if you are walking around busy areas just to be careful of pickpockets. We didn’t come across any trouble whilst there but you can never be too careful.
    • – Keep an eye out for any scams.
    • – Eating out is rather hard in Da Nang as many places are so spread out. Most of the places aren’t open past 10pm so there isn’t much nightlife to enjoy.
    • – If you fancy taking a trip to Halong Bay, I would recommend booking a trip through and with Tour Guide Binh, he was our lovely tour guide who took us to lots of different places. His drivers car was very comfortable for the 4 hour journey and he told us lots of interesting facts of Vietnam.

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