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About Vietnam

Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Population:  90.5 million Currency Vietnam Dong (VND)
Capital City Hanoi (6.5 million) Time Zone:  GMT +7 Hours
People 53 ethnic minorities International Dialing Code:  +84
Language Vietnamese    

Vietnam is a beautiful country lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula and Vietnam has borders with China, Laos, Cambodia and Pacific Ocean. There are about 85,789.6 populations with the mainland territory of 331,211.6 sq.km.

Relations with Vietnam’s old nemesis, the USA, have improved in recent years. In early 1994 the USA finally lifted its economic embargo, which had been in place since the 1960s. Full diplomatic relations with the USA have been restored and Bill Clinton, who didn’t fight in the war (and didn’t inhale!), became the first US president to visit north Vietnam in 2000. George W Bush followed suit in 2006, as Vientnam was welcomed into the World Trade Organazation (WTO).

Vietnam contrast in size, history, culture, tradition, and natural surroundings and make-up of their tourist attractions during their holiday in South-East Asia. This country known as one of the amazing country in South-East Asia and it also provide a lot of significant places for tourist to explore its region. Ho Chi Mint city is a (Vietnam’s commercial heart, a riverside metropolis of old and new with world-class restaurants and bars and a buzzing, seductive energy). Mekong Delta (Watery world of bustling river towns and sleepy villages, floating markets and tasty fish served by uber-friendly locals). Cat Tien National park (Lush refuge for city dwellers with ample hiking and bird-watching opportunities, plus elephants, crocodiles and the endangered Javan rhino). Phu Quoc island (White-sand beaches and little development make for a magical tropical getaway on this forest island gem). Mui Ne beach (Action or inertia, take your pick; this place is made for surfing (wind, board or kite) or blobbing on the beach). Dalat (a completely different view of Vietnam, this mountain town combines the French Alps with plenty of bohemian cool). Nha Trang (Beach culture to the max, this is the place to chill out, party hard or dive into the turquoise depths).

Hue is noted for its heritage, focusing on temples, imperial palaces and a history dating back 1,000 years or more. Intellectual, cultural and spiritual heartbeat of Vietnam, the old imperial capital offers historical, spiritual and culinary stimulation.

Hoi An was an important trading sea port in South-East Asia, a point where Chinese and Vietnamese met to trade. Today at the heart of this small village, streets lined with traditional Chinese houses still remain much the same way they did in its hey-day of trading. The number of tailor shops is just extraordinary somewhere around 500. Having clothes made in Hoi An is extremely addictive. Why not? pick the perfect satin lining for that second new suit. Spared from wartime devastation, Hoi An’s cobbled lanes and historic buildings make for a magical and memorable stop.

Hanoi in the north is the capital and gateway for eco-tourism activities and tours and steeped in history, pulsating with life, bubbling with commerce, buzzing with motorbikes and rich in exotic scents, this is a captivating capital.

Halong Bay is an exceptional boat cruise on Heritage sites, experience nature at its outrageous best, where hundreds of limestone peaks tower above the shimmering seas, a karst system with a difference.

Ninh Binh (Encounter rural life from this country town, surrounded by ancient temples, limestone crags, nature reserves and endless paddies). Mai Chau (Go native with an overnight stay in a traditional Thai stilt house, amid the lush valleys) and Sapa (Swoon at the valley views from this rugged mountain retreat, a home to a wealth of minority peoples and a base for exploring the Hoang Lien Mountains (Tonkinese Alps)

There are a lot delicious foods in Vietnam especially Pho, you can have Pho everywhere in Vietnam, but it is almost a cult in Hanoi.

You can find all kind of drinks in Vietnam and cheap beers everywhere in Vietnam. In Pho Ngu Lao street in Saigon is a little like Kao San road in Bangkok, which is the best way to enjoy yourself at night and even you can find beers Heuh (Cheapest beers in Vietnam). There are a lot places to party throughout Vietnam if you are looking for nightlife style.

Enjoy shopping at Ben Thanh Market is one of the best highlight in Vietnam, walk along Le Loi and Dong Khoi street for city explorer.

Vietnam has a lot of culture, civilization, tradition and beautiful nature, from these good combination, we are surely that you will get a lot of experiences throughout your journey. Travellers require one or two day to explore each of these destinations to appreciate their charm and significance. We are welcoming to all people around the world come to visit our country and made friends with us!

Passport and visa


Passports should be valid for six months from the date of entry into Vietnam. We recommend you make a photocopy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate, or scan it and keep it in an accessible email account. Visitors must have a visa before entering Vietnam. Buffalo Tours can arrange this for you. A visa on arrival can only be obtained with a letter of approval.

Money


The official currency in Vietnam is the Dong (VND) which is a non-convertible currency. American dollars are widely accepted in larger stores and supermarkets. Visa and MasterCard are becoming more accepted in hotels, restaurants and large stores, especially in the bigger cities. ATM’s are widely available throughout the country, and there are a number of international banks in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Post and telecommunications


The Vietnamese postal services reliable and there are also courier services widely available. Do not put postcards into letter boxes; give them to your hotel to post or go to a post office.

Telephone connections to the rest of the world are widely available, however they aren’t cheap. A Vietnamese SIM card is a less expensive way of calling other countries, however your phone will need to be unlocked in order for it to work. For example, 200,000VND worth of Viettel credit ($10) can last for up to 45 minutes to the UK. Internet access is available in all major tourist places and you will find WiFi in most cafes in built up areas.

Transportation


The traffic in Vietnam is busy, but slow. It may look like chaos but don’t be frightened to cross the road. Simply make your way shaking your whole hand at waist height. You’ll soon see other people doing the same.

Taxis are a popular way of getting around Hanoi but make sure you use a reputable company such as Mai Linh or Capital Taxis. A typical 10 minute journey should cost around 50,000 VND but prices tend to increase at night.

If you are in a built up area, a cyclo is a fun form of transport and should cost no more than 100,000 VND per journey.

Motorbike taxis: Travel by motorbike is not safe and under no circumstances is this sanctioned or recommended by Spirit Asia Travel.  Please note that this form of transport is not usually covered by insurance. Please check the fine print of your travel insurance policy to be sure of your cover.

Health and Safety

Climate:

Vietnam has a diverse climate that varies significantly from region to region:

The North (Hanoi to Sapa)

  • April to October: temperatures between 30-35°C with occasional bursts of heavy rain.
  • December to March: temperatures between 10-15°C. February and March can be damp with drizzle and overcast skies.

The Centre (Hue to Nha Trang)

  • Nha Trang: sunshine all year round apart from November and December when the area has heavy rain.
  • Dalat: cooler than the coastal area, particularly from November to March.
  • Da Nang and Hue: typhoons from mid October to mid December

The South (Ho Chi Minh City to Phan Thiet)

  • May to October: hot and wet
  • November to April: hot and humid

Please note: The weather can be very unpredictable so it may be a good idea to carry an umbrella or raincoat with you. You can purchase these from supermarkets and general stores. 

Health and wellbeing

Please be aware that your health can be at risk in Vietnam due to poor sanitation and lack of effective medical facilities. Rural areas may not have pharmacies and hospitals so make sure you travel with a full supply of any prescribed medicine you take. If you need medical assistance, we suggest The Family Medical Practice in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Every traveller is responsible for his or her own health. First and foremost, make sure that you have travel insurance for your trip. You should also consult your doctor or local travel clinic for the latest information and advice on travelling to Vietnam before departure.

If you have a medical condition or allergy which requires particular attention, carry a doctor’s letter with you that describes the nature of the condition and treatment needed. We also recommend you pack a medical kit, including paracetamol and a diarrhoea remedy.

Vaccinations
Before travelling, please ensure you have adequate protection against disease.  Contact your doctor for the latest medical advice on the vaccinations you need, no less than two months before your departure.  Be aware that there is a malaria risk in rural parts of Vietnam.

Travel insurance (compulsory) Spirit Asia Travel does everything possible to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. However, travel inevitably involves some risk and this should be recognised by holiday-makers. Travel insurance is a cost effective way of protecting yourself and your equipment should any problems occur such as cancelled trips, delays, medical emergencies, baggage loss or damage. It also gives you peace of mind. Please also make sure your travel insurance covers all activities planned on your trip.

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