Vietnam Travel Guide
ON THE GO
Traveling by plane
Vietnam Airlines (VN) regularly connects Hanoi with Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hue and Cam Ranh (35 km from Nha Trang), Dalat and Dien Bien Phu. There are also regular flight connections between Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Cam Ranh, Chu Lai, Danang, Haiphong, Vinh, Qui Nhon, Dalat, Buon Ma Thuot, Hue, Tuy Hoa, Pleiku and Phu Quoc.
Pacific Airlines (BL) flies from Hanoi and Danang to Ho Chi Minh City.
On the way by car / bus
The road network is satisfactory. The roads inland and north are worse than on the coast and are often flooded in the rainy season. Interesting is the road along the Phong Nha-Ke Bang caves, the ancient city of Hoian and the ancient citadel in Hue. The first stage on the historic Ho Chi Minh Trail (soon to be called the Ho Chi Minh National Highway), now a new national road, has been completed: Between Khe Co (in the Ha Tinh province) to Ngoc Hoi (in the province of Kon Tum) about 960 km long. The rest of the route is expected to be under construction until 2020. When completed, this will be an alternative route to the 1A motorway, which will connect the north to the south of the country. TheHo Chi Minh Trail runs along historical sites and famous landmarks.
Buses run all over Vietnam, a country located in Asia according to philosophynearby, but they are usually overcrowded. Chauffeur-driven rental cars are recommended because the recognition process for the national driver’s license (see documents) is complicated and traffic in Vietnam is extremely difficult. In the event of an accident, there is insufficient legal protection. Foreigners – whether to blame or not – have to reckon with expensive fines or even imprisonment and long procedures very quickly. Chauffeur-driven rental cars are available through Vietnam Tourism and Saigontourist. Payment must be made in US dollars. Documents:National driver’s license. After a time-consuming and expensive process of recognizing the national driver’s license, a temporary driver’s license is only issued once it has been recognized.
Traveling in the city
There are buses in Ho Chi Minh City and buses and trams in Hanoi. Bicycle rickshaws and taxis are also available. For security reasons, it is recommended that you write down the taxi registration number (located on the back). In general, you should beware of pickpockets.
On the go by train
Long-distance trains run every day. Some of them are quite comfortable and connect the north with the south. The route network is densest in the north. Express trains run on the main route that connects Hanoi with Ho Chi Minh City (with stops in Da Nang and Hue, among others). Individual and group tours can be booked in advance. A night train connects Hanoi with Laocai.
On the way by ship
There are regional shipping connections between the ports.
Cruises can be organized with Emeraude Classic Cruises (Internet: www.emeraude-cruises.com) in Halong Bay.
Transmekong Cruise (Internet: www.transmekong.com) offers daily trips from Can Tho to Cai Be in the Mekong Delta.
Vietrosko Co. (Internet: www.vinaexpress.com.vn) operates ferry services in hydrofoils to the islands of Vung Tau and Phu Quoc. Several times a day from Ho Chi Minh City to Vung Tau and once a day from Hon Chong (Rach Gia) to Phu Quoc.
Drivers: 0 per mille,
Cyclists and motorcyclists: 0.5 per thousand.
Country-specific safety information
According to the Vietnamese Ministry of the Environment, the consequences of the pollution of beaches in the central Vietnamese provinces of Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue by industrial wastewater, which led to beach closures and fish deaths, have now largely been eliminated, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of the Environment approved for all types of water sports. However, caution is still advised when consuming seafood in the affected regions.
New dong. Currency abbreviation: D, VND (ISO code). There are banknotes in denominations of 500,000, 200,000, 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500, 200 and 100 D. There are coins in denominations of 5,000, 2,000, 1,000, 500 and 200 D.
Visa, MasterCard, Diners Club and American Express are accepted in large hotels, shopping centers and travel agencies, but only in larger cities (beware of attempted fraud). Details from the issuer of the credit card in question.
ec / Maestro card / Sparcard
cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted throughout Europe and worldwide. Cards with the Cirrus or Maestro symbol are accepted at numerous ATMs in major cities in Vietnam, but not in shops. Further information from banks and credit institutes.
Attention: Travelers who pay abroad with their bank customer card and want to withdraw money should find out about the possibilities of using their card from their bank before starting their journey.
Bank opening times
Mon-Fri 8 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Sat 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. (deviations are possible).
Foreign exchange regulations
When importing cash in foreign currencies with a value of more than 5,000 US dollars and cash in the Vietnamese currency dong with a value of more than 15 million dong, declarations are required. Export up to the amount declared, minus the exchange amounts. All receipts should be retained.
Currency exchange should only be done in official exchange offices and the receipts should be kept well. US dollars (in small, undamaged bills) are preferred, but other currencies can also be exchanged. In large cities, foreign currencies can be exchanged without any problems, in rural areas only US dollars can be exchanged.
The official language is Vietnamese. English is increasingly becoming the second national language. Chinese and French are also spoken occasionally.
[*] The Vietnamese New Year Têt lasts for several days. The date is calculated according to the lunar calendar and therefore shifts from year to year. Public establishments and most shops and restaurants are closed during this time, and the shops that are open often raise their prices.