wherever you are, we will be there...

  

Travel tips

Home

Assistance

Client

Network

Join in us

Contact


Name: Vietnam 
Socialist Republic of Vietnam 

Population 83,535,600 
Capital City Hanoi (1.7 million) 

Currency
Dong (VND) 

Languages Vietnamese
(official), English, French, Chinese, Khmer, others 

National Day
September 2 
Religions none (80%), Buddhist (9.3%), others

Geographic Coordinates
 
Latitude/Longitude (Capital City)
21� 01' N, 105� 52' E 

Relative Location
Vietnam is in both the eastern and northern hemispheres. It's positioned in Southeast Asia, a recognized geographical region of the Asian continent. The country is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Gulf of Tonkin, Gulf of Thailand, South China Sea, and the countries of China, Laos and Cambodia.
Land Statistics: 
Coastline 2,140 miles (3,444 km) 

Land Areas:
 
(land) 125,622 sq miles (325,360 sq km) 
(water) 1,621 sq miles (4,200 sq km) 
(TOTAL) 127,243 sq miles (329,560 sq km) 
Landforms Vietnam is a country of tropical lowlands, rolling green hills, and densely forested mountains. Low-level land covers about 20% of the country. 
The Red River delta is fronted by hills that rise gently into the high mountains of the northwest; the Annam Highlands cover much of the central landscape, and in the southern areas, the coastal lowlands and Mekong River Delta merge. 
A fertile and narrow coastal lowland extends south from the Red River Delta to the Mekong Delta. 
The Mekong Delta is a low-level plain, one inundated by hundreds of small rivers and canals. Thick jungles and mangrove swamps cover the far-southern areas of land. 
The Red River (Song Hong), and the Mekong are the most significant rivers; both have numerous tributaries, and the latter is certainly among the great rivers of the world. 
Highest Point Fan Si Pan - 10,315 ft. (3,144 m) 
Lowest Point South China Sea - (0 ft.) (0 m) 

Land Divisions
59 provinces and 5 municipalities; provinces include: An Giang, Bac Giang, Bac Kan, Bac Lieu, Bac Ninh, Ba Ria-Vung Tau, Ben Tre, Binh Dinh, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc, Binh Thuan, Ca Mau, Cao Bang, Dac Lak, Dac Nong, Dien Bien, Dong Nai, Dong Thap, Gia Lai, Ha Giang, Hai Duong, Ha Nam, Ha Tay, Ha Tinh, Hau Giang, Hoa Binh, Hung Yen, Khanh Hoa, Kien Giang, Kon Tum, Lai Chau, Lam Dong, Lang Son, Lao Cai, Long An, Nam Dinh, Nghe An, Ninh Binh, Ninh Thuan, Phu Tho, Phu Yen, Quang Binh, Quang Nam, Quang Ngai, Quang Ninh, Quang Tri, Soc Trang, Son La, Tay Ninh, Thai Binh, Thai Nguyen, Thanh Hoa, Thua Thien-Hue, Tien Giang, Tra Vinh, Tuyen Quang, Vinh Long, Vinh Phuc and Yen Bai; municipalities include: Can Tho, Da Nang, Hai Phong, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh

Entering Vietnam

To enter Vietnam, visitors must have a national passport and have an approved travel visa from the Vietnamese Immigration Department. All passports and travel documents must be endorsed for traveling in Vietnam.

Visa

All visitors are required to have a valid visa to enter Vietnam. A one-month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors though it is possible to arrange 3-month and 6-month multiple entry visas for regular visitors. All visitors must obtain visa approval from the Vietnamese Immigration Department before a visa is issued

Weather

Hanoi and the north of Vietnam have a distinct winter and summer season with the mainly dry winter lasting from November through to April with average temperatures of 18-20oC. Summer lasts from May to October and is hot and humid with temperatures around 30oC. Hue and Danang in the centre of the country have very hot, dry weather from February to August with temperatures reaching the mid 30s Celsius, but can experience some quite heavy rainfall between September and January. Ho Chi Minh City and the south have a hot, dry season from December till April with average temperatures around 28oC and a rainy season lasting from May through till November. It rarely rains for long periods even in the rainy season with most rain coming in short, heavy bursts.

Currency

The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong although US Dollars are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops. Banks are open Monday to Friday and some are open Saturday morning. In the major cities there are 'bureaux de change' and most hotels will change US Dollars although for other currencies it is usually necessary to visit a bank. Travelers cheques can be exchanged at banks and some exchange bureaus but can be difficult to change outside of the major cities. Visa Card and MasterCard are now accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops but US Dollars cash are still the most reliable form of money to carry. There are ATM machines in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, but they are less available in more remote areas.

Religion

Buddhism is the dominant religion in Vietnam usually combined with elements of Confucianism and Taoism. About 10% of the country's population are Catholic and there are also communities of Protestants and Muslims. Vietnam is also home to a unique religion called Cao Dai, a religious cocktail of all the world's major faiths.

Clothes

Comfortable lightweight clothing in natural fabrics such as cotton is most suitable for traveling in Vietnam . The dress code is fairly casual as in most parts of the tropics, but it is advisable to cover arms and legs in the evenings against biting insects. A lightweight raincoat is a good idea in the rainy season. During the winter months warm clothing is needed for visiting the north of Vietnam. Visitors to Buddhist countries should not wear shorts, short skirts or other skimpy clothing when visiting religious buildings. Shoes should be removed before entering a private home.

Electricity

The predominant power supply in most locations is 220V, but in some areas 110V is also used.

Food & Water

The cuisine of Vietnam comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors and is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed. One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always fresh being bought the same morning straight from the market. Food is usually prepared with a minimum of oil and served with the ubiquitous fish sauce called "nuoc mam". Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast, "cha gio", deep-fried spring rolls and "goi ngo sen", a delicious salad made with lotus stems, shrimps and peanuts. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam , vegetarian food is widely available.

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Vietnam but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice in drinks is generally OK in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in country areas.

Health

No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are rather limited in all countries and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed.

Language

Since the Vietnamese language has six different tones, it is difficult for most foreigners to speak, despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese. The same word can have six different meanings depending on the tone used to pronounce it. In the cities and larger towns, English is becoming popular and is now spoken by many younger people while some of the older generation still speak fluent French. Russian and Chinese are also spoken by some people.

Communications

Most hotels now have IDD phones in rooms and it is possible to send faxes from hotels and post offices, although be warned, these services are expensive. Away from the major cities it may not always be possible to make international calls. Cyber cafes are becoming popular in the major cities in Vietnam and many travelers now prefer to keep in touch by e-mail. Post cards can be bought at all the main tourist sites and stamps are available from post offices and some hotel reception desks.

Shopping

Souvenirs to look out for in Vietnam include lacquer ware, silk, conical hats, woodcarvings, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, embroidery, marble, ceramics, silver jewelry, antique watches and paintings. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have the best choice when it comes to shopping but Hoi An in the centre of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains.

Hours of business

Offices are usually open from Monday to Friday from 07:30 or 08:00 until 17:00 or 18:00 and often close for lunch between 11:30 and 13:00. Some offices also open Saturday morning. Shops open early and close any time between 18:00 and 22:00. Most shops are open 7 days a week.

Tipping

Tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated in these developing nations. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped

Public Holidays

January 1

New Year's Day

January/ February

Tet or Vietnamese New Year. The actual dates vary from year to year according to the lunar calendar. Officially 3 days holiday but many businesses close down for a full week. This is the busiest time of the year for traveling in Vietnam and hotels, flights and trains are often full.

April 30

Liberation of Saigon Day

May 1

International Labor Day

September 2

National Day

Tel 24/24: (84-8) 62578151 - Email: info@bhassist.com

Copy right B.H ASSIST�2011. All rights reserved