Vietnam Travel Tips
Vietnam travel tips
Given its historic past, Vietnam is a country that offers a unique perspective for travelers. Blessed with an insanely diverse landscape, you could be sliding down sand dunes in the morning, taking a stroll by the beach by noon and walking around a UNESCO heritage town by afternoon.
No better way to start your holiday to Vietnam knowing that you’ve got everything figured out. Flight booked, hotel booked, enthusiasm on point. But what to bring/prepare? This is our Vietnam checklist, a list of important travel essentials you’re definitely going to need!
Following these top Vietnam travel tips will help you avoid the major pitfalls, and ensure you come away from your first visit to Vietnam with happy memories, as well as your souvenir conical hat ;)
When you are limited in time, or you don't feel like figuring out everything yourself, we suggest you book a private tour in Vietnam. And that's where we come in! We at ForeverVacation offer some of the best tours in Vietnam, including our best selling Hanoi Instagram tour, where our guides will take you to the most famous spots in Hanoi, all in one day! No muss, no fuss!
Sort out the right visa before traveling
Preparation is key when it comes to traveling, especially when you are flying to a different continent! When planning a trip to Vietnam, one of the first questions you need to ask yourself is 'do I need a visa to enter Vietnam? It goes without saying that you need an international passport. Make sure it’s valid longer than six months though or they won’t let you in (true story).
But when do you need a visa? This will entirely depend on your nationality and how long you are planning to stay in Vietnam!
There are certain countries (only a few though) that made agreements with the government of Vietnam so their citizens can benefit from the visa exemption when entering the country as tourists. These tourists are allowed to stay in Vietnam for a limited amount of time, without the need to apply for a tourist visa from their local Vietnamese Embassy.
However, most people will need to get a tourist visa before traveling to Vietnam. Depending on how long you would like to stay, you will need to apply for and E-Visa or a Visa On Arrival! Make sure to check our detailed Vietnam visa blog post to make sure you get the right one!
Make sure to travel at the right time/season
Knowing the best time to visit Vietnam is essential if you want to make sure you're traveling at the right time; ideally avoiding the sweltering heat and dodging the monsoon rains. You also need to understand there are big differences when it comes to seasons in different parts of Vietnam.
The weather in Vietnam changes from North to South and region to region. Influenced by the tropical monsoon climate, north Vietnam has 4 distinct seasons: spring, summer, fall and winter. The south of Vietnam has 2 seasons: dry season and rainy season. Each season has its own features and characteristics, which bring you different experiences about places and landscapes.
Lucky for you, we've dedicated a whole blogpost to Vietnam's weather and when the best time is to visit! You can read all about it here!
Don't underestimate the country's size
Vietnam is a very long, thin country. From the city of Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh City in the south, the distance is over 1,000 miles and it would take about 30 hours by car. If you are limited on time, you should definitely plan on flying if you want to hit all of the highlights in the south, central, and northern regions.
Learn how to cross the streets in the big cities
- Cross with locals: especially if it's your first time crossing a street in Vietnam, try to spot locals, follow them and copy their pace, timing and attitude.
- When in the middle of the road, KEEP GOING AND DON’T STOP. Believe us, they will dodge you, even if it’s by just a hair.
- Meet the eyes of the people driving straight at you. This will help them avoid you.
- Keep in mind that sidewalks are not only used by pedestrians, they are also being used by scooters that want to avoid traffic jams
- Look confident and don’t hesitate!
Use mosquito repellent
Which clothes to pack for traveling to Vietnam
Vietnam is a semi-tropical country but winters in the north can be chilly (especially in highland areas such as Sapa). If you’re heading to Hanoi and the surrounding region between December and March, make sure you pack a few hoodies or warm sweaters for the evenings.
Central Vietnam can be wet in November and December: an anorak or raincoat is a must. South Vietnam is warm at all times of year, so opt for light, breathable clothes and a sunhat/sunglasses here.
Be wary of scams
- Tuk tuk scam: Tuk-tuks are a fun form of transportation, but beware of a common scam—overcharging passengers. Be sure you agree on a price before getting in.
- Motorbike scam: This is a common scam throughout Thailand. If you rent a motorbike beware! The renter might find new “damages” on the bike once you return it, and insist you pay.
- Gem scams: You may come across some beautiful gems in Chiang Mai. The seller will insist that they’re valuable but that they’ll cut you a good price. Don’t fall for it. The “gems” are likely just pieces of glass.
- In Chiang Mai, also be careful with your credit card. Travelers have reported having their information stolen via card scammers installed in ATMs.
Know your transportation options
Travel by plane: the fastest way
Travel by train
Travel by bus: The cheapest way
Travel by motorbike: the most adventurous way
Getting around in the city
Journeys are reserved via your mobile phone (maybe get a local sim card for this one) and the journey has a fixed fare meaning that you'll avoid arguments with the drivers. The application allows payment by card or cash!
Travel by boat
The benefits of organized tours
Traveling with a private driver is a perfect solution for people that enjoy an easy way of travel or for people traveling in group or with a family. Although this might be a slightly more expensive option, it's also the safest and most comfortable way. When driving with a local driver, you are sure they know all the ins and outs, they know how to tackle the Vietnamese traffic and you can personalize your trip and make stops at all the attractions you'd like to visit along the way! As you know (or don't know), we at ForeverVacation offer private, all-inclusive tours in Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Danang and Quy Nhon, where one of our local guides will take you around i the comfort of your own private, air-conditioned car! How good does that sound?
- Everything is organized for you so you'll be stress free
- It's a comfortable way of traveling
- You can personalize your trip
Prepare a medical kit at home
Also, never drink tap water, only eat fresh cooked food and wash your hands regularly. Believe us, you don’t want to get sick. If you do though, you’ll be thanking yourself you brought some diarrhea pills. If you’re planning on traveling by boat, you may want to consider bringing some motion sickness pills as well.
1 month ago
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