Info, Tips & Recommendations

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    Key Contacts

    Vietnamese Embassy in France
    62 rue Boileau 75016 Paris, France
    Tel (+33) 1 44 14 64 00
    Website: www.ambassade-vietnam.com

    French Embassy in Vietnam (Hanoi)
    57 Tran Hung Dao, Hanoi
    Tel (+84-4) 3944 57 00
    Fax (+84-4) 3944 57 17
    Website: www.ambafrance-vn.org

    French Consulate in Ho Chi Minh City
    27 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai, Q.1
    Tel (+84-8) 3520 68 00
    Fax (+84-8) 3520 68 19
    Website: www.consulfrance-hcm.org

    Family 4 in Da Nang
    K 242 Nguyen Cong Tru
    An Hai Don Son Tra
    Da Nang, Vietnam

    U.S. Embassy in Hanoi
    7 Lang Ha Street, Hanoi, Vietnam
    Tel (+84)-4-3850-5000
    Website: https://vn.usembassy.gov/

    British Embassy in Vietnam
    Central Building, 4th floor, 31 Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi, Vietnam
    Tel +84 (0)4 3936 0500
    Website: https://www.gov.uk/government/world/organisations/british-embassy-hanoi

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    Be Aware

    Bargaining
    Bargaining with local traders and drivers is important if you don’t want to pay excessive amounts. This being said, Vietnam isn’t infamous for ripping off foreigners.

    Clothing
    As will be mentioned the climate in Vietnam can get really hot and wet! Be sure to bring cool clothing as well as rain gear.

    Traffic
    The first impression that you’ll probably get is of how manic the traffic is. Crossing busy streets can seem really daunting. But if you wait until traffic has subsided a bit and cross the road slowly and steadily, the motorbikes will avoid you.

    Theft
    While crime, especially violent crime, isn’t a serious issue be careful of carrying a handbag or using your cellphone on the street. Occasionally those items are snatched by thieves who then speed away on a motorbike. Rather carry your things in a backpack and when on the pavement or street avoid using your phone.

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    Climate

    Because climates vary across Vietnam, there isn’t a bad time to visit: when one region is wet and humid, another will be experiencing a sunny and pleasant temperate climate.

    North Vietnam
    North Vietnam has 2 distinct seasons. Summer lasts from May to October when it is warm and humid. This is also when the region experiences its highest rainfall. Winters are cool and misty, and last from November to April. During the coldest months (January – March) temperatures may fall as low 10°C.

    Central Vietnam
    In Central Vietnam the weather can swing dramatically on any given day. The hot and dry season starts in January and lasts until August. During the winter season, between September and December, rainfall increases. In October and November, Central Vietnam is the most likely zone to be hit by typhoons.

    South Vietnam
    Southern Vietnam is warm all year-round, however the climate is split into the wet and dry seasons. The wet season starts in November and ends in April. The months from June to August receive tropical monsoons causing some serious flooding, especially in the Mekong delta. The wet season lasts from May to October.

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    Accommodation

    Vietnam offers accommodation for every budget and taste, from basic hostels to luxury resorts. Remember your passport. All accommodation will ask for yours and some may keep it until you check out.

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    Money

    The local currency is the Vietnam Dong (VND). Since currencies remain volatile, it is difficult to attach a value to the Dong. However one thing is certain. In Vietnam, everyone can be a millionaire! One million dong is about €40 ($45).

    ATMs and currency exchange offices are available all over the country. In big cities and touristy areas, you can settle some bills in USD.

    Tip: do not accept damaged or partially destroyed banknotes, you may find it difficult to spend them.

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    Transport

    Vietnam disting itself by the diversity of its means of transport. But the most surprising must be the cities’ traffic, the number of motorbikes is impressive !

    • Walking:
      Vietnamese people are no so into walking. In the city, sidewalks are a few to be developed and are often crowded with all sorts of things, except walkers. Bars and restaurants set their terrace, street vendors display their wares and when there is some place left, we park motorbikes.
    • Bicycle:
      Not so long ago, bicycle was the most use family transportation mean.Today, it is still used a lot bu students. Is is still really popular among tourists in less crowded areas (Hoi An, Hue, Da Nang…).
    • Cyclo:
      Once most of the most popular mean of transport, cycles are rarer today. Big cities such as Hanoi limit their circulation to unblock traffic. Only a few companies are still allowed to operate, for tourists’ transportation.
    • Motorbike:
      Motorbike is by far the most used and wanted mean of transport by Vietnamese people. Helmet is now mandatory and in theory, only the Vietnamese driver licence is recognised! Traffic regulations do exist but a few actually respect it. Be careful when you decide to drive a motorbike a Vietnam.
    • Xe Ôm:
      « Xe Ôm » are motorcycles taxi drivers. We will find them at every street corner, the driver will give you a helmet to assure your safety. Xe Ôm’s prices are cheap. But, fix the price before starting and don’t hesitate to negotiate it lower.
    • Car:
      Having a car is reserved to rich Vietnamese people. For foreigners, only expats can drive in Vietnam. As tourists you should travel comfortably in a four wheels vehicle with a driver. But it does have a cost !
    • Taxi:
      Taxi in city is really useful, cheap and comfortable. Be aware of some companies with counters raising faster that others… Favour Vina Sun and Mai Linh to avoid any problem.
    • Bus:
      Bus is really cheap in cities but not so practical because it won’t necessarily let you out at your finale destination, in contrary of Xe Ôm or taxis?
      For longer trips, it is a really economical option. Roads conditions being what they are, speed is reduced and trips are longer.
    • Train:
      There is no high speed trains in Vietnam, but at least, they do leave and arrive at the correct horary. This mean of transport is really affordable et can allow you to discover beautiful landscapes.
      For long trips, you can book night train.
    • Plane:
      For intern flights, you can travel with Vietnam Airlines, national company or with low costs companies (Vietjetair, Jetsar Pacific…). Very cheap if you book ahead (often less than the equivalent bus fare), the network is pretty comprehensive. However cancellations are quite common and horary can vary.
    • Boat:
      The country has a lot of watercourses. It is possible to navigate in Vietnam, especially during tours in the Mekong Delta or Halong Bay, but also in Hoi An, Danang, Hué… And even in HCMC.
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    Visa

    Vietnam allows nationals of 23 countries to enter Vietnam without a visa for varying time periods. French people for example benefit from a 15 day visa exemption. However, all visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months after the return date.

    Travelers visiting Vietnam can either submit an application at a Vietnamese embassy or apply for a visa online and collect it at the airport on arrival in Vietnam.

Glimpses of Vietnam

Vietnam terrace farmingHoi An fishing boatsEthnic girls farmingGirl in traditional Vietnamese boatHanoi templeBen Thanh market at night