If you haven’t ever been to Vietnam but the next destination for your holidays is Vietnam. Finding out understandings and preparing to the trip is very essentials.
Not only the long history and culture, but also there are many beautiful natural places at Vietnam are reason to visit. This is one of the most wonder countries that you could ever come, the country has many natural places both beaches and jungle with mountain from South to North. Climbing on the mountain then breathing the clean air or diving into the deep sea and enjoying the water of tropical that’s fantastic experience. Rejecting the chance to visit Vietnam is really a big mistake in your life.
1. Time to visit
Planning for the suitable time of your trip is the first thing you should notice. How many days intend to go, when is your holiday. There are 3 main parts in Vietnam: The North, the Center and the South. Three areas are totally different weather. However, the best time to have a trip visit to Vietnam is from December to April. The reason are:
The typhoon will appear in July and August that’s strong affect to your journey (cancel or replace some other places to avoid it).
Be aware with the rainy season in the South (from May to October).
Avoiding super hot summer in the North
Warm in the South, dry and cold in the North and Center.
2. Money in Vietnam
Vietnam Dong is the main currency in Vietnam
Exchange rate for the newest update is: 1 USD = 23500 Dong
You can exchange money in the airport or banks when you come to Vietnam. Don’t forget after the payment, the receipt you received must remain intact, not torn and too dim. In addition, with dollars, you can make sure one more thing that there is no stain or text on it. Normally, the bank will not accept or exchange currency with lower rates from the store or the hotel so you do not make the exchange with them.
When you do not like using cash, you must still exchange a little because in Vietnam cash is king. Just restaurants, hotels and modern convenience stores accept pay by card, using the credit card you should charge by the bank fee is 3 – 3.5%. Visa, Master Card is the most common type of cards in Vietnam. Additionally, using Amex or JCB. Maestro, Cirrus and Plus will be more trouble to make the payment. The best way, you can check with the seller before buying or using service about using credit card or not and the exchange rates they will use.
- Remember asking for the price before buying something or use any service (for example: street food, drinks, taxi, etc.).
- The local coffee has price from 25000 Dong (about $1.2). The local meal ( Banh Mi, Bun Cha, Banh Cuon, Pho, etc.) the price from 40000 Dong (about $2). Each meal in restaurant has price above 250000 per person (about $11).
3. Some place have to go
Vietnam has a large more than 330,000 km2 with many destinations and attractions place waiting for explorers. The recommendation for first time travelers post below.
In the North
Being the capital of Vietnam, this city has more than 1000 years of history and an important culture and politic center of Vietnam. Discovering deeper inside the authentic culture of Northern Vietnam then learning more information about the history of the country.
There are many destinations must visit is Hanoi old quarter, Returning Sword’s lake (Hoan Kiem’s lake), temple of literature, Mausoleum and Museum of Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam Museum of Ethnology, Dong Ho Panting Village, Tran Quoc pagoda, some ancient and handicraft villages in the urban area such as Duong Lam Ancient Village, Bat Trang Pottery Village, etc.
- Ninh Binh
Recently years, amount of tourism visit to Ninh Binh is increasing day by day. The most famous attraction there is Trang An which is known as “Halong Bay on land” with the mystique landscape just like the UNESCO heritage on the sea.
As for tourists who want to get some impressive selfie picture, Hang Mua (Dancing Cave) is the good choice for a short trip to Ninh Binh. The top of Hang Mua will show you with the most magnificent view of Trang An from above after climbing about 400-500 steps. A pose at Hang Mua peak can put your Instagram on with millions hearts.
- Ha Long Bay
The most beautiful place in Vietnam is Ha Long Bay. People all over the world known UNESCO Heritage with a unique charm which cannot be seen in anywhere else in the world. The good way to explore Halong Bay by a cruise. Hundreds cruises in Halong Bay from 1 to 5-star-standard always ready to serve tourists.
Further from Ninh Binh we move to the Northern mountainous area always challenges any tourists who seek for an adventure here. Sapa is a good choice, it can satisfy both leisure and adventure demand from tourists, people who come to this area for the first time.
Adventurers will go with you to challenge many trekking routes in Sapa, with many level from easy to difficult that lead you touch many beautiful view point here and interact locals’ daily life in their villages like Cat Cat, Sin Chai, Ta Van, etc. For someone who seeks for a leisure trip, there are many choices for high-end accommodations with lovely convenient like swimming pool and many fancy services. Preparing a tour to visit “The roof of Indochina” is Fansipan peak on a cable car is the best choice for leisure tourists.
The middle of Vietnam
- Da Nang
Da Nang is exactly the good choice for a beach vacation with one of the most beautiful beaches in the world! On the top crowded city in the Central Vietnam, Danang can satisfy the visitors by the most beautiful beach in the world – My Khe beach with the sunshine, sand and sea experience.
Moreover, Da Nang is appropriate with any family holiday like Ba Na Hills includes amusement park, flower gardens, restaurants, hotel and many good selfie picture, especially is The Golden Bridge with millions check in on social networking sites. Other attractions in city such as: Son Tra Peninsula, Marble Mountain (Ngu Hanh Son), Dragon Bridge, etc.
- Hoi An
The small town is nearby Da Nang City within 45 minutes driving and is the perfect place for people want to see an old landscape of an Ancient town. It is not a big city, this town content many interesting place inside which can cost at least one day for a city tour in Hoi An such as: Japanese Covered Bridge, Fujian Assembly Hall, lots of old houses and long streets with colorful lantern stores.
In addition, must-try a food tour experience in Hoi An with many local vendors providing delicious authentic Vietnam dishes. For nature lovers, hiring a bike to go around the small town nearby villages such as Cam Thanh and Tra Que is a good option as this is the opportunity for visitors to enjoy the locals’ daily life, experience the life of local people (planting, fishing, cooking, etc.)
Hue had been the Vietnam Capital for more than 100 years. Not only Hanoi in the North, Hue is a big center of Vietnam with long past history, culture and cuisine. There are so many famous destinations in Hue, sight-seeing tour is a good choice for visitors first-time come there. The tour guide with a knowledgeable who understand clearly about the story of history behind each destinations.
We recommend some of main historical and cultural are: Hue Citadel, some tombs of King (Khai Dinh, Tu Duc, etc.) and Thien mu pagoda. Moreover, a classic city tour can be a little bit boring, you can get new experience by a cruise tour on Huong River to visit the new places on the banks like Con Hen, Thien Mu Pagoda, then listening the history story behind it.
The sound Vietnam
- Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City)
It can be call Saigon which is the most crowded city in Vietnam with the most populated city and financial center of Vietnam. Ho Chi Minh city can suggest visitors many type of enjoyable activities of entertainment to relaxation. Be an active travelers who want to challenge as much as they can, food tours by foot, bike or motorbike are always available and ready to serve your travel around the city with the best local cuisine experience. In addition, nightlife in Saigon is the best in Vietnam with the most crowded and noise in Vietnam by lots of bars, pubs and local beer appear in every corner of the street and the most crowded on is the Bui Vien Street where gathering most of the travelers here.
Besides, someone who want to try more relaxing trip in a city tour in Saigon and visit some attractions should be visited are: Reunification Palace, War Remnants Museum, Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office, China Town, etc. further, travelers can try a half-day tour to Cu Chi Tunnels is a good option to know more about the civil war of Vietnam.
- Mekong Delta
It’s not far from Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) Mekong Delta less crowded than the financial center but still attractive in its another way with different lifestyle from other parts of Vietnam as people here live and do business on the Mekong River, earn their life from it. For travelers do not have more time, a full-day tour is briefing have the general view of this area.
However, to explore deeper in the local culture here, a tour for at least 3 days will make more experience. The trip in Mekong Delta include some destinations like local factories (coconut candy, rice papers, etc.), paddy fields and many villages by river bank Cai Rang floating market, fruit gardens.
- Phu Quoc Island
The biggest island in Vietnam and called “Pearl Island” Phu Quoc. This place is very popular for leisure tourists who want a totally relaxing holiday with only sun, sand and sea. There are a lot of resort from budget to high-end ones to serve the visitors. Normally, travelers want to stay at resorts on Tran Hung Dao street, near Duong Dong Town Center as it is so convenient to get to a bar, pub or seafood restaurant here and almost these resorts have private beach or near the beach.
Some recommendation famous place here are Ho Quoc Pagoda, Phu Quoc Prison, Phu Quoc National Park, Sao Beach, Duong Dong Night Market, black pepper gardens, fish sauce factory, pearl farm, etc. and, Vinpearl Land and Vinpearl Safari Phu Quoc are good choices for a family holiday with kids.
4. Preparing luggage
Luggage and cloth: it up to you, bring suitable clothes for suitable table, But I recommend you should bring light and thin cloth because the weather is hot all year. Don’t forget to bring jacket or suitable shoes if you want to explore different zones with different weather and temperature. They are not allowed at pagodas and temples here if you wear shorts and too revealing clothes.
Personal items: You can bring travel hair dryer, bath towel, shaving equipment, brush & tooth paste from your home, or buy it from convenient stores when you come there. Almost necessary things like this are appearing on a hotels or the stays you live. Don’t forget always carry toiletries in your day trip because you have an outside day.
Personal documents: Passport, Vietnam Visa (if required), travel insurance, flight tickets, all travel confirmation vouchers, photos of passport in separate place, last updated information for your trip.
Money: Everywhere in Vietnam have ATM machines, travelers should not bring cash a lot. You can take the cash from ATM with good rate for exchange. Take a lot of pence in VND to purchase smaller goods or buy ticket for transportation.
Electrical equipment: Bringing electric device like Iphone or Ipad to connect with internet and Wi-Fi is available almost everywhere (hotels, restaurants, coffee shop, etc.). In addition, 220V is the voltage that’s using in Vietnam, do not forget take the electrical adapter if your country use different voltage. Having a nice trip, you have to charge full battery is very important.
5. Visa and Passport
Appearing in Vietnam, you must bring your passport that is still valid for at least 03 months after the date you enter.
A valid visa is requested for citizens from most foreign countries come to Vietnam for any purposes. Residents of some countries who have a visa exemption agreement with Vietnam do not need to get a visa to Vietnam for a certain period of time and with specific purposes. And also not all travelers who request a visa to Vietnam are provided with visa on arrival. Hence, assure whether you need a visa to Vietnam or not and are provided with visa on arrival.
Recently day, you can choose two available ways to achieve a visa to Vietnam: submit for visa at a Vietnam Embassy or submit for Visa on arrival. Visa on arrival is better than other, it’s saving time, but please notice that, it is only for travel to Vietnam by air. Applying Vietnam visa online, receiving the Approval Letter before you leave home, which will simplify your arrival and save time.