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FAR EAST
 
         
 
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VIETNAM           Far East Enquiry Form
   
     
 
                                                           

An intriguing country, Vietnam encompasses a European tradition along with its own unique Vietnamese culture. Long a country in turmoil, Vietnam is a rich cultural diversity where heritage and traditional values live alongside the modern world.

The old capital Hue contrasts strongly with the capital of today, Hanoi, a bustling city and nearby port. Hue offers an insight into her regal past with many national architectural and cultural treasures in and around the city. No visit would be complete without experiencing the multi-cultural Ho Chi Minh City, a sprawling metropolis in the south.

Vietnam holiday
                                                           
Vietnam holiday
 

WEATHER    Back to top

The climate varies greatly from north to south. The north has a cool and dry season from November to April and a hot rainy season from May to October. The central coast north of Nha Trang has a similar climate with the winter monsoon bringing cool, wet weather between December and February. The south is hot and humid all year round, especially from February to May. The rainy season lasts from May to November. The central highlands has a similar climate to the south, but it is cooler and temperatures can be freezing in winter. The official peak season in Vietnam is from September to April.

Hanoi

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

19

26

44

90

188

240

288

318

265

131

43

23

Rainfall (inches)

0.7

1.0

1.7

3.5

7.4

9.4

11.3

12.5

10.4

5.1

1.7

0.9

Min Temp (°C)

14

15

18

21

24

26

26

26

25

22

18

15

Max Temp (°C)

19

20

23

27

31

33

33

32

31

29

25

22

Min Temp (°F)

57

59

64

70

75

79

79

79

77

72

64

59

Max Temp (°F)

66

68

73

81

88

91

91

90

88

84

77

72


Ho Chi Minh City

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Rainfall (mm)

14

4

9

51

213

309

295

271

342

260

119

47

Rainfall (inches)

0.6

0.1

0.4

2.0

8.4

12.2

11.6

10.7

13.5

10.3

4.7

1.8

Min Temp (°C)

21

22

24

26

25

25

24

24

24

24

23

21

Max Temp (°C)

32

33

34

35

34

32

32

32

31

31

31

31

Min Temp (°F)

70

72

76

78

77

76

76

76

76

75

73

70

Max Temp (°F)

89

91

93

94

93

90

90

89

88

88

88

87



                                                           

GOOD TO KNOW    Back to top

Main Cities & Regions
Hanoi
Ho Chi Minh City
Hué

Time: GMT +7.

Electricity: 220 volts, 50Hz. Plugs are either the two flat-pin or the two round-pin type. Three rectangular blade plugs can be found in some of the newer hotels.

Money: The official currency is the Dông (VND). There are no smaller denominations. Currency can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change, hotels and on the black market. Visa, MasterCard and American Express are becoming more widely acceptable in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, but it is best not to rely on them elsewhere. It is recommended that visitors bring travellers cheques in US Dollars, which can be cashed at major banks in the main cities and tourist areas. US currency acts as unofficial tender and is useful as a back-up when banks won't cash traveller’s cheques outside the main cities, but notes must be relatively new and unmarked. Several big cities now also accept Euro. Dông can be withdrawn from ATMs, but they are limited to major cities and tourist areas.

Currency Exchange Rates

VND 1.00 =

USD 0.06

GBP 0.03

CAD 0.07

AUD 0.08

ZAR 0.45

EUR 0.05

NZD 0.10

Note: These rates are not updated daily and should be used as a guideline only. Please go to our Currency Converter for the latest rates.

                                                           

Language: The official language is Vietnamese. Some Chinese, English and French are spoken. Tour guides can also speak Russian and Japanese. Numerous ethnic languages are also spoken in parts.

Passport/Visa Note: Entry may be refused to anyone travelling on a passport of less than six months validity. All visitors must have sufficient funds for the duration of their stay. Visitors should hold a spare passport photograph on arrival in Vietnam for use on the immigration form that must be filled out. You should retain the yellow portion of your immigration Arrival-Departure card on entry to Vietnam, as this is required for exit. From 15 October to 30 November 2006, holders of category D visas will not be granted entry to the country; visas should be checked before travelling to Vietnam.

Health: An outbreak of bird flu in 2004 claimed numerous human lives; recent outbreaks have also resulted in human fatalities. Avian flu in poultry has now spread to numerous provinces and cities across Vietnam. All care should be taken to avoid contact with live poultry and visitors are advised to exercise caution when eating poultry dishes, particularly raw or undercooked poultry products. Other health risks in the country include Hepatitis A and E, typhoid, Japanese encephalitis, dengue fever, bilharzia, diarrhoea, meningitis, rubella and HIV/AIDS. Malaria prophylaxis is recommended for travel outside the main cities and towns, the Red River delta and north of Nha Trang. There has been an increase in the amount of deaths relating to dengue fever in recent months, and visitors should take care to protect themselves from mosquito bites during the day, especially just after dawn and just before dusk, particularly in the southern Mekong Delta region. Travellers should seek medical advice about vaccinations at least three weeks before leaving for Vietnam and ensure they have adequate insect protection. Typhoid can be a problem in the Mekong Delta. Those arriving from an infected area require a yellow fever vaccination certificate. Water is potable, but visitors usually prefer to drink bottled water. Decent health care is available in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) with English-speaking doctors, and there is a surgical clinic in Da Nang, but more complicated treatment may require medical evacuation. Pharmacies throughout the country are adequate, but check expiry dates of medicines carefully. Health insurance is essential.

Vietnam holiday
Vietnam holiday


Tipping: Most restaurants and hotels now add a 5 to 10% service charge to their bills, but a further 5% for good service is greatly appreciated in more upmarket places. In top hotels porters expect a small tip. Hired drivers and guides are usually tipped, and it is customary to round up the bill for taxi drivers in the cities. Tipping is not generally expected, but some small change for most services is appreciated.

Safety: Travel in Vietnam is generally safe and violent crime is uncommon. Pick-pocketing is rife, and in Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) drive-by purse snatching is a common trick. It is best to leave valuables in a secure hotel safe and avoid obvious displays of wealth. During the monsoon season (usually between June and October) the country is prone to serious flooding, particularly the Mekong Delta and Central Region, and has resulted in isolation of areas and damage to infrastructure.

Customs: Shorts should be avoided away from the beaches if possible. Shoes must be removed on entering religious sites and a donation is expected when visiting a temple or pagoda. Photography is restricted at ports, harbours and airports, and it is polite to ask permission before taking photographs of people, especially of ethnic minorities. Never leave chopsticks sticking upright in a bowl of rice as it has strong death connotations.

Communications: The international country code is +84. The outgoing code is 00, followed by the relevant country code (e.g. 001 for the United States or Canada). Internal area codes are used (Hanoi 4). GSM 900 mobile networks cover the major urban areas. Internet cafes are available in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Internet access is often available at post offices in rural areas.

Duty Free: Travellers to Vietnam over 18 years do not have to pay duty on the following items: 400 cigarettes or 100 cigars or 500g tobacco; 1.5 litres alcohol with alcohol content higher than 22% and 2 litres below 22%. Up to 5kg tea and 3kg coffee; perfume and items for personal consumption within reasonable amounts; other goods to the value of 5 million Vietnamese dong

                                                           
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