Travel Hints For Vietnam

  • Always ensure you keep your passport in a safe location. Your Hotel reception staff will be able to secure your documents in the Hotel safe if you require. However, you should keep a photo copy of your passport and visa in a separate location at all times.
  • Nearly all Hotels have business cards written in both English and Vietnamese with a location map on the back. It is a good idea to never leave the Hotel without one in your pocket. Not only can it help you find the way back to your room but if required you can contact reception for help from someone who can speak English.
  • Take some time to familiarise yourself with the currency and you will see several notes are very similar and easily confused. Eg. The colour of the 20,000 VND note is very similar to that of the 500,000 VND note and it can be very difficult to notice the difference when in a hurry at the market. Others have said it helps to place the notes in order in your wallet or purse and place them so it’s easy to see the amount on the note.
  • ATM’s are very common and in the major tourist areas you are never very far from one. The use of credit cards to make purchases can be very difficult and actually impossible in most areas. Vietnam is a Cash society and even many of the hotels will insist on you using cash at check out time. It is advisable to check payment method with reception staff well in advance of your check out time to avoid any last minute rush to an ATM.
  • In some of the market areas you may come across touts who will actively try and tempt you into their shop. Although local governments have tried to stop the practice, it still occurs from time to time and especially in and around the main tourist centres where competition for foreign customers is high. If you are not interested in what is on offer, simply say “No thank you” and keep walking, there is no need to be rude.
  • Remain calm while making purchases and keep control of your valuables to ensure your excitement doesn’t make you the unwilling victim of a thief or scam.
  • When leaving the airport, ensure you have your luggage tickets and be prepared to show them to security before being allowed to leave. Although the need to show your tickets can slow your progress it does help ensure no one else can inadvertently walk off with your possessions.
  • Crossing the road on foot can be frightening experience, especially for the first time and is best done at the traffic lights. To cross the road without traffic lights most people use the following method. Wait for a small gap and step off the curb. While continuing to watch the traffic, move slowly at a steady pace across the road. Try to avoid stopping and never take a step backwards as the traffic opens up around you for only enough time to avoid hitting you.
  • It is a good idea to bring a few basic medical items with you and a supply of any vitamins you may normally take as they may not be easily available in Vietnam. Headache tablets, band aids, mosquito repellant and sunscreen are among the items recommended to bringing.
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