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A visa is needed for foreigners to enter Vietnam. Different types of visa - one-month or six-month - can be obtained at Vietnamese Embassies abroad. For those tourists who have a guarantee letter by a local tour operator in advance, one-month visa can be collected upon arrival at Vietnam’s international airports in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.
It is possible to get a “multiple entry” or “single entry” visa and it should be clearly requested upon your application for a visa. A multiple entry visa is usually for business people or those tourists who would like to make a visit to neighbouring countries of Vietnam and then come back to Vietnam for returning home.
The gateways for entering Vietnam by air are in Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang which are usually stated on the visa approval letter. If you travel into Vietnam by overland, make sure that you get the name of the entry point on the visa approval letter. It is easy to extend visas while you are in Vietnam.
On arrival in Vietnam, foreigners must complete the white and blue duplicate arrival-departure forms of which the blue copy is to be finally presented on your departure from Vietnam.
White and yellow duplicate customs declaration forms must also completed and the yellow copy must not be lost as it also has to be submitted upon departure.
It is compulsory that tourists declare foreign currency in excess of 7,000 USD, gold and jewelry not for personal use and video tapes. Vietnam has strict laws on bringing in anti-government literature, pornography, firearms and weapons. CDs and tapes are often retained for screening but will be returned after a few days. It is illegal to bring antiques out of Vietnam so make sure you do not buy any items called “antiques”. Although the sellers provide you with receipts, these antiques will be confiscated upon your departure.
The official currency issued by the State Bank of Vietnam is the “dong” (abbreviated as “VND”) which is nonconvertible outside of Vietnam and used throughout the country only in the forms of bank notes. The current exchange rate is around 14,000 VND to 01 USD. It is easy to change cash at airports, banks and hotels in all cities and towns. 100USD or 50USD bills earn a higher exchange rate than the smaller denominations.
Major credit cards (American, Visa, MasterCard, JCB) are accepted more and more at hotels, restaurants, shops and travel agencies in big towns. A fee is to be imposed to the card holder on the payment by credit cards.
As Noi Bai Airport is far from downtown, Airport Taxis charge a flat rate of 10 USD (one-way) for a car from Noi Bai Airport to central Ha Noi. The drive takes about 45 minutes.
In Ho Chi Minh City, a metered taxi from Tan Son Nhat Airport to downtown costs around 50,000 VND and the drive takes about 20 minutes.
There is now a wide choice of meter taxis in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as in other big cities.
No vaccinations are officially required for foreign tourists to enter Vietnam. However, it is advisable that precautionary measures be taken for diarrhea, malaria, hepatitis A & B and other vaccine-preventable infections.
Although international medical centres are available in Ha Noi and Ho Chi Minh City, it can be expensive for emergency care. Therefore, health and emergency medical insurance prior to visiting Vietnam is highly recommended for foreigners.
The fact that Vietnam stretches from the subtropics to the tropics makes it rather complicated to determine what to bring. It is recommended that light and easy clothing be brought. However, when travelling in northern Vietnam in winter months (November to March), a jacket or sweater would be useful.
Despite of hot and damp weather, shorts and tank tops are considered inappropriate in sacred places like pagodas, temples and churches and at formal events. Guests should ask whether it is alright to wear shoes when entering private homes.
Electric current in Vietnam is usually 220V although you can sometimes find 110V. Most plugs are two-pinned with rounded pins except in international-standard hotels.
It is possible to make IDD calls from Vietnam by dialing the international prefix 00 followed by the country code, area code and telephone number. To make domestic long-distance calls, the prefix 01 must be dialed first and is followed by area code and telephone number.
Fax and e-mail services are available in hotels, post offices and internet cafés.
Northern Vietnam
Ha Noi Jan -Mar Apr -Jun Jul -Sep Oct -Dec
Rain fall (mm) 92 511 887 190
Temperature (ºC) 17.8 26.4 28.1 21.2
Humidity (%) 84 84 84 82
Central Vietnam
Danang Jan -Mar Apr -Jun Jul -Sep Oct -Dec
Rain fall (mm) 148 110 646 1070
Temperature (ºC) 22.5 27.4 28.1 23.8
Humidity (%) 86 81 79 86
Southern Vietnam
Hochiminh city Jan -Mar Apr -Jun Jul -Sep Oct -Dec
Rain fall (mm) 30 593 918 438
Temperature (ºC) 26.8 28.1 26.8 26.2
Humidity (%) 75 82 87 84

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