Given its historic past, Vietnam is a country that offers a unique perspective for travelers. Blessed with an insanely diverse landscape, you could be sliding down sand dunes in the morning, taking a stroll by the beach by noon and walking around a UNESCO heritage town by afternoon. Being that my partner and I both met in Vietnam, it will always be a memorable country for us. To help you plan and make the most out of your trip to Vietnam, here are a few bits of information to help you out.
Vietnam Quick Information
Currency: The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND) although in some places, USD is also accepted.Electricity Socket: 220V AC electricity. Power outlets are often compatible with either the standard US plug or the European one as well. To avoid the hassle of having to buy new adaptors for everywhere you go, we recommend picking up a Universal Travel Adaptor before you leave.
Visa: Compared to most countries, the visa regulations in Vietnam keep changing so it is best to double check with your embassy or through the government website for any changes.
As of August 2016, the following countries can get a free visa for the prescribed number of days. If you wish to stay longer, you will have to apply for a visa beforehand either through an agency or through the newly implemented e-visa program.
- Visa-free for 30 days: Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Singapore
- Visa-free for 21 days: Philippines
- Visa-free for 15 days: Japan, South Korea, Denmark, Russia, Sweden, Norway, Finland, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain
- Visa-free for 14 days: Brunei, Myanmar
Please note that if you get a free visa on arrival, this is non-extendable meaning you will have to fly out of the country if you wish to stay longer. If you’re planning on staying for 30 days or more, we recommend that you apply for a tourist visa at least 3 days in advance.
Safety: Generally speaking, Vietnam is a pretty safe country to travel around in. Although there are a few scams to watch out for, the most common accident that happens is motorbike related. While driving a motorbike in Vietnam is something that we recommend you do, make sure that you have the proper license from your home country. Most travel insurance policies won’t cover you otherwise. We recommend checking out World Nomads, for travel insurance.
Language: In larger cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, heaps of people speak a decent level of English making it a relatively easy place to travel. However, as with most places, as soon as you venture towards smaller towns and mountainous regions, the level of English drops. With this in mind, having a good grasp of a few basic Vietnamese words can go a long way. Words like petrol, hotel, and bathroom are definitely high up there on the list of must-know words. Check out our full Vietnamese for travelers guide for an overview of basic words and phrases to help you out.
Transportation: The transport from one place to the next is fairly easy in Vietnam and is quite efficient. We recommend downloading the Skyscanner App and using the 12Go website to the bus and train schedules ahead of time.