50 Things you should know when travel to Vietnam
Vietnam recently become a new attractive travel destination in Southeast Asia.
In 2018 they welcome 15,497,791 foreign visitors. With pretty big population of 97 million people of 54 tribes all over Vietnam, majority is Viet people and the rest living up the central highland and mountains area of North West Vietnam.
Though many westerners still see Vietnam through the lens of war, in reality, it is a country filled with captivating natural beauty and of course, tranquil village life. The rainforest and highlands areas of Vietnam are far from being devastated. Its beaches and islands are among the most beautiful and wildest in Southeast Asia while its specialties or cuisine may be the healthiest and delicious you will ever know. After a long of war, today, the graceful S-shaped country is really an outstanding destination for tourists worldwide.
Vietnam stretches the length of the Indochinese peninsula, covering a surface area of about 128,000 square miles. Not mention to nature, those open-minded and curious tourists will find in this country a feast of history and culture.
If you are planning to visit Vietnam, then you should have some preparation ahead to make your trip much easier. Fortunately, here we introduce to you, those first-time visitors, 50 important things you should know before you visit Vietnam. Don’t pack your luggage until you read the whole article below!
Table of Contents
- 1. When is the best time to visit Vietnam?
- 2. What kind of language the local use?
- 3. Do I need Visa to Vietnam?
- 4. Local Currency VND
- 5. Time Zone
- 6. Banking
- 7. What type of Electric Plugs?
- 8. Vietnam Culinary
- 9. Do you tip?
- 10. How to bargain or technique to get good price.
- 11. Cell Phones
- 12. Wifi
- 13. Communication
- 14. Transportation
- 15. Side walk Often Used as Motorbike Parks
- 16. Buy Train ticket in advance or get directly from Station?
- 17. Should I use Vaccinations before traveling to Vietnam?
- 18. Don’t Confuse when you count Between “15” And “50”
- 19. Tip or not?
- 20. Breakfast Included in Hotel rate
- 21. Traffic in major cities is chaotic
- 22. Friendly Vietnamese People?
- 23. Vietnam Is Bigger Than You Think
- 24. Say no to “Day Tours”
- 25. Make sure That The Soup Is Boiling
- 26. Does backpacking popular in Vietnam?
- 27. How safe with your stuff on overnight train.
- 28. Watch Your Belongings
- 29. How do you expect the different between Hanoi and Saigon?
- 30. Dress of people show you are stylish or conservative
- 31. Local are not haggler
- 32. Pay Attention To Curfews
- 33. How do I find my vegetarian food?
- 34. How is toilet in Vietnam?
- 35. Is the rain predictable?
- 36. Does the train depart on time?
- 37. Halong Bay Cruise is must see.
- 38. Internet in Vietnam as fire wall?
- 39. Should I try local beer?
- 40. Should I strictly follow the guide book?
- 41. What is real Karaoke, Massage in Vietnam?
- 42. How do I Pronounce Pho As “Fuh” Or “Fur”?
- 43. How do I choose domestic airlines in Vietnam?
- 44. Should I book Hotels / Hostels online myself? Does it help me to save my money?
- 45. Rooftop Bars
- 46. Travel with Recommended Vietnam Tour Operator?
- 47. Why building in Vietnam is very thin?
- 48. Should I use ice in restaurant?
- 49. Where is best place to tailor your dress in Vietnam?
- 50. Baggage allowance on Vietnam Domestic Flight
1. When is the best time to visit Vietnam?
The first thing you should know before you travel to Vietnam is its weather. Because Vietnam features with a tropic monsoon climate, so the weather here is pretty complicated. The weather varies greatly from the South to the North. In south of Vietnam dry season is from December to May, wet season is from May to November. And North Vietnam 4 seasons Spring Feb – Apr, Summer May- July , Fall Aug – Oct and Winter Nov- Feb.
Of course, the weather is never guaranteed. So, it is recommended to bring rain jacket, light sweater, hat and eyes wear when travel to Vietnam.
2. What kind of language the local use?
In 17th Century, a French missionary created the letter to speak Bible to community. Fortunately, it pronounces beautifully the local words. Then use widely in the community. In 1945, this letter become official letter of Vietnam with 24 letter and many tonal signs.
The Vietnamese language is officially written in the alphabet which is similar to English, so tourists have no trouble when reading the sign and see the map of Vietnam, despite pronunciation might be a little bit tricky. There are many English-speakers found in most tourist areas and major cities of Vietnam, yet most locals speak very little English while older people may speak French and Russian.
3. Do I need Visa to Vietnam?
Most visitors to Vietnam require a visa to enter the country.
Visas are exempted for the citizens of the countries listed below:
– Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos (30 day visa).
– Brunei, Myanmar (14 day visa).
– Philippines (21 day visa).
– Japan, South Korea, Sweden, Norway, Russia, Denmark and Finland (15 day visa; required to hold a passport valid for at least 6 months on arrival and also must make 30 day pause between two arrivals).
– United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain (15 day visa)
– Belarus (15 day visa. This visa waiver is valid until 30 June 2020).
– Kyrgyzstan (30 day visa).
– Chilean citizens holding valid diplomatic passports are exempt from visa requirements (90 days).
– Citizens of China, Cuba and North Korea holding normal passports endorsed “for public affairs” do not require a visa for Vietnam.
– APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) Holders from Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies are exempted to stay within 60 days without visa.
– Those who directly visit Phu Quoc Island without a visa for up to 30 days. Foreigners and Vietnamese nationals bearing foreign passports who enter Vietnam through an international border gate and then travel to Phu Quoc Island and stay in Phu Quoc less than 30 days will also be granted Vietnam visa exemption. After arriving in Phu Quoc Island, if visitors want to travel to other localities or stay in the island for more than 15 days, the immigration department will be responsible for issuing visas right on the spot.
However, if you are staying somewhere like a private home or an alternate accommodation, the owner of the house will know how to arrange it with local police station and they are all very supportive.
More at www.vietnamtravel.com/visa. This make your visa arrangement become easier than ever.
4. Local Currency VND
Vietnam Dong is the currency in Vietnam (shortening VND). You can check some websites on the Internet for the exchange rate between your own ’s currency and Vietnam Dong. One note about Vietnamese currency is that you should be careful between 500,000 VND and 20,000 VND as they are very similar to each other in terms of color. Always keep the changes in your wallet and it help much when you pay for things in Vietnam.
5. Time Zone
The same time zone with Bangkok and other Indochina countries, its time zone is UTC + 7hs.
The majority of banks in Vietnam will be open from Monday to Friday during the hours of 8.30 am to 11 am and after a noon break, it will be re-opened between 1 pm to 4 pm. During the weekend and public holidays, you could use the Jewelry stores or hotel reception of you change money. The exchange rate is pretty much similar. There are many ATM in most of the tourist place and most of the Hotel or Restaurants they accept Credit Card. The payment in Vietnam is so much convenient compare to it was couple years ago.
As usual, American Express credit cards are not popularly accepted. Master and Visa Card may be OK, though often there are 3% surcharge over cash price.
7. What type of Electric Plugs?
Oftentimes, the most popular electric plug in Vietnam is the European 2-pin attachment. However, some areas use British 3-blade or Japanese / North American 2-blade.
8. Vietnam Culinary
Vietnam is known as kingdom of food. Food is good and price is reasonable. You have plenty of choice from less than $2 of good Noodle Soup (Pho) to the fine dining in the luxury restaurant. No matter wherever you eat, it could not be denied that Vietnamese food is delicious and healthy. It is usually made by different kinds of vegetables. Fruit smoothies made from those seasonal fruits are popular, including Longan, banana, sugar apple, avocado, strawberry, durian, jack fruit, dragon fruit, lychee, mango and passion fruit could be found in most fruit stalls. Besides, it is recommended to use bottled water instead of drinking tap water.
More than just noodles and steamed rice, Vietnamese boasts a variety of local cuisines with various choices for palates of persuasions. Despite the varied landscape of Vietnam, all dishes contain the brilliant balance of heat, aromatics, sweetness, fish-sauciness, and sourness. Similar to other Asian cuisines, Vietnamese food is also about the yin and yang: the cooling and warming, the sweet and salty, the fresh and fermented.
The country is narrow and long and the climate is also different from North to South and make a lot of changes to the flavor and taste of food. Same type of cuisine but taste different from North to the South.
9. Do you tip?
Tip is getting common in the hotel or luxury restaurant, normally local don’t tips when they eat at street or small restaurants. We suggest you leave the changes or tips when you satisfied with the food you order.
10. How to bargain or technique to get good price.
Though the price is fixed in most of the big shops and stores in the major cities but other part of Vietnam especially the local market, you need to know how to bargain.
Vietnamese people love to do business and hate to see a client walk way. In general, they will get the upper hand right the second you ask “how much does … cost?” You should not let them keep you head down. Try “walking away” to get better price. Just speak out your price and stick to it and just politely walk away once they do not agree with it. Soon, they will call you back if it is a really fair deal and offer you the lowest possible price whilst you are still within earshot.
Do not let those sellers squeeze any higher amount from you. The Vietnamese respect a tough client, even when you feel you have wasted their time and want to give in, you should still not do it. If they do not agree, you can still come back to them later.
11. Cell Phones
You can bring smart mobile phone along and make sure it is unlocked. There are some stores selling sim cards. It costs around 100,000 VND for a 3G/4G sim card with a credit of 50,000 VND included.
There are many network of Vietel, Vinaphone, Mobiphone, Vietnamobile, G-Tel.
They sell a lot from the arrival airport to the small streets in town.
Unlike other neibouring countries, wifi in Vietnam is pretty convenient and very popular everywhere from the big cities to the small town in the countryside. Most of the business has free wifi and even the private car of Vietnam Travel provide free wifi on their car or van.
Many local people could speak several phrases of English, yet you should not still count on it. Now with translation app on cellphone, the communication is abit easier. They use 6 tonal signs so lot of Vietnamese words sounds similar but make many different meaning, if you have tour guide of average $35/day. Your trip will be so much easier.
Physical displays of affection between couples in public may be frowned upon. That is why you might come across couples who just hold hands of each other, not hugging or kissing.
The 3-wheeled bike, cyclo (Xích lô), Since tourism started in Vietnam in early of 90s, Cyclo was used to transfer tourists to visit old streets of Hanoi or Hoian and HCM City in pretty slow speed. Tourist feel comfortable to hang around the old town of these major city in the slow pave while they could see, feel and take photos from Cyclo. Most of cyclo rider could speak humble English and could be able to explain for tourist city ‘s landmark or must see while paddling.
Most of travel agents in Vietnam selling this cyclo tour. Price per hours or per route.
Hanoi cylco tour at 10 dollars/person & HCM City cylco tour at 12 dollars/person (tipping 2-3 $ is not included). In other cities in Vietnam, Cyclo is just to carry goods.
All taxi in Vietnam are mattered. You had better keep an eye on the taxi meter when using this vehicle to travel. In Vietnam, generally, taxis are cheap. However, some are rather noticeably ripping you off. You need to negotiate the prices prior to get on. Watch the odometer and then compare it to the trip meter. If you realize anything wrong (like it goes up fast), then you had better kindly ask the driver to pull over, pay the inflated price and then hail a new one for the left distance of your journey.
Over years, taxis in Vietnam have become safer and more hassle-free in general. Yet, sometimes, ripping off little experience passengers is an art of dishonest drivers. Though not every taxi driver are not honest, yet to be safe, you should stick with some realize companies such as Mai Linh, Hanoi Taxi, and Vinasun.
With application of Grab car in major cities, it make your transportation so much easier with better price.
14.3 By foot
When you are in a city of Vietnam, you can try as much by food as possible. Walking around the busy street is one of the best ways for tourists to experience the local culture. Nevertheless, crossing the street of Vietnam is not as easy as it sounds. Some travelers say crossing street in Vietnam is dangerous and some say it is fun. It depend on your technique and your skill, here is the key.
When crossing street, normally other traffic will see you estimate your speed to go around you. So the key is don’t run and don’t go back because when you change the speed suddenly, they don’t know how to do.
Others way is wait for local people crossing and you go with them.
14.4 Xe Om (Xe Ôm) / Motorbike
We are not recommending to use Xe Om, but if you want to experience it in the short distance. You can try. Make sure you have helmet on and hold on driver steadily. This way of transport could use when you in big rush of heavy traffic of Hanoi or Saigon, motorbike could go even faster than a car
Recommended train route is from Hanoi to Lao Cai (heading to sapa)
From Hanoi to Hue or Hoi An up to HCM City.
From HCM City to Phan Thiet (Mui Ne)
Yes, it is slow and bumpy but you gain the view of countryside, coastline. Make sure you could go few hours in the day time not through the night otherwise you could not see anything in the dark. Train ticket is pretty cheap but you got to add the pick up to train station and also the taxi from station to your destination. Ticket counters at station is chaotic, officers don’t speak English and beware of the pickpockets there. You ‘d better use the travel agent for your ticket because they have contract price and know which train is better than other.
It is fun and nice experience, There are few place you should use boat for your visit.
Bac Ha to Lao Cai, they use short ride of boat in Chay river ( an hour) to the Hmong villages
Ba Be lake, there are few hours of boat ride on the fresh water lake on top of mountains, spectacular scenery.
Boat trip to Perfume river. 90 minutes’ boat to the Den Trinh and the same distance out. Beautiful view of mountain ranges and rice paddy.
Boat trip in Tam Coc (Ninh Binh) which go under 3 caves with stalactite and view of rice paddy.
Boat trip in Hue, along Perfume river sometime they have royal band performance on boat/
Boat trip in Mekong river to see floating market, lots of daily life activities which is highly recommended.
Well, basically buses in Vietnam are not used for travelling, particularly for foreigners due to some bad reputation despite they are steadily getting better. Bus is a good choice to get the some towns like Dalat (Đà Lạt) and Mui Ne (Mũi Né) as they could not be reached by plane or train.
You ‘d better use the Bus service or Private car arranged by Vietnam Travel with professional driver who could speak basic English and using good quality vehicle.
15. Side walk Often Used as Motorbike Parks
Even though the city of Hanoi and Saigon did a lot of effort to get side walk for pedestrians. Some area even the authority makes the barrier or obstacle to stop motorbike from parking on sidewalk. But it happened as city does not have enough space for motorbike parking and local seems lazy to find parking place.
This is a frustrating feature in most cities in Vietnam. Parking space for motorbikes in Vietnam is very shortage and some sidewalk have become alternative parking lots. Sometimes, it means that the pedestrians have no choice but to walk down the street. In such case, you should be on high alert and get back to the sidewalk as soon as you could.
16. Buy Train ticket in advance or get directly from Station?
We highly recommend you to book train ticket in advance and use the services of reputable Travel Company.
They know which train is better and the time schedule match with the rest of your services and your travel activities. They will book it in advance so always have better cabin and save your time and your money. Travel Agents get commission by month when they book the big quantity so price from Tour Company may not be more expensive than they price you pay at train station counter. In the other hand, it saves your time from going up and down to station and sometime hard to communicate to officers or run out of tickets.
17. Should I use Vaccinations before traveling to Vietnam?
Malarial is the old stories in the past, in fact the major city of Vietnam is pretty developed. If you are going to spend long time outside in the urban areas or traveling during the humid and hot months to the remote part of Vietnam, you may need it otherwise we don’t recommend.
18. Don’t Confuse when you count Between “15” And “50”
One of the things you should know before you visit Vietnam is about currency. Those street vendors in Vietnam, like coconut sellers, shoe shiners, will silently trick you and claim that you agreed to a higher “50” thousand VND and not the “15” thousand VND that you were completely. The price of a shoe shine or coconut is about 15,000 VND, so make sure that the “15” is fully understood before your shoes are well shined or the coconut is cracked. Avoid falling for the “50”. What you can try to do is to take out 15,000 VND and show it to the vendor before committing. Or, you can also use your finger to demonstrate so there will be no confusion after all. I personally recommend you bring a pencil and piece of papers to note down when you bargain.
19. Tip or not?
Tip is getting common in the hotel or luxury restaurant, normally local don’t tips when they eat at street or small restaurants. We suggest you leave the changes or tips when you satisfied with the food you order.
20. Breakfast Included in Hotel rate
When you book your trip with local tour operators, they will note clearly in the day by day itinerary breakfast included.
If you book hotel yourself and really want to break down the cost and only want to pay room without breakfast, here is suggestion: Sandwiches, noodles, spring rolls: Vietnam has cheap and delicious street food even around every corner of the cities. You do not need to force down a bland breakfast from your hotel so your day can get started. The hotels will try to lure tourists in with the “breakfast added” offer. Despite it is not terrible, it may be not worth your cost. In Vietnam, it is very easy to get outside and grab an amazing bowl of noodles (Pho) for just 20,000 VND no matter where you are. The coffee or street-side soup will be much better than the stable baguette or greasy eggs provided by your hotel, most often times.
21. Traffic in major cities is chaotic
Even you like it or hate it, the traffic in Hanoi and Saigon will always be busy especially in the rush hours. Some people say it look fun and like photo of it and some don’t.
When traveling to Vietnam, you will be the experiences in crossing streets. It often takes a while for tourists, particularly foreigners, to get used to the idea of steeping off into traffic like the real-life version of the Frogger game.
Even though the city has traffic light but local guy told me, it is good street decoration.
22. Friendly Vietnamese People?
Vietnamese people are always smile, when they understand you, they smile. When they don’t understand you, they also smile.
Not mention to those people working in the tourist industry, those normal Vietnamese people are very friendly and attentive. Though you might have heard that foreign tourists were treated like “walking ATM machines” in Vietnam, it is not true for those hospitable normal locals. Happy school children saying hello, invitations to beer and karaoke in the evening, free snack on the hard seat trains,… there are many things you can receive from locals if you are a foreigner. Just like everywhere else, people are great in this small country. So, do not let the scammers and touts sour your opinion.
23. Vietnam Is Bigger Than You Think
The country is narrow and long. The distance from Hanoi to Saigon is 1726 km. 34 hours by slow train or 36 hour drive or 105 minutes flight. There are many things to see between when traveling from Hanoi to Saigon. You do not want to watch it whizz by the train window. Do not ever underestimate the size of Vietnam and give yourself time to day by day explore. If you just have one week or two, then stick to either Southern, Central or Northern areas. Do not force yourself to visit it all in just one short fling.
The good plan to visit Vietnam, I recommend about 2 weeks trip that cover the most beautiful destination and some free time to relax on some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia.
24. Say no to “Day Tours”
It is very tempting as they are advertised over the backpacker districts. Trips to Cu Chi (Củ Chi) tunnels, the DMZ, Mekong Delta, the My Son (Mỹ Sơn) ruins…
The tours often cost low but will make some unnecessary stops during the route to give you the opportunity to spend money at their friends’ gift shops, restaurants, bathrooms, and so on. It is rather waste of time. If possible, you should spend couple dollar more to get private car or brave it on your rented motorbike. After paying the money, and getting on the cramped little bus, you will be a prisoner for one day. So, go your own way.
25. Make sure That The Soup Is Boiling
If you don’t have steeled stomach, Soup sit for too long may be the culprit. Hence, you should try to eat at those restaurants which are busy as their ingredients are fresh and turn over more and they seem to keep the gas throughout the day. Look under the lid in order to make sure that the soup is processed at a low boil.
26. Does backpacking popular in Vietnam?
According to many tourists who were used to visit Phuket, or Siem Reap, Vietnam may feel a bit wild and off-the-beaten-path if you make the attempt to get lost.
With the population of nearly 97 million people and just 15 million tourists annually or so, foreign visitors in Vietnam are generally diluted by the young population and dynamic fabric of urban centers and town of the country.
27. How safe with your stuff on overnight train.
Pick-pocketing is popular in Vietnam. There were some stories of tourists having valuable belongings stolen on the overnight “Sleeper” trains or buses. So, it is always better to take your belongings with you at meals or the rest areas. A friend of mine lost all money and passport on the overnight public bus. And she only gets her passport back on the next day from a cleaner at the train station. So my advice is using the private car or good quality train carriage arranged by reputable local tour operator.
28. Watch Your Belongings
A bad bug spoils whole the soup. There are few bad greasy fingers in Saigon and Hanoi spoil the name of friendly honest Vietnamese people. They often looking for distracted and naive visitors, who do not have their eyes on their valuable belongings.
29. How do you expect the different between Hanoi and Saigon?
The comparison between Hanoi and Saigon (Official name Ho Chi Minh City) is pointless. These two big cities of Vietnam are both worth visiting, yet for different reasons. For Hanoi, more conservative. Right from the first sight, you will experience its tradition. Hanoi is the governmental capital, you could feel it instantly. The body of the president Ho Chi Minh is carefully and respectfully preserved in Ba Dinh Square. The ancient pagodas still point out from those willowy lakeside, the French quarter is well preserved and much more. It is a straight, traditional and low-key.
What about Saigon, its nightlife, vibrancy, and culture will attract you right from the first glance. Sexy neon lights, sophisticated cafes, rooftop bars, burgeoning art along with music scene, Saigon is the biggest city of Vietnam that most international expats prefer, for good reasons of course. Yet, the attractions in Saigon are not the draw, it is people and culture.
30. Dress of people show you are stylish or conservative
Inspire of being colorful and young, and being an increasingly stylish place, Vietnam is not a perfect place for those who for wearing too sensitive clothes on. You can bring nice clothes but do as the local people do and be moderate. Despite it is hot in Saigon, walking around with bikinis on or without shirt is no welcomed.
You need to dress well upon visiting pagodas or temples. No tatty beer T-shirts or shorts are welcomed. Shoes are fine, and you will rarely need to remove them. If you are not sure, just simply follow what the locals do.
31. Local are not haggler
Haggling is friendly courting ritual to Vietnamese people, yet they are not Don Juans about it. Knowing haggling is expected and you will be given a signal for being a tourist. The big tip is to not look rich. When you know that you are going into a haggling situation, you can remove the bigger bills and then load your wallet with coins. Often, when a vendor or seller sees the purse, and hears the loud jingle, they either ass you as a poor or cheap tourist.
32. Pay Attention To Curfews
The reality is, even the big cities in Vietnam like Hanoi & Saigon seem to go to sleep around 11 pm (despite it maybe earlier). Clubs and bars stay open, yet restaurants as well as business will absolutely be closed. That means, guesthouses and hostels close in accordance as well. Some of them have a night guard to let their guests in or a doorbell that allows you to ring. Otherwise, lobby lights may be off, the receptionist or front desk staff is sound asleep on their cot in the lobby.
It is better for you to confirm with your hostel or guest house about their curfews. Ask what protocol is applied if you come back late. If you are reservations yet you suspect your flight may arrive late, you can tell your guesthouse that you might be arriving late so they do not give your reserved room away.
33. How do I find my vegetarian food?
No need to worry, In Vietnam, has a diversifying food culture and therefore has food-friendly shelters for some vegetarians. Many restaurants advertise “Vegetarian food” on the signs. So, it is easy for you to find places to eat if you are a vegetarian.
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34. How is toilet in Vietnam?
Many visitors said that before arriving in Vietnam, they thought toilets in Vietnam are like that of other South East Asia destinations. That thought steeled themselves for having to “hover” during the traveling process. However, the fact is not that. This turns out to be a misconception about facilities in Vietnam. After experiencing by themselves, they conclude that the plumbing tends to work in a similar way to Greece: do not block the pipes by flushing the toilet paper down. Instead, use the bin supplied and everything will finally be fine.
Bring yourself with much of tissues as well as antibacterial gel in case you are caught short without supply. You might also be charged by using toilets if they are situated at the popular tourist destinations. Do not be cheap and think that you could get away without paying the minimum price if you are not male and used to using the public toilet as you may have to use the exposed toilet bowl without door and that can be seen from the street.
This is not a worry if you book a private trip with reputable local tour operator, their driver and guide will always find you a good, clean stop even on the drive or the trek. And of course in good hotel and big restaurants the toilet is at your standard level.
35. Is the rain predictable?
This is tropical country, it does rain much but the rain here is short (an hour or less) and normally predictable. It is always fresh and nice after the rain.
You can buy yourself ponchos which could be bought for just a minimum price (the thinner plastic items are good for wandering around whereas the thicker, longer ones are more suitable for riding cycles or motorbikes a lot.
You should not bother bringing an umbrella with you as it just adds weight to your luggage and even the lowest-class hostels also offer them free you to you. Yet, make sure that you return the umbrellas before leaving as you will be charged fort them otherwise.
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36. Does the train depart on time?
After spending a few days in Vietnam, you will realize that people here are laid-back ones, who never get in a rush to get anywhere. This also applies to their public transport system.
Some experienced tourists said that they encountered a few sleeper trains during their journey, it tended to become custom to not expect to arrive at their chosen destination at the fixed time, even when they had set off within hour of the departure time. What you should do is to go with the flow and be ready to leave the train at the station when you reaching your destination as they do not stop for long and you will even never know where you may end up if you have to stay on that train till the next stop.
37. Halong Bay Cruise is must see.
This is one of the top attractions of Vietnam.
Despite Halong (Hạ Long) bay is usually criticized as becoming rather touristy nowadays, we still cannot deny its breathtaking beauty. It is still a place that needs to be visited at least once in lifetime. There are more than 200 cruises on the bay and give you a big and hard choice. We will highly recommend you take overnight cruise on the bay. And of course spend 24 hours on a luxury halong cruises will make your trip memorable.
Now you also choose the route of cruise on Lan Ha bay or Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long bay. The drive Hanoi to Halong Bay has been upgraded to totally new freeway from December 2018. It makes your trip to these 3 bays is so relaxing and easy.
38. Internet in Vietnam as fire wall?
There is no barrier of using internet any more. All the complains about internet in Vietnam was out of date. It is good and fast and available, free in all hotels, restaurant, business… just enjoy and keep your family and friends updated with your trip.
39. Should I try local beer?
Good recommendation, you should, let say “Mot, Hai Ba, Zo”. This is how people cheers when they have toast.
Each town in Vietnam has a specific brand of beer brewed locally and is usually cheaper than the other beers of the country (of course, cheaper than those imported beers).
Give each of them a try and see what the designs of label were like and how great each one is. You should also try Bia Hoi (Bia Hơi) at a certain street side café in Hanoi. People here sit on a little plastic chair at the side of the streets and enjoy beers. This seems insane for some foreigners but it is a special feature of Hanoi, in particular, and Vietnam, in general. Just go with it!
40. Should I strictly follow the guide book?
No and Yes, you should follow guide book, most of the writer they have been at the site and inspect services in Vietnam carefully but guide book is not day by day updated, things changing by the time. Some services is not good anymore and some new services just open. Book cannot update all of them.
41. What is real Karaoke, Massage in Vietnam?
This might sound like an obvious fact, yet the naive travelers among foreigners might still fall into the trap of believing that these buildings are harmless or non-brothel-like. In fact, the words karaoke is just used in order to attract the attention of the tourists, and after getting into them, you may discover another world.
42. How do I Pronounce Pho As “Fuh” Or “Fur”?
“Pho”, the most mispronounced word by foreign tourists, is the national dish of the country. Some tourists without knowing pronounce this word as “fo” or “po” and many other variations, but two first variations are sensitive words. It is advised by locals to be careful what it is your order when pronouncing this word. The word sounded as “fo” in the mind of Vietnamese actually means “prostitution”, so you may end up getting more than just a bowl of beef noodle.
Talk about Pho, this is most popular food in Vietnam. This dish is made from rice noodles cooked in a meat broth, occasionally served with a few special vegetable garnishes on sides. Add in your bowl when the broth is still steaming. Vegetarians will hardly find a restaurant serving Pho that is not meat based when hitting the food stalls on streets, yet some international cafés directed more towards the European tastes, might offer vegetarian options for tourists.
43. How do I choose domestic airlines in Vietnam?
Vietnam Airlines is the most popular airline brand in Vietnam due to its high quality and scale. few other lesser well-known airline brands are VietJet and Jetstar, Bamboo Airlines. In which Bamboo Airlines is just opened recently, VietJet is cheaper than Vietnam Airlines but has low cost carriers. Row spacing is tighter, and you prepay for checked your luggage and even drink and food in advance. Jetstar is low cost version of Vietnam airline as they own 80% share of Jetstar. There are many irritating offers as well as upsells.
You should book domestic flight with local travel agent. Most of the agents give you free help when you book only domestic flights with them, they will benefit by commission from Airlines. I mean you won’t get cheaper price if you book it yourself. The Vietnam Travel agents will have power to deal with them, In case of delay or weather permission they will give you good help and notice and find good substitution for you. They could also connect the services of both departure and arrival destination in Vietnam to match your time schedule beautifully. My advice is pay couple dollars more ( may be less) and have professional experience people take care your trip while you enjoying it.
44. Should I book Hotels / Hostels online myself? Does it help me to save my money?
In Thailand, booking accommodation via e platform generally save you several dollars. However, in Vietnam, it may be not like that. You are advised to not booking hotel or hostels online. For whatever reason, the price in this country is always cheaper when a traveler shows up in person. Moreover, if you show up in person, you could also check out the room and bargain it down a little bit, in general. But, you could not do it online, right?
In the other hand, a reputable Tour operators who book hundreds of room nights a year will have power to deal with hotel for better view/services or more benefit for their clients.
45. Rooftop Bars
Great way to view city from the top.
Many travelers say that Vietnam has more rooftop bars than any other country that they have ever visited. Rooftop bars are loved by many people due to its special location and atmosphere.
In Hanoi, check out the expansive view of Pacific Place 83 Ly Thuong Kiet
Melia Hotel also have one but not large
Pan pacific Horizon – 1 Thanh Nien Road have spectacular view from the top bar. I mean view to Truc bach Lake and West Lake and also to HCM Mausoleum complex.
Great view from Apricot Hotel – Hang Trong street. View to Hoan Kiem Lake
Cau Go restaurant – Dinh Tien Hoang street has most beautiful view to old quarter of Hanoi and Hoan Kiem Lake too.
Top of Hanoi is by far the tallest rooftop bar in Hanoi. It’s located at the top of the Lotte Tower – 54 Lieu Giai street, which is the second tallest building in Hanoi at 65 floors.
MK Premier Hotel Address: 72-74 Hàng Buồm
These are famous rooftop bars, in addition to many other new built bars like that. So, you had better do your research and grab the best choice in town. Usually, these bars have happy hours to imbibe.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org and let them know the area you are looking for toproof bar, they will give you good suggestion and may be help you to make reservation and permission to get in.
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46. Travel with Recommended Vietnam Tour Operator?
This s one of the most important things you should know before you visit Vietnam. Even if you plan to purchase tickets when in Vietnam, research your trip a little bit first on the Internet. A good resource is Trip Advisor, where experience tourists discuss travel in Vietnam. That way, you could avoid unreliable tour agencies or badly run hostels or hotels.
A good local Tour operator will give you big help, they are local, easy to contact them because they are in the same time zone with you when you travel, they could help to deal with any local suppliers or anything you may need while traveling in Vietnam directly in their own language and could communicate well with you in English. Especially when weather changes or any security issue.
They may take humble handling fee for your trip but give you time to enjoy your trip better.
47. Why building in Vietnam is very thin?
When traveling in Vietnam, you will realize that there many thin buildings established. In some places of Vietnam, buildings are established long vs. wide. It is certainly irregular and strange architecture. This is because the real estate and rent is not charge much by square footage yet by storefront width. The wider the building on the street is, the higher its rent price is. Therefore, Vietnamese build their apartments accordingly to length instead.
48. Should I use ice in restaurant?
Good to have cold drinks when you traveling to the tropical country like Vietnam.
You should be careful with ice on drinks on street but in the hotel and big restaurants, ice is safe.
Local like ice in the beer but I rather use cold beers in the ice.
49. Where is best place to tailor your dress in Vietnam?
Vietnam is famous for silk, and talented tailors in Hoian could be able to make your dress in 1 day or two.
Hoian is good place to tailor your dress, You are looking for hand tailor dress, please have 2 nights in this ancient town for this works. After they measure your figures, few hours later, you could come and test before they complete it and delivery to your hotel next day.
50. Baggage allowance on Vietnam Domestic Flight
On Vietnam Airlines’ flights, Passenger are offered baggage allowance free of charge as below:
Business & Premium Class: 30kg checked baggage + two pieces of hand carry
Economy Class: 20kg checked baggage + one piece of hand baggage.
The baggage over weight about 10 -15% is acceptable. They don’t charge. But more than that, you pay in the next counter. Then bring the voucher back to check in counter and get back ticket and Check in Pass.
Baggage allowance printed clearly in your ticket or E/ticket.