Vietnam Travel Guide During and Post-Covid 19

Vietnam Travel highest priority is our duty of care to your health, safety and well-being. The uncertainty surrounding Covid-19 makes it a confusing time to travel. As the situation evolves, we are closely monitoring official guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and working with Vietnam authorities on a country-by-country basis to ensure what we are doing is correct, comprehensive and effective.

We will support you to do whatever you feel is best for you and your loved ones. Below are a few useful fact you need to know before going to Vietnam during and post-Covid 19:

Map of Vietnam

I. Visas

– You may also need a visa to come into or travel through Vietnam, depending on your nationality.
– Vietnamese visit visas are issued to foreign nationals for a limited duration and on the basis that visitors must leave on or before the date of expiry. Those who come to Vietnam to work are required to apply for a work visa / permit. You should check the visa validity and conditions carefully. Overstaying your Vietnamese visit visa is a serious matter and you may be delayed from travel until a fine is paid, and may be prevented from visiting Vietnam in the future.
– In a very small number of exceptional cases, the Vietnamese authorities may be prepared to consider extending visit visas. This often requires agents who are prepared to act as sponsors, including taking some legal and financial responsibility, for the people applying for visa extensions.

Below is all the information you need on visas for Vietnam.

1. Vietnam Visa Exemptions

Vietnam offers visa exemptions ranging from 14 to 90 days to citizens of 24 countries holding valid ordinary passports. The full list of countries with visa exemptions is below.

Area Country Term of residence
Asia Thailand Less than 30 days
Malaysia Less than 30 days
Singapore Less than 30 days
Indonesia Less than 30 days
Cambodia Less than 30 days
Laos Less than 30 days
Philippines Less than 21 days
Myanmar Less than 14 days
Brunei Less than 14 days
South Korea Temporarily Suspended
Japan Temporarily Suspended
Kyrgyzstan Less than 30 days
Europe Russia Temporarily Suspended
Sweden Temporarily Suspended
Denmark Temporarily Suspended
Finland Temporarily Suspended
Norway Temporarily Suspended
United Kingdom Temporarily Suspended
France Temporarily Suspended
Germany Temporarily Suspended
Spain Temporarily Suspended
Italy Temporarily Suspended
Belarus Temporarily Suspended
South America Chile Less than 90 days

* Notes on visa exemptions:

– As of Mar. 21, 2020, Vietnam will temporarily suspend visa exemptions for citizens from Belarus, Russia, and Japan.
– Starting Mar. 8, 2020 Vietnam has temporarily suspended visa exemptions for citizens of the European Union, the United Kingdom, and as well as other countries with more than 500 cases or grow more than 50 cases a day.
– As of Feb. 29, 2020 visa exemptions for South Koreans will be temporarily suspended until further notice, and as of Mar. 2, 2020 visa exemptions for Italians will also be temporarily suspended.
– The exemptions listed above for Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Belarus, Finland, Japan, South Korea, and Russia are valid until Dec. 31, 2022.
– The exemptions listed above for the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, and Italy are valid until June 30, 2021.
– Spouses or children of Vietnamese citizens are allowed to stay in the country without a visa for six months and must show papers proving their eligibility.

2. Vietnam Electronic Visa (eVisa)

Vietnam’s e-Visa is now available to nationals of 80 countries:
Andorra, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Chile, China (including Hong Kong and Macau passports), Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mexico, Micronesia, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nauru, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Philippines, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Salomon Islands, San Marino, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Timor Leste, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States of America, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela, and Western Samoa.

The e-Visa takes three working days to process, costs 25 USD, and is a single-entry visa, valid for 30 days. You can enter Vietnam on an e-Visa at any of the country’s eight international airports, including Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Danang and Phu Quoc, as well as 14 land crossings and 7 seaports.

How to Apply for Vietnam’s e-Visa:

Step 1: Prepare the required materials:
+ One 4×6 passport photo in .jpg format with a white background, without glasses.
+ One photo in .jpg format of your passport data page,
+ Passport valid for at least six months.
+ Your temporary address in Vietnam and points of entry and exit.
+ Debit or credit card for payment.
Step 2: Click this link or access www.immigration.gov.vn and go to ‘E-visa Issuance’ then click on the link for ‘Outside Vietnam foreigners’.
Step 3: Upload your .jpg images (passport data page and passport photo) and fill out the required fields on the form completely. Submit your form.
Step 4: Pay the e-Visa fee of 25 USD. Copy down the document code provided.
Step 5: Within three working days you should receive news of your e-Visa application via email. If not, you can also run a search for your e-Visa at this link.
Step 6: Use your document code to locate your e-Visa online. Download and print the e-Visa in two copies for extra safety.
Travelers with an eVisa can go directly to immigration counters at their point of entry and do not need to queue at Visa On Arrival counters.

3. Vietnam Visa on Arrival

If you are planning a multiple-entry visit or a stay of more than 30 days, you will should apply for a visa on arrival. Requirements:
+ A 4×6 passport photo with a white background and no glasses.
+ A filled-out visa application form.
+ A passport or substitute ID valid for six months from the date you plan to enter Vietnam.
+ Payment (25 USD to 50 USD) for visa fees.
+ A Letter of Approval from a Vietnamese embassy or consulate (if you are picking up your visa at the airport).
+ If you are near a Vietnamese embassy or consulate, you can submit your photo, application form, passport, and visa fee in person.

If you are unable to reach a Vietnamese embassy, or are short on time, Vietnam Travel can help you obtain the Vietnam Visa Approval Letter. Bring this letter and together with a visa application form and your other documents to the Visa On Arrival counter at the airport when you land.
You will need to pay your visa stamp fee in USD or Vietnamese Dong on arrival at the airport.

4. Update on visa policy due to Covid-19

– Vietnam’s Immigration Department has announced that all foreigners who entered Vietnam after March 1 on visa exemptions, e-visas or tourism visas will be given automatic stay extensions at no charge until June 30, 2020. Travelers still in the country should declare their temporary residence to local police, through their landlords or hotels, and must complete Vietnam’s online health declaration.
– Visitors who entered the country before March 1 may be considered for the extension, provided they can show an official letter from their embassy or consulate stating they were unable to leave the country due to objective reasons. Foreigners who have undergone quarantine or treatment for Covid-19 in Vietnam are also eligible for the extension. They must bring their certification documents to show immigration officials when leaving Vietnam.
– Vietnam has temporarily banned entry into Vietnam for all foreign nationals. There are a very small number of exceptions for diplomats on official business and certain high-skilled workers. These will be processed on case-by-case basis – Vietnam Travel cannot provide further clarity on the process at this moment.
– Everyone allowed to enter Vietnam as part of this exemption will be required to undertake 14 days of quarantine and follow Vietnam’s Covid-19 protocols if tested positive. Expats in Vietnam with valid work visa or resident cards are able to extend them at immigration offices with the assistance and support of their families or employers.
– Immigration offices are open and working normally.

For questions about the new policy, please call Vietnam’s Immigration Department at 024 3938 7320, or check with Vietnam Travel’s consultants.

II. Passport

1. Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months on the date you enter Vietnam.
2. A number of foreigners have been refused entry and exit due to their passport being damaged. Make sure your passport is in good condition before arriving in Vietnam.
3. Your passport will be checked when you arrive at a Vietnam port or airport to make sure you’re allowed to come into the country. It should be valid for the whole of your stay.
4. Being refused entry can result in significant cost and a long stay at the airport.

When checking into a hotel, you’ll have to hand over your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. Make sure your passport is returned and keep it in a safe place. You may be fined if you don’t register.

III. Borders

Borders with China, Laos & Cambodia are currently closed except for the import and export of goods.

IV. Health checks on arrival

All travelers entering Vietnam need to submit mandatory health declarations on arrival. This form can be filled out electronically at airports and border crossings, or submitted online here on the day of entry into Vietnam. Travelers are legally responsible to ensure the information is true and accurate. All foreigners will need to comply with official health procedures when in Vietnam.

In order to minimize the risk of contagion, Vietnam is isolating individuals who have come into close contact with others carrying the Covid-19 disease. If you have any contact – such as the sharing of flights, vehicles, or hotels – with others who have tested positive for Covid-19 while in Vietnam, you can expect to be tested for the virus and placed in 14-day quarantine.

Vietnam observes several levels of quarantine:
– Self-quarantine in homes or hotels with regular check-ups by local health authorities,
– Quarantine in health establishments for those showing symptoms of the virus, as well as those who have tested positive for COVID-10 and those in close contact with them,
– Quarantine in non-medical establishments for those returning from high-risk areas, and
– Closed-off communities for areas with high numbers of confirmed infections.

V. Health and safety precautions for travelers

Travelers in Vietnam are encouraged to take sensible precautions against Covid-19 during their trips.

The World Health Organization outlines these basic practices to keep yourself and your loved ones safe:
1. Avoid travelling if you have a fever and cough. If you have fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, alert health care services and share with them your recent travel history.
2. Maintain social distancing. Stay a metre or more away from others, especially those who are sneezing or coughing, or have fever.
3. Wash your hands regularly with soap and running water. You can also use an alcohol-based hand-sanitizer to spray your hands as often as you like.
4. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue when you cough or sneeze. Dispose of dirty tissues immediately and wash your hands after coughing or sneezing.
5. Avoid contact with live animals. Wash your hands with soap and water if you touch live animals or animal products in markets.
6. Eat only well-cooked food. Make sure your meals especially animal proteins and dairy products are thoroughly cooked and prepared in a sanitary environment.
7. Discard single-use masks. If you choose to wear a single-use mask, ensure it covers your nose and mouth, avoid touching the mask, and wash your hands after removing it.

Any travelers experiencing symptoms of the virus — fever, cough and difficulty breathing – should immediately call Vietnam’s health hotline: 19003228, or contact Vietnam Travel’s consultants for instant support.

Current snapshot of Covid-19 situation in Vietnam

Confirmed infections 1068
Recovered cases 942
Deaths 35
No. of days without new infection caused by community transmission until today N/A

Note: The latest infections also raise the number of community transmissions in the past few days to four, the first of which broke Vietnam’s 99-day streak with no community transmission of the novel coronavirus. Other additional cases were Vietnamese nationals coming from other countries.

VI. What you can bring with

What you can bring with you depends on where you’re travelling from. You must declare to customs:
+ anything over your duty-free allowance
+ banned or restricted goods in Vietnam
+ goods that you plan to sell
+ more than 5,000 USD (or its equivalent) in cash.
You and your baggage may be checked for anything you must declare.

VII. Traveling by air (in-country)

Passengers must wear face masks when flying in Vietnam, including with Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways. Flight attendants will also be required to wear masks. Passengers on flights within Vietnam are also required to undergo verbal health assessments and temperature checks.

VIII. Weather and climate in Vietnam

Vietnam’s unique geography creates a range of weather patterns, with both tropical and temperate zones. Generally, there are two monsoon seasons, between October and March in the northeast and between April and October everywhere but the mountains. While March to May offers the best weather countrywide, there is no bad time to visit Vietnam, as there is always some part of the country with holiday skies. Below is a guide to climate of Vietnam’s major regions and destinations, so you know what to expect during your trip.

Northern Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong & the Red River Delta)

December – March: cool to cold, misty, cloudy.
April – June: warm to hot, clear skies, sunny.
June – August: hot, humid, rainy.
September – November: cool, clear skies, sunny.
The best time to visit Hanoi and the Red River Delta (including Halong Bay, Cat Ba Island, Ninh Binh) is usually from April to June or from September to December. From April the days are normally hot, occasionally above 30 degrees with clear skies. September to November sees cooler temperatures of around 25 degrees and sunny skies — perfect for exploring the region.

If you’re coming to Hanoi in June, expect soaring temperatures with humidity highs of 40 degrees Celsius, and the rainy season is full swing (June to August). December is cool, misty and atmospheric, however from late December until March temperatures are surprisingly cold with lows of 10 degrees. You’ll want to bundle up.

Central Vietnam (Hue, Danang, Hoian, Nha Trang)

September – January: rainy, cool, cloudy.
February – August: warm to hot, sunny, clear skies.
Tropical storms often hit Central Vietnam starting in September. March is an excellent time to see the region when the fields, gardens and streets are awash in bright blossoms and soothing greens. From May to August, it can be hot, and you’ll want to head to the beach to cool off. In the late months of the year, from September to November, the Central Vietnam sees a lot of rain and even a few small floods. The temperatures begin to dip and reach their coldest point in January, warming up just before the Vietnamese New Year.

Southern Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City & the Mekong Delta)

May to November: sporadic rainfall, hot, humid.
December to April: clear skies, hot, sunny.
Southern Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) have consistent temperatures year-round. HCMC is either hot and dry or hot and rainy, although there are some pleasant fresh days early in the year, and some scorching days mid-year. Temperatures are normally around 30 degrees, with sunshine. From May to November, the wet season brings a dependable afternoon downpour, usually lasting a few hours.

IX. The Basics

1. Location

Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia and borders China, Laos, Cambodia, Gulf of Tonkin, the Pacific Sea and the Gulf of Thailand. It comprises over 330,000 square kilometers, with more than 3,200km of coastline. From Dubai, a non-stop flight is 7h15m, and from Australia, it is roughly 8 hours direct.

2. Time Zone

Indochina Time Zone UTC + 07:00.

3. Country calling code‎

International dialing code for Vietnam: +84.

4. Capital City

Hanoi is the capital of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. It is the second biggest city of the country, just after Ho Chi Minh City (formerly known as Saigon).

5. Population

Vietnam’s population has been recorded at over 96.2 million on 1st April 2019, making it the 15th most populous country in the world and the third in Southeast Asia.

6. People

Vietnamese people are composed of 54 different ethnic groups coexisting peacefully, in which the Kinh (Viet) people account for 86% of the population and 53 other ethnic groups represent over 10%.

7. Language

The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. English is spoken across the country and you should have no issue with basic communication or greetings.

8. History & Culture

Vietnam’s long and complex history includes Chinese, French, Japanese, and American influences adding to the intrigue of the country. Millennia of invasions and conflicts have shaped Vietnamese culture into what you see today. Vietnamese culture is complex, diverse and represents something of a history lesson. Vietnam’s culture focuses on humanity, harmony, family, and community values through music, art, dance, and literature. There are hints of French and American influence, but national symbols like dragons, turtles, bamboo, and lotuses are strictly Vietnamese and can be seen on many buildings and Buddhist temples throughout the country.

Vietnamese society is both conservative and fairly tolerant, so it’s best to follow these simple rules to avoid causing offence: shorts and sleeveless tops fine for the beach, not so at religious sites, and nudity on the beach is a no-no.

9. Religion

Vietnam’s major religions are Buddhism (14.91%) and Catholicism (7.35%), although the largest percentage of the population follows Vietnamese folk traditions or identifies as non-religious. Around 7% of the population is Christian, and there are also tiny numbers of Hindu and Muslim believers.

10. Safety

Vietnam travel is safer than you’d expect – the government has done a good job on keeping a lid on civil unrest in Vietnam, and violence to tourists has remained thankfully rare. Which isn’t to say that crimes of opportunity don’t happen: in Hanoi, Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City, tourists may be targeted by pickpockets and motorcycle-riding purse snatchers.

11. Currency

Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong (VND). It is safe to withdraw money from banks or ATMs while you’re in Vietnam – just check how much you’re really withdrawing.
Exchange rates:
1 USD ~ 23,220 VND
1 EUR ~ 26,200 VND
1 AUD ~ 16,000 VND

12. Electricity

The electrical current in Vietnam is 220V/50Hz using plug types A, C and F. The standard voltage in the US is 110 volts, so you may need a surge adaptor.

13. Vaccinations

Typhoid, Hepatitis A and B and antimalarial tablets are advised, but not compulsory. You will, however, need a Yellow Fever certificate if travelling from a high-risk area. Consult your doctor 4 to 8 weeks before you depart.

14. Main Airports

Noi Bai International Airport (Hanoi – in the North), Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Ho Chi Minh City – in the South) and Danang International Airport (Danang City – in the Centre) are the international and domestic hubs for travelers. Other international airports of the country are Cat Bi (Hai Phong), Van Don (Quang Ninh), Vinh (Nghe An), Phu Bai (Hue), Cam Ranh (Nha Trang – Khanh Hoa), Can Tho (Can Tho City), and Phu Quoc (Phu Quoc Island).

15. Major Airlines

With four airlines operating internal flights in Vietnam, and all providing an online booking service, there’s plenty of choice and booking in advance is easy. Vietnam Airlines is Vietnam’s national carrier. It has a comprehensive domestic network and a growing international one. Following names are Vietjet Air, Bamboo Airways, Jetstar Pacific Airlines.

16. Internet access

Vietnam ranked 60th in the world for mobile speeds and 59th for fixed broadband speeds during May 2020. Internet and Wi-Fi are widely available throughout Vietnam. Something like 98% of hotels and guesthouses have Wi-Fi; only in very remote places (such as national parks, islands) is it not standard. Wi-Fi is almost always free of charge. Many cafes and restaurants also have (free) Wi-Fi. Connection speeds are normally fast and stably. Most travelers also surf the net using 4G mobile phone connections.

In Vietnam, Google (including Gmail, Google Maps, Youtube…) and Facebook are tops and Twitter isn’t blocked.

17. SIM Cards

SIM cards are easy to get and affordable in Vietnam so there is no excuse for not getting one, even if you’re only traveling through for few days. For only $5, you can enjoy a 2GB mobile data valid for 30 days with a speed up to 30Mbps. The cost of Vietnam sim card (mobile data) is between $5 to $14, equivalent to 2GB – 20GB. Make sure your phone is unlocked.
You can purchase SIM cards almost everywhere, including at the airport, mini marts, street vendors and travel agencies.
The biggest mobile networks in Vietnam are Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobifone.

18. Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout Vietnam. Please check with your bank about any foreign transaction. Mostly, transaction fee will be applied by agents, hotels, shops in Vietnam (about 3% for processing fee).

19. Tipping

While tipping is not compulsory or always expected, but it is recommended to leave a tip to show your gratitude and appreciation for the food or service. As a guideline if you are traveling, alone we would recommend that you tip your guide between 5-7 USD per day, if traveling in a couple then allow $7-10 per couple per day. When travelling in a group of 3-4 then tipping in the region of 10-12 USD per group per day is appropriate, when travelling in groups larger than four then allow an increase roughly equating to 10% more for each additional person in the group.

20. Emergency Calls

The phone numbers to call in case of emergency are 113 for the police, 114 for a fire and 115 for an ambulance.

We share your passion for travel and are always here, whether you are looking for a family vacation, beach escape or are seeking adventure or contentment. We hope that our information gives you some peace of mind and we look forward to welcoming you soon. Please keep in mind that information is correct at the time of 10:45 A.M, 27 July 2020 (GMT +7, Hanoi Time) and will be updated as soon as possible.

Thank you for choosing Vietnam Travel!

Similar topic you may like to read: Vietnam Travel Destinations To Visit Post-Covid19

Updated: 27 July 2020

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