Vietnam is a country in Southeast Asia and borders Cambodia, Laos and China. It covers more than 331 thousand km². With less than 100 million inhabitants, it is the 15th most populous country in the world. For foreign tourists, this is a relatively new destination, it is becoming popular due to the fact that it is the cheapest country in Southeast Asia. In addition to great prices, it offers everything a tourist desires such as infinitely long sandy beaches, world-famous cuisine and diverse nature.

Basic information about Vietnam

Tourist visa

Visa required

All year round

The weather is suitable for travel all year round

Dong

USD 1 = VND 23,221.17

Flight tickets of 483 USD

Price of a ticket from Washington DC to Hanoi

Why Vietnam

Vietnam is a landscape of many aspects, breathtaking nature, nice people, sensational food and many more. Vietnam has been a tourist favorite country for the past few years. It is said that it is a less well-known Thailand. Whether this is true, everyone will have to judge it themselves. It is suitable for visiting with children, but also without children and only with a backpack. If you are a lover of infinitely long sandy beaches, beautiful weather, recreational activities with nature and great food, do not hesitate and go to Vietnam, which offers all of these.

Vietnam also has a rich history, so even art lovers will be into it. Tourists are offered a lot of activities, from exploring the Vietnamese underground, hiking to the highest mountain of Indochina, kayaking in Ha Long Bay, diving, cooking classes, sailing on the Mekong, camping on the beach or playing in the dunes. In general, you can do anything you can think of here.

The capital of Vietnam

The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi, an ever-evolving metropolis, which is bustling and fascinating. It has a population of almost 8 million and is a major cultural, political and economic center. The first mention of Hanoi is back to the middle of the 10th century, when northen Vietnam was under control of Chinese rules. The then king of the first Vietnamese dynasty, Ly, chose his capital here and moved here from Hoa Lu. He named the city Thang Long or the city of the flying dragon. In the 18th century, thanks to the influence of the rebels and the new successor, dynasty Nguyen, the capital moved again to Hue. In 1831, Thang Long was renamed Ha Noi, or the city inside of the rivers. Until 1976, Hanoi was only the capital of northern Vietnam. After the coup and the unification of the country in 1976, it became the capital of the entire Socialist Republic of Vietnam.

In the 1970s, Hanoi was severely damaged by the ongoing American war in Indochina, yet there remain a large number of fascinating cultural monuments. Among the most famous ones are the Hanoi Opera, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Quoc Tu Giam Temple of literature, Tran Quoc Pagoda and many others that are definitely worth a visit.

Flag of Vietnam

The Vietnam flag’s meaning is easily understandable. The base is a red rectangle and a yellow star in the middle. Red symbolizes blood and yellow is the “skin color” of the Vietnamese people. It is claimed that the red background also represents the struggle for independence that the Vietnamese coped with for many years. The five-pointed star symbolizes the cohesion of each Vietnamese people, despite the great differences between 5 social groups, workers, traders, the army, farmers and intellectuals. The flag in its current form has been used since 1976.

Population of Vietnam

Vietnam or the full name Socialist Republic of Vietnam in 2015 was inhabited by over 95 million people. The capital Hanoi has more than 8 million inhabitants. The majority of population is Vietnamese (about 85%). Other 53 ethnic groups live in Vietnam such as Khmer, Hmong, Chinese. During the wars between Vietnam and China, almost half a million Chinese left Vietnam.

In 1986, property rights and freedoms were liberated and people began to move to cities on a large scale. The rate of urbanization is increasing every year. Today, about 36% of the population lives in cities.

Holidays in Vietnam

The best opportunity to get to know Vietnamese culture is to take part in a national holiday or celebration. Some holidays have a fixed date, others have a changeable date according to the lunar calendar. If we decide to visit Vietnam at a time when there are some celebrations, let’s take a thicker wallet with us. Prices are rising very high during the holidays.

  • January 1st, New Year’s Eve / Tet Duong Lich /
  • January-February (the 1st - 5th of the first lunar month), Tet Nguyen Dan - MOST IMPORTANT holiday in Vietnam, New Year and Christmas are celebrated at once
  • April 30th, Vietnam Unification Day / Saigon Giai Phong / - celebration of the end of the war on April 30th, 1975
  • May 1st, Labor Day
  • May 19th, Ho Chi Minh’s Birthday Celebration / Sinh Nhat Bac Ho /
  • May 26th (the 8th of the April in lunar calendar) - Buddha’s birthday celebrations
  • Md-autumn festival (the 15th of the August lunar month)
  • September 1, Independence Day - Ho Chi Minh City’s Declaration of Independence in 1954
  • December 24th and 25th, Christmas’ Eve

Emblem of Vietnam

The yellow five-pointed star on a red circular base is the basis of the Vietnamese Emblem. This circle is bordered by a wreath of rice representing agriculture. Part of the emblem is a cogwheel symbolizing industry. The whole emblem is tied with a red ribbon on which the inscription “Socialist Republic of Vietnam” is. The emblem has been used since 1976.

Currency in Vietnam

The national Vietnamese currency is the dong, which means copper. It comes from the initial currency, which was made of copper. The abbreviation of the Vietnamese dong is VND. All banknotes depict Ho Chi Minh, one of the most important figures in the history of Vietnam. The best way to exchange dollars is in Vietnam. The euro is also not a problem, but exchange rates are better for the dollar. We can change money in the bank, goldsmiths and tourist areas and currency conversion offices. In conversion, USD 1 is equal to VND 23,122.19, see currency converter.

Timeshift

New York City is in the UTC-4 time zone and Vietnam UTC + 7, so the difference is 11 hours. If we are a 12:00 pm, it is 11 hours more in Vietnam, ie 11:00 am.

Prices in Vietnam

Vietnam is one of the cheaper destinations for foreign tourists. Although prices are constantly rising with increasing tourism, they are still lower or at most the same as in our country. As anywhere in the world, living in Vietnam is cheap but also expensive. The advantage of Asian countries is that it is very easy to bargain here, you often get 50% of the original price.

  • Accommodation in a double room from VND 150,000 - 300,000
  • Accommodation for the more demanding from VND 1,000,000
  • Food in a cheaper restaurant about VND 15,000 - 30,000
  • Food in a more expensive restaurant about VND 40,000 - 150,000
  • Beer VND 8,000 - 13,000
  • Bottled water approx. VND 5,000
  • Postcard VND 3,500
  • Taxi for 1km VND 10,000 - 15,000
  • Motorbike rental per day VND 100,000 - 300,000

Vaccination in Vietnam

Vietnam is becoming more and more a popular tourist area every year. There is a large accumulation of people here and hygiene habits are not like in other countries. As prevention, several vaccinations are recommended, but none is mandatory, so it is always at the discretion of each of us.

Jaundice A + B, typhoid fever and tetanus are recommended as basic vaccinations.

Vaccination against typhoid fever is for about 5 years and its price is around USD 242. Then revaccination is needed.

Other recommended vaccinations include rabies and malaria. Vaccination depends on the nature of the trip and the areas visited. Contact your general practitioner or travel medicine institute for more information.

Visa to Vietnam

A visa is required for foreign citizens to enter the country. Depending on your needs, you can choose from three different visas - an E-visa, a 30-day multi-entry visa and a 180-day multi-entry visa.

An e-visa is a single-entry visa valid for a maximum of 30 days. The application can be submitted on the website https://immigration.gov.vn/dv-bao-lanh and its price is USD 25.

In order to obtain a multi-entry visa or so-called “Visa on arrival”, it is necessary to apply for a letter for approval, which we will present at the airport upon arrival in Vietnam.

If we are going to the Phu Quoc island and stay within 30 days, we will do without a visa. However, we have to arrive from the international airport and also fly out of there from Vietnam.

Security in Vietnam

Vietnam is a very safe country to travel. The people here are nice and willing to help with anything. Crime is very low here, but as everywhere in the world, pickpocketing is not avoided in Vietnam either. Keep all money, passports and valuables well.

Healthcare is at a very high level here, if you look for a “private hospital”, you will find several in almost every city. English can usually be spoken to paramedics.

Mosquito-borne diseases, dengue fever, are on the rise. It is not possible to vaccinate against this disease and it is recommended to use a repellent with a high DEET component as effective prevention. As in most Asian countries, tap water is not drinkable in Vietnam, so it is recommended to drink only bottled water.

Interesting facts about Vietnam

Vietnam is a country that offers many attractions and curiosities. Did you know, for example, that Vietnam is the largest producer of cashew nuts in the world? It accounts for 37% of exports. Or that most of the banknotes are made of plastic?

HINT

40% of Vietnamese bears the surname Nguyen /ŋwiəʔən˧˥/.

It is one of the longest underground tunnel complexes in Vietnam, measuring 250 km. The Cu Chi tunnels (/gu: tʃi/) served as a transport and logistics haven during the Vietnam War. Only half of these tunnels have been preserved.

HINT

Vietnam is a country of motorcycles. Approximately 35 times more than cars are registered. Only the richest can afford cars, as 90% of import tax is included.

Important contacts

Where to call in case of emergency in Vietnam?

  • Firefighters 114
  • Police 113
  • Ambulance 115

Vietnam phone code is +84.

Contacts at U.S Ambassy Hanoi:

Address: 7 Lang Ha street, Hanoi, Vietnam

Phone: 024 3850-5000 Email: support-vietnam@ustraveldocs.com. Further contacts can be found on the https://vn.usembassy.gov/

Contacts at British Embassy Hanoi:

Address:

Central Building, 4th floor, 31 Hai Ba Trung Street, Hanoi, Vietnam Phone: 024 3936 0500 Email: generalenquiries.vietnam@fcdo.gov.uk. Further contacts can be found on the https://www.gov.uk/world/organisations/british-embassy-hanoi

Contacts at Australia Ambassy Vietnam:

Address: 8 Dao Tan Street, Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Phone: 024 37740100 Email: consular.hanoi@dfat.gov.au Further contacts can be found on the https://vietnam.embassy.gov.au/hnoi/home.html

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