Practical information about Vietnam
- Local airport fees
- Meals except those specifically mentioned
- Cancellation and travel insurance
Vietnam is a long, narrow country and the climate varies depending on where you are. The weather is rather unpredictable wherever you go, so it is a good idea to keep an umbrella or waterproof jacket with you at all times.
North Vietnam (Hanoi to Sapa/Mai Chau)
Hanoi: The dry season lasts from around November to April and during this period the temperature is low. The rainy season runs from Mai to October and here the temperature is around 25–30°C.
Da Nang and Hoi An: The dry season lasts from around March to August, with the highest temperatures in the period May to August. The rainy season runs from September to February, with most rain falling in the period September to December. The most pleasant time to visit the region is in February to April, but most tourists tend to come in the period December to January, i.e. during the Christmas/New Year break.
Nha Trang: The dry season is long, running from around January to August, with July and August as the hottest months. The rainy season lasts from September to December. The most pleasant period to visit the area is February to April, when the daytime temperature is around 25–30°C, and there is little rain.
Please note that there is a risk of typhoons in the region in the period September to December.
Ho Chi Minh City and Phan Thiet: The dry season lasts from around November to April.
The rainy season runs from May to October. The temperature remains stable at 25–30°C all year round.
Please note that there is a risk of typhoons in the region in the period June to October.
Phu Quoc: The dry season lasts from around November to April. The warmest months are April and May, when temperatures can reach 35°C. The rainy season runs from May to October, with the wettest period lasting from July to September.
Please note that there is a risk of typhoons in the region in the period July to September.
Excursions and transfers are conducted in small, international groups led by English-speaking guides.
You can travel to Vietnam all year round, but DON’T FORGET! Vietnam is more than 1,650 km long and crosses two climate belts from north to south. So there is no unambiguous answer to the question of when it is best to visit the country.
It is best to travel to North Vietnam in the spring/summer – i.e. from April through June – and in the autumn, from September to November/December. July and August are extremely hot; they are also the months when most rain falls. From December until March, the region can be cool and damp. In Central Vietnam, July and August are scorching hot, but the weather is much more pleasant in September and the period February–May. The rainy period (and typhoon season) runs from October to January, although the temperatures remain high in this period. In South Vietnam, the rainy season runs from May until October/November, and heavy tropical downpours are common during this period, especially in the evening. The best time to travel to South Vietnam is from November to April, when the temperatures are pleasant and humidity levels are low.
Please read our booking terms and conditions carefully. These terms and conditions constitute the basis of your package purchased from Asiatours.co.uk. Click here to read our terms and conditions of travel.
All the flights and flight-inclusive holidays on this website are financially protected by the ATOL scheme. When you pay you will be supplied with an ATOL Certificate. Please ask for it and check to ensure that everything you booked (flights, hotels and other services) is listed on it. Please see our booking conditions for further information or for more information about financial protection and the ATOL Certificate go to: www.atol.org.uk/ATOLCertificate
We are an ATOL protected agency giving you complete peace of mind. It is a condition of booking that the sole responsibility lies with the guest to ensure that they carry the correct comprehensive travel and medical insurance to cover themselves, as well as any dependants/traveling companions for the duration of their tour.
In cooperation with our partner we can offer advantageous travel insurances. Learn more here.
The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, but as a tourist you can certainly make yourself understood in English.
We always advise you to contact a medical specialist, your GP or an authorised vaccination clinic for the latest, up-to-date information about vaccinations and preventive medicine (if required).
Please be aware of the rules about yellow fever – especially if you are entering via another Asian country where yellow fever is present.
Some countries require proof of yellow fever vaccination upon entry. So be sure to bring your vaccination certificate with you in these cases.
Visit nhs.co.uk for more information about vaccinations and Vietnam.
As with other international travel, you must be in possession of a valid British passport. The passport must be valid for at least 6 months after your departure from Vietnam.
As of February 2017, Vietnam has introduced an electronic visa, the e-visa, which is valid for stays and visits of up to 30 days. The application must be processed through the official page e-visa Vietnam, where you have to upload a photo of your passport and a passport photo (max. 1024 KB). You are also required to enter a number of personal details and your address in Vietnam. Here, we suggest that you write the name of your first hotel and the name of the city.
The E-visa costs 25 USD and is payable online when you submit your application, so please ensure that you have your credit card on hand when you begin. Once you have completed the application and payment, you will receive a confirmation of your request by e-mail. This e-mail contains a unique registration code marked in bold (20 characters).
The results of your e-visa application will be received in 3 working days, and can be viewed at the following link: E-visa result. Here you must log in using the registration code you received in the confirmation e-mail, as well as your e-mail address and birth date. Your E-visa must be printed out and carried with your passport, which is shown on your arrival in Vietnam.
Until 30 June 2018, UK citizens can enter Vietnam for a maximum of 15 days without a visa. From 1 July 2018, UK citizens must have an e-visa.
We recommend that you apply for your visa in good time.
Visit also gov.uk and study the visa information presented there.
The unit of currency in Vietnam is the dong (VND). It is a protected currency, which means you cannot buy it in advance and will have to exchange currency in Vietnam. Visit www.xe.com/currencyconverter to see the current exchange rate in both US dollars and euros. We recommend that you take some US dollars with you in cash and exchange them for local currency at an official bureau de change on arrival. In addition, US dollars are broadly accepted as payment in shops and supermarkets in large towns and cities. Standard credit cards such as Visa and MasterCard are becoming more and more common, and cash machines (ATMs) are becoming increasingly widespread in large towns and cities. You can generally pay with a credit card at hotels and in many restaurants and shops. Once again, however, the farther out into the country you travel, the harder it may be to use your credit card.
The price level in Vietnam is generally lower than in Europe. The guide below applies to the cities. Prices are typically lower in rural areas, where the range of options also tends to be more limited.
– Food from street kitchens: from VND 10,000
– Restaurants serving western cuisine: from VND 100,000
– Restaurants serving Vietnamese cuisine: VND 40,000–100,000
– Soft drinks: VND 8,000–15,000
– Beer: VND 8,000–20,000
– Juice: VND 30,000
– Water: VND 10,000
– Spirits and cocktails: from VND 60,000
- Other goods:
– Shorts/t-shirts: VND 80,000–200,000 (remember to haggle over the price when buying clothes!)
– DVDs: VND 15,000–30,000
– SIM cards: up to VND 50,000
– Cheap phone: VND 200,000–300,000
You are welcome to give gratuities, but it is up to you whether or not to do so and you may tip as much or as little as you like. The following suggestions are indicative only:
- Bellboy: USD 1–2 per room
- Maid: USD 1 per day
- Guides: USD 5–10 per person, per day; depending on the service supplied
- Drivers: USD 2–5 per person, per day; depending on the service supplied
- Restaurants: In modern restaurants, a service charge is sometimes included in the price so there is no need to leave an extra tip. Gratuities are seldom expected in local restaurants, but there is nothing to stop you putting some coins on the table when you leave.
The difference between Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and the time in Vietnam varies, depending on UK summer and winter time.
Summer time: +4 hours. This means that when it is noon GMT, it is 16.00 in Vietnam.
Winter time: +5 hours. This means that when it is noon GMT, it is 17.00 in Vietnam.
Vietnam has neither standardised power nor standard plugs. This means that you may encounter mains electricity of anywhere between 110 and 230 volts. The plugs may have two or three pins, and they may be round or flat, depending on where in the country you are. Therefore, make sure to bring a travel adapter with you if you will need to recharge your camera, phone or laptop.
The international dialling code for Vietnam is +84. It can be expensive to place calls to – or receive them from – Europe while you are in Vietnam. Ask your own mobile service provider about coverage and call charges.
There are internet cafés in the big towns and cities, and Wi-Fi connections in most hotels.
Vietnam is generally a very safe country to travel in. Crime involving tourists is typically limited to pick-pocketing, and can usually be avoided through the application of common sense. Try not to show off expensive jewellery and large sums of cash. Always follow the advice and information provided by the guides and you can be sure of staying out of danger.
Vietnamese food is healthy, smells good and tastes delicious. It is clearly influenced by French, Thai, Chinese and – to an extent – Indian cuisine. One of the most popular dishes is called ‘pho’, and is often referred to as ‘the soul of the country’. Very simply, it is a noodle soup eaten every day, typically for breakfast. It is available in most restaurants and from most street kitchens. Don’t be afraid of eating food from street kitchens – there are often magical culinary treats in store … For example, try:
- Nem ran or cha gio (fried spring rolls, with different fillings)
- Banh chung (rice-flour cakes, typically steamed in banana leaves)
- Gio lua (lean pork pâté)
- Banh cuon (steamed spring rolls made of rice flour)
- Banh my (bread rolls with pâté or egg)
- Mi voi thit bo/ga (noodles with beef or chicken)
Only ever drink water from bottles. Bottled water is cheap and readily available everywhere. DO NOT drink water from the taps.
- TET is the Vietnamese New Year, typically celebrated towards the end of January/beginning of February. The actual date changes from year to year – just like Easter and Whitsun in the western world. This is a very important holiday for the Vietnamese people, who celebrate it with their families. As a result, pretty much everything is closed. So we recommend that you do not plan to travel to Vietnam during the TET holiday.
- Hung King memorial day: 10 March
- Liberation of Saigon: 30 April
- International workers’ day: 1 May
- Vietnam’s national holiday: 2 September
We will send you your flight reservation as soon as you book your trip. You can see times and routes on the itinerary. It is important to check your name for spelling mistakes. The name on the reservation must be exactly as in your passport. If you have any comments on the itinerary or find mistakes in the names, please contact us immediately.
Today, there are only electronic airline tickets (e-tickets), so you do not receive a physical ticket for use at the airport check-in. When you check in at the airport, you use your passport and a booking reference. The booking reference is on your itinerary.
Once you have purchased a tour through us, you will receive our service letter before your departure. The service letter contains important information about online check-in, what to do in the event of a delay, our agreed guidelines for tips, etc. In addition, you will find important telephone numbers for our local agents as well as our emergency telephone number.
So it is important that you print out the service letter and bring it with you.
We recommend that you make a seat reservation on the plane. Many airlines also offer to upgrade reserved tickets for seats with extra space and comfort, e.g. Economy Comfort at KLM and Premium Voyageur at Air France. You can do this through the airline’s website. Most airlines have a point in the menu called “manage my booking”. Please note that many airlines require payment for seat reservation, so you should have your credit/debit card to hand when you get started.
Unfortunately, rules differ as to when seat reservation is opened. We recommend that you try to make a seat reservation as early as possible and you will then know when you can make a seat reservation if it cannot be done right away. It is very common for seat reservation to be opened between 72 and 24 hours before departure.
We use many different airlines for our flights to Vietnam, so there may be variations in the amount of luggage you are allowed to bring with you as both checked luggage and hand luggage. Check the information about this on your airline ticket, and contact us if you have any questions. If your tour involves a domestic flight in Vietnam, you cannot bring more than 20 kg of luggage with you.
You and your travel companion should pack your luggage so that you can both make do with one item of luggage if the other is lost or delayed. While it is unlikely to happen, the problem may arise. If it does, it may take a few days before your luggage is delivered to the hotel where you are staying.
So make sure to carry all your important, indispensable items in your hand luggage: passport, visa, plane tickets, insurance papers, credit card(s), cash, prescriptions and essential medicines. You should also carry items such as your camera, binoculars, computer, chargers and adapters with you.
You may find yourself sitting in a draught from the air conditioning in the plane, so make sure to pack a warm jumper or jacket in your hand luggage.
On arrival at the different airports in Vietnam, you will be met by our local representative who will be waiting for you in the arrival hall with a sign bearing your name. You will naturally also be driven to the airport on departure. You will be informed of your pick-up time when you arrive in Vietnam.
Experiencing differences in culture and etiquette is one of the delights of travelling, and it is essential to respect these differences. ‘When in Rome, do as the Romans do’ is good advice, and the section below contains a number of useful hints and tips intended to help you make the very most of your visit to Vietnam.
- Try not to show anger. Displaying frustration or anger by shouting or acting rudely is considered extremely impolite and disrespectful – and nothing good will come of it.
- Do not point with your fingers, as this is considered offensive and patronising. If you have to point, use your whole hand.
- Try to avoid public displays of affection – kissing or cuddling, for example – as this is considered offensive. It is extremely rare to see couples walking hand in hand.
- Do not wear shorts, short skirts or tank tops, especially close to temples and churches and out in the country where few tourists travel.
- Always remove your shoes when you enter a private home or a temple.
- Do not, under any circumstances, go skinny-dipping or nude sunbathing, as this is considered obscene – even on beaches.
- Remove your hat when you enter a temple or talk to elderly people or figures of authority – including monks.
- Do not touch children on their heads, as this is considered to bring bad luck. (Vietnamese people touch their shoulders or arms instead)
- Do not poke chopsticks into your bowl of rice, or leave them sticking up. Place them next to the bowl instead. If you leave them sticking out of the rice bowl they look like incense sticks, which are lit in temples in honour of the dead.
- Always use your right hand or both hands when passing something to – or receiving something from – other people. Never use your left hand alone.
Some parts of Vietnam are very poor, and our local partner has given us the following guidelines regarding donations and gifts.
- NEVER give money to beggars – children in particular. Giving money to beggars reinforces the impression that begging is an acceptable way of life. If children earn money from begging, their parents will be tempted to send them out onto the streets to beg rather than to school.
- The only exception to this rule relates to disabled people and the elderly; it is OK to given them a few coins.
- NEVER give sweets to children in the villages you visit during your tour.
- Try to get out of the habit of giving material things. It is often better to share your time, give a smile and offer friendship.