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Traveling to Vietnam: all about Vietnam travel tips

by Catherine Carey | July 31, 2023
Hoi Quan Phuoc Kien in Vietnam

Vietnam travel: taking a cruise along the Halong Bay, visiting the floating markets of the Mekong Delta and exploring the Hang Son Doong Cave are just some activities waiting for you. Saigon, Hoi An, Hanoi and Sa Pa are also some cities in Vietnam you should see. 

Are you thinking of going to Vietnam? Then you will need to get all Vietnam travel tips before your trip. You will also need to get a visa. You can apply for a Vietnam visa online through Visagov. We are a specialized visa agency that gives you an easy and fast application form. You will just need to fill it in and submit it online, and you will receive your visa for Vietnam in a matter of hours. 

A part of the Vietnam visa, make sure you comply with Vietnam entry requirements and enjoy your trip to the maximum.  You can also check out our guide on How to get a visa for Vietnam to learn all about the types of visas for Vietnam

Do I need any vaccines to travel to Vietnam?

There are no mandatory vaccines. If you come from a country where yellow fever is endemic, you must have proof of vaccination. 

After May 15, 2022, Vietnam lifted the COVID-19 related restrictions and no longer requires negative test proof prior to entry or proof of being vaccinated. 

We recommend asking your doctor or medical travel centre for up-to-date information on diseases. They might suggest vaccinations such as Hepatitis A and B, Typhoid Fever and Japanese Encephalitis, and protection against Malaria.

Do I need a SIM card for Vietnam? 

Yes, you should get a SIM card for Vietnam. This is an important Vietnam travel tip because, if you don’t have one, you won’t be able to connect to the Internet while on the road or public places. 

There are three primary SIM card providers in Vietnam: Viettel, Vinaphone, and Mobifone. Among these, Viettel is highly recommended due to its provision of 4G and 5G networks, offering the fastest data speeds in the country. If you're planning a short visit to Vietnam, obtaining an e-SIM card online might be a more convenient option. Prices for these SIM cards can range from $4.5 USD to $21 USD.

Vietnam travel tips: What should I pack for Vietnam?

The biggest Vietnam travel tip when it comes to what to pack is to take breathable clothes with materials such as cotton or linen. In the evenings, you should wear warm layers. You can expect a lot of heat and humidity.

If you are thinking of hiking, you should wear activewear for hiking. You should also consider wearing swimwear since there are a lot of beaches, lagoons and hotel pools. To protect you from the sun you should carry sunglasses, a light scarf or a long-sleeve shirt. Also, don’t forget to protect yourself from bugs and take bug spray with you.

Especially for women, it is not recommended to wear large amounts of jewellery since it could be considered flaunting and the Vietnamese consider it impolite.

If you need to enter temples, you should dress conservatively, so it is always recommendable to add a scarf to cover the shoulders and long trousers to cover the knees. Lastly, no matter the season, you should have a raincoat and an umbrella. 

Dragon Bridge in Vietnam

Tipping in Vietnam?

Tipping is not mandatory, but it is appreciated. Tipping is not expected, since Vietnamese culture strongly believes in hospitality and giving a good service without wanting an additional tip. 

Nevertheless, if you want to give a tip, it is recommended to leave a tip of about 10-20%. For example, you can leave a tip of 10,000-20,000 Vietnamese Dong for bellhops or housekeeping staff. If you want to tip tour guides you can give a tip of 5-10% of the total tour cost. In restaurants, you can also give a 5-10% tip of the bill.

We recommend carrying small notes of local currency, if you want to tip during your stay in Vietnam.

What is the currency of Vietnam? 

The Vietnam currency is the Dong (VDN). In places frequented by tourists, American dollars may be accepted. However, expect a lower exchange rate and your currency to be returned in Vietnamese Dong.

In general, it is best to carry Vietnamese currency, and pay in dongs. You can change your money at the airport and in banks. The use of credit cards is common in tourist areas and hotels, but not in more rural areas.

The dollar goes a long way in Vietnam, allowing even low-budget families to enjoy a high-expense vacation style.

  • Hotels: $23 average single room, $46 average double room
  • Food: $12 average, for local, traditional, or international chain type food
  • Alcohol: $7
  • Water: $1 for bottled water

In addition to all the above, you must expect to haggle and try to negotiate a lower price than the listed selling price in some businesses.

Travel tips for Vietnam: How to travel to Vietnam?

How to travel to Vietnam? You can get to Vietnam by plane. This is the fastest and easiest way to get to Vietnam. There are three main international airports: Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, and Danang International Airport. 

Vietnam has many options to travel within the country. Motorbikes and motor scooters are more popular in Vietnam than cars, and are often much cheaper to rent or purchase if you are on a shorter sightseeing tour around the area. 

In order to rent a car or motorbike, you need an international driving license. This process is not always available to travellers, so renting a car tends to also come with a driver sourced by a local car rental place or certain hotels. It can cost up to $50 a day, depending on what you get for fuel and tolls. You will also be expected to treat the driver to meals and breaks.

If you want to use an alternative option to the taxi, you can use Grab which is an app like Uber in Asia

boat in a village in Vietnam

Things to do in Vietnam

Some very important Vietnam travel tip is what to do in Vietnam. There are multiple things to do in Vietnam. Some of the activities you should definitely consider are visiting the ancient city of Hoi An where you will come across Chinese, French and Japanese influences and seeing the incredible 360-degree views of the city at the Museum of History and Culture. 

In Vietnam, you should also take a stroll on the Golden Hands Bridge and tour the city of Hue on a bicycle. Trying local cuisine is also a must. 

We strongly recommend taking a river cruise trip through the Mekong. Starting from Ho Chi Minh City, you can travel on the cruise past Vinh Long, Can Tho, Chau Doc, and end at Phnom Penh or Siem Reap.

Which is the best time to visit Vietnam?

Vietnam has a tropical climate and well-marked wet and dry seasons. The dry season runs from November to May. From May to November, it will be wet and rainy. Vietnam covers more than 330,000 square kilometers, so the climate and temperatures can vary greatly depending on the area you are visiting.

The best time to visit Vietnam is all year, except the months of June to September, as this is the time of storms and typhoons. 

Winters are dry and cool, but not quite enough to be icy, even in the northern section of the country. The best times to visit for a temperate holiday would be in the spring or fall when it’s moderate.

In summer temperatures can go up to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and may not be enjoyable for most. There is also high humidity, especially around the bay areas.

Is Vietnam safe? 

Is Vietnam safe? Vietnam it’s a safe place to travel. However, like any other country, it is advisable to take precautions in tourist areas. Certain crimes can occur, and tourists or travellers may be particularly targeted for them, such as pickpocketing, or marketplace scams and markups. Inner city areas are considered more dangerous than city limit or inter-city areas.

Traveling off road may be considered dangerous depending on the area. There are still remnants of wars, past and recent, including undetonated mines in fields. Avoid wildlife as well, as certain animals are known to carry diseases and may be hostile to interact with. You should also avoid drinking or brushing your teeth with tap water. 

For all the reasons above, you should get travel or medical insurance, although it is not mandatory. 

More Vietnam travel tips

  • If you travel to Vietnam in late January and March, you can enjoy the largest holiday of the year, Tết, which is the celebration of the New Year in the lunar calendar.
  • With an unbelievable abundance of fresh vegetables, herbs, fish and seafood, Vietnam has a lot to offer travellers looking for an adventurous gastronomic experience.
  • Phone prefix: +84.
  • A lot of exhibits or attractions can have a fee or toll.
  • The electric sockets are different. Get a travel adapter for Type A, Type C and Type D sockets.