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What do you need to travel to Vietnam?

by Virginia Carmona | Mon 25 Jul 2022
What do you need to travel to Vietnam?

Vietnam is a beautiful country of rich culture, proud history and scenic vistas. There is so much to see and do, and so many ways to go about it. Travel shows have often spent time to show the incredible sights along the Ha Long Bay and Mekong Delta and in the heights of the Ba Na Hills and Marble Mountains. But seeing with your own eyes is an experience in itself. So if you want to go to Vietnam, you need to prepare.

Requirements to visit Vietnam


Traveling abroad to any foreign country, no matter where you’re coming from, requires a passport. If you have one, here are a few credentials you will need to check up on to make sure it will pass through Vietnamese customs:

  • It must be valid within the last 6 months.
  • It must be in credible shape with no damage.
  • It must not have any infringing violations that prohibit international travel by air, land or sea.

    For the most part, a standard working passport is enough, just be sure all the information inside is up to date and correct.


Travel visas make staying and traveling within a country legal. You must obtain one before departing for the country from a local embassy or consulate in a major city (usually one you would depart from). They can also be obtained online and attached to the same digital identity in your passport. Some countries may allow travel without a visa, but Vietnam requires a Visa for tourism or scheduled trips.

Electronic visa:

  • single entry tourism stays up to 30 days
  • holders of e-visa can go directly to the immigraiton counters and do not need to queue at the visa on arrival counters
  • can be obtained via Visagov or Vietnam government website

Visa on arrival:

  • those intending on staying longer or needing a multi entry-visa have to obtain a Visa On Arrival instead of the electronic one
  • you can get it once you arrive at the airport at one of the Visa On Arrival desks
  • requirements: personal document-style photo with white background and no glasses; visa form, and letter of approval from VNM embassy or consulate if picking up the visa

Visa-free countries:

Not many, but there are some visa-free countries allowing you to travel only using your passport. However the visit is limited by certain number of days and if you wish to stay longer, you need to obtain the visa anyway.

  • 14 days for Brunei, Myanmar
  • 15 days for South Korea, Japan, Russia, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Belarus. Current 15-day visa-exemption rule is valid only until 14. 3. 2025.
  • 21 days for Philippines
  • 30 days for Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia, Laos


Vietnam has been established as one of the southeast Asian nations which has implemented widespread Covid prevention and control policies which includes the mandatory use of a tracking app allowing real-time updates on testing and conditions. This app can be downloaded on Apple and Android devices.


On the issue of vaccinations, there are some general health required vaccinations that must be kept up to date, and some that are recommended but not required. Vietnam is a very different environment for many travelers, a combination of tropics, jungles and marshland which can contain many exposure vectors that travelers aren’t used to. Additionally, certain medication or treatment may be difficult to find in Vietnam in case of emergency. Precautious should be taken. The Passport Health Portal has all of the detailed information.

Those persons coming from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission are required to have yellow fever vaccination.

Recommended: Hepatitis A and B, Tetanus-Polio, Typhoid Fever and Japanese Encephalitis and Influenza, for long stays.

It is highly recommended, when packing, to think forward on certain contamination vectors such as water, airborne and animals, mainly mosquitoes. Be sure to bring, or quickly acquire, insect repellent, sunscreen, paracetamol or other generic anti-biotics, and diarrhea treatment medicine for emergencies.

Travel insurance

Traveler’s insurance helps protect frequent or temporary travelers from unforeseen foreign incidents. When interacting with different environments or cultures there are many potential things that can go wrong, and mitigating the potential of those things happening is the key deal that insurance offers. All travellers are required to have either up to date medical insurance with international policies or travelers insurance including the coverage of COVID-19 treatment. The minimum coverage should be $10,000 USD.

Is Vietnam open to tourists?

Yes. Effective as of May 15, 2022, Vietnam lifted the COVID-19 related restrictions and no longer requires negative test proof prior to entry. However, it is still highly recommended for citizens to have been vaccinated, though no proof is required. The country was considered locked down since 2020 when the global pandemic began, but has since managed its own internal cases and provided a bolstering of support for its citizens with vaccinations and curative procedures that can be available. The country no longer considers itself to be in an emergency. It took two years since the lockdowns began for it to reopen. All previous passport and visa requirements also still apply.

Transiting through Vietnam

In the event of traveling to another country with Vietnam as a transitory point, visas are not required provided they are set to leave within 24 hours of arrival and do not leave the airport or transit area. If you want to leave the airport, there are visa on arrival desks which can offer temporary day-long visas or longer to allow travel outside the airport grounds.

COVID-19 restrictions

Vaccines are recommended to be kept up to date. Anyone traveling during the pandemic is expected to monitor their symptoms and test at least 10 days before their scheduled arrival to ensure they do not get sick and risk spreading the disease upon landing. No proof of such testing is required or asked for.
As the pandemic is still ongoing, and COVID-19 reaches the stage of continuing through new variants, travelers are advised to seek a medical facility if they begin to feel an onset of symptoms. This should apply to any illness that advances past a self-treatable point. When returning home, it is advised to take a test in case the traveler was exposed and infected at some point during their trip and to take cautionary movements to prevent the spread of illness to others.


Vietnam uses the Vietnamese Dong as its currency. Travelers should either exchange currency into a requisite amount of VND or set up a travel account with their bank for easily exchanging and managing VND as they travel.

Daily cost

The difference between USD and VND is pretty extreme. The average daily price of traveling, between accommodations, travel, food, entertainment and other expenses can total up to 1.2 Million Dong. Which is roughly $52. 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 in hotels
Food: $12 average, for local, traditional, or international chain type food
Entertainment: Varies, $11 average for museums, tours, sightseeing
Tips and Gratuity: $4 to $5
Alcohol: $7 daily, for the party-goers
Water: $1 for bottled water. Public water is considered safe to drink but bottled water is preferred.
Some businesses also expect you to “haggle” and try to negotiate a lower price than the listed selling price, but not all.

Getting around

Vietnam has many options for travel. Rental cars can be purchased at an airport or “VIP” buses can be arranged by travel agencies or upper-class hotels. All travel requires some fee or ticket price to access it. There is a train which runs along the country’s eastern seaboard linking the major cities together so you can go from one centralized urban place to another quite easily.
Motorbikes and motor scooters are more popular in Vietnam than cars, and are often much cheaper for rental or for purchase if you are on a shorter sightseeing tour around the area.

Renting a car or motorcycle in Vietnam

In order to rent a car or motorbike, you need an international driving license which meets the Vienna Convention requirements on road traffic. This process is not always available to travelers, 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.
Public transport is much cheaper, but can be confusing for foreigners, and isn’t free. The most common mode of transport is motorbikes, so renting one in good shape is the safer and easier option. Helmets are required for riding on the streets. This may be difficult if you have never ridden a motorbike before. You will also need to pack lighter and be sure to carry a poncho or coat in case of sudden rain.


Vietnam is considered to be one of the safest countries in southeast Asia. Certain crimes can occur and tourists or travelers may be particularly targeted for them, such as pickpocketing, or marketplace scams and markups. Haggling can help deal with the latter, if you feel you are being lied to. Service charges may also be marked up. 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 obscured fields. Avoid wildlife as well, as certain animals are known to carry diseases and may be hostile to interact with. Take preventative, precautious measures in protecting your goods and valuables in a common sense manner.

Best time to travel

Vietnam is known to have monsoon seasons when the rainfall persists for hours or days at a time and can cause flooding. This usually happens from June to November. 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 seasons when it’s moderate. The summer can go up to over 100 degrees Fahrenheit and may not be enjoyable for most, along with high humidity especially around the bay areas.

Travel tips


  • Phone prefix: +84
  • Credit cards are okay most places - rural areas may only take cash
  • Most exhibits or attractions have a fee or toll. Sightseeing, taking pictures and going most places is free
  • The electric sockets are different. Some are shaped the same as in the USA, but the voltage differs and may damage devices. Get a travel adapter for Type A, Type C and Type D sockets.

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