Today´s Vietnam is a true Phoenix reborn from the ashes. After centuries of Chinese and Mongol invasions, French colonization, Japanese occupation and finally the civil war between north and south (Vietnam War), which ended just over forty years ago, this nation is growing fast with a contagious dose of hope.
But don´t think that the Vietnamese are resentful with the West foreigners and just talk about bombs, wars and marks from the bloody past. In Vietnam hope is the mainword. The vietnamese are focused on the future and the nation is ruled by a strong trade fever.
This is a great time to visit Vietnam, to witness this flowing vitality and optimism.
However, the policy towards a market economy causes a large gap between rich and poor, and life for most of population remains difficult.
There is a visible difference between north and south, a deep psychological division that cames before the civil war and it´s deeply inside the Vietnamese culture.
Not surprisingly, this is reflected in the country’s economy: the south is Vietnam’s growth engine, has lower unemployment and higher average wages, and the increasingly Ho Chi Minh City becomes one of the great asian cities.
The great geographical, cultural and biodiversity richness make this country one of the most fantastic asian destinations for those who love adventure and breathtaking scenery.
Vietnamese (english is the most widely spoken foreign language, especially in the most touristic places).
- Official Currency – Dong (VND). In urban centers the US Dollar is accepted.
- Credit and ATM cards – ATM boxes are easily found in main cities and work with international cards such as Visa, Electron and MasterCard.
High Season (july and august)
Prices increase up to 50% by the coast; It is advisable to book hotels in advance. All of Vietnam except the extreme north is hot and humid, with the summer monsoon bringing showers.
Intermediate season (december to march)
During the Tet festival, the whole country is on the move and prices are increasing. North of Nha Trang may have cold weather. Cold conditions are expected in the north in general. At the southern extreme is normally with clean sky and sun.
Low Season (april to june and september to november)
Perhaps the best time to travel all over the nation. However, typhoons can attack the central and northern coastline until november.
Formalities at Vietnam’s international airports are generally soft than at land borders. Some nationalities need an advance visa for all visits, others do not. The standard period of stays for tourist visas is 30 days; For visa-free nationalities, it´s 15 days.
Types of visas
The visa situation has recently changed for many nationalities. It is advisable to consult the latest rules.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Visa on Arrival (VOA) is the preferred method for most travelers arriving by air since it´s cheaper, faster and you don´t need to separate from your passport by posting it to an embassy. Online visa agencies send you the VOA directly. It can only be used if you are flying to any of Vietnam’s five international airports. The process is straightforward: you fill out an online application form and pay the agency fee (about $ 20). You will receive by e-mail a VOA letter of approval signed by the Vietnamese immigration that you print and show on arrival,. There you pay your visa-only US cash visa fee. The single entry stamp fee is $ 25, a multiple entry entry fee is $ 50.
Visas through an embassy or consulate
You can also get visas through Vietnamese embassies and consulates around the world, but the fees are usually much higher than the use of a visa agent and (depending on the country) the process can be slow. In Asia, Vietnamese visas tend to be issued in two to three business days in Cambodia, or in Europe and North America takes about a week.
An electronic visa pilot program introduced in early 2017 allows visitors to apply for visas online through the Immigration Department of Vietnam. Citizens from 40 countries are eligible, including those from the United Kingdom and the US (though not Australians, Canadians, or New Zealanders). Electronic visas are single entry, valid for 30 days (non-extendable) and cost $ 25. Processing takes three to five days. However, this e-visa system was not exactly implemented efficiently. The official website is prone to crashes and often can not load. There were also cases where the apps were removed and the photos rejected because they were not perfect. There have been reports of visitors being deported due to incorrect details (such as wrong date of birth or wrong names) in the online application form. If you request an e-visa, make sure all information provided is 100% accurate. Electronic visas can be applied online at www.immigration.gov.vn
-Cam Ranh International Airport
-Noi Bai Airport
-Phu Quoc International Airport
-Tan Son Nhat International Airport
-Cat Bi International Airport
Telecommunications and Internet
• Country Code Phone Number +84
• Internet – Wifi is available in almost all hotels and cafes in major cities and tourist attractions. In Saigon is excellent.
Vietnam is officially an atheist country, as declared by the country’s communist regime. Although in theory the country enjoys freedom of religion, in practice only eight religions are officially allowed. The most significant is Mahayana Buddhism and the others are Catholicism, Protestantism, Theravada Buddhism, Islamism, Hoa Hao and Cao Dai.
A large percentage of Vietnamese are considered non-religious, yet many Vietnamese continue to practice “informal” religious customs and popular religions, most of which are not recognized by the government.
The Hepatitis A and Typhoid Fever vaccine are advised, although many travelers do not take them and the risk is relatively low. The country is free of Yellow Fever and the risk of Malaria and Japanese Encephalitis is low, especially if the stays in rural areas are only for a few days. Anyway, get medical advice and mosquito prevention is always recommended.