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Save 19 essential travel to Vietnam tips for first-time travelers

12/01/2024 9.899

Travel to Vietnam tips below are specially designed for those who have not previously visited Southeast Asia to help them have a well-rounded trip.

To assist individuals in planning an ideal trip to Vietnam, presented below are 19 valuable travel to Vietnam tips. These recommendations aim to minimize the time spent on stress and maximize the opportunity to relish in the allure of this captivating country. Travelers who have never experienced Southeast Asia should be prepared for a degree of culture shock when embarking on their Vietnam travel.

1. Protect yourself from mishaps with travel insurance

Beyond minor incidents like petty theft, there are various mishaps that can disrupt your trip, from food poisoning and adventure-related injuries to losing valuable belongings or missing a flight.

Our top recommendation for travel to Vietnam tips is to consider obtaining travel insurance. With travel insurance in place, you can embark on your Vietnam adventure with peace of mind, knowing that you are prepared for any unforeseen circumstances.

Travel to Vietnam tips

2. Choosing the best time to visit Vietnam

As you embark on your journey through Vietnam, it is essential to consider the best time to visit this expansive country. With a tropical monsoon climate, selecting the best time to visit Vietnam plays a crucial role in ensuring an unforgettable trip.

Vietnam stretches over 1600 kilometers from north to south, presenting diverse climates and temperature variations across its regions. From typhoons to frequent downpours and scorching heat, the weather can be quite dramatic.

For those seeking to immerse themselves in the beauty of this captivating land, travel to Vietnam tips for seasons in Vietnam include visiting in spring (March to April) and autumn (September to December). During these enchanting months, you can expect pleasant temperatures that embrace most parts of the country.

Whether you long to explore the magnificent landscapes of the north or bask in the coastal beauty of the south, spring and autumn offer a harmonious balance of weather conditions, creating an ideal backdrop for your Vietnamese adventure.

Travel to Vietnam tips

>>> Read more: Rainy season in Vietnam for a well-planned trip!

3. Vietnam visa requirements

Travel to Vietnam tips cannot exclude things related to Vietnam visa. Ensuring your Vietnam visa is taken care of before your journey will save you any last-minute hassles and ensure a smooth entry into this captivating country.

For most nationalities, obtaining a visa is necessary to enter Vietnam. However, there is good news for citizens of certain European countries, such as the UK, France, and Germany, who are privileged by a visa-free stay in Vietnam for up to 15 days.

For travelers of other nationalities, they will need to apply for a visa in advance. Fortunately, some countries' citizens have the convenience of applying for a visa online.

On the other hand, South Africans are required to apply for their visa in person at the nearest Vietnam embassy.

Travel to Vietnam tips

4. Wifi vs. SIM Card in Vietnam

If this is your first time in Vietnam, getting a local SIM card or pocket WiFi device is a must. While many hotels and upscale restaurants may offer free and speedy WiFi, having access to your favorite travel apps such as Google Maps, Google Translate, and Grab Taxi at all times can greatly reduce any unnecessary stress.

To ensure a seamless connection during your trip, one of the travel to Vietnam tips is to obtain a SIM card as soon as you arrive. You can either book one online in advance or visit one of the several vendors available on-site.

Travel to Vietnam tips

5. Mastering the basics of Vietnamese language

English is widely taught in schools across Southeast Asia, resulting in locals being proficient in multiple languages. This is particularly true for individuals employed in shops, restaurants, hotels, and tourist-oriented establishments. 

However, it is essential to note that in rural areas of Vietnam, English fluency among the local population is limited or nonexistent. Even in restaurants, shops, and certain hotels, you may encounter difficulties when placing orders or inquiring about prices. Among the travel to Vietnam tips, it is recommended to learn a few basic phrases in the Vietnamese language to facilitate communication. In addition to this, you can utilize tools like Google Translate and acquire a Vietnamese phrasebook to assist you during your travels.

Travel to Vietnam tips

6. Choosing your arrival and departure points in Vietnam

When you come to the S-shaped country, it is important to consider a few travel to Vietnam tips. One of them is to carefully select your arrival and departure locations, as this will greatly assist in organizing a plan for the best places to visit in Vietnam and making the most of the remarkable destinations, ancient landmarks, and incredible experiences that Vietnam has to offer.

Travel to Vietnam tips

There are three major international airports in Vietnam: Noi Bai International Airport, Ho Chi Minh City Airport, and Da Nang International Airport. To make the most of your trip and explore various regions, it is advisable to arrive in one city and depart from the other, whether starting in the north and ending in the south, or vice versa.

Buses and taxis are readily available and affordable means of transportation, ensuring seamless connectivity between the airports and urban areas.

7. Affordable transport options in Vietnam for budget travelers

Travel to Vietnam tips

Vietnam, known for being one of the most economical countries to explore in Asia, offers a range of affordable transport options. With a well-developed and efficient transport network, getting around the country is both effortless and cost-effective, allowing you to explore every corner of Vietnam.

When it comes to long-distance travel, sleeper buses, and overnight trains are among the top choices. These Vietnam transports are particularly beneficial for travelers seeking to cover vast distances at incredibly low prices.

If you prefer a different travel experience, flying is an excellent alternative. Vietjet, the leading low-cost carrier in Vietnam, offers a wide range of cheap and frequent local flights, providing convenient transportation options.

Travel to Vietnam tips

>>> Explore Explore the top 10 things to do for your first visit to Vietnam 

8. Don't get scammed: Important travel to Vietnam tips

When planning a trip to Vietnam, it is crucial to be aware of the prevalence of scams, particularly in popular tourist areas such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. To prevent such situations, it is recommended to take proactive measures. 

One important tip to keep in mind is to book tours or trips through reputable websites in advance. By doing so, travelers can reduce the risk of falling victim to scams.

Travel to Vietnam tips

9. Grab Taxi: The best way to avoid getting ripped off in Vietnam

When it comes to navigating the cities, many foreigners may wonder, “How to travel in Vietnam?” There are numerous options available, including taxis, local buses, bicycle rickshaws, and even motorbike taxis. All of the aforementioned choices are generally cost-effective. Nonetheless, it's essential to negotiate a fixed fare with the driver in advance.

To steer clear of such unpleasant encounters, the most convenient solution lies in opting for a Grab taxi. Grab is a well-known service, akin to Uber, which allows you to conveniently book rides through their app. 

10. Haggling 101: Tips for bargaining in Vietnam

Everything comes at incredibly low prices, and haggling is a customary practice at markets and small shops. However, it's important to note that prices, especially for tourists, are often significantly inflated. The key to securing a lower price is through the art of haggling, which is simply standing firm on a price you are willing to pay.

For non-Americans, becoming accustomed to currency conversions will prove essential. Most vendors typically quote prices in USD, so it is advisable to calculate the conversion rate in advance before venturing into the market. An addition to travel to Vietnam tips is to avoid flaunting expensive possessions such as luxury watches, designer bags, or professional cameras, as these can influence the initial price offered. Another valuable tip is to steer clear of shopping near the market entrance, as these stores are notorious for inflating prices.

Travel to Vietnam tips

>>> See more about the peak season in Vietnam

11. Travel to Vietnam advice - Avoid tap water

Drinking tap water in Vietnam greatly increases the risk of falling ill, potentially ruining your entire trip. To safeguard your health and well-being, it is strongly advised that you opt for bottled water instead. You can easily find 1.5-liter bottles of water at a cost of less than a dollar, available practically everywhere, including convenience stores, local restaurants, and even your hotel.

For budget-conscious travelers, alternative travel to Vietnam tips include investing in a high-quality reusable water bottle. This allows you to refill your bottle at your hotel's water fountain, ensuring a continuous supply of safe drinking water throughout your stay.

12. How to choose the right travel adapter for your devices 

Vietnam operates on a standard voltage of 220V with a frequency of 50Hz, and the prevalent plug types are A (2 vertical pins), C (2 round pins), and F (Schuko plug).

Although these plug types are commonly used in many countries, it is essential to verify the voltage compatibility of your devices before attempting to plug them into Vietnamese sockets. If your devices operate on a different voltage, it is highly recommended to invest in a reliable travel adapter.

One of the essential travel to Vietnam tips is to bring a versatile travel plug that functions in 150 countries and includes four USB sockets. This ensures that you can easily charge multiple devices and eliminates any worries about keeping your devices powered up throughout your journey. 

Travel to Vietnam tips

13. Pack appropriate attire

Packaging lightweight and breathable clothing is especially important due to the intense humidity in the region, as such clothing allows for better airflow and reduces discomfort from excessive sweating.

Unless the visit falls within the winter season (mid-December to March), there is no need to pack a large amount of warm clothing. Instead, it is recommended to include items such as shorts, skirts, t-shirts, and summery dresses in the luggage. However, it is still wise to bring along a couple of lightweight jackets, jeans, and long-sleeved shirts for occasional chilly days or activities like hiking. Regardless of the time of visit, it is essential not to forget a raincoat to stay prepared for unexpected showers.

Moreover, for individuals planning to visit Vietnam's magnificent religious sites, one of the top travel to Vietnam tips is to wear and act appropriately. In most cases, a simple sarong will suffice, as long as it can cover the knees and shoulders, adhering to the modest dress code observed in these sacred places.

>>> Don’t forget to discover the top 13 worth-visiting places 

14. Remember to bring sunscreen and insect spray

Do not forget to take precautions against diseases such as dengue fever and the Zika virus, as they are common in Vietnam. While malaria is not a significant concern in major tourist areas, protecting oneself from mosquito bites is still necessary. 

Additionally, bringing sunscreen is an essential item on your travel to Vietnam tips checklist because the Vietnamese hot weather is intense and may cause sunburns. To ensure a worry-free trip, it is advisable to bring your preferred brand of sunscreen that meets your specific needs.

Travel to Vietnam tips

15. Bring enough money with you

While hotels, tour operators, and upscale restaurants generally accept debit or credit cards, it is important to carry enough cash, as it is widely accepted and preferred.

If you find yourself running low on cash, finding an ATM should not pose much of a challenge. However, it's worth noting that not all banks accept foreign cards. To ensure a smooth transaction, travel to Vietnam tips are to visit larger branches such as HSBC and Citi Bank, which accept Visa or Mastercard or withdraw money at the airport upon arrival, as it usually offers the most favorable rates. If you need to use a local ATM, consider withdrawing large sums at once to avoid excessive bank charges. The withdrawal limit typically ranges from 2,000,000 to 3,000,000 VND, with fees varying from 22,000 to 99,000 VND.

16. To Tip or Not to Tip? A guide to tipping in Vietnam

In Vietnam, the practice of tipping is not customary, similar to other countries in Southeast Asia. Whether you are enjoying a meal at a renowned restaurant in Hanoi or savoring street food in Ho Chi Minh City, leaving a tip is generally not expected. However, if you choose to indulge in a high-end dining experience or visit an upscale establishment, a service fee of around 10% may already be included in your bill.

When it comes to hotel porters and tour guides, it is common to provide a tip, and failure to do so may result in disapproving looks. While the amount doesn't have to be substantial, it is customary to offer a small gratuity.

Travel to Vietnam tips

17. Before sitting, inspect the toilet seat

In Southeast Asia, including Vietnam, the restroom facilities may be different from the rest of the world. It is important to note that some public toilets in Vietnam require a small fee for usage, usually around 2,000 VND. Additionally, it is not always guaranteed that toilet paper will be available, but water sprayers instead.

Unfortunately, the spray water often ends up on the toilet seat, and it is not common for individuals to clean up after themselves. To address this, carrying tissues in your pocket and thoroughly wiping the seat before sitting down to ensure a clean and dry experience are useful travel to Vietnam tips.  

>>> Save now: 14 destinations to satisfy your wanderlust 

18. Be careful when traveling on the road

In Vietnam, the traffic is famously chaotic, mainly due to the multitude of motorbikes that dominate the roads. Pedestrian walk signals and designated crossing lines have limited significance, as most motorbikes and cars typically do not really pay attention to pedestrians.

Motorbike riders in Vietnam commonly disregard traditional traffic rules, such as avoiding sidewalks, traveling against the flow of one-way streets, and ignoring red lights. Consequently, pedestrians must be alert when crossing the street.

As a general guideline, pedestrians should confidently initiate their crossing when there is a gap in traffic, trusting that vehicles will navigate around them.

19. Tips for Handling Vietnamese Currency

  • Vietnam money has various denominations ranging from 200 to 500,000 dong.
  • Be cautious of the similar colors of certain notes.
  • Take a moment to organize your bills in your room to prevent handing over the wrong note in a rush.
  • Cash is widely preferred for day-to-day transactions.
  • International credit and debit cards come with an additional fee. 
  • ATMs are readily available, and banks are reliable places to exchange currency.
  • Don't stress if you overpay for certain items or services.
  • Note that the practice of separate pricing for Vietnamese and foreigners is no longer in effect.

Vietnam is a popular tourist destination in Asia, offering numerous unique and breathtaking attractions. Do not miss out on renowned places like Phu Quoc, Nha Trang, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Ha Long during your visit to Vietnam.

When it comes to accommodations, Vinpearl stands out as a highly recommended luxury brand that provides comfortable stays in these destinations. Travelers can choose from a variety of options, including rooms, suites, and villas, and indulge in dining experiences, spa treatments, and recreational activities. Some of the Vinpearl properties available are:

Whether you are traveling with family or friends, Vinpearl offers the perfect blend of luxury and relaxation in some of Vietnam's most stunning locations.

Travel to Vietnam tips


Travel to Vietnam tips

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Foreigners embarking on a trip to Vietnam often face a myriad of challenges that can potentially hinder their experience. However, there is optimism that the aforementioned travel to Vietnam tips can provide valuable assistance to visitors. These tips cover a wide range of aspects, such as cultural differences, language barriers, unfamiliar cuisine, transportation issues, and hygiene standards. By incorporating these tips into their plans, travelers can navigate Vietnam with greater ease, ensuring a more enjoyable and fulfilling journey.

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