The voltage in Vietnam is 220v.
In Vietnam 3 types of plugs are commonly accepted: 2 flat prong plugs (type A), the 2 round pin plug (type C) and many of the new 4 and 5 star hotels use the British standard 3-pin plug (type G). To cover all bases, it is best to pack an international travel adaptor!
It is recommended that you be vaccinated for Tetanus and Polio, if you haven't had a booster in the last ten years. Food and waterborne diseases are more common, so we recommend vaccinations for typhoid (valid 3 years), Hepatitis A (validity varies) and Diphtheria.
Malaria in Vietnam
Areas with malaria: Rural only, except none in the Red River Delta and the coast north of Nha Trang. Rare cases in the Mekong Delta. None in Da Nang, Haiphong, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Nha Trang, and Qui Nhon.
Estimated relative risk of malaria for travelers: Low
Information provided by the Centre for Disease Control & Prevention, USA and is offered as guidence only.
Yellow fever is not present in Vietnam, Cambodia or Laos but a yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from those travelling from an infected region. Vaccination and health information can change so please contact your local health care provider for the most up to date information prior to travelling.
Vietnam has a varied climate due to its geography. The south is hot year round and has two seasons: The wet season lasts from May to October, with brief, daily showers. The dry season from November to April is generally sunny and humid. In the north, the summer months (May to October) are hot and there is the occasional burst of heavy rain. In the winter (December to February) temperatures drop in the north and it can be damp and overcast. The coastal region of central Vietnam is blessed with long months of sunshine, although there is rainfall in November and December.
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Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of GMT and does not observe daylight saving.
The official currency in Vietnam is Dong (VND). USD notes are widely accepted and shopkeepers use both currencies interchangeably. You can often pay for items in USD and receive your change in USD notes and coins in VND. VND is always good for small purchases but there is really no need to exchange hard currency into VND prior to arrival. Make sure that your USD bills are crisp and clean and you will have no problem using or exchanging these throughout your stay. GBP, Euro & AUD are also widely acceptable though you will need to exchange these into USD or VND at a Bureau de change or bank. ATM machines can be found in all major cities though it is not common to pay with credit card in restaurants, cafes or shops for purchases.
We recommend you take a mixture of cash (preferably USD) and credit/ debit cards for ATM's.
Vietnamese cuisine is very tasty and diverse. While the staple food is rice and noodles, served with vegetables and meat, cuisine varies geographically between the north and south. The north is renowned for its meat and seafood stir-fries and delicious noodle soups (heavy on the soy sauce), while the south is influenced by Thai, Chinese and Cambodian cuisine, with more colourful, spicy and sugary dishes. Blessed with over 3,000km of coastline, seafood is the region’s speciality.
Vietnamese classics include Pho – a large bowl of rice noodles flavoured with sliced beef or chicken in a fragrant broth (served at breakfast), spring rolls and shrimp paste grilled on sugar cane.
The most popular draft beer among Vietnamese is Saigon Do (Red Saigon). 333, pronounced ‘ba-ba-ba’ is another local brand but possibly the best is Bia Saigon found in a green bottle and Biere Larue that is also available for export. Vietnam adopted a tradition of viticulture from the French colonial times. Dalat is the centre of the wine lands, and you can get very good red and white wine for about USD4, elsewhere you’ll probably be served international wines (often Australian) at international prices.
Coconut water and sugar cane juice is a favourite in the hot southern part of the country. Another thirst-quencher is the fabulous Sinh To, a selection of sliced fresh fruit in a big glass, combined with crushed ice, sweetened condensed milk and coconut milk. Coffee or ‘cà phê’ can be found on every street corner. It’s incredibly strong and delicious served black or with sweetened condensed milk. Vietnamese cuisine is very tasty and diverse. Whilst the staple food is rice and noodles, served with vegetables and meat, cuisine varies geographically between the north and south. The north is renowned for its meat and seafood stir-fries and delicious noodle soups (heavy on the soy sauce), whilst the south is influenced by Thai, Chinese and Cambodian cuisine, with more colourful, spicy and sugary dishes. Blessed with over 3,000km of coastline, seafood is the regions specialty.
Vietnam is a shoppers delight! Wonderful arts, crafts, jewellery and textiles abound in even the most remote locations and savvy souvenir shoppers can drive a hard bargain! Bustling markets, modern shopping malls and small street stalls sell all manner of things from beautiful handicrafts and war souvenirs, to colourful gem stones and high quality silk and clothing, which can be tailored for a small fee. Some of the most popular souvenirs include the ubiquitous conical hat, lacquer paintings, water puppets and ao dais (the female national costume). For a wide variety of souvenirs, head to Ben Thanh market in Ho Chi Minh City and Dong Xuan market in Hanoi.
Tet - 30th January 2014
The most important and widely celebrated public holiday of the year in Vietnam is Tet, the Lunar New Year, which coincides with the cycle of the moon. This public holiday usually takes place in late January or early/mid February and lasts officially for three days, although many businesses are closed the entire week.
We discourage travel over the Tet period (usually one week on either side of the holiday). Although the country is vibrant and colourful during this time, trains, buses and flights are often booked out or expensive, restaurants, shops, tailors and some key tourist sites are closed, and the floating markets of the Mekong do not operate for one week after Tet. If you have to travel during this time, then please be aware that services may not match what you would receive at other times of the year.
Other important public holidays include the Liberation of Saigon (April 30), International Worker's Day (May 1), Ho Chi Minh's birthday (May 19), and Vietnamese National Day (September 2).
The Hoi An Full Moon Festival
This magical festival is held on the 14th day of each lunar month and it’s a wonderful time to visit Hoi An in central Vietnam. The town becomes a hive of activity under the full moon, as locals participate in numerous cultural activities and the entire town is lit with colourful silk lanterns.