TRAVELER’S TIP

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HOW TO APPLY VIETNAM VISA

To enter Vietnam, you need a passport valid up to 6 months beyond your travel dateand a Vietnamvisa. If you are citizens from: Singapore,Thai Land, Indonesia,Malaysia, Philippines and Laos…. "01 month Vietnam entry visa is not required. Citizens from some other country like Japan, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden... can travel in Vietnam within 15 days without visa. Otherwise, you need apply Vietnam entry visa, in two ways:

•    Option 1: Getting Vietnam visa at Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in your home country.
•    Option 2: Getting Vietnamvisa at the airport when you arrive at Vietnam (in case there are no Vietnam Embassy in your area, or when you have no time to do visa).

Choose the option that suits you best, and then send us the following information:

•    Your passport details (full name, sex, date of birth, passport number, nationality)
•    Date of Entry
•    The city where you have visa stamped (if you take option 1)
•    Your arrival flight details (if you take option 2)

Your information will be submited to Vietnam Immigration Office. After 3 working days, we will get the "visa approval letter" and send it to you accordingly.

•    For Option 1: You will bring this "visa approval letter" to get the visa Vietnamat the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate in your country
•    For Option 2: You will show this "visa approval letter" to Immigration police counter at your Vietnam's arrival airport to get visa stamped. Our tour guide can help you with all the formalities at the airport

DO YOU NEED TO TAKE VACCINATION BEFORE TRAVELLING TO VIETNAM?
No vaccination is required to enter Vietnam. However visitors are advised to have up-to-date inoculations for Cholera, Hepatitis A and B, Malaria, Typhoid and Tuberculosis. Malaria is prevalent in the remote mountainous regions. Please ask your doctor regarding immunizations and for the best preventative measures

CUSTOMS REGULATION
Entering Vietnam, passengers are expected to declare:
- Cameras, camcorders and other electronic equipment not for personal use
- Jewelry not for personal use.
- Currency over USD 3,000
- Video tapes (they may be kept for a few days and screened).
Upon completion of this process, the Customs Declaration forms will be stamped with one retained by the Custom Declaration and a yellow copy returned to the visitor to be submitted upon departure. Don't lose it!
Firearms, narcotics and other internationally prohibited goods are banned and those found in possession of such will be liable to prosecution.
Duty-Free Items: Visitors may import 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco, 1 liter of wine, 1 liter of liquor and an unlimited amount of film. Commercial goods and items of high value being taken out of Vietnam require export permits from the Customs Service. Antiques may be confiscated permanently. No local currency may be taken out of the country.


WHAT ARE THE BANNED MATERIALS ?
Vietnam has strict laws on bringing in anti-government literature, pornography, firearms and weapons. CDs and tapes are often retained for screening, but will be returned after a few days. It is illegal to remove antiques from Vietnam. When buying handicrafts, especially those that look old, ask the retailer for a receipt and a declaration that the item may be exported.

CURRENCY & EXCHANGE RATE ?
The official currency is the Dong. Although US dollars are widely accepted, you should have local currency for use in taxis and shops. It is sometimes the best currency to carry due to its easy exchange to dong. The rate of exchanged as of September 2011 is USD= 20,500 Dong. Traveler's cheques can be cashed at only major banks and usually incur a 2-5 % transaction fee. Visa and MasterCard are accepted in almost hotels, restaurants and shops. ANZ and Vietcombank have automated teller machines (ATM) for cash advance (in VND).
The “Dong” is represented by the following denominations; 200d (red), 500d (red), 1,000d (brown/green), 2,000d (Blue), 5,000d (blue), 10,000d (brown or red), 20,000d (blue), 50,000d (pink), 100,000d (green), 200,000d (brown / red), 500,000d (blue). These currencies are all in the form of paper / polymer money. There are five coins valued at VND200, VND 500, VND 1,000, VND 200 and VND 5,000.
*Do not accept old, faded or ripped bills (dong or dollars), as you may have trouble spending them.
Banks are open Monday to Friday and some are open Saturday morning. In the major cities there are bureaus de change and most hotels will change US Dollars. When departing, change any Dong back to US dollars.

HOW ARE FOODS AND DRINKS ?
Eating in Vietnam ranges from noodle soup for 1 USD, eaten on the street to a banquet style in one of the luxury hotels. Vietnamese restaurants offer a broad selection of tempting international fare that includes French, Italian, American, Indian, Chinese and Japanese food.
Seasonal fruits (including tropical fruits such as dragon fruit, rambutans, and longans), fresh vegetables, and local seafood are readily available. All fruits and vegetables should be cooked or peeled.
Vietnamese eat mainly rice and noodles. Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try include "pho", a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast. "Com", boiled rice is eaten for lunch and for dinner. Nuoc Mam, the fermented fish sauce is commonly used in almost all Vietnamese foods. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.
Running water is available in cities. Water from wells is common in the countryside. For drinking, bottled water or mineral water which is safe and available everywhere are highly recommended. Ice at international hotels is safe. Beer is provided locally and also imported. Some of the most popular brands of beer are Bia Hoi, 333, Saigon, Hanoi, Tiger, Carlsberg and Heineken.

WHAT SOUVENIR SHOULD I TAKE WHEN VISITING VIETNAM ?
Vietnam is particularly known for its various styles of lacquer ware and its growing silk industry. A wide array of other handicrafts is also available, including conical hats, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, silver jewellery, quality hand embroidery, wood carvings, ceramics, silk painting, brass and marble figurines and ivory and tortoise shell accessories.
Dong Khoi street in HCMC is a good place for Vietnamese silk, handicrafts while Hanoi old quarter of 36 streets is full of queer local souvenirs. Hoi An in the centre of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains. it is advisable to buy items at the your departure point like Hanoi Capital or Saigon to avoid having to carry all the goodies for the rest of the trip. Fine handicrafts, embroidery articles, rattan and bamboo products, lacquer wares, marble carvings are some of the products are worth buying in Vietnam.
Silk in Vietnam are some of the highest qualities in the world. Women and men can have their clothes custom tailored in a day or two. A pair of suits costs only USD 100 to USD 150 including materials and labor. A t-shirt costs USD 2 and USD 4 an embroidered one.
Tailors are located along all main streets downtown. Let us know if you like recommendations.
Visitors are free to buy products in Vietnam for personal use. The exception to this principal is antiques. Antiques considered of national interest will be confiscated without refund or recourse to their return. In general this applies to articles of ancients (over 50 years old ) or religious nature. "National Interest" is interpreted by an expert at the airport.

AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX ?
No airport tax is required for both International filghts and Domestic flights as it is included in when you buy the ticket.

TIPPING
Tipping is not compulsory in Vietnam, however it is enormously appreciated. You should consider tipping tour guides, drivers, hotel staff, boat crews, etc. There is no standard amount for tipping but if you are happy with the services provided by your local staff as a guides and drivers.. a tip is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, tipping inspires great service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across Vietnam destinations. As a general guide on private tours, please allow 3USD to 5USD per day per traveller for each of your local guide and driver. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip

EMBASSIES AND GENERAL CONSULATES
Vietnam embassies abroad
Foreign embassies in Vietnam

DO'S

Greetings are no different to western countries, there are no cultural formalities that as a foreginer you would be expected to know or practise.
Vietnamese dress conservatively. Despite the heat, it’s best not to show off too much skin. If you do, especially girls, you’ll only draw stares from the locals.
Dress well when visiting pagodas. No shorts or tatty beer t-shirts. Shoes are fine, and rarely will you have to remove them. If unsure, just follow what the locals do.
Drink plenty of bottled water, especially when walking around sightseeing. No need to carry huge bottles around with you, a vendor is never far away and no doubt they will find you before you find them.
Keep your cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in a safe place.
Travel with recommend tour agencies. Even if you plan to buy tickets when in country, research your journey a little first on the Internet. A good resource is Lonely Planet’s Thorn Tree Forum, where fellow tourists discuss travel in Vietnam. This way you avoid unreliable tour agencies and badly run hotels. 

DON'TS

Wear a lot of jewellery or take a bag with you. Violent crime is highly unusual in Vietnam, but petty crime is more apparant. If you have a bag, or tout a digital camera around your neck, you are a potential target.
When taking a ride by motorbike taxi (xe om) make sure your bag, if any, is not on display or easy to grab. Bag snatches, although still rare, are probably the most likely crime a tourist would encounter, and it raises the probability immensely if you are tailing a camera or a laptop in the wind.
Don’t wear singlets, shorts, skirts or dresses, or revealing clothes to temples or pagodas.
Physical displays of affection between lovers in public are frowned upon. That’s why you may come across couples holding hands but not hugging or kissing.
Losing your temper in Vietnam means a loss of face. Keep a cool head and remain polite, you’ll have a greater chance of getting what you want.
Remember, this is Vietnam, a devloping country, and things don’t quite work as you are maybe used to. Don’t be paranoid about your safety, just be aware of your surroundings.

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