In Vietnam, the time does not change due to winter and summer and is, therefore, the same all year around.
One of the hardest things to get a grip on when traveling to Vietnam is the currency. Here you will find that even small, everyday items cost tens of thousands of Vietnamese đồng (VND). It is easy to lose track, so here is a quick overview of the essentials. Check out the current currency rate here.
Be careful not to confuse similar looking currency notes of different denominations, as many of the money have the same colors and can easily be mixed up with one another.
US dollars are accepted everywhere, and change will be given in Vietnamese đồng (VND). You are also able to exchange your US dollar for Vietnamese đồng (VND) at small shops in the streets. Just look for the sign called “currency exchange.”
You can use Visa and MasterCard credit cards in international shops, but you should always bring some money with you as many shops do not accept credit cards. There are plenty of ATMs in Vietnam to withdraw Vietnamese đồng (VND), but be aware that there is sometimes a daily withdrawal limit of 2-3 million đồng from some ATMs.
Price tags are rarely displayed in Vietnam. Knowing what the costs should be is an essential factor in paying a satisfying amount. Remember that Vietnam is said to be the cheapest country to live in, as the Vietnamese đồng (VND) has a very low value. Therefore remember to haggle for items in markets and on the street. It is very rare that the seller expects you to accept the first price that they offer, even it is just a couple of dollars you are trying to bargain down.
You should travel light when coming to Vietnam, as you are found to find everything at an attractive price here. Your first purchase will surely be an empty suitcase so you could pack it with all for your shopping!
It is not required for you to tip in Vietnam, but in light of the poor salary in Vietnam, tips are greatly appreciated in restaurants, hotels and tour guides. Tipping should only be given after receiving excellent service and not every time you purchase something.
There are always taxis to be found in the big cities, and there are a lot of different companies. You can ask the hotel reception to call a taxi for you when you want one. Always remember to check that the meter is on and that the km are shown because some meters tend to go up way to fast. If you are looking for an alternative to a taxi, you can use Grab, which is the Asian version of Uber. You can download the app on your phone and top it up with your credit card, ensuring that you never have to get out money to pay for the Grab. They are offering both taxies, private cars, and motorbikes as a transportation method.
The most common outlet in Vietnam is the two-pronged “European” style (220V), which requires two straight, parallel prongs, unlike the three-pronged UK plug. You can see which foreign plugs that are able to be used in Vietnam right here.
There is a laundry service in almost every hotel with two stars and above, including hostels and homestays. The cloths may also be ironed at an additional cost.
To get an authentic Vietnamese experience, you should choose a home-stay, particularly in the Northern region where villages like Sapa is found. It is very different from the usual bed and breakfast that you know from all around the world. Depending on the site, the house is lived in by a family or only tourist use. Here you will find a large room for sleeping with other travelers, mattresses will be placed on the floor, and you will be given a duvet and mosquito net. One or more showers will be available. The comfort is basic, but homestays are an original Vietnamese cultural experience.
The largest and most celebrated holiday in Vietnam is the Tet holiday, which is the Vietnamese new year. Here the locals have annual Tet lunar new year festivals to celebrate families by way of reunions. Before the Tet holiday streets are bustling with scooters carrying trees: orange kumquat, dark and light pink peach blossom, and vibrant yellow Hoa Mai flowers. Extra lanterns adorn the streets as well as baskets and stands of rare fruits and nuts. Allow yourself to say a happy new year in Vietnamese: chúc mừng năm mới-thankfully. The Tet holiday is approximately a week long, so there is time to practice.
During the Tet holiday, the Vietnamese population travels simultaneously to see their families for a 7-10 day vacation resulting in a high-influx of domestic travel. Most businesses also have a 7-10 day break which means much quieter streets, beaches, and cuisine scenes with only touristy streets still slightly animated, so allow a week before attractions in Vietnam open up again. Most businesses also have a 7-10 day break which means much quieter streets, beaches, and cuisine scenes with only touristy streets still slightly animated. Allow a week before attractions in Vietnam open up again.
Other holidays in Vietnam is the reunification of Vietnam and International Workers Day taking place April 30th and May 1st. The Independence Day on September 2nd is a holiday where offices and business are mainly closed, and there is a high-influx of domestic travel. You will see the Vietnamese flag all over the country and celebrations on big squares.