TRAVEL THAILAND & BEYOND
 
 
  

 

Vietnam
Tour Packages
Vietnam Discovery
7 Days / 6 Nights
9 Days / 8 Nights
12 Days / 11 Nights
North Vietnam
5 Days / 4 Nights
Central Vietnam
5 Days / 4 Nights
South Vietnam
6 Days / 5 Nights
Tours for Adventurers
Halong Bay by Sea Canoe
Ho Chi Minh to Phnom Penh, Cambodia by boat
Mekong Delta Discovery
Sapa Discovery by Victorian Carriages
Extension Tours
Halong Bay
Phan Thiet Beach
Travel Information
Country Information
Tourist Tips & Guides
Tourist Destinations
Hanoi
Central Vietnam
North Vietnam
South Vietnam

 

 

South Vietnam
Socialist Republic of Vietnam

ACCOMMODATION
International hotels and resorts are available in the main destinations throughout the country. In more remote areas, accommodation is in simple hotels or even basic guesthouses.

AIRPORT TAXES

International Departures
Please note that the following Airport Taxes are payable for any international departures:

US$ 14 net per person in Hanoi
US$ 8 net per person in Danang
US$ 12 net per person in Ho Chi Minh City.

Above mentioned charges are current and subject to change without prior notice.

Domestic Departure
The Airport tax for domestic flights is included in the ticket price.

ARRIVAL FORMALITIES - IMMIGRATION
During your flight to Vietnam or upon arrival at the Border checkpoint, an Arrival/Departure Form will be handed to you. Please fill this in and proceed then to the Immigration desk.

If you are obtaining your visa upon arrival, please fill in the appropriate form and obtain first your visa at the visa counter. Then proceeding to the Immigration desk (please see details under VISA)

BORDERS
Overland border crossings are possible at various points to China, Laos & Cambodia. This changes regularly and please contact us to get the latest information. Please note that for overland arrival, visas have to be obtained in advance.

CLIMATE
Vietnam has a very diverse climate and as there are 3 different climate zones there is no good or bad season for visiting Vietnam. When it rains in one part of the country, it will be sunny and hot in another part.

South Vietnam
The south of Vietnam has the typical South East Asian Climate, as we know it from Thailand and Cambodia. November - February is the nice and cool season, March - April is very hot and during the summer months is the rainy season.

Center Vietnam
This part of Vietnam is also tropical with a wet season and a dry season. The rainy season however is from September to January with the lowest temperatures from November to February.

North Vietnam
The north has a summer and winter as known in Europe. The summer lasts from May - October and is quite hot and beautiful. The winter is from November to April and can be rather cold and wet. It normally does not rain very hard but there is a persistent drizzle and a good raincoat is necessary at all times!

CANCELLATION FEES
If hotels, restaurant or vehicle hire companies charge Insight Vietnam a penalty for cancellations received less than 30 days prior to arrival, these cancellation fees will be invoiced to clients.

CLOTHING
The colonial cities may remind you of the glorious past but it is not necessary to dress up! Comfortable cloth and walking shoes are most suitable for travelling through Vietnam.

Sunscreen lotion and a hat are strongly recommended. Due to the big climate differences throughout the country (please see under climate) we recommend to always bring a jumper and a windbreaker / rain coat with you to be prepared for all occasions.

CREDIT CARDS
Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and shops. In the big cities international ATM machines are now available where you can withdraw cash with your overseas credit card. It is of course also possible to withdraw cash on your credit card at the major banks and money changers throughout the country.

CURRENCY AND EXCHANGE
The local currency is the Dong. The exchange rate in October 2002 was approximately 15,000 Dong to one US Dollar. Money and Travelers' cheques can be changed at major hotels, banks and moneychangers.

Prices in the big hotels, shops and restaurants are given in US$ and in Dong and payment is accepted in either currency. We recommend to bring some US$ in cash, including small denominations.

CUSTOMS
International rules apply for importing goods into Vietnam. Customs might however check your luggage carefully upon departure to ensure that you are not exporting antiques.

DOMESTIC FLIGHTS
Vietnam Airlines operates most of the domestic flights in Vietnam. The main routes are between Hanoi, Hue, Danang and Saigon but there are also flights to more remote areas. Vietnam Airlines has a very modern fleet and operates Airbus, Boeing, Fokker and ATR Aircrafts.

DRINKING WATER
Do NOT drink tap water bottled water is readily available everywhere. Ice is safe in the hotels but not recommended elsewhere. In local restaurants it is best to order only canned soft drinks and beer - avoid freshly made juices.

ELECTRICITY
Standard current used is 220 volts (or 50 Hz). Electricity supply in the bigger cities is regular, although most hotels and restaurants still have their own generators. However, power cuts should be expected in other parts of the country. It is a good idea to carry a torch (or flashlight).

FOOD
Vietnam is well known for it's rich and divers cuisine. It is a unique cuisine with some colonial influences from the French and Chinese but has kept it's own character. There is an abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs that give the Vietnamese kitchen its unique taste and there is plenty of fresh fish and seafood that can be found in many of the dishes. It is not a spicy kitchen but tickles your taste buts with all it's different flavors.

HEALTH
There are no compulsory vaccinations but we advise you to seek the advice of your doctor. Whilst the main areas are malaria-free, we recommend being careful. The best way to escape malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes - in the evenings, wear trousers, socks and long sleeved shirts, and use insect repellent.

HEALTH INSURANCE
All visitors to Vietnam should have adequate health insurance, in particular covering evacuation in the event of a medical emergency. Although there are good doctors, hospitals are in general not up to Western Standards.

INTERNET
Internet access is available in all the major hotels and there are also plenty of Internet cafes in the main tourist areas with reliable connections at very reasonable prices.

INSURANCE
We strongly advise you to buy comprehensive travel insurance before traveling to Vietnam, covering medical treatment and medical evacuation.

INTERNATIONAL AIRLINES
Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City both have international airports with daily international flight arrivals from all over Asia as well as from Europe and the United States. Airlines currently flying from / to Vietnam are Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways International, Bangkok Airways, Pacific Airlines, Air France, Eva Air, China Airlines, Cathay Pacific, China Southern Airline, Emirates, Siem Reap Airways, Korean Air, JAL, Silk Air, Malaysian Airlines.

Most international flight tickets need to be reconfirmed - your tour guide will collect your tickets in order to reconfirm seats for you.

LANGUAGE
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. English is widely spoken and the first Foreign Language learned by the Vietnamese.

LOCAL TIME
Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich time (same time zone as Thailand).

MEET AND GREET
Your Insight Vietnam guide will be waiting for you with a signboard stating your name after you have completed Immigration formalities, collected your luggage and passed through Customs.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Please use your discretion when taking photographs - it is polite to ask people before taking their picture. Vietnam is an exceptionally photogenic place don't underestimate how much film you will use in one day! Film (for colour prints) is readily available, however, if you need specialist equipment, please bring it with you.

POPULATION
Vietnam has an estimated population of 80 million, making it the 13th most populous country in the world.

POST & TELECOMMUNICATIONS
It is normally easy to make international calls from international hotels, although it is expensive. In the major cities and places telephone cabins are available for domestic and overseas calls. Phone cards can be purchased at shops nearby in the street. International roaming is also available for Mobile Phones in the major cities. The postal system is fairly reliable and efficient.

SHOPPING
Vietnam is a shoppers paradise and is famous for it's variety of handicrafts such as pottery, ceramics, colorful embroidered items, tissues, paintings, jewelry etc. A wide selection of Antiques can be found all over the country and they are also well known for their Tailor skills. Bargaining is customary for souvenirs shops. Buyers should use caution when purchasing antiques, an official export certificate has to be given to you by the shop at the time of purchase.

TIPPING
Tipping is not obligatory but a small tip is always welcome. Porters would expect at least 5000 Dong per bag.

TRADING HOURS
Government offices and most businesses are open from 0800 to 1130 hours and from 1330 to 1700 hours, Monday to Friday.

VISAS
Visas are required by all nationalities and your passport needs to be valid for at least 6 month. A tourist visa is valid for 30 days and can be extended an additional 15 days once you are in Vietnam.

Visa on arrival
If you arrive by international flight in Hanoi, Danang or Ho Chi Minh you can obtain your visa upon arrival. This however needs to be approved in advance and we will have to obtain the necessary authorizations for you prior to your departure. We require your full personal and passport details and will then apply for your visa authorization. The documents required and the charges are as follows:

Visa Authorization
US$ 20 net per person, payable to GPS Resources.

Guarantee Letter
FOC as this is issued by Insight Vietnam. You require these two documents to be able to check into your flight to Vietnam and then to obtain your visa once you arrived at one of the international Airports. Upon arrival a visa fee of US$ 20 net per person is payable.

OVERSEAS VISAS
If you plan to enter Vietnam overland or prefer to obtain your visa in advance, you will have to apply for your Visa at any Vietnamese Mission close to you. The visa fees vary. For easy handling we can issue a Visa Approval Letter in advance (we require your full personal and passport details). The price is US$ 10 net per person and with that approval you will be able to obtain your visa very quickly.

In most Embassies / Consulates you can also obtain your visa without the Visa Approval Letter. It will then however take longer until the visa is issued and the fee will also be higher.

 

 
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Telephone: (66) 02 236 9317 to 20 and Fax: (66) 02 236 2929, 02 237 6873 and 02 237 6874
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