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Vietnam

VIETNAM

Geography

Vietnam borders with China in the north, Laos and Kampuchea in the West, and the Pacific Ocean in the east. Its lies in the centre of South-East Asia. Vietnam's territory stretches from Lung Cu village (Ha Tuyen province) in the north to Rach Tau hamlet (Minh Hai province) in the south. It is a S-shaped pennisula, with thousands of off-shore islands and archipelagoes; the biggest of which are the Hoang SA (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelagoes. Vietnam's mainland covers 331,689 square kilometers.

Country & population

Despite Vietnam's ongoing economic liberalization and the pressures of rapid development, this dignified country has managed to preserve its rich civilization and highly cultured society. Most visitors to Vietnam are overwhelmed by the sublime beauty of the country's natural setting: the Red River Delta in the north, the Mekong Delta in the south and almost the entire coastal strip are a patchwork of brilliant green rice paddies tended by women in conical hats. There are some divine beaches along the coast too, while inland there are soaring mountains, some of which are cloaked by dense, misty forests.

Vietnam offers an opportunity to see a country of traditional charm and rare beauty rapidly opening up to the outside world.

Passport & visa

Visa is required by all nationalities. Visa is usually delivered by Vietnamese Embassies who require the original passport and 2 photos for two full working days in order to stamp the visa. If Visa approval is arranged by Huong Viet Travel upon the client request, the personal data (full name, passport number with date of issuance and expiry, date and place of birth, nationality) must be supplied to us at least 10 days before arrival to Vietnam.

Visas can also be obtained upon arrival at Vietnam international airports such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Danang airports, in which case the stamping fee will be quoted separately. Apart from required details above we further need arrival/departure flight information Huong Viet Travel will send a confirmation letter to show to the airport staff at the departing airport, confirming that clients will get the visa on arrival. Visas can only the requested via Huong Viet Travel in connection with the booking of travel arrangements to Vietnam.

It could be the quickest way to get Vietnam visa because the formalities takes only two full working days (except Saturday and Sunday).

Customs & formalities

Arriving in Vietnam, all visitors must fill in declaration forms and show their luggage to customs officials on request. There are no limited amounts of foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold but visitors must declare these in detail on the customs forms.

Currency

The local currency is the dong (abbreviated "d" or VND). Bank notes are 500d, 1000d, 2,000d, 5,000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d and 500,000d. The rate of exchange at updating time is approximately dong 16.500 to one US. Dollar. Credit cards are generally only accepted in major cities. Visitors are recommended to carry US Dollar in small denominations. Travelers can change their money for Vietnamese dong (VND) at banks, hotels and jewelry shops throughout the country.

Climate

Vietnam shares borders with Cambodia, Laos and China, and features 3,200 km of coastline bordering the Eastern Sea. With an area of 332,000 square km, Vietnam’s topography varies from coastal plains to mountain ranges. Vietnam stretches over 1,800 km from north to south; therefore weather patterns in the principle cities are very different. The North: Winter lasts from November to April, with temperatures averaging 16oC but little rainfall. Summer begins in May and lasts until October, with temperature of 30oC, heavy rainfall and the occasional violent typhoon. The Center: Central Vietnam experiences a transitional climate, halfway between those of the north and south. The South: Temperature are fairly constant through the year; 25oC 30oC, Seasons are determined by the rain – the dry season lies from November to April and the wet season from May to October. The hottest period is March and April, before the rain have broken. Typhoons are quite common in coastal areas between July and November. The Highland Areas: In the hill resorts of Dalat (1,500m) , Buon Ma Thuot and Sapa , nights are cool throughout the year, and in the winter months, October to March ,it can be distinctly chilly with temperature falling to 4oC. Even in the hottest months of March and April the temperature rarely exceeds 26oC.

Heath requirements

No actual vaccinations are officially required. Malaria prophylaxis is no longer recommended but visitors are advised to check with their doctor or travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B.

International flights

Vietnam has three international airports: Hanoi/Noi Bai , Danang/ Danang and Ho Chi Minh/Tan Son Nhat. Cities with directs flight to Hanoi / Noi Bai Airport are Bangkok, Beijing, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Nanning, Paris, Singapore, Taipei, Vientiane and Seoul. Airline Companies currently serving Hanoi are Vietnam airlines, Air France, Cathay Pacific Airways, China southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Laos Aviation, Singapore Airlines, Aeroflot, Thai Airways. Cities with directs flight to Ho Chi Minh City/Tan Son Nhat Airport are Bangkok, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Moscow, Melbourne, Osaka, Paris, Phnom Penh, Seoul, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, Vienna, Vientiane and Zurich. Airline Companies currently serving Ho Chi Minh City are Vietnam airlines, Air France, Cathay Pacific Airways, China southern Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Lao Aviation, Singapore Airlines, Vladivostok Airlines, Aeroflot, Thai Airways, Korean Air, Lufthansa German Airlines, Lauda Air, Asiana Airlines, and Royal Air Cambodge. Since November 1, 1999 Thai Airways has commenced direct flights from Bangkok to Danang on Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Overland

The other way to get into Vietnam is by land , from China, Laos and Cambodia but the visas must be indicated clearly by Vietnamese Embassies with one or two of the below entry points. Tourists can pass the border at the following entry points:

* From China: Huu Nghi, Lao Cai.

* From Laos: Cau Treo, Lao Bao.

* From Cambodia: Moc Bai.

Language

Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam but there are various dialects spoken by hill tribe people in remote areas. Leaning foreign languages , particularly English and French, is currently in vogue among young people in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang and other cities.

Public holidays

* January 1 - Western New Year's Day

* January or February - Tet; Vietnamese and Chinese New Year celebration; this most important Vietnamese festivity of the whole year is celebrated an entire week from the first to the seventh day of the new year according to the traditional moon calendar; as the celebration depends on the phases of the moon, not the sun, it is celebrated on different dates of the Western calendar; traditionally, during the Tet days large amounts of food are consumed, because the Tet days are considered an omen for the course of the entire year; the belief is that if you eat a lot during the Tet days, there will be enough food during the whole year.

* February 3 - Founding Day of the Communist Party of Vietnam; national holiday

* March - day to commemorate the Trung sisters, who in the year 41 of Christian reckoning led a rebellion against the Chinese rulers; movable holiday, as it depends on the moon calendar.

* April 30 - Liberation Day of South Vietnam and Saigon; national holiday

* May 1 - Labour Day; national holiday

* May 19 - Ho Chi Minh's birthday; national holiday

* May 28 - Holiday in commemoration of the birth, the enlightenment and the death of the Buddha; national holiday

* August - Trung Nguyen; Day of the Wandering Souls; on this day the souls of the dead are believed to wander to the habitats of their offspring; celebrations in Buddhist temples; food is spread on house altars for the souls of the deceased and fake money is burnt in honour of them; moveable holiday, as it depends on the moon calendar.

* September 2 - National Holiday

* September 3 - Day to commemorate the death of Ho Chi Minh in 1969; national holiday

* September - Trung Thu - autumn celebration at which children parade through the streets with lanterns; for this celebration moon cakes are baked; moveable holiday, as it depends on the moon calendar.

* November - Birthday of Confucius; moveable holiday, as it depends on the moon calendar.

Tipping

Widely practiced, in addition to hotel and restaurant service charges shown on bills ( Porters, VND 10.000 -15.000 per bag)

Airport tax

Airport tax is US$ 1,5 per passenger on domestic flights (normally it is included in the airfare), US$ 14 (at Noibai airport/Hanoi) and US$ 12 (other airports) per passenger on international flights.

Business hours

GMT + 7 hours
8:00 am – 16:30 (except Saturday and Sunday)

Electricity

Mainly 220V but in some areas 110V is also used.

Tourist Attraction

Ho Chi Minh City Dalat Sapa
Hanoi Nha Trang Dien Bien Phu
Hue Da Nang Bienhoa Town
Hoi an Haiphong Tuy Hoa
 
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