The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi but the largest city is Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), which is the cultural and economic centre with a population of 7 million and the biggest port in Vietnam.
Located on the eastern coast of South-East Asian Indochinese Peninsula, Vietnam shares its borders with Cambodia and Laos to the West, with China to the North and the China Sea to the East. Total coastline and borders stretch 2,500 Km. An estimated 66% of the total area is dominated by the rugged, heavily forested terrain of the Truong Son Range stretching North-South between the intensively cultivated and densely populated Red River (North) and the Mekong River (South) deltas. The highest peak in Vietnam is Fan Si Pan (3,143 m) in the extreme North. A long, narrow coastal plain links the two major river deltas. 22% of the land is arable and 40% is forested.
Vietnamese is the official language although English is increasingly spoken by younger Vietnamese in main cities. Some people and especially elderly still speak French, while middle-aged speak German and Russian. A guide is, however, duly recommended as language can be a problem for people who are not familiar of the country.
Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. One hour behind Hong Kong time
The national currency is the dong (đồng, VND), which is difficult to find or exchange outside Vietnam; change money on arrival and try to get rid of any leftovers before leaving the country. The major areas of currency exchange are at the airport, as you leave the arrival lounge. If you intend to exchange your home currency for Dong, ensure your notes are clean and undamaged, as banks and other exchanges will not accept any notes which are torn, excessively crumpled or have writing on them. The best advice is to bring either cash in USD or Euro. Note that exchange rates for small and big notes vary, would recommend you to bring some small notes in USD dollars to cope with first expenses on arrival then either 100 USD or 100 € bank notes. Make sure that the Vietnamese notes you receive are not torn, this is because many shops and restaurants will not accept them. Visa and Master card are becoming more accepted in many of the bigger hotels and restaurants, especially in the larger cities with usually a surcharge of 3%.
Due to its long shape bordering the South China Sea, Vietnam has a very diversified weather and climate so visitors can come to Vietnam all year round without having many climatic disadvantages.
In the NORTH
It has 4 clear-cut seasons: spring, summer, fall, winter. From November to March it is rather cool and can be cold due to the humidity level, while the average temperature is about 30C from April to October.
In the CENTRAL
It is monsoonal in the north, bringing a hot and humid weather from June to Sep. During the rainy season it is usually raining only in the evening or very early in the morning.
In the SOUTH
The weather in the southern part of Vietnam is tropical. The difference between two seasons, dry from November to May and rainy from June to October, is very clear. Occasional typhoons from May to Oct bring flooding to the middle regions
A visa is compulsory to enter Vietnam except for citizens of:
Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand if the length of the stay is not exceeding 30 days.
Philippines if the length of the stay is not exceeding 21 days.
Visa exempted from Jan 2009 for citizens of: Korea, Japan, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Russia for 15 days.
Visa exempted from July 2015 for citizens of: British, German, French, Italian and Spanish for 15 days.
Citizens of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy can continue enjoy visa-free travel in Vietnam for a maximum of 15 days.This visa waiver program has been extended in validity through 30 June, 2017.
Other Nationalities are required to have a valid visa to visit Vietnam.
Visa on arrival – suggested to apply one or 2 weeks before your departure
Application fee from USD12-USD19 depends on passport. Pay visa fee on arrival at USD25.00 + TWO photos.
US Citizens can only apply one year multiple visa effective on 1 Sep 2016 and
Landing visa fee on arrival will be at USD135.00 + photo person
Or can apply in Hongkong normally 5 working days with two photos or can apply urgent visa.
Your passport or traveling document must have at least 6 months validity.
It’s absolutely essential to have adequate travel insurance covered, especially for the purposes of flight cancellation, delay or any other unexpected incidental cases occurred during the trip and to enjoy the journey with a peaceful mind.
Take the travel insurance that meets your needs and understand its coverage.
In Vietnam electric current is mostly 220V in main cities, although you can still find 110V in rural areas. Sockets are
3 PINS like Hongkong at most of hotels, some are 2 pins like in China, better to bring an adaptor on this trip.
Currency Import regulations:
Local currency (Vietnamese Dong-VND): no restrictions. Amounts exceeding VND 15,000,000.- must be declared on arrival. Foreign currencies: no restrictions. Amounts exceeding USD 5,000.- (or equivalent) must be declared on arrival. Amounts under USD 5,000.- (or equivalent) to be deposited in credit institutions and branches of foreign banks must also be declared on arrival.
Currency Export regulations:
Local currency (Vietnamese Dong-VND): no restrictions. Amounts exceeding VND 15,000,000.- must be declared on departure.Foreign currencies: no restrictions. Amounts exceeding USD 5,000.- (or equivalent) must be declared upon. Proof of expenses is required.
Incoming visitors must fill out a duplicate yellow & white immigration/ customs declaration form. The yellow copy must remain with your passport until departure & please DO NOT LOSE IT. Customs demand that you declare foreign currency in excess of US$ 3000, gold, jewelry and videotapes not for personal use. Duty free allowances are 200 cigarettes, two liters of alcohol & perfume for personal use.
According to Vietnam laws, passengers are expected to declare the following:
Gold, if over 300 grams;
Vietnam Dong, if over VND15,000,000. Other currency, if over USD5,000;
Temporarily imported and re-exported goods or vice versa.
Duty free allowance
Visitors are given duty free allowance for:
For passengers 18 years of age and older:
a. tobacco products: 400 cigarettes, or 100 cigars or 500 grams of tobacco;
b. alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages:
- liquor at 22% volume and above: 1,5 litres; or
- liquor below 22% volume: 2 litres; or
- other alcoholic (excl. wines) and soft drinks: 3 litres;
c. tea, max. 5 kg; coffee, max. 3 kg;
A reasonable quantity of perfume and personal belongings;
Other goods, total value of which is not exceeding five million VND (Vietnamese Dong).
Visitors bringing goods exceeding the amount as above stated are required to fill in the declaration form No.HQ/2002-PMD and pay duty(ies) according to Vietnamese laws.
It is the passengers responsibility to obtain all required travel documents, visas and permits, and for complying with the laws, regulations, orders, demands and other travel requirements of countries of origin, destination or transit.
We strongly recommend that you go to the IATA Travel Centre website http://www.iatatravelcentre.com for more information.
Vietnam has strict laws on bringing in anti-government literature, photography, firearms & weapons. CDs & 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 rustic ones, ask the retailer for a receipt & a declaration that the item purchased may be exported.
Tipping is not mandatory although it is appreciated. Note that prices in hotels and restaurants usually include 10% for VAT and 5% for service charges. If you are taking a package tour, suggested US$5 per person per day traveling with a group and US$8 per person per day tipping for driver and the local guide(s) in private tour.
YOUR TOUR ARRANGEMENTS
All land arrangements within Vietnam are solely at the discretion of our land operators who control the final scheduling of sightseeing programs based on current situation of the day or period like weather, flights schedule change, traffic condition etc…Those situations are not under our control and cannot be held responsible for sudden changes.
Terms & Conditions are based on our website : www.f56.com/Terms&Conditions.pdf
HEALTH INFORMATION FOR TRAVELING ( FOR TRAVELLERS FROM HONGKONG )
Hong Kong Government raises the Travel Alert for Vietnam to “AMBER” since 13 Jan 2015, please check and make sure you have travel insurance covered to travel to this country.
If you would like to know more about the outbound Travel alert please explore the website:
If you are a Hongkong Resident holding a valid HKID card and have register a MyGovHK account, you can use the ROTI which is free of charge. Or explore the website to register. http://www.gov.hk/en/residents/immigration/outsidehk/roti.htm
For more information about Vietnam please visit: www.vietnamtourism-info.com/english/