Vietnam

Vibrant cities, amazing national parks, and a great culture to discover. Nobody can escape Vietnam’s charm
Do you want to step out of your comfort zone, explore wild nature, taste new exotic flavours and learn about an incredible ancient culture? Then Vietnam is the perfect option for you! The country abounds in national parks. Ba Be National Park, Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, and Cat Tien National Park are just some of the many natural reserves present in the country. Here you will find, limestone mountains, evergreen forests, and tons of caves and lakes to explore. But Vietnam also has amazing vibrant cities where to explore the Vietnamese culinary and religious culture. Don’t miss the capital Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, and the less known city of Hue that will conquer you with its elegant temples and incredible cuisine!
Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam
Terraced rice field landscape near Sapa in Vietnam. Mu Cang Chai Rice Terrace Fields stretching across the mountainside, layer by layer reaching up as endless, with about 2,200 hectares of rice terraces, of which 500 hectares of terraces of 3 communes such as La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Ze Xu Phinh.

Vietnam is situated in southeast Asia, more specifically on the east of the Indochinese Peninsula. The country borders China in the north and Cambodia and Laos in the west while the rest of Vietnam faces the South China Sea. The capital, Hanoi, is situated in the north of the country but its biggest city, Ho Chi Minh City is located in the south. The biggest mountain range, the Annam Cordillera, can be seen from most of the west of the country. Most of the population is located in the swampy plains situated at the delta of the two biggest rivers in the country: the Mekong, located in the south, and the Red, which dominates the north of Vietnam. In the past, Vietnam was mainly covered by tropical forests however, logging has reduced this area to only 19 percent. The habitats of Vietnam are extremely diverse and here you will find wetlands, forests, mountains, and coastlines, hosting hundreds of different species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

Ho Chi Minh City on a very rainy day
Ho Chi Minh City on a very rainy day. It poured down for hours.

Vietnam is characterized by tropical weather. Two main seasons can be found in the country: the wet or monsoon season and the dry season. The former lasts from May to October while the latter extends from November to April. Despite having two distinct seasons, it rains all year round so there is no ideal month to visit this country, even though, obviously, the monsoon season receives more rain. Temperatures range between 21 °C and 35°C and the average humidity is 85 percent. Vietnam has three distinct climate regions. The north is characterized by high altitudes and here winters can be freezing. The center of the country has hot and dry summers and rainy cool winters. Lastly, the south has a proper rainy season from May to November and a dry one, from November to May. Here temperatures are always warm and the weather is usually enjoyable.

Traditional Vietnamese food
Traditional Vietnamese food. Soups, rolls and fresh herbs. Plates on a wooden surface. View from top to bottom.

Most Vietnamese will probably say that pho is the national dish of their country. Usually eaten for breakfast pho is a soup comminating noodles with meat and greens. It’s commonly served with a side of nuoc cham, meaning fermented fish, or chilli sauce. The meat is usually topped with bean sprouts and lime wedges. The herbs used are basil, mint, and cilantro. Another typical dish is banhBanh is a French-Vietnamese sandwich containing a mix of pickles, pate, soy, cilantro, chillies, butter, hot pepper, and more! The French influence can be seen in the choice of the bread, commonly a baguette. You will be able to choose the main ingredient for your banh from a wide range of options such as meat, such as pork or chicken, fish or fried eggs, ideal for vegetarians. If all you want is a quick snack you should opt for xoi xeo a sweet snack topped with bean paste, soy sauce, and dried shallots. If you like sweets you can get its dessert version, xoi xeo, consisting of dried coconuts shavings, sesame seeds, and sugar. Your children will love it! 

Hoi An, Vietnam
Travel woman choosing lanterns in Hoi An, Vietnam

Despite in big cities, no dress code is required, in small villages, people tend to wear conservative clothes. It is advisable to bring clothes with long sleeves and trousers that cover your knees. These will be particularly required when entering worship sites. We know it’s warm but short shorts and crop top are not considered appropriate here. A sarong is a smart piece of clothing for you to pack as it can be used for multiple purposes and will cover your knees or shoulders before entering religious sites or conservative towns. To survive the heat, make sure to bring loose clothes and opt for natural materials. If you go to the north remember that temperatures can be quite chilly here, so make sure to pack a light sweater too.

Vietnam uses the dong (d) as its national currency. One

Vietnamese currency
Vietnamese dong 

The Vietnamese dong is equal to 0,000032 pounds. ATMs can be found all over the main cities in the country. Visas and MasterCard are commonly accepted in hotels and tourist attractions but small shops only accept cash, so make sure to have some with you. Bargaining is common practice here and if you negotiate you will most likely see your price drastically reduced, however, restaurant prices are fixed. You are not expected to tip at restaurants or cafes but you may give a little tip to your local guide. The prices here are extremely cheap and you will be able to spend a night in a cheap hotel for 7 to 10 pounds and get a warm meal for 6 pounds.

Obviously, the official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese but if you don’t speak the language don’t despair. About half of the population has some basic English skills, especially in tourist places. This means that if you’re planning to visit the main tourist attractions you will be more than fine. Unfortunately, police officers don’t English. For this reason, make sure to keep an eye on the many pick-pockets and scams as communication with the police may be challenging. If you’re planning to see the little villages all over the country or to stay in remote areas it is advisable to learn some basic Vietnamese sentences to make your stay as smooth as possible.

Vietnamese culture
Young Vietnamese woman sitting repair the fish net in the morning, traditional fisherman.

Vietnam is characterized by a modest culture. Try to avoid showing off money and adopt a modest attitude throughout your stay. The country is quite conservative, so avoid physical contact with people of the opposite sex. Vietnamese culture also gives lots of respect to the elderly. If you’re in a big group of people always give priority to the elderly and if you’re speaking to someone older than you make sure to remove your hat if you’re wearing one. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body. For this reason, make sure to avoid touching other people’s heads. Pointing at something using only one finger is considered disrespectful so use your whole hand. Lastly, when entering someone’s house make sure to remove your shoes.

Vietnam Visa application form
Visa application form and flag of Vietnam

If you’re staying in Vietnam for less than 15 days, then you will not need a visa. However, if you want to stay longer you will have to request one. Make sure your passport has a six-month validity on the day of arrival or you may not be able to enter Vietnam. When you check-in in a hotel your passport will be taken to register your presence with the local police. Make sure to get it back before leaving.

Location and Geography
Mu Cang Chai, Vietnam
Terraced rice field landscape near Sapa in Vietnam. Mu Cang Chai Rice Terrace Fields stretching across the mountainside, layer by layer reaching up as endless, with about 2,200 hectares of rice terraces, of which 500 hectares of terraces of 3 communes such as La Pan Tan, Che Cu Nha and Ze Xu Phinh.

Vietnam is situated in southeast Asia, more specifically on the east of the Indochinese Peninsula. The country borders China in the north and Cambodia and Laos in the west while the rest of Vietnam faces the South China Sea. The capital, Hanoi, is situated in the north of the country but its biggest city, Ho Chi Minh City is located in the south. The biggest mountain range, the Annam Cordillera, can be seen from most of the west of the country. Most of the population is located in the swampy plains situated at the delta of the two biggest rivers in the country: the Mekong, located in the south, and the Red, which dominates the north of Vietnam. In the past, Vietnam was mainly covered by tropical forests however, logging has reduced this area to only 19 percent. The habitats of Vietnam are extremely diverse and here you will find wetlands, forests, mountains, and coastlines, hosting hundreds of different species of mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.

Climate and weather
Ho Chi Minh City on a very rainy day
Ho Chi Minh City on a very rainy day. It poured down for hours.

Vietnam is characterized by tropical weather. Two main seasons can be found in the country: the wet or monsoon season and the dry season. The former lasts from May to October while the latter extends from November to April. Despite having two distinct seasons, it rains all year round so there is no ideal month to visit this country, even though, obviously, the monsoon season receives more rain. Temperatures range between 21 °C and 35°C and the average humidity is 85 percent. Vietnam has three distinct climate regions. The north is characterized by high altitudes and here winters can be freezing. The center of the country has hot and dry summers and rainy cool winters. Lastly, the south has a proper rainy season from May to November and a dry one, from November to May. Here temperatures are always warm and the weather is usually enjoyable.

Cuisine
Traditional Vietnamese food
Traditional Vietnamese food. Soups, rolls and fresh herbs. Plates on a wooden surface. View from top to bottom.

Most Vietnamese will probably say that pho is the national dish of their country. Usually eaten for breakfast pho is a soup comminating noodles with meat and greens. It’s commonly served with a side of nuoc cham, meaning fermented fish, or chilli sauce. The meat is usually topped with bean sprouts and lime wedges. The herbs used are basil, mint, and cilantro. Another typical dish is banhBanh is a French-Vietnamese sandwich containing a mix of pickles, pate, soy, cilantro, chillies, butter, hot pepper, and more! The French influence can be seen in the choice of the bread, commonly a baguette. You will be able to choose the main ingredient for your banh from a wide range of options such as meat, such as pork or chicken, fish or fried eggs, ideal for vegetarians. If all you want is a quick snack you should opt for xoi xeo a sweet snack topped with bean paste, soy sauce, and dried shallots. If you like sweets you can get its dessert version, xoi xeo, consisting of dried coconuts shavings, sesame seeds, and sugar. Your children will love it! 

Clothing and Dress
Hoi An, Vietnam
Travel woman choosing lanterns in Hoi An, Vietnam

Despite in big cities, no dress code is required, in small villages, people tend to wear conservative clothes. It is advisable to bring clothes with long sleeves and trousers that cover your knees. These will be particularly required when entering worship sites. We know it’s warm but short shorts and crop top are not considered appropriate here. A sarong is a smart piece of clothing for you to pack as it can be used for multiple purposes and will cover your knees or shoulders before entering religious sites or conservative towns. To survive the heat, make sure to bring loose clothes and opt for natural materials. If you go to the north remember that temperatures can be quite chilly here, so make sure to pack a light sweater too.

Currency

Vietnam uses the dong (d) as its national currency. One

Vietnamese currency
Vietnamese dong 

The Vietnamese dong is equal to 0,000032 pounds. ATMs can be found all over the main cities in the country. Visas and MasterCard are commonly accepted in hotels and tourist attractions but small shops only accept cash, so make sure to have some with you. Bargaining is common practice here and if you negotiate you will most likely see your price drastically reduced, however, restaurant prices are fixed. You are not expected to tip at restaurants or cafes but you may give a little tip to your local guide. The prices here are extremely cheap and you will be able to spend a night in a cheap hotel for 7 to 10 pounds and get a warm meal for 6 pounds.

Language

Obviously, the official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese but if you don’t speak the language don’t despair. About half of the population has some basic English skills, especially in tourist places. This means that if you’re planning to visit the main tourist attractions you will be more than fine. Unfortunately, police officers don’t English. For this reason, make sure to keep an eye on the many pick-pockets and scams as communication with the police may be challenging. If you’re planning to see the little villages all over the country or to stay in remote areas it is advisable to learn some basic Vietnamese sentences to make your stay as smooth as possible.

Culture and customs
Vietnamese culture
Young Vietnamese woman sitting repair the fish net in the morning, traditional fisherman.

Vietnam is characterized by a modest culture. Try to avoid showing off money and adopt a modest attitude throughout your stay. The country is quite conservative, so avoid physical contact with people of the opposite sex. Vietnamese culture also gives lots of respect to the elderly. If you’re in a big group of people always give priority to the elderly and if you’re speaking to someone older than you make sure to remove your hat if you’re wearing one. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body. For this reason, make sure to avoid touching other people’s heads. Pointing at something using only one finger is considered disrespectful so use your whole hand. Lastly, when entering someone’s house make sure to remove your shoes.

Passport and visa information
Vietnam Visa application form
Visa application form and flag of Vietnam

If you’re staying in Vietnam for less than 15 days, then you will not need a visa. However, if you want to stay longer you will have to request one. Make sure your passport has a six-month validity on the day of arrival or you may not be able to enter Vietnam. When you check-in in a hotel your passport will be taken to register your presence with the local police. Make sure to get it back before leaving.

Travel related news, information and inspirational articles and videos for travellers booking flights or holidays to Vietnam. Ask questions about travel in Vietnam and get answers from Vietnam experts

Inspiration, Information and Travel Guides

MEET THE Vietnam EXPERTS

If you are looking to book a holiday to Vietnam or needs some help and advice planning travel to Vietnam then contact one of the UK based independent travel agents that specialise in Vietnam itineraries.

No existing experts on this destination yet.

Your Travel Questions Answered

Ask any travel related question and get an answer from one of our experts that will provide you with an answer from their personal experience

I want to be within walking distance of the main attractions, but the city is so big. What district should I book my hotel in?

1 2 days ago 1 answers 68 views

I want to eat all the local specialties but I’m really only familiar with Pho. What do I need to try?

1 6 days ago 1 answers 95 views

Will be traveling through Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for a month. What essentials should I pack?

1 6 days ago 1 answers 101 views

When possible, I prefer to explore without a tour group. I also don’t want to miss experiences since I will only be taking a day trip from Ho Chi Minh City. What should I do?

1 11 days ago 1 answers 133 views

I have heard Vietnam has the best food in the world but I’m worried that I will ruin my trip with a bad meal. Should I eat the street food?

1 19 days ago 1 answers 154 views

I was wondering how and what I should know about backpacking in Vietnam as this would be my first time traveling this way in Asia. Are there any tips for making my travel journey easier while still having the chance to explore most of the Vietnamese cities?

1 23 days ago 1 answers 156 views

I am planning a Vietnam holiday and want to spend a portion of it relaxing at the beach. What are the best beaches in each region?

1 3 months ago 1 answers 295 views

I'm hoping to visit Ho Chi Minh City soon. I'm trying to get my itinerary sorted. I've heard that there are lots of exciting things to do in the city. Could you recommend some guided tours for me?

1 5 months ago 1 answers 229 views

My partner and I have booked to stay in the Thanh Binh Central Hotel in Hoi An. We're flying into Da Nang Airport. What is the best way to get from Da Nang Airport, Vietnam, to Hoi An?

1 5 months ago 1 answers 249 views

My partner and I are planning to stop in Hanoi during our trip around Vietnam. We will only have two days in Hanoi. What’s the best way to see Hanoi in two days? What are the best things to do?

1 8 months ago 1 answers 19179 views

EVENTS IN THE Vietnam

SIGN UP FOR OUR MAILING LIST

Enter your email address and receive daily or weekly updates with the latest articles, news and videos.

Follow us!

Copyright © 2021 Experienced Travellers Ltd. Experienced Travellers Ltd is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read about our approach external linking.