Travel Advice Vietnam | Travel Tips| Pyala-Travel.com

What to wear, money matters and more Vietnam travel advice! At Pyala, we have gathered all the information, so you can read about all things practical.

Practical Travel Tips Vietnam


Travel Advice Vietnam | Travel Tips Vietnam

Currency


The US dollar is the most used and most compatible currency. Euros can be exchanged in most hotels and exchange bureaus for the local currency. Sometimes, euros may even be accepted as payment in certain souvenir shops. When paying in cash, the main currency accepted is the Vietnamese dong or the US dollar.
ATMs have become increasingly popular in Vietnam (mostly in cities) and have attracted many foreign visitors. Most banks offer this service and the registration for an account is simple and fast. All ATMs are locally interconnected. However, ATMs only give VND. Our clients can use Visa and Mastercard at ATMs, but they charge about 4% commission depending on the bank. Debit cards can be rarely used at ATMs, though it depends on the bank. In Saigon, ATMs are available and accessible in almost all supermarkets, banks, and 4-5 star hotels.
Major credit cards (such as Visa, Mastercard and to some extent American Express) are increasingly being used, especially in big cities and tourist attractions, but only in restaurants, hotels, or big shopping malls with a fee of 3 - 5%. It is always advisable to carry enough cash to cover daily purchases. Direct payment in cash is the most popular in Vietnam. Small shops, restaurants and markets usually do not accept any other payment.
According to the current Vietnamese law, there are no limitations on bringing money into Vietnam or exchanging money in Vietnam, but bringing money out of Vietnam is limited to US00. Traveler's checks are an easy method of carrying money around and can be cashed at major banks, but not small banks in small towns.

Time Difference


During the summer, European Central Time is 5 hours ahead of Vietnam. During the winter, the time difference is 6 hours.

Internet


You can use the internet almost everywhere in Vietnam. Many hotels have wifi (ask at reception) and there are also internet caf├ęs in the larger cities. In the mountains of northern Vietnam internet access is often limited.

Mobile Phones


In Vietnam, GMS(Global Mobilephone System) is presently operated by three main suppliers: VINAPHONE, MOBIFONE, and VIETTELl. Clients' mobile phones can be used with roaming service. These suppliers offer also VINA and MOBI pre-paid card services. The best way to use a mobile phone in Vietnam is to buy a pre-paid SIM card. There are mobile phone counters at the airports.

SIM Card Prices
The cost of the SIM card varies depending on the supplier and package. Here below is the list of 3 main suppliers and their websites. Here you can find information on how much it costs for a SIM card and how much they charge for international and domestic calls.
Mobiphone (www.mobifone.com)
Vinaphone (www.vinaphone.com.vn)
Viettel Mobile (www.vietteltelecom.vn)
Note: If you want to use your own mobile, it should be limited to GSM only for the prepaid SIM cards of Mobifone, Vinaphone, Viettel. If your mobile is on the CDMA system, you will have to buy a new phone the has a SIM card.   

Where To Buy
You can buy a prepaid SIM card easily at any magazine shop, grocery store or post office. It may be more convenient to buy a prepaid SIM card at the airport (at a bit higher price) so you can start calling upon arrival.

Electricity


Electricity in Vietnam is 220 Volts, If you travel with a device that does not accept 220 Volts at 50 Hertz, you will need a voltage converter. Outlets in Vietnam generally accept 3 types of plug.

Local Customs


Travel means an encounter with a different culture, and thus a confrontation with values and behaviors that may be different from your own. The Vietnamese people are known for their tolerance and hospitality. You will probably find that it's not difficult to feel at home. In the south, especially, people are open to contacts with the outside world; in the north the population is generally more reserved. Men shake hands in greeting and women usually only nod their heads. Monks and nuns often do a more traditional greeting by folding the hands to the body and giving a slight bow. It is polite to answer such a greeting in the same way.
Generally, visitors from distant lands draw attention. You will undoubtedly be asked where you come from, how many siblings you have, and whether you are married. The Vietnamese try to avoid all disagreements and conflicts because it disrupts the harmony and leads to loss of dignity. A foreigner who quarrels declines in esteem and accomplishes nothing. At counters and while boarding buses you will often be pushed forward, but try not to react in anger.

Language


The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese, a mix of Mon Khmer, Thai and Chinese. Vietnamese is difficult for Westerners to follow, but it is possible to read all the characters because it is written in our own alphabet. Throughout the country there are many dialects and regional languages in addition to Vietnamese.
In larger cities, you can usually get by with English and the older people often still speak some French. Nevertheless, it may be useful to take a Vietnamese dictionary.

Religion


Most Vietnamese are Buddhists. Their religion can be described as an amalgam of beliefs; besides Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and animism also play a role. When you enter a temple, wrap a sarong around your waist. Never touch someone's head. Most Vietnamese consider the head as the bearer of the soul and is therefore sacred.

Official Holidays


The most important and largest holiday is the TET festival, Vietnamese New Year. If you are traveling in Vietnam during TET you should take the crowds into consideration. In addition, hotels and flights fill up quickly and often a lot more expensive.

Vietnamese Food


The cuisine of Vietnam has its roots in Chinese cooking, but definitely has its own character and flavor. The food is varied and delicious. In the south, the many years of French domination left clear traces; for example, you can pick up a baguette for breakfast. If you think you know Vietnamese cuisine by ordering spring rolls or bapao in your home country, you're wrong. In Vietnam, the dishes are much more varied, with an abundance of vegetables, fish and rice. Typical Vietnamese dishes include pho, a noodle soup that is usually eaten for breakfast and you can order anywhere; chai goi, fried spring rolls; nem, famous Vietnamese spring rolls; elephant ear fish, a dangerous-looking fish that is delicious and very popular in the Mekong Delta; and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad made from lotus, shrimp and nuts. The golden rule is eat everything with chopsticks!

When eating, drink coffee, tea, mineral water, local wine or beer. Never drink water from the tap! You can get small and large bottles of mineral water anywhere. The water from the tap is fine for brushing your teeth.

Meals in Vietnam are social events. People take their time and many different dishes are put on the table. Eating in the Vietnamese way is nice and homey. Get a taste of the local atmosphere and look for small, local restaurants instead of a large chains. This is not only fun and interesting but you also give a boost to the local economy. When you are overcome by hunger, just follow your nose to the markets with pleasant food stalls where you can buy snacks or full meals. In a very hot wok, Vietnamese specialties are prepared for you for a very low price. Here is where you always get the best value for your money.

Safety


Vietnam is definitely one of the safest countries in the world. There is little crime here and you can spend your evenings walking on the street with no problems. Of course, we always advise you to pay attention to your belongings. We recommend you leave your valuables in the safe in the hotel when you go on the road or wear a money belt under your clothing. Be wary of high selling prices and taxi drivers who suddenly do not have change. Try to pay for small purchases with smaller bills so you receive less change.

Taking Pictures


In Vietnam, photography is not really bound by rules other than those applicable to other countries, like no photographing strategic military objects. Children often find it fun to be photographed and to see themselves on digital cameras. Most elderly peoplehave no problem being photographed as long as you aren't too intrusive or demanding.