The socialist republic of Vietnam
Mainland Territory: 330,966.9 sq. km
Population: more than 90 million
National Capital: Ha Noi
Lying on the eastern part of the Indochinese peninsula, Viet Nam is a strip of land shaped like the letter “S” and borders with China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, the East Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the east and south.
The country’s total length from north to south is 1,650km with the coastline is 3,260km long and the inland border is 4,510km bring to Vietnam a divesified landscape with mountain, sea and delta. Vietnam is also a transport junction from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
Local Times & Working Hours
Local time is GMT + 7 hours.
Governmental offices work Monday to Friday from 7.30 am to 4.30 pm (excluding a one-hour lunch) and are closed on Saturday and Sunday.
Banks are open from 7.30 am or 8.00 am to 11.30 am and from 1.00 pm to 4:30 pm. Some banks are opened on Saturday morning from 8.00 am to 11.30 pm and are closed Sunday.
Private shops, restaurants are open from 8.00 am or 8:30 am to 9.00 pm or 11.00 pm. During the Lunar New Year shops/restaurants may be closed for several days before and after as well as during the festive holidays, depending on recommendations made by a fortune teller.
In Vietnam electric current is mostly 220V in main cities, although you can still find 110V in rural areas. Sockets are both round and flat types.
Internet service providers are currently operating in most of the cities. You can access the internet through hotels, cyber cafés and restaurants
There are five international airports in Vietnam: Noi Bai in Hanoi located 45 minutes from the town centre, Cat Bi in Hai Phong, Danang’s airport at 4 km from the heart of the town, Cam Ranh located 40 mn driver from Nha Trang and Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City located 20 minutes from the town centre.
In Vietnam, we drive on the right side. An international Driving license is not valid. Only owners of a Vietnamese driving license are allowed to drive a car or a motorcycle. Without talking about insurance matters, renting a motorbike is possible although not recommended due to the dense traffic in main cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. The road network has improved but still needs to be upgraded in some areas. To cover a distance, it is reasonable to count an average speed of 50 km / hour.
Safety and Securities
Vietnam is generally a safe country, however some simple common sense precautions with possessions lessen the chances of becoming a victim to petty theft.
Carry your handbag or rucksack to the front of you and be particularly aware that handbag snatches / thefts from motorbikes occur especially in the bigger cities and crowds. It is advised to keep luggage locked while travelling, whether it is stored in the hold of a car or bus, during flights or train journeys. Virtually all hotels have safety boxes to keep your valuable belongings while on tour.
Useful Telephone Numbers
0: National Domestic Direct Dialing Access Code
00: International Direct Dialing Access Code
100117: Time Inquiries
1080: Information directory & English service
112: Rescue emergency
114: Fire Brigade
116: Local Call Assistance
Tipping is widely practised and expected; however it should only be given for good service. Suggested tips:
Porters - VND 10,000 - 20,000 per bag / ~ USD 1/ bag
Waiters in restaurants - 5-10% of total bill
Tour guides - VND 100,000 - 150,000 per person/per day/ ~ 5-7 USD/person/day
Drivers - VND 50,000 - 100,000 per person/per day/ ~ 2-5 USD/person/day
Doorman/Bellboy at hotels - VND 20,000 - 40,000 per person/per day/ ~USD2/person
Cyclo ride - VND 50,000 - 100,000 per person/per trip/ ~ 2-5 USD/person/trip
Boat trip in Mekong Delta, Tam Coc, Hue - VND 50,000 - 100,000 per person/per trip/ ~ 2-5 USD/person/trip
Halong Cruise/Mekong Cruise - VND 50,000 - 100,000 per person/per trip/ ~ 2-5 USD/person/trip