Practical Information in Vietnam

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If you're traveling to Vietnam, practical information about the country can help you both with planning and during your visit. Here's a look at some important facts to keep in mind.

Formal Name:

Socialist Republic of Vietnam

Commonly Known As:




Largest City: 

Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon)


Vietnamese (English widely spoken in tourist destinations)


331,690 sq km


85,789,573 people (2009)

Population Density:

259 people per sq km


220V; 50Hz (127V in some remote areas)


2-flat blades; 2-round pins; 3-flat blades (1 vertical, 2 horizontal)


Required for all tourists


Dong (USD widely accepted)


There are 3 main international airports: Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang International Airport in Da Nang . There are several other airports that service international flights, as well as numerous domestic airports. Keep in mind that it's often cheaper to book domestic flights after you arrive in Vietnam.


Within cities you can use taxis or motorbikes. Price is per km or a flat fee, so be sure to bargain. Buses are good for short journeys between places. The trains are good for long trips but are often similar in price to plane tickets due to inflation of foreigner tickets, so check the plane prices before booking a long journey.


Most banks are open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. and some are open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. (the same goes for shops). Banks will change foreign currency and travelers' cheques. Shops and hotels will also change foreign currency, but bills must be in good condition. You generally cannot change travelers' cheques outside of banks.

ATMs : 

You will find an ATM that works with Plus and Star cards at the Hong Kong Bank in Ho Chi Minh City New World Hotel. There is also an ATM at the ANZ Bank in Hanoi. If you are traveling outside of these cities, be sure to have plenty of cash on hand. U.S. Dollars can be used as well as the Vietnamese Dong.


Restaurants and hotels that cater to tourists will add a 10 percent service charge to your bill. Otherwise, tipping is not a usual practice. If you want to leave a small tip, however, it is always appreciated. You will find 5 to 10 percent or a few U.S. coins is more than enough. Taxi drivers appreciate a few coins, as well.

Country Code:


Time Zone: 

UTC +7, no DST


Dial 03 in an emergency. It is required for tourists to register with the police within 48 hours of arrival. If your tour company does not do this for you, go to the nearest local police station to ask about registering.


Dial 05 in an emergency.


Dial 08 in an emergency.


Most foreign embassies are located in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City.


Vaccines are not required to enter Vietnam, but you may benefit from carrying anti-Malarial or anti-diarrhea tablets.

Departure Tax: 

When leaving on an international flight you will be required to pay a departure tax of USD $ 12.






Basic Information   Area 329,560   Capital: Hanoi   Population: 82,5 Million   Language: Vietnamese (official), English, Chinese and French.   Religion: Buddhism, Taoism, and Catholic.   Country calling code: 84 Local Time:   GMT +7 Vietnamese Dong in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 500,000 banknotes. There are coins in use. Cash US dollars in good condition are widely used and accepted and it is advisable to bring some with you. Travellers cheques and foreign currencies are accepted at most banks. Hotels sometimes charge a commission. The exchange rate can fluctuate considerably. Remaining Vietnamese currency can be exchanged for US dollars at the exchange bureau at the airport. Most major hotels and big restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express. Business hours: Most shops, banks and businesses open from 8am to 4 or 5pm with a 1-2 hour lunch break Electricity supply: The electric current in Vietnam operates mostly on 220 volts but occasionally you will find 110 volt sockets. Electric plug types vary throughout the country, however the two-rounded pin standard Asian plug is usable in most parts of the country.
Water: Do not drink tap water, only drink bottled water Nightlife: There are numerous discos and karaoke bars. As in most places, it is preferable to explore in the company of a long-term resident, to avoid the traditional rip-offs. Photography: Photography in airports, railway stations and near any military installations is forbidden and discretion should be used when photographing people. Tipping: Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, but is appreciated. A 5-10% tip for a meal in a good restaurant may equal a day's wages. Public Holidays (2006):
Jan 1: Western New Year's Day
Feb 3: Founding Day of the Communist Party of Vietnam
April 30: Liberation Day of South Vietnam and Saigon
May 1: Labour Day
May 19: Ho Chi Minh's birthday
Sep 2: National Holiday
Sep 3: Day to commemorate the death of Ho Chi Minh in 1969

March 16, 2010 change by tiffanymparker


The local currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND)

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