46 Important Things You Should Know Before You Visit Vietnam

Vietnam (Việt Nam) is a beautiful Asian country of cyclos, rice paddies, water buffaloes, unbelievable landscapes, good food and many other exciting things. Though many westerners still see Vietnam through the lens of war, in reality, it is a country filled with captivating natural beauty and of course, tranquil village life. The rainforest and highlands areas of Vietnam are far from being devastated. Its beaches and islands are among the most beautiful and wildest in Southeast Asia while its specialties or cuisine may be the healthiest and delicious you will ever know. After a long of war, today, the graceful S-shaped country is really an outstanding destination for tourists worldwide.

Vietnam stretches the length of the Indochinese peninsula, covering a surface area of about 128,000 square miles. Not mention to nature, those open-minded and curious tourists will find in this country a feast of history and culture.

If you are planning to visit Vietnam, then you should have some preparation ahead to make your trip much easier. Wonder things you should know before you visit Vietnam? Fortunately, here we introduce to you, those first-time visitors, important things you should know before you visit Vietnam. Don’t pack your luggage until you read the whole article below!


Things You Should Know Before You Visit Vietnam – 46 Basics And Facts About Vietnam

1. The Best Time To Visit Vietnam

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

One of the basic things you should know before you visit Vietnam is its weather. Because Vietnam features with a tropic monsoon climate, so the weather patterns here are rather complicated. The weather varies greatly from the north to the south of Vietnam. In southern Vietnam, dry season is from December to May, wet season is from May to November. In northern Vietnam, dry season is from September to February, wet season is from March to August. In Central coast, the wet season of Nha Trang is from November to December, and the wet season in Hue and Da Nang (Đà Nẵng) is from September to February.

Of course, the weather is never guaranteed. So, it is recommended to bring rain gear, such an umbrella, a light weather-proof coat or warmer layers as a precaution.

Unlike Saigon (Sài Gòn), in Hanoi (Hà Nội), it gets cold. Hanoi has four main seasons with hot, humid summer and cold, dry winter. Therefore, you should pack your baggage accordingly if you are about to visit there from November to January.

2. Vietnamese Language

The Vietnamese language is officially written in the alphabet which is the same as English, so tourists should have no difficulty in reading signs as well as maps, despite pronunciation might be a little bit tricky. There are many English-speakers found in most tourist areas, yet most locals speak very little English while older people may speak French.

3. Take Your Visa Seriously

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

If you are going to visit Vietnam for a vacation, you need to apply for a visa in advance to arriving in this country. Visa on arrival is just available for some certain circumstances, majorly based on the emergency conditions and situations. Your own passport should have full 6 months validity from the time you arrive in Vietnam.

Visit the Vietnamese Government Visa Website, and fill out the online form, print and then take it the closest Vietnamese Consulate / Embassy. The fees will often vary basing on the length of your stay.

If you do not want to be like many tourists who turned away right at the airport due to visa misinformation or failing to print their own visit-on-arrival pre-approval paper. You had better double or even triple your check of information, and have your accommodation address totally ready to go for the arrival form, and most importantly, be respectful to the immigration staffs, regardless of how cold their attitude is.

Once in Vietnam, you need to register where you’re staying within 24 first hours with the local police. If you stay at a hotel, then it is often done for you.

However, if you are staying somewhere like a private home or an alternate accommodation, you need to arrange it yourself at the station of local police.

4. Currency

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Vietnam Dong is the currency in Vietnam. You can check some websites on the Internet for the exchange rate between your own country’s currency and Vietnam Dong. One note about Vietnamese currency is that you should be careful between 500,000 VND and 20,000 VND as they are very similar to each other in terms of color. Always keep them separated in order to avoid the realization that you paid 550,000 VND for a lunch instead of 70,000 VND. There is a big difference between two numbers.

5. Time Zone

As Vietnam is in the Indochina time zone, its time zone is UTC + 7hs.

6. Banking

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

The majority of banks in Vietnam will be open from Money to Friday during the hours of 8 am to 11 am and after a noon break, it will be re-opened between 1 pm to 4 pm. On those Saturday mornings, some selected banks will open from 8 am to 11 am. The majority of banks in Vietnam will be closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. On public holidays, all banks in Vietnam will be completely closed.

About ATMs, they seem to be on every street corner in big cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh) city, Danang… but you will pay a hefty price to the shareholders of your bank when coming back home if you think you could just grab cash when necessary. It seems that all the ATM has a transaction maximum of two million VND (about $100). Of course, you could hit the only machine a few times per day if necessary, yet your home bank may also charge you five bucks a whack for your action.

As usual, American Express credit cards are not popularly accepted. Master and Visa Card may be OK, though often there are 3% surcharge over cash price.

7. Electric Plugs

Oftentimes, the most popular electric plug in Vietnam is the European 2-pin attachment. However, some areas use British 3-blade or Japanese / North American 2-blade.

8. Vietnamese Food

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

More than just noodles and steamed rice, Vietnamese boasts a variety of local cuisines with various choices for palates of persuasions. Despite the varied landscape of Vietnam, all cuisines contain the brilliant balance of heat, aromatics, sweetness, fish-sauciness, and sourness. Similar to other Asian cuisines, Vietnamese food is also about the yin and yang: the cooling and warming, the sweet and salty, the fresh and fermented.

The food of the north area is heavily influenced by China with its noodle-based soups and stir-fries. Moving to the south, there is more flavor-blending with the neighborhood countries like Cambodia and Thailand. The tropical climate down the south area also sustains coconut groves, more rice paddies, herb gardens and jackfruit trees. The food in southern Vietnam is sweeter in compared with other areas: sweeter broths for noodle soup – Pho (Phở), and more sugar used in the savory dishes.

Eating out in Vietnam ranges from street food to dinning in luxury hotels. No matter from anywhere else, it could not be denied that Vietnamese food is delicious and healthy. It is usually made by different kinds of veggies. Fruit smoothies made from those seasonal fruits are popular, including custard apple, banana, sugar apple, avocado, strawberry, durian, jack fruit, dragon fruit, lychee, mango and passion fruit could be found in most fruit stalls. Besides, it is recommended to buy bottled water instead of drinking tap water.

9. The Price For Goods Or Services Is Whatever You Are Willing To Pay

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

This sounds rather ridiculous, particularly for those North Americans, to understand. Those North Americans are used to the fix price for almost everything and therefore they generally believe what they read and hear.

However, in Vietnam, it depends on contexts and subjects. It is very normal in Vietnam for local people to overcharge or even inflate the prices once they feel that they could get much more money from someone for something. So, be careful and educate yourself in advance.

A must-know tip when shopping in Vietnam is bargain, bargain, and bargain. Keep in mind that negotiating is not rude yet expected. Haggle for the best possible price or risky paying over the real price of the goods.

10. Be Prepared To Walk Away From Financial Transactions

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Vietnamese people love to do business and hate to see a client walk way. In general, they will get the upper hand right the second you ask “how much does … cost?” You should not let them keep you head down. Try “walking away” to get better price. Just speak out your price and stick to it and just politely walk away once they do not agree with it. Soon, they will call you back if it is a really fair deal and offer you the lowest possible price whilst you are still within earshot.

Do not let those sellers squeeze any higher amount from you. The Vietnamese respect a tough client, even when you feel you have wasted their time and want to give in, you should still not do it. If they do not agree, you can still come back to them later.

11. Mobile Phones

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

You can bring an old mobile phone along and make sure it is unlocked. There are some stores selling sim cards. It costs around 100,000 VND for a normal sim card with a credit of 50,000 VND included.

12. Communication

Many local people could speak several phrases of English, yet you should not still count on it. You can try your own luck with a phrase book of Vietnamese, yet it is a tonal language, so your own pronunciation might not be quiet up to it. The best bet is hiring a person tour guide or winging it with language of wild body language.

Physical displays of affection between couples in public may be frowned upon. That is why you might come across couples who just hold hands of each other, not hugging or kissing.

13. Transportation

  • Cyclo

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

The 3-wheeled bike, cyclo (Xích lô), is a unique feature of Vietnam. If you decide to ride a cycle, it is recommended to ask for a price first, and have every detail in writing (if possible) before hopping on in order to avoid any miscommunication. Ask for price per person, and per hour, including cost between destinations, waiting time, and a total cost for all.

  • Taxi

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

You had better keep an eye on the taxi meter when using this vehicle to travel. In Vietnam, generally, taxis are cheap. However, some are rather noticeably ripping you off. You need to negotiate the prices prior to get on. Watch the odometer and then compare it to the trip meter. If you realize anything wrong (like it goes up fast), then you had better kindly ask the driver to pull over, pay the inflated price and then hail a new one for the left distance of your journey.

Over years, taxis in the country of Vietnam have become less scammy, safer and more hassle-free in general. Yet, sometimes, ripping off little experience passengers is an art of dishonest drivers. Though not every taxi drivers are not honest, yet to be safe, you should stick with some realize companies such as Mai Linh, Hanoi Taxi, and Vinasun.

  • By foot

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

When you are in a city of Vietnam, you can try as much by food as possible. Walking around the busy street is one of the best ways for tourists to experience the local culture. Nevertheless, crossing the street of Vietnam is not as easy as it sounds. Some international tourists say that crossing the street of Vietnam is scary and a little bit dangerous yet fun. Keep in mind that motorbikes here are trying to project or anticipate your movements in order to avoid hitting you. So, you should keep a steady pace. Hold out your arm to let the motorcyclists know that you are crossing the street.

  • Xe Om (Xe Ôm) / Motorbike

Normally, for foreigners, it is not recommended hiring a motorbike by themselves, if they are not experienced, licensed riders with travel insurance to cover. Nevertheless, you can hire a “Xe om (Xe ôm)” to get from A to B for just a small fee in compared with taxi.

  • Train

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Running along the coastline Saigon and Hanoi, trains are not the fastest form of transport in Vietnam, yet it is fairly scenic and cheap.

  • Boat

You could get boats and ferries to islands and down the Mekong River. Normally, Mekong River cruises are very popular and can be a means of transport.

  • Bus

Well, basically buses in Vietnam are not used for travelling, particularly for foreigners due to some bad reputation despite they are steadily getting better. Bus is a good choice to get the some towns like Dalat (Đà Lạt) and Mui Ne (Mũi Né) as they could not be reached by plane or train.

14. Pavements Are Often Used As Motorbike Parks

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

This is a frustrating feature in most cities in Vietnam. Parking space for motorbikes in Vietnam is very shortage and some pavements have become alternative parking lots. Sometimes, it means that the pedestrians have no choice but to walk down the road. In such case, you should be on high alert and get back to the sidewalk as soon as you could.

15.  Buy Train Tickets Directly At The Train Station, Not From Agents Or Hotels

Traveling by train in Vietnam is a great way to see the breathtaking landscape safely and peacefully without constant honking.

Often, your hotel will ask you about where you are going to go next. This is because they would like to purchase your train ticket and add a substantial fee of service. The fact is that the extra cost plus with the original one will be what you have to pay but they do not let you know. If possible, you should take time to hire a motorbike taxi to take you to the train station and purchase your tickets right directly from there.

16. Vaccinations

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Tourists are always recommended to get themselves adequately protected against the most common diseases like Hepatitis B, typhoid, and tetanus-diphtheria. If you are going to spend long time outside in the urban areas or traveling during the humid and hot months, it is wise to take anti-malarial.

17.  Don’t Confuse Between “15” And “50”

One of the things you should know before you visit Vietnam is about currency. Those street vendors in Vietnam, like coconut sellers, shoe shiners, will silently trick you and claim that you agreed to a higher “50” thousand VND and not the “15” thousand VND that you were completely. The price of a shoe shine or coconut is about 15,000 VND, so make sure that the “15” is fully understood before your shoes are well shined or the coconut is cracked. Avoid falling for the “50”. What you can try to do is to take out 15,000 VND and show it to the vendor before committing. Or, you can also use your finger to demonstrate so there will be no confusion after all.

18. Tip For Waiters

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Whilst tipping is not always expected, particularly at those small local restaurants, international venues have become used to this practice. To give you an idea of how much to tip (if you want, of course), here are some tipping guidelines:

  • Good food & service: from 10% to 15% of the bill
  • Decent food & service: from 5% to 10% of the bill
  • Average food & service: no tipping

19.  Breakfast is Usually Included

Sandwiches, noodles, spring rolls: Vietnam has cheap and delicious street food even around every corner of the cities. You do not need to force down a bland breakfast from your hotel so your day can get started. The hotels will try to lure tourists in with the “breakfast added” offer. Despite it is not terrible, it may be not worth your cost. In Vietnam, it is very easy to get outside and grab an amazing bowl of noodles (Pho) for just 20,000 VND no matter where you are. The coffee or street-side soup will be much better than the stable baguette or greasy eggs provided by your hotel, most often times.

20. Traffic Is Not Like Something Else You Have Ever Seen

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

By far the most dramatic impression that you will have of Vietnam may be the experiences in crossing streets. It often takes a while for tourists, particularly foreigners, to get used to the idea of steeping off into traffic like the real-life version of the Frogger game. When going cross the streets, the drivers will avoid you if you walk steadily and make no silly moves, similar to the snowboarders and skiers coming down the hill above you. If you want to go across the streets, you should wait until the traffic has subsided a little bit, ideally when there is no car coming for a moment. Here are detailed steps on how to cross the stress in Vietnam:

  • Breathe: take a deep breath before trying the following steps.
  • Walks rhythmically and slowly with purpose: you should make your own footsteps form a separate pattern, so that the drivers could easily predict your position and modify their rive path respectively.
  • Do not stop: whatever you are doing, resist the urge to get panic and stop right in the middle of the road
  • Enlist someone: there is always safety if you go with a number of people. You will be more likely to be seen by drivers when walking with a group that being solo. Don’t feel bad if you become that creeper silently stalking along the next to a family while going cross the street.
  • Be insured: after considering all things, you should still invest in insurance of travel before going as there is never any warrant that the traffic will stop for you.
  • Don’t go back: do not try to turn around and go the way you came as you just get yourself into more of a pickle.
  • Pedestrians in Vietnam do not have the right: don’t think that when it turns a red light, it is your turn to cross the crosswalk.
  • If everything fails, then have a local to guide you cross the street or take a motorbike cab: at least, you will return home from Vietnam.

Cars, particularly buses, do not seem to play by the same rules, therefore, you should avoid them if you could. And, do not assume that because a street is the one way that there will not be bikes or even motorbikes coming from the opposite direction. Also, do not assume that the sidewalks are your safe zones in Vietnam.

21. Vietnamese People Outside Of The Tourist Industry Is Amazingly Sweet And Hospitable

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Not mention to those people working in the tourist industry, those normal Vietnamese people are very friendly and attentive. Though you might have heard that foreign tourists were treated like “walking ATM machines” in Vietnam, it is not true for those hospitable normal locals. Happy school children saying hello, invitations to beer and karaoke in the evening, free snack on the hard seat trains,… there are many things you can receive from locals if you are a foreigner. Just like everywhere else, people are great in this small country. So, do not let the scammers and touts sour your opinion.

22. Vietnam Is Bigger Than You Think

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

The train from Hanoi to Saigon (about 1726 km) takes approximately 34 hours, and by bus might be 50 hours. It is not unlike the trip from New York to Los Angeles. There are many things to see between Hanoi and Saigon. You do not want to watch it whizz by the train window. Do not ever underestimate the size of Vietnam and give yourself time to day by day explore. If you just have one week or two, then stick to either Southern, Central or Northern areas. Do not force yourself to visit it all in just one short fling.

23.  Avoid Packaged “Day Tours”

It is very tempting as they are advertised over the backpacker districts. Trips to Cu Chi (Củ Chi) tunnels, the DMZ, Mekong Delta, the My Son (Mỹ Sơn) ruins…

The tours often cost low but will make some unnecessary stops durng the route to give you the opportunity to spend money at their friends’ gift shops, restaruants, bathrooms, and son on. It is rather waste of time. If possible, you should spend an addtional amount of money to hire a private car or brave it on your rented motorbike. After paying the money, and getting on the cramped llittle bus, you will be a prisoner for one day. So, go your own way.

24.  Warrrant That The Soup Is Boiling

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

For those first-time tourists, stomach illness may be rather common. Soup sit for too long may be the culprite. Hence, you should try to eat at those restaurants which are busy as their ingredients are fresh and turn over more and they seem to keep the gas throughout the day. Look under the lid in order to make sure that the soup is processed at a low boil.

25. The Quotient Of “Backpacker” In Vietnam Is Still New In Compared With Other Countries In The Region

According to many tourists who were used to visit Phuket, or Siem Reap, Vietnam may feel a bit wild and off-the-beaten-path if you make the attempt to get lost.

With the population of nearly 90 million people and just 6 million tourists annually or so, foreign visitors in Vietnam are generally diluted by the young population and dynamic fabric of urban centers and town of the country.

26. Keep Your Stuff Secure On The Overnight Trains

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Pick-pocketing is popular in Vietnam. There were some stories of tourists having valuable belongings stolen on the overnight “Sleeper” trains or buses. So, it is always better to take your belongings with you at meals or the rest areas.

27. Watch Your Belongings

There are a lot of greasy fingers in Vietnam an a few of them are lookign for distracted and naive visitors, who do not have their eyes on their valuable belongings. A tip for you is to keep your camera and bag right in front of you and hold them close to your own body. Practice some streee smarts and avoid making yourself an easy target of those greasy fingers, by being distracted with all the scenes and sights. Be aware of your possessions and surroudings.

28. Hanoi For Attractions And Tradition; Saigon For Modern Culture And Style

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

The comparison between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon) is poinless. These two big cities of Vietnam are both worth visitng, yet for differne reasons. For Hanoi, right from the first time landing on this city, you will experience its tradition. Hanoi is the governmental capital of Vietnam, you could feel it instantly. The body of the president Ho Chi Minh is carefully and respectfully preserved here. The ancient pagoda still point out from those willowy lakesides, the French quarter is well preserved and much more. It is a straight, traditional and low-key.

For Ho Chi Minh City, its nightlife, vibrancy, and culture will attract you right from the first glance. Sexy neon lights, sophisticated cafes, rooftop bars, burgeonging art along with music scene, Ho Chi Minh City is the city of Vietnam that most international expats prefer, for good reasons of course. Yet, the attractions in Saigon are not the draw, it is people and culture.

29. You Could Be Stylish, Yet Should Dress Conservatively

Inspite of being colorful and young, and being an increasingly stylis place, Vietnam is not a perfect place for those who for wearing too sensitive clothes on. You can bring nice clothes but do as the local people do and be moderate. Despite it is hot in Saigon, walking around with bikinis on or without shirt is no welcomed.

You need to dress well upon visiting pagodas or temples. No tatty beer T-shirts or shorts are welcomed. Shoes are fine, and you will rarely need to remove them. If you are not sure, just simply follow what the locals do.

30. Vietnamese Are Not Slick Hagglers

Haggling is friendly courting ritual to Vietnamese people, yet they are not Don Juans about it. Knowing haggling is expected and you will be given a signal for being a tourist. The big tip is to not look rich. When you know that you are going into a haggling situation, you can remove the bigger bills and then load your wallet iwth coins. Ofte, when a vendor or seller sees the purse, and hears the loud jingle, they either ass you as a poor or cheap tourist.

31. Pay Attention To Curfews

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Fact is, even the big cities in Vietnam like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City seem to go to sleep around 11 pm (despite it maybe earlier). Clubs and bars stay open, yet restaurants as well as business will absolutely be closed. That means, guesthouses and hostels close in accordance as well. Some of them have a night guard to let their guests in or a doorbell that allows you to ring. Otherwise, lobby lights are off, the receptitionist or front desk staff is sound asleep on their cot in the lobby.

It is better for you to confirm with your hostel or guesthole about their curfews. Ask what protocol is applied if you come back late. If you are reservations yet you suspect your flight may arrive late, you can tell your guesthouse tht you might be arriving late so they do not give your reserved room away.

32. Vegetarians Are Highly Welcome

Vietnam, has a diversifying food culture and therefore has food-friendly shelters for some vegetarians. Many restaruants advertise “Vegeterian food” on the signs. So, it is not necesary for you to worry about finding places to eat if you are a vegetarian.

33. The Facilities Are Good

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Many international tourists said that before arriving in Vietnam, they thought toilets in Vietnam are like that of other South East Asia destinations. That thought steeled themselves for having to “hover” during the traveling process. However, the fact is not that. This turns out to be a misconception about facilities in Vietnam. After experiencing by themselves, they conclude that the plumbing tends to work in a similar way to Greece: do not block the pipes by flushing the toilet paper down. Instead, use the bin supplied and everything will finally be fine.

Arm yourself with much of tissues as well as antibacterial gel in case you are caught short without supply. You might also be charged by using toilets if they are situated at the popular tourist destinations. Do not be cheap and think that you could get away without paying the minimum price if you are not male and used to using the public toilet as you may have to use the exposed toilet bowl without door and that can be seen from the street.

34. It Will Rain

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

About weather in Vietnam, it is not always sunny. Particularly if you travel from one end of Vietnam to the other, it will rain at some point during your trip. The season in Vietnam vary throughout this country and you will be likely encounter rain in Hue or Hoi An. Despite it is warm, the rain may be still heavy.

You can buy yourself ponchos which could be bought for just a minimum price (the thinner plastic items are good for wandering around whereas the thicker, longer ones are more suitable for riding cycles or motorbikes a lot.

You should not bother bringing an umbrella with you as it just adds weight to your luggage and even the lowest-class hostels also offer them free you to you. Yet, Make sure that you return the umbrellas before leaving as you will be charged fort them otherwise.

35. The Trains May Not Run On Time

After spending a few days in Vietnam, you will realize that people here are laid-back ones, who never get in a rush to get anywhere. This also applies to their public transport system.

Some experienced tourists said that they encountered a few sleeper trains during their journey, it tended to become custom to not expect to arrive at their chosen destination at the fixed time, even when they had set off within hour of the departure time. What you should do is to go with the flow and be ready to leave the train at the station when you reaching your destination as they do not stop for long and you will even never know where you may end up if you have to stay on that train till the next stop.

36. Do Not Miss A Halong Bay Cruise

Despite Halong (Hạ Long) bay is usually criticized as becoming rather touristy nowadays, we still cannot deny its breathtaking beauty. It is still a place that needs to be visited at least once in lifetime. You should invest in a good tour with the decent boat and you will be guaranteed a tasty lunch.

37. The Firewall Of Vietnam

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Although being impressed by the speed and availability of free WiFi in Vietnam, a problem kept happening is that Facebook is blocked in many hotels as well as hostels by the internal serves, thereby meaning the access is impossible.

When you travel, Facebook maybe your only means of communication with other travelers that you have seen or are about to see, and keeping in touch with family and friends back home, so this is rather frustrating for tourists.

Also, some tourists say that they could not even access the app of Facebook on their mobile phone in those places. You can type address for the beta version of Facebook in the used browser and this usually solves your issue, yet make sure that you ask the front desk staff about this access problem as well because sometimes they are not even aware of the issue.

38. Don’t Skip The Local Beers

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Each town in Vietnam has a specific brand of beer brewed locally and is usually cheaper than the other beers of the country (of course, cheaper than those imported beers).

Give each of them a try and see what the designs of label were like and how great each one is. You should also try Bia Hoi (Bia Hơi) at a certain street side café in Hanoi. People here sit on a child’s chair at the side of the streets and enjoy beers. This seems insane for some foreigners but it is a special feature of Hanoi, in particular, and Vietnam, in general. Just go with it!

39. Do Not Always Follow The Recommendations Of The Guidebook

Despite guidebooks are always necessary for tourists, especially first-time ones, some guidebooks’ recommendations are not as good as they should be. Sometimes, they get out of date as soon as they are launched and sometimes they are plain wrong in real life.

40. Karaoke Massage Is Not About Their Literal Means

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

This might sound like an obvious fact, yet the naïve travelers among foreigners might still fall into the trap of believing that these buildings are harmless or non-brothel-like. In fact, the words karaoke is just used in order to attract the attention of the tourists, and after getting into them, you may discover another world.

41. Pho Is Pronounced As “Fuh” Or “Fur”

“Pho”, the most mispronounced word by foreign tourists, is the national dish of the country. Some tourists without knowing pronounce this word as “fo” or “po” and many other variations, but two first variations are sensitive words. It is advised by locals to be careful what it is your order when pronouncing this word. The word sounded as “fo” in the mind of Vietnamese actually means “a woman of the night”, so you may end up getting more than just a bowl of beef noodle.

Talk about Pho, this dish is made from rice noodles cooked in a meat broth, occasionally served with a few special vegetable garnishes on sides. Add in your bowl when the broth is still steaming. Vegetarians will hardly find a restaurant serving Pho that is not meat based when hitting the food stalls on streets, yet some international cafés directed more towards the European tastes, might offer vegetarian options for tourists.

42. Airline Brands

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Vietnam Airlines is the most famous airline brand in Vietnam due to its high quality and scale. Two other lesser well-known airline brands are VietJet and Jetstar. VietJet is cheaper than Vietnam Airlines but has low cost carriers. Row spacing is tighter, and you prepay for checked your luggage and even drink and food in advance. There are many irritating offers as well as upsells.

43. Booking Hotels / Hostels Online Will Not Save Money For You

In Thailand, booking accommodation via sites like Agoda generally save you several dollars. However, in Vietnam, it may be not like that. You are advised to not booking hotel or hostels online. For whatever reason, the price in this country is always cheaper when a traveler shows up in person. Moreover, if you show up in person, you could also check out the room and bargain it down a little bit, in general. But, you could not do it online, right?

44. Rooftop Bars

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

Many travelers say that Vietnam has more rooftop bars than any other country that they have ever visited. Rooftop bars are loved by many people due to its special location and atmosphere.

In Ho Chi Minh City, you can visit the bar on the rooftop of Duc Vuong (Đức Vượng) Hotel (on no. 195 Bui Vien (Bùi Viện), Pham Ngu Lao (Phạm Ngũ Lão), Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh), Vietnam). In Nha Trang, you should not miss the Sheraton at happy hour (the best time is sunset). In Hanoi, check out the expansive view of Pacific Place. These are famous rooftop bars, in addition to many other new built bars like that. So, you had better do your research and grab the best choice in town. Usually, these bars have happy hours to imbibe.

45. Travel With Recommended Tour Agencies

This s one of the most important things you should know before you visit Vietnam. Even if you plan to purchase tickets when in Vietnam, research your trip a little bit first on the Internet. A good resource is Lonely Planet, where experience tourists discuss travel in Vietnam. That way, you could avoid unreliable tour agencies or badly run hostels or hotels.

46. Vietnam Has Many Thin Buildings

things you should know before you visit Vietnam

When traveling in Vietnam, you will realize that there many thin buildings established. In some places of Vietnam, buildings are established long vs. wide. It is certainly irregular and strange architecture. This is because the real estate and rent is not charge much by square footage yet by storefront width. The wider the building on the street is, the higher its rent price is. Therefore, Vietnamese build their apartments accordingly to length instead.

Some Emergency Contacts For Tourists When Necessary:

Australian Embassy

  • Location: 8 Dao Tan (Đào Tấn) Street, Ba Dinh (Ba Đình) District, Hanoi (Hà Nội), Vietnam (Việt Nam)
  • Tel: +84 4 3774 0100
  • Official websitewww.vietnam.embassy.gov.au

Australian Consulate-General

  • Location: 20th Floor, Vincom Centre, 47 Ly Tu Trong (Lý Tự Trọng) Street, Ben Nghe (Bến Nghé) Ward, District 1, Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh) City, Vietnam (Việt Nam)
  • Tel: +84 8 3521 8100
  • Official website: www.hcmc.vietnam.embassy.gov.au

United States of America Embassy

  • Location: No. 7 Lang Ha (Láng Hạ) Street, Ba Dinh (Ba Đình) District, Hanoi (Hà Nội), Vietnam (Việt Nam)
  • Tel: +84 4 3850 5000
  • Official websitevietnam.usembassy.gov

United States of America Consulate General

  • Locatio: 4 Le Duan (Lê Duẩn) Blvd., District 1, Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh) City, Vietnam (Việt Nam)
  • Tel: + 84 8 3520-4200
  • Official websitehochiminh.usconsulate.gov

Chinese Consulate in HCMC

  • Location: 39 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai (Nguyễn Thị Minh Khai) Street, Ho Chi Minh (Hồ Chí Minh) City, Vietnam (Việt Nam)
    Tel: +84 8 38292457

British Embassy Hanoi

Emergency Phone Numbers:

  • Police: – 113
  • Fire – 114
  • Ambulance – First Aid – 115
  • Weather forecast – 1080
  • Service of domestic long distance telephone – 101
  • Service of international telephone – 110
  • Service of general information – 1080
  • Service of Law Consultancy – 1088
  • Phone number enquiries – 116

The information above is basics and facts that you should know before you visit Vietnam. It is always better to prepare everything possible in advance before packing your luggage to a certain country and Vietnam is not an exception. Now, you have known relatively much things about this beautiful Asian country. Don’t hesitate to book a tour and enjoy your trip!

If you have any questions about things you need to know before you visit Vietnam? Let us know in the comment section below. We will answer as soon as possible.


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