Things you should know before coming to Vietnam
How to obtain a visa to Vietnam?
In order to enter Vietnam, visitors should provide BenThanh Tourist following details:
-Date and Place of Birth
-Date of Entry and Exit
-Which Vietnam Embassy in foreign countries to get visa stamps.
For overseas Vietnamese, more details should be stated clearly:
-The year and reason of leaving Vietnam
-The means of transport when leaving Vietnam
-Name and address of relatives to be visited in Vietnam
-Relation to the relatives
Each visitor is authorized to bring the following duty free items:
-Cigars: 50 – 100
-Tobacco: 100 gram
-Liquor: 1.5 litters
-Personal effects of a reasonable quantity and small gifts values at no more than USD 300.
-There is no limit of the total amount of cash and precious metal one can bring in, but amount valued at over USD 3,000 must be declared.
Visitors are not allowed to bring the following items to Vietnam:
- Weapons, explosive and inflammable objects
- Opium and other narcotics
- Cultural materials that prohibited by the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information
- Goods of commercial nature and articles of high value require export permits issued by the Custom Service.
- Antique requires permission of the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture and Information.
- 3-carat diamond or gemstones are not allowed to be taken out of Vietnam, except for items declared to the Customs when entry.
VIETNAM TIME: GMT+7 HOURS
Most businesses 07:00 AM – 11:30 AM & 01:00 PM – 05:00 PM
Banks 07:30 AM – 11:30 AM & 01:00 PM – 04:00 PM
Post Offices: everyday from 06:30 AM until 10:00 PM.
Government offices generally open from Monday to Friday from 07:30 to 17:00 and close for lunch between 11:30 and 13:00. Shops open early and close any time between 18:00 and 22:00. Most shops are opened 7 days a week.
LANGUAGES IN VIETNAM
Vietnamese language has existed for a long time. However, it was strongly influenced by Chinese feudalists through nearly 1,000 years of domination. The Vietnamese has adopted Chinese characters and modified it into Nom characters. In the 18th century, many Portuguese, Spanish and French missionaries came to Vietnam to spread Catholicism. Latin system has been used to transcribe the Vietnamese language.
The Vietnamese language is a fusion of Mon - Khmer, Tai and Chinese elements. From the monotonic Mo-Khmer language, Vietnamese derived a significant percentage of its basic words. From the Tai language, it adopted certain grammatical elements and tonality.
The Vietnamese people like to simplify the language and to escape from Chinese feudalists’ influence. That is why the current Vietnamese tongue has official been popular since 1900 throughout Vietnam. Beside Vietnamese, English, French, Japanese and Chinese nowadays are spoken in many shops, restaurants and tourist accommodations. Guides and interpreters of Ben Thanh Tourist are able to communicate in those languages.
POST AND COMMUNICATIONS
It is possible to make IDD calls (or send faxes) from Vietnam by dialing international prefix 00, then the country code, area code and finally the phone number.
To make long distance domestic calls, dial prefix 0 first, then the province code and finally the phone number.
It is also available to connect to the Internet and check email in most hotels, post offices and internet coffee shops. Telephone booths (using card) are installed almost everywhere in main cities. Cell phones are available for rent at main post offices.
The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese “dong”. Notes come in bills of 200 dong, 500 dong, 1,000 dong, 2,000 dong, 5,000 dong, 10,000 dong, 20,000 dong, 50,000 dong, 100,000 dong, 200,000 dong and 500,000 dong, Coins are available in 200 dong, 500 dong, 1,000 dong, 2,000 dong and 5,000 dong.
Despite from that, US Dollars are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops. Banks are open Monday to Friday. Travelers checks can be exchanged at bank and some exchange bureaus. However, it is difficult to use traveler checks outside of the major cities. Visa and Master Card are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops. ATM machines are very popular in Vietnam.
OTHER IMPORTANT INFORMATION
- Water: Bottled water and mineral water are obtainable at any shops in most cities. It is advisable to drink boiled water and not to drink ice and tap water.
- Clothing: Throughout the year, it is advisable to wear summer clothing: thin clothes in light color. In December and January, warm clothes are recommended for wearing in Northern provinces.
- Security: In big cities do not bring along any valuables as you go shopping or sightseeing in the street. You should deposit precious things at the hotel. Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks or authorized exchange bureaus. You should not exchange money on streets.
- Airport taxi fare to the city center ranges between US$6 – US$10 in Ho Chi Minh city and US$15 – US$20 in Hanoi.
Tourists should check-in at least two hours before departure time for international flights and domestic flight.