Vietnam Travel Tips
Planning is an essential part of any trip, and like everywhere, there are few things you need to know before visiting Vietnam – especially if you are a first-time visitor or even taking a Vietnam tour packages. Although you do not need to worry much when traveling in Vietnam, it is better to know a few things about your new destination. To help you plan a perfect trip, here are our Vietnam travel tips to make your trip easy so that you will have more time to enjoy this beautiful country!
Tip 1: Must try some special Vietnamese food
Here are some delicious and special Vietnamese dishes that you should not miss when you are in Vietnam:
- Phở bò (around US$2,5/bow/person)
- Nem (around US$10/plate/2 persons)
- Bánh xèo (around US$4/plate/2 persons)
- Cơm tấm (around US$2,5/plate/person)
- Bánh mì (around US$2/person)
- Bún chả (around US$2,5/bow/person)
- Cơm cháy Ninh Binh (around US$2,5/plate/2 persons)
- Bánh cuốn (around US$2/plate/person)
Tip 2: Carefully see the VND 20,000 and VND 500,000
The national currency of Vietnam is Dong (VND).
In particular, 2 types of bills 20,000 VND (around 0.85 USD) and 500,000 VND (around 21.3 USD) are blue and look quite similar, local people sometimes still be mistaken if they don’t look carefully, especially if they see those bills in the evening. Therefore, you should carefully see these two types of bills when shopping in Vietnam.
Tip 3: Avoid travelling to Vietnam on TET
Vietnam’s biggest holiday of the year is TET (Vietnamese new year or Lunar new year). At that time, the Vietnamese people will take a break from their work and go home to celebrate the new year with their family. Therefore, most of the inbound tourist sightseeing places will be closed at that time, so that you should avoid traveling to Vietnam on TET. Normally, TET will be in late January or early February every year and that holiday has around 4 days off.
Tip 4: No need to get a local mobile sim card
Wi-Fi networks are covered and widely used in Vietnam and other countries in Indochina, especially in the hotel, restaurant, cafe, shop… Therefore, in our opinion, when taking a tour to Vietnam or a tour to Vietnam & Cambodia or any countries in Indochina, it is not necessary to buy a sim card here, you just use the Wi-Fi then you are able to contact other people.
Tip 5: Learn few popular Vietnamese phrase
Although English is popular and used in the tourist destinations in Vietnam but the official language in Vietnam is Vietnamese and most Vietnamese people do not speak English. Therefore, knowing some common Vietnamese sentences will make your trip more enjoyable and easier:
- Xin chào – Hello
- Tạm biệt – Goodbye
- Cám ơn – Thank you
- Tính tiền – Bill please!
- Đắt quá – Too expensive!
- Không đường – No sugar!
- Xin lỗi – I’m sorry
- Làm ơn – Please
- Đúng – Yes
- Không – No
- Bao nhiêu tiền? – How much is it?
- Làm ơn giúp tôi – Help me please!
- Nhà vệ sinh ở đâu? – Where is the toilet?
Tip 6: Vietnam is a developing country but everyone is millionaire here
Have you ever wondered how it feels to be a billionaire? Traveling to Vietnam will let you realize this dream. The exchange rates between Vietnamese Dong (VND) and USD is around: 1 USD = 23,000 VND
That means with only 43,480 USD -> You are already a millionaire in Vietnam when you have one billion VND in hand.
Tip 7: Bring enough cash with you
Although online payment is slowly becoming common, cash is still King in Vietnam, so you should carry some cash with you when going out, especially if you shop at the local market or eat at a casual restaurant. However, most luxury hotels and restaurants accept credit cards. If you run out of cash, you should not be in trouble as it is easy to find an ATM but not all banks in Vietnam accept foreign cards so you should go to one of the major branches like HSBC or CitiBank which accept Visa or Mastercard cards.
Tip 8: How to cross the road?
How to cross the road? This question may seem silly but when you are in the big cities like Hanoi or Saigon, you will witness a lot of people riding their motorbikes on the streets. At some point, you have to cross the road where there is no pedestrian crossing. But even at the pedestrian crossing, you still find it very hard to cross the road because some motorcyclists still keep their speed and do not yield to pedestrians. Don’t worry, when you start walking, remember to walk slowly when crossing the road, motorbikes will go around and get out of your way. You should also raise your arm to let them know that you are crossing the street. At the intersection with a traffic light, when the light is red, it does not mean that the traffic will stop, some motorcyclists may still drive their motorbikes, so you should look carefully before crossing the street.
When you walk on the sidewalk, always keep an eye on your surroundings as the sidewalk can be an abstraction in Vietnam.
Tip 9: Tipping
-If you join a big group tour with other people (from 10 or more), tip can be around USD 3 /pax /day. (USD 2 /pax /day will be for tour guide and USD 1 /pax /day will be for the driver)
-At the hotel or restaurant, you may tip the bellboy or waitress $1 per time. However, you might give tip to them more or less depending on their services.
Tip 10: Street vendor photo scam
Street vendors in Hanoi or Saigon often choose the foreigner as their target. Not all but many of them invite you to take pictures with their belongings, after taking the photo, they will ask you to pay the fee. If the tourists refuse to pay, they will follow you until you buy something or get some money from you. Therefore, when meeting these people, you should politely decline their offer, if the vendors are still stubborn, you just need to stay away from them.
Tip 11: You might need to bring a travel adapter
The standard voltage in Vietnam is 220V with frequency of 50Hz and ordinary plugs are A (2 vertical pins), C (2 round pins) and F (Schuko plug). In case your electronic device has a 3-pin power plug, you should bring a travel adapter.
Tip 12: Bargain when you buy at a small store or on the street
If you choose to buy a product that already has a price on it, the seller may not reduce their price, but if you see no price on that product, you should negotiate with the seller, especially in the small shop or shopping on the street. The experience is that you should pay 40-50% of the price they quote you. If that doesn’t work, you can try elsewhere or sham to walk away and come back to buy for them later.
Tip 13: Prevention of robbery motorbikes
The phenomenon of robbery from motorcyclists in big cities like Saigon or Hanoi is quite common for both locals and foreigners. When walking on the road, you should be careful with your belongings such as mobile phone, camera, money, necklace, etc. The robbers on motorbikes from the back can run very quickly to rob and endanger you.
Tip 14: Use Grab, not Taxi
Currently, Uber no longer operates in Vietnam, but Grab is the market leader in Vietnam with many drivers (both car and motorbike). You just need to download the app on your phone and find a driver whenever you need. When traveling by Grab, you have more benefits than a Taxi:
- Price is available before you book the car/motorbike
- Drivers don’t trick you by going other ways which are further away so that they can get more money from you.
- Grap cars are always new and smell better than a Taxi.
You can pay them by credit card or choose to pay cash each time. You will rarely pay more than $10 USD/time if you go around the city.