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Vietnam’s Hoi An tops UK travel magazine’s list of best cities
14/02/2013

A leading travel magazine from the United Kingdom, Wanderlust, announced in late last month that central Vietnam’s historic town of Hoi An was ranked by its readers as their favorite city.

MAI to mount daily Mandalay-Bangkok flights
14/02/2013

Let's fly with MAI

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Vietnam - The Hidden Charm!

  •  SAFETY
    is a very peaceful country. The people are very friendly. There are not criminals to foreigners but it is recommended to leave your belongings such as passports, jewelry, big money at your hotel’s safety box whilst on tour. 

 

  • AIRPORT TAX
    International Flights: Included in the airfare. 
    Domestic Flights: included in the airfare.

  •  CLOTHING
    The Vietnamese want to dress simply and informally. Almost all prefers shirts and long trousers. A clean and neat are particularly appreciated. Generally, light, natural fabrics are the most comfortable but warm cloths are recommended in the north during the winter months which lasts from October till December and in April. Sun hat and sunglasses are useful in summer, as is beachwear for the coastal resorts.

 

  • ELECTRICITY 220V, 50Hz

     
  • WEIGHTS & MEASURES Metric

  •  TIME ZONE GMT/UTC: +7

 

  • FOOD
    Although Chinese and French influences are discernible, Vietnam has its own distinct and healthy cuisine. Rice is the most popular food and a typical meal comprises rice, pork, beef, chicken, vegetables, fish and seafood. Desserts are typically sweet, such as sticky rice cakes and pastries, sweet corn or bean soup, fresh fruits, etc… Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available.

  • HEALTH
    No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However, visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are rather limited in all countries and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before travelling in case evacuation is needed.

 

  • TRAVEL INSURANCE
    Travel insurance is not included in all of our tours/service. We highly recommend you purchase your own one including air evacuation in your country before traveling. DirecTraveAsia helds no responsibility for any incidents/accidents occur during the tour.

 

  •  HOURS OF BUSINESS
    Offices are usually open from Monday to Friday from 07:30 or 08:00 until 17:00 or 18:00 and often close for lunch between 11:30 and 13:00. Some offices also open Saturday morning. Shops open early and close any time between 18:00 and 22:00. Most shops are open 7 days a week.

 

  • LANGUAGE
    Because Vietnamese has six different tones, it is a difficult language for most foreigners to speak despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese. The same word can have six different meanings depending on the tone used to pronounce it. In the cities and larger towns, English is becoming more and more popular and is now spoken by many younger people. French, Japanese, Spanish, Germany, Russian and Chinese are also spoken by many.

  • MONEY
    The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong although US Dollars are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops throughout the country. Banks are open Monday to Friday. In the major cities there are many Money Exchange bureaux and most hotels will change US Dollars although for other currencies it is usually necessary to visit a bank. Travellers cheques can be exchanged at banks and some exchange bureaux but can be difficult to change outside of the major cities. Credit cards such as Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Diners Club, JTB are now accepted nationwide in hotels, restaurants and shops but US Dollars cash are still the most reliable form of money to carry. There are ATM machines appearing now in Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho, Dalat, Nha Trang, Danang, Hoi An, Hue, Halong, Haiphong and Hanoi.

  • PUBLIC HOLIDAYS

January 1

New Year's Day

January/February

Tet or Vietnamese New Year. The actual dates vary from year to year according to the lunar calendar. Officially 3 days holiday but many businesses close down for a full week, especially in the Mekong Delta. This is the busiest time of the year for traveling in Vietnam and hotels are often full.

April 30

Liberation of Saigon Day or Vietnam Reunification Day

May 1

International Labour Day

September 2

National Day

   

 

  • RELIGION
    Buddhism is the dominant religion in Vietnam usually combined with elements of Confucianism and Taoism. About 10% of the country's population are Catholic and there are also communities of Protestants and Muslims. Vietnam is also home to a unique religion called Cao Dai, a religious cocktail of all the world's major faiths.

 

  • SHOPPING
    Souvenirs to look out for in Vietnam include lacquerware, silk, conical hats, woodcarvings, hill tribe fabrics and handicrafts, embroidery, marble, ceramics, silver jewellery, antique watches and paintings. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi have the best choice when it comes to shopping but Hoi An in the center of Vietnam is also a very good place to hunt for bargains.

  • TELECOMMUNICATIONS
    Most hotels now have IDD phones in rooms and it is possible to send faxes from hotels and post offices and like other countries in the world, these services are expensive in all four countries. Away from the major cities it may not always be possible to make international calls. Cyber cafes are becoming popular almost in all cities of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (but not Myanmar) and many travelers now prefer to keep in touch by e-mail. Post cards can be bought at all the main tourist sites and stamps are available from post offices and some hotel reception desks. It is not permitted to bring mobile phones into Myanmar. Even if they are not connectable in Myanmar to international network such as GSM, they’ll be confiscated upon arrival at Yangon International Airport and released only upon departure.

  • TIPPING
    Tipping for good service is appreciated in these developing nations. It is customary to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped.

 

  • VISAS
    Visa is required to all foreigners before entering Vietnam except those who bear nationality of Laos, Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Republic of Korea, Japan, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and Russia.  A one-month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors though it is possible to arrange 3-month and 6-month multiple entry visas for regular visitors. All visitors must obtain visa approval from the Vietnamese Immigration Department before a visa is issued.

    DirecTravelAsia can arrange for a visa authorization to be sent to the Vietnamese embassy or consulate where the visa is to be collected once the following information has been forwarded: full name (as appeared in passport), date of birth, nationality, passport number, travel date and sex. This information should be forwarded at least two weeks before arrival. One copy of the visa authorization will be sent to the embassy or consulate where the visa is to be collected and a second will be forwarded to the person collecting the visa. A fee is payable to DirecTravelAsia for the visa authorization and to the embassy or consulate for the visa stamping.

    The person collecting the visa must complete two application forms and hand these in with two passport-sized photos when collecting the visa. In situations where it is more convenient DirecTravelAsia is also able to pre-arrange visa on arrival at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi, Danang International Airport in Danang and Tan Son Nhat Airport in Ho Chi Minh City. In addition to the cost of visa authorization, a fee is payable on arrival at the airport for visa stamping.

    The same authorization procedure and a minimum of 5 working days notice is required. In urgent cases DirecTravelAsia can arrange a visa on arrival and it takes us maximum two (02) working days to have the approval letter. There are additional charges for this service. On entering Vietnam all visitors must complete an entry/exit form including a customs declaration. It is important that the yellow sheet of this form is kept safe with your passport while in Vietnam and is presented to the customs and immigration officials on departure.

  • VISA ON ARRIVAL is also available for those who find it more comfortable.

  •  WATER
    It is not advisable to drink tap water in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand or Myanmar but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice in drinks is generally OK in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in country areas.

 

  • WEATHER
    Hanoi and the north of Vietnam have a distinct winter and summer season with the mainly dry winter lasting from November through to April with average temperatures of 18-20oC. Summer lasts from May to October and is hot and humid with temperatures around 30oC. Hue and Danang in the center of the country have very hot, dry weather from February to August with temperatures reaching the mid 30's Celsius, but can experience some quite heavy rainfall between September and January. Ho Chi Minh City and the south have a hot, dry season from December till April with average temperatures around 28oC and a rainy season lasting from May through till November. It rarely rains for long periods even in the rainy season with most rain coming in short, heavy bursts.


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