What to know for a trip to Vietnam

Who I am
Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

Author and references

Vietnam is a country belonging to Southeast Asia that borders on Laos, China and Cambodia; famous for its Pagoda, for his uncontaminated nature and cities full of life.
Its capital is Hanoi, and in addition to the obligatory visit of this city, it boasts other wonders such as Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh, the Imperial City of Hue and several national parks.
As with any country, of course, you have to prepare yourself in the best way to visit it. Here's what to know to better face your trip to the "Country that lives on water".


  1. Best time
  2. Required documents
  3. How many days
  4. How to dress and what to bring
  5. To see
  6. Getting around
  7. What to book in advance
  8. Accomodation
  9. Where to eat
  10. How much
  11. How to pay
  12. Safety
  13. Useful advice and rules of conduct
  14. User questions and comments

Best time

The country has a complicated climate and each area has its own, having said that it is difficult to decide which is the best time of the year but let's try to clarify.
April is the best month to visit the north (the only part of the country that has winter); from February to March for the central area; from December to February for the south and the islands.

Between January and February there are two important holidays: the Vietnamese New Year and the Tet Festival, which celebrates the beginning of spring.
Economically speaking, Vietnam is therefore one of the cheapest countries in the world the choice of the period will not affect your budgetbut, more than anything else, they will affect your choices on how to get there / where to sleep / what to do.

Required documents

I definitely need the Passport valid for at least 6 months and the ticket return plane. The visa it is necessary only if you exceed 15 days of stay.
For the visa, apply to the Consulate of Turin or the Embassy of Rome; you will have it in 4/5 working days and, as regards the cost, it varies from € 90,00 to € 160,00.
If you exceed 30 days, however, you will have to apply IN PERSON or rely on an agency.
It is highly recommended to take out atravel insurance that protects you from various possible unforeseen events during your stay.

How many days

  • Minimum travel time: at least 15 days
  • Recommended duration of the trip: at least 28 days

How to dress and what to bring

What to pack is always the doubt of doubts.
Calculating that, as we have said, there is no real "best time" why each area has its own climate, we can prepare a generic backpack and make it more or less suitable for any time of year and any area of ​​the country.
First of all they must not be missing comfortable and technical clothes (you could get wet from the rain or get dirty with mud if you are trekking so the microfiber fabrics are more comfortable to wash and dry), heavy clothing such as sweatshirts or socks (for the hills or cooler periods), comfortable shoes, shorts and t-shirts, swimsuits and flip-flops (if you go to the beach), sunscreen and hat, k-way or anorak, scarf or pashmina ( on public transport the air conditioning is very strong but also serves to cover head and shoulders in the temples).

Tips for girls: in places of worship you will have to hide body shapes as much as possible so give free rein to long skirts or those magnificent colorful dresses, huge and very comfortable!

To see

There are very many magical places in which to meditate and get in touch with our "I", extremely naturalistic areas in which to do a nice trekking andlong ribs with crystal clear waters.
Absolutely not to be missed is the Ha Long Bay in traditional boats or kayaks, the hectic life of the capital Hanoi, watch fishermen in Hoi An, visit Sapa with its population still tied to the traditions and the rice fields and the floating village a Bai Tu Long Bay.

  • If you are visiting the destination for the first time: Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Phong Nha Cave, Golden Bridge, Linh Ung pagoda
  • If you are returning to the destination: Phú Quốc, Tam Coch - Bich Dong, Trang An, Huè, Cuc Phuong National Park, Pù Luong Nature Reserve, Muong Hoa Valley.

Getting around

Getting around Vietnam is extremely convenient, but you will have to make the right choices based on the distance to travel.
Above 500km choose i internal flights: with a few tens of euros you will be on the other side of the country.
For medium to long distances you will have it available the trains: the best choice if you have time and desire to fully savor local life, slowly (calculate that it will take 500/30 hours to travel around 32km); you can choose between different classes, sleeping cars or private wagons, you will always be quite comfortable.
- bus instead they are faster, practical but above all more economic and present the possibility of traveling at night while staying relatively comfortable on seats that recline to become pseudo-beds.
The prices of both vary on the distance, the class chosen and the services you want to have on board (ex: private berth, first class, air conditioning, steward and meal, from Hanoi to Huè: 14 hours, € 40,00; in bus 12 hours, € 18,00).
In the cities, on the other hand, you will comfortably have a lot of possibilities: motorcycle taxis, taxis, tuk-tuk and buses.

What to book in advance

As for the tours you can find everything online, with the possibility of making reservations or buying tickets, however you get there you will find kiosks in every corner who organize visits everywhere! Don't be afraid of not finding a place, if there isn't one .. they create it! (And you can often haggle over costs). We recommend two very interesting tours not to be missed: the exploration of the Cu Ch Tunnels from the Vietnam War and the 2-day tour in Hanoi.

To sleep you will be spoiled for choice, you can book the first 2/3 nights from Italy in the first stage, after which you will search from time to time for places to sleep based on the location. Don't worry, you will see that it is simpler than it seems.

For internal transport, on the other hand, it is a little different: even here you will not struggle, but if you go during high season or close to local holidays, book your ticket directly at the station (or in some cases directly at the hotel) 1-2 days before departure.


Tourism is highly developed in Vietnam and you can find any accomodation for any pocket and any personal taste.
In Hanoi, prefer the best-served areas such as the center; in Ho Chi Minh look for accommodation in District 1 (tourist area and where the main attractions are located); in Hoi An sleep in Cam Pho or Cam Nam while in Hue you refer to the tranquility mixed with life around Via Nguyen Cong Tru.

Hotel and b & b starting from € 15,00 per room -

Where to eat

"The more uncomfortable you are, the better you eat!"
This is something the Vietnamese always say and it would mean that we almost always eat better in places that we wouldn't give two cents: on stools, on the side of the road or standing in markets.
Vietnamese cuisine is based on rice, vegetables, herbs, soy sauce, noodles, fish sauce and pork, all perfectly balanced and digestible.
Along the streets, near i streetfood stalls, it is therefore possible to eat super delicious dishes: soups, kebabs, rolls and the best noodles in the world.
So, dear travelers, leave the chic restaurants for once and immerse yourself in the beating heart of Vietnam to savor the real (and excellent!) Local cuisine at 360 °.

Ps: only for those who are not super picky!

How much

  • Cost of flights and travel: flights between € 600,00 and € 900,00; long-distance buses / trains between € 12,00 and € 90,00; taxi / moto-taxi to be negotiated on site; internal flights from € 40,00
  • Accommodation cost: depends on the choice of accommodation, from € 3,00 to € 300,00 per night
  • Minimum daily budget for meals and attractions: between € 6,00 and € 25,00

How to pay

Before leaving for any country, it is necessary to find out about the exchange rate (€ 1,00 = 25,378 Vietnamese Dong), the accepted banking circuits and where to change money.
From experience we can advise you to start with half your budget in cash (euro) and half budget on credit cards. Because? We will explain it to you immediately.
First of all, why start with euros and not with the money already changed? Simply why changing locally is much more advantageous. Strictly avoid changing at the airport and, if you really want to rest assured, change € 50,00 in your bank (which for Vietnam are a lot!) To face the first expenses upon your arrival without having to look for an exchange after the long flight and jet lag.
In Vietnam they are all circuits are present Visa, Mastercard and American Express but, unfortunately, only in hotels, medium-high category restaurants and large supermarkets do they accept card payments. Therefore we advise you to withdraw as needed, maybe every 5/6 days so as not to have too much cash around. Apparently there are no commissions but you will have to check at the moment.


As for security, especially terrorism and crime, Vietnam still remains one of the safest countries in Southeast Asia so there is no fear. Attention only in big cities (eg Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh) to small ones pickpockets in areas of great turnout, but as in any other metropolis in the world.
But unfortunately the smog in some areas is very strong, so much so that the WHO advises people with respiratory diseases to use masks; climatically speaking, however, we simply have to be careful about typhoons in the monsoon period that tends to go from July to November.

Before leaving, however, always take a look at the Farnesina website to find out about the current situation.
For the rest .. Have a nice trip!

Useful advice and rules of conduct

  1. Always take off your shoes in religious places and private homes.
  2. Respect people and nature: Confucianism is very important here, as is education, respect for others and for all that is living.
  3. Absolute silence in places of worship.
  4. Avoid affection in public: for Vietnamese kisses, hugs and cuddles are to be limited in the private sphere.
  5. Bow to say hello: the deeper the bow, the more respect and consideration you show.
  6. Always offer or receive objects with two hands: charge the simple act of passing an object of empathy and respect.
  7. Do not caress the heads of children: for them it is like stealing their soul.
  8. Do not make a Vietnamese look bad in front of other people: if you want to contradict him during a dialogue, try to do so by maintaining as calm and diplomacy as possible.
  9. Do not shout in public places, neither on the phone nor at someone, it is very frowned upon.
  10. No dizzying necklines.
  11. Do not give gifts to children, but to adults who will then think of distributing them to schools and orphanages: they cannot bear the idea of ​​the tourist giving alms.
  12. No bikini on the beach: the Vietnamese swim in shorts and a tank top, adapt.
  13. Spread your money: Put it in multiple different places inside the backpack, in different credit cards or in multiple pockets in your pants. If you are robbed on one side, you will still have money in the other.
  14. Do not go around with documents: bring photocopies of everything (passport, cards, tickets, etc.). Leave the originals in the hotel safes.
  15. Invitation to dinner at a local's house: if you bring a gift, don't be surprised if they don't open it. They are used to doing it alone in peace.
    And get ready to be served and revered: they love to spoil their guests ... and let them eat!
  16. Travel / health insurance: recommended.

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