General information

Find out all general information about Vietnam that will help to prepare your journey in the country of the Dragon !

Vietnam at a glance

picto-vnWith an area of 331,690 km² and 3,260 km of coastline, Vietnam is a long country in Southeast Asia bordered by the China Sea. It is also called the Land of the Dragon because of its shape and the many legends referring to it as those relating the creation of Hanoi or Halong Bay. The Kinh, in other words the Vietnamese, are the majority in Vietnam but there are 54 ethnic minorities in the country. They are scattered throughout the country, but the greatest concentration is in the northern mountains and in the central highlands. The landscapes are very varied. From the high mountains of the North and Mount Fansipan, 3147m, called the roof of Indochina to the countless islands like Phu Quoc in the South, passing through the highlands of the Center, Vietnam wonderfully combines beach holidays, nature adventure and cultural immersion.

Weather in Vietnam > General information

picto-meteoVietnam being a long country from North to South, the climate is very different and can be divided into 3 parts. You can find more general information by region in Vietnam here (NorthCenterSouth).


Note: it is complicated these days to rely on weather forecasts due to global warming. The above table is based on forecasts from previous years to help you prepare your trip as well as possible.

When to go to Vietnam

Picto-CalendrierWe can say that Vietnam is visited all year round. It all depends on the reason for your trip but you can find at any time a destination with a pleasant climate. General information about best time to visit Vietnam by region.

In the North:

From April to May and from September to November are the best moments to be able to fully enjoy the rice terraces that are one of the emblems of the beauty of the Vietnamese landscapes.

The rice fields are also beautiful in June and July but the hostile climate (high heat and humidity) can hinder activities like trekking.

From December to March, the rice fields are fallow, in water from February. The weather can be very cold, foggy and misty. It can get very boring when the visibility is zero and you have this feeling of missing something.

More information for the North here >

Center of Vietnam:

It is rather pleasant all year round. Temperatures can rise high in summer but the sea breeze or the mountain air of the highlands allow you to breathe. The rest of the year, the climate is rather pleasant. It can be a bit too cool in winter to swim but a sunny day will allow you to enjoy a T-shirt meal on the beach. However, it is important to note that from September to November, it is the season of typhoons that hit the coast. There is an average of 5 or 6 per season of different strength. This can lead to flooding

More information for the center here >

In the South:

There are two seasons, dry and rainy. In both cases, it will be hot. From October to April, it is the dry season. It can be very hot, especially from January to April. The other part of the year is the rainy season, which usually consists of a big shower of an hour or two at the end of the day. The sunshine remains pleasant and it allows to cool the atmosphere. A few days will be entirely rainy, often heavy tropical rain, but it remains occasional.

More information for the South here >

The formalities of entry into Vietnam

For each type of visa, it is necessary to :

  • Have a passport valid for more than 6 months

Picto-FormalitesVisa exemption 15 days :

Europe : Russia – France – England – Germany – Spain – Italy – Denmark – Sweden – Norway – Finland – Belarus – South Korea – Japan – Brunei – Myanmar

Visa exemption 30 days:

Thailande – Malaisie – Cambodge – Singapour – Laos – Indonésie

Visa exemption 21 days:


E- visa 30 days:

80 countries are included in the list of countries that can apply for an e-visa online ( )

List of main countries (contact us for other countries)

  • France, Belgium, Canada, Switzerland, Monaco, Italy, England, USA, Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Bulgaria, Colombia, Croatia,, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Holland, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden

It is important to note that it is not possible to extend an on-site exemption or e-visa. It is also necessary to wait 1 month before being able to reapply for exemption or E-visa.

How to get around Vietnam

General information about different categories of transportation in Vietnam.

Picto-DeplacementsBy the road:

  • In cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, the best way to get around is by taxi or grab (download the app). As in many large cities around the world, taxis can try to abuse tourists. Grab (car or scooter) remains the safest way since the price is displayed at the time of booking on the app. Make sure the registration number matches the vehicle that arrived.
  • In the countryside, if you do not travel with a private driver, the bus remains the most efficient way. Tourist buses serve all major destinations. For places off the beaten track, local buses are available. It’s a real local experience. It can be very noisy and timetables are rarely respected. Booking a private car is still an option.

Note : Infrastructure is not developed everywhere. For the last motorways put into operation, the average speed is 60km/h. As soon as you leave the main roads, the average speed drops to 30km/h (for a 150 km trip in the northern mountains, it takes 5 hours).

For bus reservations, you can contact your hotel, travel agent or book on these websites :

By rail

The train is also an option to consider. Several categories are available from the single seat to the luxury private cabin (depending on the destination). The sleeper train is very convenient to save a day of travel and remains a very pleasant experience.

The main stations are Hanoi – Lao Cai – Hai Phong – Ninh Binh – Dong Hoi (Phong Na National Park) – Hue – Danang – Quy Nhon, Nha Trang – Phan Tiet – Ho Chi Minh City

We can assist you with any booking if needed.

By air

Vietnam has a large number of airports that can help you save time for a very reasonable price.

The main airline is Vietnam Airlines but you can fly with Bamboo Airways which offers very competitive prices. Vietjet Air, the lowcost company,offers the best rates but enjoys a very bad reputation due to these many delays and its inefficient customer service.

The main airports are Hanoi, Hai Phong, Hue, Danang, Quy Nhon, Tuy Hoa, Nha Trang, Pleiku, Buon Ma Thuot, Dalat, Ho Chi Minh, Can Tho, Con Dao and Phu Quoc.

What to pack for Vietnam >

Information about general and main tools and objects not to forget when you are packing and preparing your trip to Vietnam.


  • Photocopies of the first page of your passeport
  • A comfortable backpack
  • A waterproof pouch
  • A quick drying towel
  • hiking boots
  • Earphones
  • A basic medication kit (dressings, disinfectant, aspirin, diarrhea pills)
  • Sunscreen (can be found on site but expensive and poor quality)
  • Trousers or shorts below the knees (for pagoda visits)

Note : light rain jacket, tap, hat, external battery and many first-use things can be purchased at very competitive prices in the Old Quarter of Hanoi or in the central market of Ben Thanh upon your arrival.

If you plan to visit North Vietnam in winter, pack some warm clothes.

What currency is used in Vietnam

Picto-MonnaieFirst, the Vietnamese appreciate and prefer cash. Don’t be surprised if small stores refuse credit card payments.


The local currency is Vietnamese Dong (VND). On this date (25/03/2022), $1 = 23,000 VND and €1 = 25,000 VND

There are 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000 VND notes. From 10 000VND, the banknotes are waterproof, which can be very useful.

The 20,000 and 500,000 DV bills are both blue. This can be confusing so be careful when paying.

If you have broken or torn tickets (all currencies), they will not be accepted. For Vietnamese tickets, you can exchange them in the bank.

There are no coins in circulation (only old coins that have become collectible)


To exchange, it is recommended to do so at the bank, equipped with your passport. Some shops offer this service, such as jewellery stores or certain travel agents. In this case, you can get better exchange rates. It is advisable to ask several stores to compare.

To withdraw money with your credit card, you will find ATMs all over the cities and almost nowhere in the countryside. It is strongly recommended to anticipate if you plan to spend several nights off the beaten track.

You can pay directly by credit card in large establishments or those used to receiving tourists. This is impossible in street stalls or small independent shops.

Another solution is to pay directly in Euro or Dollar but the exchange rate will rarely be profitable.

Be careful in restaurants as some do not include taxes and/or service. It is usually written in small (and in English) on the menu pages.

Tips :

They are not mandatory but highly appreciated. As everywhere, it is up to you to give them according to your level of satisfaction. Between 10 and 15% of the grade in general. You will find yourself facing some people refusing them, out of the way. Insist and they will accept with a warm smile in return.

What is the jet lag in Vietnam

England6 hours
USA (New-York) – Canada (Montréal)11 hours
USA (Los Angeles)14 hours
Australia2 hours
France5 hours(Summer time)
6 hours(Winter time)
Switzerland – Belgiqum6 hours

Security in Vietnam > General information

Picto-SecuriteOverall, Vietnam is a very safe country. There is little chance of security problems on the ground. However, like all tourist destinations, some scams deserve to be known by travelers. They mostly arrive in cities like Saigon, Hoi An and Hanoi. The countryside is spared any danger. Some information about general risk you can encounter in Vietnam.

Taxi – Grab:

If you take a taxi, make sure the meter is started or agree on a price before starting the journey. As mentioned earlier in the “How to Move” section, we recommend downloading and using the Grab app. It is available in all cities. It is then important to book through the mobile app and check at the arrival of the vehicle that the license plate matches the one entered in the app. Refuse the race if the numbers don’t match.


Becoming popular in Saigon, this phenomenon is developing in Hanoi and very touristic places. When walking down the street or staying on the terrace of a café, make sure to keep your belongings safe. People on scooters can pass and catch handbags, phones, camera.

Cross the street:

One of the biggest challenges, especially in Hanoi and Saigon where traffic is heavy, is to cross the street safely. Be aware that traffic remains globally wild in Vietnam. Vehicles can arrive from all sides, even in one-way streets. When you start to cross the street, never back down, the drivers would not understand and you would be in danger. Move carefully, the scooters will bypass you. However, cars, trucks and buses will never give you priority, even if you are on a pedestrian crossing. So be vigilant.

Traffic lights:

If you think you’re safe to cross at a crossroads with traffic lights, you’re mistaken. It is customary in Vietnam not to observe the lights. So, if you cross while the pedestrian light is green, remain cautious and vigilant.


It has appeared more and more flights in some hotels. In some cases, the participation of staff has been proven. Be careful when leaving your room not to leave valuables in plain sight. It is recommended to leave your belongings in the lobby safe, preferably with a receipt for items left behind.

What to do and not to do in Vietnam > Information about general behavior

Picto-InfosTravelers want to discover the culture, the way of life of the countries they visit. We are sometimes unprepared and this can lead to confusion. Here are some points that it is good to know before arriving in Vietnam. Better to have general information about behavior and attitude when you are exploring Vietnam.


he sense of politeness is very different from western countries. Don’t feel offended if people don’t say hello or thank you, it’s not indifference or rudeness, it’s just not automatic. Most of the time, you will have to take the initiative and they will certainly answer you.

Wait in line:

Don’t be irritated if while you’re standing in line, you see someone walking past you like you’re invisible. It’s not against you, it’s just their habit. You can gently signal them that you’re there. Most of the time, they will smile and stand behind you.

The “yes” culture:

The Vietnamese are very proud and they have a hard time admitting that they don’t know. This is why they will very often answer yes even if they have not understood. If you need any information, it is best to use google translation to avoid any misunderstanding.


It will be very difficult for you to avoid drinking rice alcohol, especially outside the cities. In Vietnam, you don’t drink alone. Before drinking, it is customary to drink with the guests. We usually have a toast with everyone, but you might be invited for a one-on-one. Most of the time, we drink dry ass because they are small glasses. It will be very much appreciated if you initiate the invitation to drink. When we drink, the older person puts his or her glass slightly above that of the younger one as a way of respect. After drinking, we shake hands with the people we’ve been drinking with.

The notion of time:

This is very relative to Vietnam. Punctuality is very often ephemeral. Being late is customary. This will not necessarily lead to excuses as they will not see the fault. If you have booked a bus for example, especially local buses, the departure and arrival times can become flexible. Be patient, the bus will come and arrive in any case !