Vietnam tips: a first-timer's guide

James Pham

Aug 12, 2019 • 6 min read

A boat on Halong Bay, Vietnam

Halong Bay is a World Heritage Sight and a highlight for many visitors to Vietnam © ©César Asensio / 500px

There's a lot to love about travelling in Vietnam , which stretches from the soaring mountains and fascinating ethnic groups of the north to the endless rice paddies and vibrant waterways of the Mekong Delta in the south, with more than 3000km of glorious coastline in between.

Throw in a good transport infrastructure of buses, trains and flights and an abundance of cheap but excellent street food and it's no surprise Vietnam graces countless bucket lists. But, like any country, it has its challenges, and some visitors come home with tales of scams, hectic roads and pushy vendors. Following these top tips will help you avoid the major pitfalls, and ensure you come away from your first visit to Vietnam with happy memories, as well as your souvenir conical hat.

Two women pose with baskets of street food in Hanoi. Both women are wearing conical hats, which are common in the country.

Vietnam 's long exposure to foreigners means that many local residents aren’t as overtly curious about visitors as some of their counterparts in Cambodia , Myanmar and Laos . Also, because most Vietnamese are not confident with spoken English despite learning it in school, people tend to ignore lost-looking foreigners unless you actually ask for help. But be assured that the Vietnamese really are friendly people. If you ask someone a question with a smile and in slow, clear English, you’ll almost certainly have it answered and the smile returned. Simple phrases such as  xin chào ('hello', pronounced 'seen chow') and cám ơn ('thank you', pronounced 'kaam uhn') go a long way.

Get connected

While most hotels , cafes and restaurants have wi-fi, you can easily buy a SIM card and get connected to the internet for as little as US$3. Vietnamese street names are notoriously long (most are named after people), so digital maps trump paper ones for many travellers. You’ll also find having a local phone number handy for meeting up with tour guides and making last-minute bookings on the road. SIM cards are widely sold in corner shops and are easy to top up. Once you have a card, the process to register for internet can be tricky, so ask the shopkeeper or your hotel to do it for you. Lonely Planet's Guides app covers Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City .

Vietnamese Papaya delight salad: Sliced papaya, dried beef, herb and spice mixed salad, popular street food in Saigon, Vietnam

Know your dong from your dollar

The Vietnamese dong is the currency of Vietnam and comes in denominations ranging from 200 to 500,000 (about US$22 at the time of writing). While it’s thrilling to become a Vietnamese millionaire, dealing with that many zeros can become frustrating, especially since some of the currency is very similar in colour. For example, the 10,000d note and the 200,000d note are both tan while the 20,000d and 500,000d notes are both blue. It’s very easy to hand over the wrong bill to a taxi driver while in a rush. Spend a minute in your room before going out to sort your bills to avoid overpaying. Even if you do end up overpaying a small amount for certain things, take it in stride. In the grand scheme of things, it’ll likely not be worth the aggravation.

While international credit and debit cards are accepted at most larger hotels, restaurants and travel agencies (sometimes with an added fee), cash is still king in Vietnam for day-to-day transactions. ATMs are widely available, and currency can be exchanged at banks (and some gold shops, although this practice is frowned upon by the government).

Note that the official system of separate prices for Vietnamese and foreigners – which applied to everything from train tickets to entrance fees – is a thing of the past.

Be wary of taxi scams

For many, motorcycle taxis are the best way see the thronging streets of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. However, scams can happen, and your best protection is a decent knowledge of where you are going and points along the way. Always agree on a price beforehand and be prepared to be quoted a higher price than the locals. For regular taxis, stick to the two major companies of Mai Linh and Vinasun (both have apps). Smaller, independent taxis are known for fast meters and aggressive drivers. If you’re in one of the larger cities, ride-sharing apps like Uber and Grab are good, offering both car and motorcycle taxis. Sometimes the driver will call to confirm, so having a Vietnamese-speaking friend nearby will come in handy.

The sweeping rice terraces beneath Fansipan in Lao Cai province, Vietnam. Beyond the green rice terraces a number of mountains are visible.

Know your transport options

Overnight buses are a good way to cover long distances and save on accommodation costs. However, the layback seats don’t offer much legroom, so tallish passengers (anyone over 1.6m) will find it impossible to stretch out fully. While the top bunk offers slightly more privacy, they can be right at the height of street lights. Sleep masks, ear plugs and noise-cancelling headphones (especially if the bus is playing music or movies) are recommended.

That said, sometimes you can pay a few more dollars and fly – the more convenient but less sustainable option . Vietnam has several budget airlines, which offer cheap fares but are notorious for being late and strictly enforcing carry-on limits. The national carrier, Vietnam Airlines, has better service and comparable pricing if booked in advance.

More comfortable than buses and cheaper than flights, train travel is another option for getting around Vietnam. A railway line spans the length of the country, following the coastline from HCMC all the way to Hanoi and beyond. It's a must for rail enthusiasts, with the ride considered amongst the most amazing train journeys in the world .

Be aware of your surroundings

Violent crime is extremely rare in Vietnam, and firearms are heavily regulated. But snatch-and-grabs and, to a lesser extent, pickpocketing, do happen. It pays to be vigilant. Use your phone and other electronics sparingly when outside (even while sitting at a sidewalk cafe or on the back of a motorbike). Leave your passport at the hotel; there’s rarely a reason to have the original on you.

Also, while Vietnam has some of the cheapest beer in the world, be careful about overdoing it. Inebriated tourists wandering back to their hotel in the morning hours when there is little traffic around can be seen as easy targets. If you come home late at night, go with a friend and splurge the extra dollar or two on an automobile taxi instead of a motorcycle taxi.

Aerial view of a selection of mopeds driving down a concrete street in Hanoi

Be safe on the roads

Traffic in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can seem terrifying at first glance. Just walking across the street during rush hour can feel like an impossible task! But there is method to the madness and, like a school of fish, the traffic will inevitably glide around you as long as you keep moving at a slow and steady pace. If unsure, do as the locals do and raise one hand high to be seen above the sea of helmets.

If you’re looking to drive a motorbike yourself, it’s best to save it for one of the quieter destinations like Hoi An , Dalat or Phu Quoc . Always wear a helmet, and be aware of the exhaust pipe, which has caused many a leg burn. As motorbikes tend to drive closely to each other, keep your feet pointed inwards and think of wearing closed shoes which offer extra protection for your feet.

For more tips on planning a trip to Vietnam, including what to wear and what to book in advance, see our planning tips .

This article was originally published in July 2012 and most recently updated in August 2019.

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Sarah Chetrit's Lust Till Dawn

11 Must-Know Vietnam Travel Tips (for a Tourist in Vietnam)

vietnam travel advice reddit

Visiting Vietnam? I personally gathered by top Vietnam travel tips from my three week trip there. #2 really saves time as a tourist in Vietnam.

I spent three weeks Vietnam traveling from Hanoi down to Ho Chi Minh City and kept note of my best Vietnam travel tips for you! These tips were the ones we use practically everyday, and as a tourist, they’re pretty vital to having a seamless trip.

You’ll probably find #5 to be hilarious but true. Spoiler alert: Crossing the streets of Vietnam is an art. You’ll want to quickly learn how so you can walk around the cities easily.

From what to know before you go on your trip and practical advice, these Vietnam travel tips will definitely enhance your trip!

1. Download Grab (the Most Important of all Vietnam Travel Tips)

The most important tip as a tourist in Vietnam is to download the app Grab ( Apple store or Google Play ). This is the app you’ll be calling to get taxis and possibly food delivery.

You pay for your ride in cash after (instead of through the app like Uber), but it makes it super helpful that:

  • you don’t need to communicate the end point to your taxi driver since they may speak limited English, and
  • you won’t get charged more than the ride is since Grab pre-determines how much your ride will be.

Grab works in all places to visit in Vietnam. Yes, it even works for calling a cab from Sapa city to the rice fields surrounding Sapa.

We especially liked using Grab to/from airports because we found it to be significantly more cheap than booking a car with our hotel or through services.

Get Grab in the Apple Store or on Google Play.

Pro Tip: In some places, especially the Hoi An airport, people will hold their phone out with the Grab app open as to pretend they’re your Grab driver.

Check the license on their car to the one showing on your app, or if they’re walking out to meet you at the airport, then they’ll show you your name on their app.

Good to Know: We used the Grab app to order food delivery. It was super fast and easy!

We also used the Grab app to research places to eat nearby since it’s mainly locals who use the app to order and rate the food.

tep wireless used in Sapa rice fields vietnam | vietnam travel tips

Important: Using Grab requires data. We brought our own portable wifi hotspot device with us so that we’d have our own secure wifi to use the second we landed in Vietnam all the way to departing.

Rent your own TEP portable wifi hotspot device for your trip here.

2. Get a Vietnam Tourist Visa Pre-Approval Letter Online

My cousin personally thought this was one of the most important Vietnam travel tips to know.

He did not get his Vietnam tourist visa pre-approved online before coming. As a result, being a tourist in Vietnam, he had to wait over an hour to get visa approved at his airport.

Avoid waiting at the airport any longer than you have to by getting a pre-approval letter online before you come!

You can get a pre-approved Vietnam tourist visa here at , which starts at $12 USD a person.

It will take about two working days to get your Vietnam approval letter in your e-mail. You’ll want to bring this approval letter plus two passport sized photos 4x6cm and cash to the airport.

Here’s how much cash you will need to bring:

  • 25 USD/person for less than 90 days single entry
  • 50 USD/person for less than 90 days multiple entry (i.e. you are leaving mid-trip to go to Cambodia and will be coming back)
  • 50 USD/person from 30 days to less than 90 days multiple entries visa
  • 95 USD/person from 90 days to less than 180 days multiple entries visa
  • 135 USD/person for 1 year multiple entries visa

You can pay in Vietnamese Dong or US Dollars.

You might like: Best Places to Visit in Vietnam

3. Carry Small Bills On You

Generally we found that the Vietnamese were not scammers and were not out to get tourists except for one small “innocent” game they would play. They’d pretend to not have enough change, and when we’d ask them to give us the right amount, they’d pretend to not know English.

When it came down to it, most of the time the change they’d be giving us in Vietnamese Dong would be like 25-50 cents in USD so we wouldn’t waste our energy over such a small amount.

That being said, it’s a good idea to carry small bills on you to not overpay and/or avoid this “I don’t know English” game they play at.

But at the end of day, Plus, in the world of scams, I’d totally opt to deal with this type of “scam” again and again.

4. Study Your Dongs

$1 USD is roughly 25,000 VND meaning you’re going to be a millionaire in Vietnam with all your Vietnam Dongs.

Take a second to take study your Dongs to know the difference between them. If you’re in a hurry, you might mix up 10,000 VND for 100,000 VND simply because of the numbers.

Again, if you happen to overpay, don’t sweat the small stuff because in the grand scheme of things, it won’t be much money in your local currency. Enjoy your trip, and just be mindful next time!

5. Learn How to Properly Cross the Street

The street traffic in most cities in Vietnam is hectic. There is actually a method to this madness.

Here’s the most important Vietnam travel tips for crossing the street:

  • Walk slowly and casually.
  • Make eye contact with oncoming traffic to signal to them that you know they’re there.
  • DO NOT run across the street.
  • DO NOT walk backwards.
  • DO NOT make sudden movements.

It may seem like traffic will never stop so there won’t be a right time to start walking. As a general rule, I started walking when there was about two cars/scooters worth of space behind an oncoming vehicle. I would start at that opening.

If you find it too difficult to cross, you can always wait for a local to come by and shadow them.

6. Download Google Maps Offline Before or In the Beginning of Visiting Vietnam

vietnam travel tips

Although you’ll have your portable wifi hotspot device on you giving you enough data to use Google Maps as you please, it’s always a good idea to download Google Maps offline, and star places you want to go ahead of time just in case your hotspot device runs out of battery or you’re in a wifi dead zone.

When you download an offline map of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, you can use Google Maps without data or wifi! It’ll even have all the places you starred on the map too, which makes visiting Vietnam more convenient for you.

Although you won’t be able to get live directions without data or wifi, at the very least, you can use Google Maps for what it is– a map!

Here’s how to use Google Maps offline without data or wifi.

7. Don’t Drink Tap Water

Tap water is not drinkable in Vietnam so avoid it! Some people even go the extra mile to avoid brushing their teeth with tap water, but it’s not necessary.

From experience, we brushed our teeth with tap water the first day we arrived and ate nothing but street food and had no issues. This is coming from two people who have gotten water poisoning in both Mexico and Thailand while being careful.

8. Get Used to the Beeping of Scooters and Cars

vietnam travel tips

The Vietnamese constantly use their horns to beep at you and other cars. It’s more of a friendly honk that says, “Hey. I’m over here. Watch out.” It is NOT a honk that says, “GET OUTTA MY WAY. I HAVE PLACES TO BE.”

It’s just a helpful part of their driving culture, and you bet you will be hearing it quite often! So it’s a good idea to be aware that there’ll be a never-ending sound of beeping in the cities.

9. Haggle Away

Haggling is part of the Vietnamese culture. They’ll almost expect you to do it so when you are at markets buying goods, you can haggle the price down.

You may be able to work a vendor down to 1/3rd of the listed price so you could potentially offer them half price and work your way up from there.

You could also go to multiple stands that sell the same item to see if the vendor you want to buy from is indeed giving you their lowest price.

In general, we didn’t haggle too much because the difference would end up being $1-2 in USD and it wasn’t worth the extra back-and-forth, but if you do want to haggle, keep in mind a price that you’re willing to pay, stick to it and simply walk away and say thanks if they don’t give the price to you!

10. Tastiest of Vietnam travel tips; Eat Street Food

eating street food in hanoi | vietnam travel tips

Street food is an integral part of Vietnam’s culture. Not only is street food super cheap (under $2) but it’s wonderfully delicious and authentic. We had more fun going street food hopping than eating in restaurants!

If you find the cleanliness of street food to be a bit off-putting, bring your own reusable chopsticks and utensils. Do what it takes to experience this amazing part of Vietnam’s culture.

11. Pack for the Varying Climates

vietnam travel tips

Vietnam is an elongated country so the climate varies a lot from north to south depending on what time of the year you go. For example, if you went in December, it could be snowing in the north with shining sun in the south.

When you think of Vietnam travel tips, clothing might not be the most complicating matter of a trip. However, for Vietnam, checking the weather one week before and making sure to pack clothing for all climates is a must!

For us, visiting Vietnam in August was HOT, HOT, HOT from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. All we packed were summer clothing and were still sweating.

If it’s super hot where you are, try to do your activities as early as possible to relax when it’s hottest out. Also, stay hydrated!

Read about our hotel in Sapa here.

With these Vietnam travel tips, you’ll have the best time there, especially at these top places to visit in Vietnam.

Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of this post.

If you found it to be helpful, you might like what I share on my Instagram @sarchetrit . Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day! xo, Sarah

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There She Goes Again

50 Vietnam Travel Tips I Wish I Would’ve Had

Vietnam Travel Tips

Here are all the best Vietnam travel tips I could think of based on my own trips within the country. Let this be your one stop guide to one of the coolest countries in Asia!

One of my favorite things about slow travel is how familiar you become a place that was once completely foreign. Even though I’d planned my own Vietnam itinerary before, I really got to know the country well when I accidentally found myself calling it home for sixteen months! While there, I learned about more places than I could possibly visit and my bucket list grew exponentially. I’ve written quite extensively about specific spots, but I’ve been meaning to write a huge, practical tip guide similar to my Korea Travel Tips post.

If this is your first time visiting the country, here are ALL the tips and advice you’ll need to know.

I’ve divided it up into:

  • Things to know before visiting
  • How to travel in Vietnam
  • Where to stay
  • Itinerary tips
  • Major things to do
  • What to eat
  • Safety and hygiene
  • Souvenir shopping
  • Random travel tips

The World Coffee Museum, Buon Ma Thuot, Vietnam

Things to Know Before Visiting Vietnam

1. learn some vietnamese.

For the most part, it’s fairly easy to travel Vietnam knowing only English. However, I do think it’s always good to know some Vietnamese, even if it’s as simple as “hello” and “thank you.”

Here are some phrases to help you out:

  • xin chao : hello
  • cam on : thank you
  • oi: used to get attention – combine with “em (younger), anh (older male), or chi (older female)” – “anh oi!”
  • troi oi: omg, Vietnam-style
  • dung lai o day : stop here
  • mot, hai, ba: 1, 2, 3
  • – o dau? : where is -?

I actually wound up taking Vietnamese lessons and loved it. If you’re living in Saigon, I can’t recommend Co Kim enough! Check her Facebook page for upcoming sessions.

2. Learn a bit of Vietnamese history

Vietnam has a very long and complex history that explains a lot of what you’ll see today! Like why are there so many French colonial buildings? What actually happened during the Vietnamese War? Who exactly was Ho Chi Minh? What are ethnic minority tribes. Is there royalty in Vietnam?

It’s actually such an interesting history, and the more you see, the more you’ll be curious about! I’d start with a few Youtube videos to get an overview and then find some cool movies to watch and books to read!

3. Know where you’re flying in

There are two main airports for international visitors: Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi and Tan Son Nhat Airport in HCMC. If you’re living in Asia, you could also probably fly into Da Nang International Airport as well.

Since Hanoi and HCMC are at opposite ends of Vietnam wherever you fly in pretty much just depends on your itinerary! When I came for 2 weeks, I flew in to HCMC from Seoul and then out of Hanoi back to Seoul. I don’t remember the prices being that different.

In case you were wondering:

  • Noi Bai – 40-50 minutes from Hanoi’s Old Quarter
  • Tan Son Nhat – 15-20 mins from D1 in HCMC, 40ish minutes from Thao Dien
  • Da Nang – 10 mins or less into town

4. Make sure to pick up a SIM card

The wifi and data in Vietnam are pretty good all things considered! I distinctly remember having a SIM card and watching the entirety of Brooklyn on my train ride from HCMC to Da Nang with no issues.

You can get them easily at any airport if you have an unlocked phone or dual SIM card holders, or you can order ahead of time here . Make sure you get a phone with calling capabilities because a lot of places will ask you to list your phone number and Grab drivers will always try to call.

Pro Tip: To top off on the go, use ! Works really well and is good about returning your money if it doesn’t work for whatever reason. You can also pay via Paypal.

5. Understand Vietnam’s very vast geography

Of all my initial Vietnam travel tips, the biggest one is this — realize just how long this country is. Like longer than you’d think when planning your trip. If you want to travel efficiently, you’re going to want to fly in between places or be prepared to be on a train or bus for hours. Even when distances seem fairly short, you have to factor in the roads and mountains, and often it’s much slower getting to and fro than you’d think (RIP my mental stability during the 8 hours to Mu Cang Chai ).

I would very much plan out where you want to go and check the map AND check airplane or train routes before you book anything. One mistake my friend and I made was thinking we could fly from Quy Nhon to Hue before realizing there were no flights even to Da Nang! We wound up booking private transport and it took us all day to get there.

6. Know the seasons of Vietnam (and how the regions vary!)

I know you think southeast Asia, must mean it’s hot, humid, and sunny for most of the year. WRONG. It definitely gets cold up north and in the Central Highlands during the winter and early spring. While it does stay quite humid and hot along the central coast and southern regions, you do want to be wary of monsoon season. It can start in April or May and last until October. I didn’t find it too terrible to plan around, and it made the weather so slightly cooler. Just be sure to buy some waterproof sandals (I liked having the Birkenstock Gizeh sandals ).

7. Tips for Clothing and What to Wear in Vietnam

Overall, Vietnam isn’t a super conservative. There are just some things to keep in mind. Like you want to cover up slightly more in Hanoi than in Saigon, and it’s always good to have shoulders and knees covered in at temples and when meeting minority tribes! Otherwise you want to dress to be as comfortable as possible in the tropical climate (unless you’re somewhere colder in the winter). I cannot emphasize how much nicer cotton and linen in lighter colors or black will feel! Avoid colors that show sweat because you will most likely sweat a lot. I pretty much lived in linen dresses!

8. Exchange + Money Matters

Since I have Citibank, I mainly used the Citi ATMS around HCMC to take out cash. Here are the main locations:

  • In Vincom Center near the Zara entrance
  • The Citi building on Nguyen Hue
  • At the airport near the exit
  • At AIS Sports Centre in Thao Dien

Otherwise you can use just about any ATM to take out cash, though most have smaller limits and will charge a certain fee.

Note: Vietnam is NOT credit card friendly. While most luxury hotels and foreign food restaurants and cafes take card, you can almost guarantee that smaller restaurants, local guesthouses, and tours will not. I even know friends who have issues using Grab with their cards, and I personally used cash the whole time.

9. How much a Vietnam trip can cost…

It’s no secret that Vietnam is probably one of the cheapest countries to visit if you’re coming from a Western country. You could very easily travel for $25 or less a day if you were on a strict budget. That said, I think it’s important to acknowledge that you are probably coming from an economically stronger country, and it’s honestly in poor taste to nitpick over a few 100,000 VND. Obviously, don’t let some restaurant take you for a fool and charge you 10x what they’d charge someone else, but don’t sit there and bargain over a few dong that you know you can afford and would probably pay way more for in your home country.

10. Tipping in Vietnam

Tipping is Vietnam is weird! Overall, no you don’t tip nearly as much as you do in the US. I’d say the main places to tip are with salon services. Otherwise, I just rounded up when I pay for food and delivery.

Quy Nhon Train Station, The Vietage, Vietnam

How to Travel in Vietnam

11. how to book local buses and trains.

Easily the cheapest (and slowest and most sustainable way) of traveling Vietnam is via its local buses and trains. When I first went, we took all sleeper trains! If you want to make sure you have a spot, use booking sites like Baolau or Bookaway . Otherwise, you can buy when showing up at the bus or train station. I personally don’t recommend showing up at the bus stations to buy a ticket because they’re absolutely bonkers. Like a million people yelling at you at once. Even I got overwhelmed!

12. Sleeper Trains vs Sleeper Buses

So if you’re not familiar with these… intere s ting forms of transport, they’re essentially buses or trains built to sleep on! For buses, you don’t have seats but you have 3 rows of essentially beds. Everyone takes their shoes off before they got on board. It’s actually not too bad unless you’re on a mountain getting swung about. Sleeper trains are split between hard sleepers, soft sleepers, soft seaters, and hard seaters. When we took a soft sleeper train from Da Nang to Ha Noi, it was 4 beds to one room.

Sleeper buses are very hit or miss, and if you have trouble sleeping these will be absolute hell. The trains are much steadier. I’ve done the bus twice from HCMC – Vinh Long and Ha Noi – Mu Cang Chai. The south was fine because it’s a relatively flat road but Ha Noi – Mu Cang Chai was probably the most miserable 8 hours of my life. For 7 1/2 hours you’re on mountainous road and just getting swung about!

13. Grab is king within cities

The way everyone gets around if they don’t have their own motorbikes is via Grab (or one of the other iterations of it). Grab is SE Asia’s Uber or Lyft, and it’s also used for food delivery. You can book either a motorbike or a car. The car is safer, of course, but the motorbike is so much faster. If you’re really concerned about safety, I would recommend buying your own helmet that goes all the way around your face and over your ears. The grab helmets are pretty useless if you get into a crash.

14. Flying is super easy in Vietnam

Honestly, the best and easiest way to get around Vietnam is flying. It’s usually not much pricier than the trains and it’s so much faster. For airports, I also recommend booking a driver or Grab car because motorbikes usually can’t drop you off at the entrance. They have a designated spot and it’s a pain in the ass to get from that spot to the departure area.

Pro Tip: Leave off going to the smaller airports until like 30-45 minutes before. Usually they don’t even let you check in until then and there isn’t that much to eat or drink.

MGallery Saigon, Vietnam

Where to Stay in Vietnam

15. where should you base yourself out of:.

I like to split Vietnam into 3 – southern, central, and northern. HCMC is the main city of the south, Da Nang in the center, and Ha Noi in the north. If you’re the type of person that would rather book somewhere for an extended period and travel from there, then those are the three cities to look in!

16. The best way to book anything? Facebook and Instagram!

Yep! While I do love all the normal booking and tour sites, usually the best option is to just contact properties, tours, and even restaurants via Facebook and Instagram DM. I swear Facebook is how Vietnam interacts the most! Every time I wanted to book a hotel, I usually just Facebooked the hotel and had a reservation. Heck, in Saigon if I wanted to order from somewhere, I sometimes skipped over Grab and just Facebooked them!

With most places, you’ll pay at the end of your stay. While you shouldn’t have issues using a credit card, some smaller spots may only take cash.

17. Staying at homestays

One of the fun, more unique things to do in Vietnam is to stay at a homestay. This is more common in the more countryside areas like in the Mekong. Da Lat, or Sa Pa. You basically stay with a local family or person. It’s not glamorous but it’s a nice way to get more insight into the region! Some home stays are more built for visitors while others you’re literally in someone’s guest room.

18. Picking between hotels and hostels

Because Vietnam is a big backpacker spot, there are an abundance of hotels and hostels with high ratings. I remember looking at Hoi An and having a ton to choose from with a rating of 9 or higher. I’d say to help you choose, look at reviews of customer service and where the hotels/hostels are located. I’ve had some of the loveliest experiences at hostels here and some of the worst at nicer hotels!

19. Indulging in luxury in Vietnam

If you’re a hotel buff, you’re going to love all the incredibly-designed hotels throughout Vietnam. Bill Bensley himself has design quite a few, but I’ve only stayed at Da Nang Intercontinental so far. A number of luxury brands have properties here including Azerai, Aman, Anantara, MGallery, Four Seasons, Six Senses, and much more. Not to mention the boutique hotels like Pilgrimage Village in Hue, Poulo Condor in Con Dao, or the Mia in Saigon. I will also say from my luxury stays, I’ve had nothing but amazing customer service, so if you’re looking to indulge, this is the country to do it.

20. What is Airbnb like in Vietnam?

Airbnb does exist in Vietnam! I used it to find a more long term place when I was coming for a month. Now that I think about it, though, after that first time I hardly used it. When you stay long enough, it’s better to try to rent an apartment, and there are just so many hostels, hotels, homestays, and resorts that Airbnb becomes an afterthought.

vietnam travel advice reddit

Vietnam Itinerary Tips

21. first things first, be mindful traveling around tet.

Vietnam has a few holidays throughout the year, but by far the most important is Tet, aka Lunar New Year! When you visit during this time, be prepared for sold out trains, flight prices being much more expensive, and some intense city pollution in the days leading up to the holiday! When I first visited, I made the horrible mistake of booking hard sleepers in our train from HCMC – Da Nang but when I tried to switch to soft sleepers, they were totally booked out. We did manage to at least get some soft seaters, but definitely not a fun journey!

On the flip side, if you do visit Hanoi or Saigon during the actual holiday, it’s pretty much the quietest and cleanest those cities will be all year round! Nguyen Hue Street and a lot of nearby spots are fully decked out for Tet, and the traffic is next to nothing as everyone has gone to their hometowns!

22. Should you book a tour or DIY?

I think tours can make things incredibly easy (which is why I’m roughly planning some TSGA tours for 2023 ;)!). However, Vietnam is a lot easier to visit than it gets credit for. It’s definitely not the breeziest country to visit (Korea and Taiwan are tied for that!), but it’s not some jungle of a country that’s hoping to get back at the imperialist Americans your parents are probably imagining either.

Part of why I believe Vietnam gets SUCH a bad wrap is that in the early ages of travel blogging, pretty much every budget backpacker wrote about it negatively and their posts are what people found. Even when I went in 2016, I remember reading post after post to be wary of scams and how scary the traffic can be. Frankly a lot has changed and in the last decade, and I’d take any post written before 2015 with a grain of salt.

However, Vietnam is very doable to DIY even if you want to go to the more remote areas. I’d say it’s even possible to do solo as a female traveler! As with any country, keep your wits about you, be smart, and find guesthouses and hotels where you can lean on the owners for advice.

23. Where to go if you have…

While you could squeeze in a pretty hectic trip from north to south in a week, you’ll really only skim the surface of Vietnam. You’ll probably have time for Ha Noi, Ha Long or Hoi An/Da Nang, and then some time in HCMC and the Mekong. I would instead pick between northern, central, and southern and explore from there.

For northern Vietnam, try to include Ha Noi, Ha Long, Ninh Binh, and Sa Pa. In central Vietnam, do Da Nang, Hoi An, and Hue. If you’re feeling extra adventurous try going between Hue and Phong Nha, which is where the old DMZ is! In southern Vietnam, enjoy the hustle of Saigon, go down to the Mekong Delta, and enjoy one of the beaches areas in Phu Quoc, Mui Ne, or Con Dao.

This is much more doable for a full country trip and what I did on my first trip. Start in Hanoi or HCMC and fly out of the opposite. Include HCMC, the Mekong, Hoi An, Ha Long, and Hanoi. We spent too long in both Hoi An and Ha Long, so you could probably squeeze in Ninh Binh or Sa Pa in that same time frame!

4 Weeks / 1 Month

Here’s where you can really enjoy Vietnam! Though if you’re anything like me and the people I met, the longer you stay, the more you wind up adding to your list of places to see. I would say one month gives you a lot of time to really enjoy the country and lets you slow travel a bit!

I say first start in the north as the top things to do and see are more active and might have you hiking or trekking. Hit up Sa Pa, Ha Noi, Ninh Binh, and Ha Long. If you want to see more, try Ha Giang Pass (on my list!) or Yen Tu and Binh Lieu, two areas in the same province as Ha Long.

If you want to try riding a motorbike (or can drive one!), then here’s how I’d recommend doing central Vietnam. Fly into Dong Hoi to see Phong Nha. Talk to the owner of Phong Nha Farmstay about doing a motorbike tour from there down to Hue where you’ll stop over at the DMZ. Then check out Vietnam’s royal history in Hue before going to the very picturesque Hoi An. Take a moment to enjoy Da Nang and fly out from here to HCMC.

In HCMC, check out the many things to do (at least one day for the main sites and one day for temple hopping in Cho Lon) before making your way to the Mekong Delta. Most people do a day trip which shows you one area, but if you don’t mind staying overnight, check out Vinh Long or Can Tho. To end your trip, pick either Mui Ne, Con Dao, or Phu Quoc for a little beach getaway!

Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam travel tips

Major Things to Do in Vietnam

I mean this section alone needs to be its own post (working on it, promise). There are so many things to do in Vietnam, but over all here are the big, ore general ones:

24. Take some motorbike lessons…

Why not?! I signed up for a class with Ride with Me Saigon and loved it! Find an instructor who will take you somewhere quiet (so not dropping you in the middle of the city) and patiently get you driving.

25… so you can explore Vietnam’s major loops and highways!

Vietnam is covered in some seriously scenic place best seen via motorbike. The two most famous are Ha Giang Loop super far north and Hai Van pass between Da Nang and Hue. But beyond that there are just so many! When you’re not in the major cities, you’ll find yourself just wanting a motorbike to get around. I never *got* why a lot of people liked motorcycles, but once I started driving I could see why. There’s just something so freeing about it that you don’t get in a car.

26. Cafe hop like your life depends on it

Guys, the Vietnamese cafe scene might actually have Korea beat! I know , I’m shocked. There’s just so much coffee in this country, I wouldn’t be shocked if someone came out with a statistic that people purchased more iced coffees than water bottles here.

On one level, you’ve got your ca phe su dua stands where you can just walk up and get your iced coffee to go complete with a little carrier bag. Then you’ve got the more local places that are wide open and lots of people are just chilling and smoking from the low chairs and tables. Milano Coffee is basically a chain of this. Then you’ve got your wonderfully trendy cafes that just make my heart sing. I promise I’m working on some blog posts to give you specific recommendations (for now they live on my Instagram highlights!).

I know I drank way too much coffee here because my eye started twitching at different times and when I Googled why, I was told it could be from caffeine and a lack of sleep!

27. Learn more about Vietnam’s various ethnic minorities and religions

This recommendation may seem a bit odd as 85% of Vietnam is Vietnamese and 74% is atheist, but the country has a really interesting history with ethnic minorities and various religions! When it comes to ethnic minority tribes, you’ll find many of them in the mountains especially Mu Cang Chai, Sa Pa , and the Central Highlands. If you go trekking, the main thing to do is to meet with some tribes and learn more about their culture within Vietnam.

Religion-wise, Vietnam feels like temple central! Seriously, in Cho Lon , Saigon’s Chinatown, alone, you could spend all day visiting each Buddhist temple. There is also a small presence of Catholicism around the country, so you’ll still find some beautiful Indochine cathedrals and churches.

The coolest thing I learned about though, was Caodaism. It’s a religion wholly unique to Vietnam and its version of the Vatican is in Tay Ninh. Once you see its temple style once, you’ll recognize it when you see it throughout the country.

28. Explore Champa ruins

Once upon a time, central and south Vietnam were part of the Champa Kingdom. As in from the 100s AD to 1832! Today what’s left of their rule are the Chams, now an ethnic minority mainly in Cambodia and Vietnam, and some incredible archeological ruins. The most famous is Mỹ Sơn near Hoi An, but you can find small ones throughout Vietnam like in Phan Thiet, Nha Trang, Binh Dinh, and more. Plus quite a few museums house some Champa artifacts like both the Fine Arts museums in Hanoi and Saigon!

29. Look for the remaining French influences in Vietnamese culture

French had control over Vietnam through the 1800s and early 1900s, and their presence is still felt throughout in the form of architecture and design. It’s kind of funny. I found Vietnam still loved the aesthetics of French colonial rule even though it’s, you know, related to French colonial rule.

You’ll see a lot of places use Indochine designs, and much of the French buildings are still standing and in use. Kind of like the people decided, “We don’t want your oppressive colonialism, but you guys did have good style, so we’ll keep that.”

30. Plan to hike or trek at least once

Even if you’re not a hiker, you’ve got to go at least once in Vietnam. The mountains are just too beautiful! The best places to do this are up in the ricefields of Sa Pa or Mu Cang Chai or the caves of Phong Nha. Of course, there are also various mountains you can do, but many of them have cable cars too, like Nui Ba Den (Black Virgin) and Fansipan.

31. Get to know Vietnam’s coast

If you look at a map of Vietnam, you’ll notice it has a lot of coastline. Ha Long Bay is the most famous area to visit and Da Nang is the best coastal city, but really there are a ton of towns and islands I hadn’t even heard of before I visited. Con Dao has my heart forever, and while I haven’t been to Phu Quoc yet, many of my friends love the resorts there (not so much the trash issue). For the Saigonese, Mui Ne and Phan Thiet are incredibly popular. I also loved Quy Nhon, especially staying at the Anantara there, and I have friends who stayed further south at Zannier Hotels Bãi San Hô and loved it too.

Really, I’ve only scratched the surface of what there is to see along Vietnam’s coast, but I’ve seen enough to know you don’t want to skip out on it!

Bun Mam Co Ba, Vinh Long, Vietnam travel tips

What to Eat in Vietnam

30. the best vietnamese food is found on the sidewalks while you sweat over plastic chairs.

If there is one tip you take from all these Vietnam travel tips, this is the most important! Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of fantastic fine dining in Vietnam. But if you want the most authentic and delicious versions of these dishes, you will find them outside on the sidewalks and buried in neighborhood markets. If they have an actual building, it’s open air and you’re still probably sitting on plastic chairs!

29. It’s good to know a few food terms

The one time I remember totally freezing up is when I first started venturing out to the random food stalls to look for lunch or dinner. Beyond pho and banh mi , I had no idea what to look for! Here are some good terms to know:

  • pho: the ultimate soup dish
  • bun : noodles
  • ga : chicken
  • thit : meat
  • banh mi: bread, but also a baguette sandwich
  • mam : fish sauce
  • nuong : fried
  • ngọt : sweet

Beginner’s Tip: If you’re in Saigon, I recommend going to Ben Thanh Market first or booking a food tour. The food market there is very used to foreigners, so they have photos on their stalls! And, of course, if you do a food tour they can help explain the dishes and terms in person.

24. Let’s talk about coffee for a minute

I know I went into the cafe scene above, but let’s talk about the coffee itself! Did you know Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee exporter?! As you might guess, it was the French who introduced coffee to the country and began building plantations.

Today, coffee is truly a part of Vietnamese life. The most classic thing to get is a ca phe sua da, or iced milk coffee (it’s always listed as Vietnamese iced coffee in other countries). You fill a cup with ice and condensed milk, and then you drip your coffee over top. Mix and let the ice melt (easy to do in the tropics). When it’s melted just enough and your glass is sweating with condensation, that is the time to start drinking!

Of course, there are plenty of other variations, and in most trendy cafes you can get your classic lattes, cappuccinos, etc. But just once, while traveling sit down and get a nice big bowl of beef pho and an almost too-strong cup of ca phe sua da!

Variations: Some other variations of Vietnamese coffee to look for: cà phê trứng (egg coffee), more popular in Hanoi; cà phê muối (salt coffee) in Hue, and coconut coffee pretty much everywhere (start with the many Cong Caphes around the country).

31. More drinks to try in Vietnam

I actually have a whole list of Vietnamese drinks to try! There are a lot of cool fruit juices, regional beers, and more worth trying while you’re here. I’m quite partial to lychee iced tea and nuoc mia (sugarecane juice)!

31. How vegetarian and vegan friendly is Vietnam?

Actually, I’d say it’s easier to find vegan and vegetarian-friendly food in Vietnam than I remember it being in Korea, especially in the cities. In the countryside, you’re pretty much shit out of luck, but in the cities big and small, there are also some really good vegetarian options! Try looking to see if there are practicing Buddhist monasteries around too and if they have a restaurant as Buddhist monks are all vegetarian, I believe!

33. Is it easy to get takeout?

Takeout culture is a big thing in the cities here! It’s almost too good, and I admittedly got very lazy. The easiest thing to do is order via Grab (other apps exist but Grab is the most reliable). However, I also found that many restaurants were easily reachable via Facebook and could arrange their own delivery drivers, so I did that whenever possible.

BInh Hoa Phuoc River, Vinh Long, Vietnam

Safety and Sanitary Concerns

34. how safe is it to travel in vietnam.

Over all, Vietnam is fairly safe. The biggest thing you want to worry about is someone on a motorbike swiping your wallet or phone or motorbike accidents (which are pretty rare considering how hectic driving is here). Just keep your things close to your body and have a firm grip on your phone if you pull it out near the road. I always do this thing where I turn against a wall if I look at my phone so it’s harder for someone to come up and grab it.

35. Does Vietnam hate the US and France?

I know what you might be thinking. As an American or French person, should I be worried Vietnamese people will actually hate my guts? Shockingly… no. I remember a friend once saying the US had higher approval ratings amongst Vietnamese than Americans!

Actually, I’d say the one country Vietnam has the most animosity towards is China. It’s similar to Korea and Japan right down to an island dispute (theirs are the Spratly Islands).

36. How are the bathrooms?

Bathrooms range but over all aren’t too bad! I didn’t use them too often, but obviously the more Westernized restaurants and shopping centers have nice, clean ones. I would say the grossest ones are probably on the trains.

37. Wtf is a bum gun?

Guys, let me tell you about the bum gun. I’m mad at myself for not using them sooner but I was apprehensive! Korea bidets are attached to the toilet seat, so you literally just sit there and hit some buttons on the side. Wouldn’t a bum gun be kind of gross and get everywhere? Also how would I get my butt?

Ok, so fear not. All you have to do is open your legs wide and spray front to back. It doesn’t get on the back of the toilet lid and will get all your crevices. If you want to, you can use a little toilet paper to dry or just sort of squat and shake a bit before pulling your bottoms back up! Remember: if your dog pooped on your hand, would you use toilet paper to wipe it off or wash it in water?

39. How clean is Vietnam?

I’m not going to lie to you guys, Vietnam is definitely not the cleanest place I’ve been. Obviously the countryside areas are pretty nice, but the cities can get quite dirty. Recycling is nonexistent and littering is definitely a problem. There always seems to be construction going on, so there are sometimes sparks flying and just a pile of rubble for weeks on end. Sidewalks are nonexistent outside of District 1, and the air pollution is notoriously horrendous.

Chances are if you’re not living in the cities, you won’t notice it as much as a traveler. But it’s just something to be mindful of!

Metiseko silk dress

What to Buy for Souvenirs

40. anything related to coffee.

Back to coffee! But seriously coffee beans, drip coffee, the delicious instant coffee packets… Just know you can’t ship coffee beans!

41. Clothes that are tailor made

Vietnam is home to a ton of talented tailors especially in Hoi An! I’ve written about getting clothes tailored here . I was definitely spoiled while living there and had a ton of things custom-made and/or tailored. I already know when I go back, I’m going to have some more things made like suits and silk dresses! If you’re in HCMC, go to TuyetLan Orchids Tailor , and if you’re in Hoi An, go to Izi !

42. Any local boutiques and brands

There are some really cute brands that have sprung up in Vietnam. The ones I love the are Metiseko , Dynasty the Label , and Kilomet 109 !

43. Anything Vietnamese themed

I mean once you get here you’ll see all the cute Vietnam-themed souvenirs in the most random places. My favorite is this Obama bun cha magnet I found in a bookstore in Go Vap! I’ve also picked up some cute illustrated books and postcards and just a lot of cute things I can’t wait to decorate with.

Hanoi Train Street

Random Little Vietnam Travel Tips

44. really make sure the person knows what you’re asking.

So one slightly annoying thing I discovered is that Vietnamese people will say, “Yeah, yeah, okay” when they don’t know what you’re saying or they don’t know the answer. This will happen a lot in cafes and restaurants. They’re not actually confirming anything! I try to use my card as much as possible, so I’ll ask if card is okay, and without fail they’ll say “Yeah, yeah, it’s okay,” when it’s definitely not. So if you’re not sure, double and triple check, pull out Google Translate, or, in a credit card case, your actual card and make sure they’re actually saying yes. I remember one time I asked twice and then it was when I physically pulled out my card, they finally said “Oh no, cash only.”

45. There’s a bit of a culture difference between the north and south

I don’t know that I really noticed this on my first trip, but I do distinctly remember liking southern Vietnam way more than northern Vietnam. Most people I’ve talked to prefer the south as it has nicer weather year round and it’s a lot less conservative. For example, I just found out Hanoi still has a curfew left over from the wartime!

46. Is it Saigon or HCMC?

You know how a lot of places have changed names over the years? “So if you’ve a date in Constantinople, she’ll be waiting in Istanbul”? Well, Ho Chi Minh City is the same! Until 1976 when the Socialist Republic of Vietnam was established, HCMC was known as Saigon. Actually if you really want to get into it, there’s a whole article on this regions’ naming history.

So, what’s the “right” thing to call this city? Well, it depends ultimately who you’re talking to, but from my experience and asking local friends here, both are used interchangeably. Saigon obviously rolls off the tongue a lot easier than Ho Chi Minh City and it’s easier to call someone Saigonese, like you’d call someone Hanoian, than it is to say “Ho Chi Minhian” or “Ho chi Minhese” (don’t even think those are things).

On this blog, I use HCMC in my titles, etc but in my actual text I might go back and forth!

47. You’ll meet more than teachers!

I think it’s because I didn’t live in Seoul or Busan while in Korea, but I feel like all the expats I knew were there because they were on an E-2 teaching visa or married. However, in Saigon, I’ve met people doing all sorts of things. The entrepreneurial spirit is really alive here (both expat and Vietnamese) which I think gives the city a really fun energy. Seriously besides teachers I’ve met people who work in furniture manufacturing, alternative energy, ecotourism, fitness, fashion, export/import… the list goes on really! If you’ve got the same spirit, then I think Vietnam is a really cool place to be.

48. Animal welfare has a long way to go.

If you’re a sensitive animal lover, I’m going to warn you that Vietnam is going to be a hard country to enjoy. Animal welfare is improving, but it’s still not at a level you’d probably hope for. And it’s not unusual for dogs to get stolen, so you have to be REALLY diligent if you intend to adopt.

If you do want to get involved in helping out, there are animal volunteer groups! ARC Vietnam Animal Rescue & Care is a good place to start and, of course, fostering is always an option! Another great place doing a lot for animals is R House .

49. How communist is Vietnam?

Yes, Vietnam is communist and has been since the end of the war. It’s not something that I find affects day to day life too much, but I also don’t recommend going around with anti-communist books or questioning the government. And I really, really do not recommend shouting out anything inflammatory against Bac Ho unless you want to get make your embassy’s life a living nightmare!

50. Facebook group are key for finding friends and advice!

I’ve found Facebook groups to be incredible sources of information and just for finding a bit of community. When I first came, I joined Fexpats in HCMC , and it’s remained a great source. The Hanoi equivalent is, I believe, Hanoi is Beautiful, but I couldn’t find it last I checked. If you want to make friends or are confused about anything just search there or ask. Lots of women in there have been here for a few years at least and it’s very chill.

Other good groups I’m in include Vietnam is Awesome, Vietnam Creative Circle, and [VN Legal] Vietnamese Legal!

And that’s all the Vietnam travel tips I have you for you! Let me know if you have questions or comments below!

For more Vietnam travel, read these posts next:

General vietnam.

  • How to Plan a Trip to Vietnam
  • 22 Photos to Inspire You to Visit Vietnam
  • How to Plan the Ultimate Leaving Vietnam Trip

Northern Vietnam

  • The Best Things to Do in Hanoi
  • What to Do in Halong Bay + Travel Tips
  • Hanoi to Halong Bay: How to Get There
  • A Day Cruise Along Halong Bay
  • Mu Cang Chai Travel Tips
  • A Secluded Sapa Itinerary
  • Hiking & Herbal Baths with the Red Dzao

Central Vietnam

  • Historical Things to Do in Hue: Ultimate Guide
  • Hue in One Day: A Speedy Itinerary
  • Azerai La Residence Hue Review: A Luxury Stay
  • A Semi-Relaxing Phong Nha Travel Itinerary
  • Quirkiest Things to Do in Dalat
  • How to Visit Yok Don National Park
  • Top Things to Do in Hoi An
  • How to Spend 3 Days in Hoi An
  • Hoi An Tailors: Tips for What to Get Made
  • The Vietage: A Luxury Train in Vietnam
  • Anantara Quy Nhon Villas: A Luxury Review

Southern Vietnam

  • Things to Do in Ho Chi Minh City: A Bucket List
  • A Guide to 15B Hem Le Than Thon: Little Japan Saigon
  • Where to Go in District 5 & Cho Lon of Saigon
  • Best Things to Do in District 1, HCMC
  • What to Do in Mui Ne and Phan Thiet
  • Anantara Mui Ne: Best Resort for a Girls’ Getaway
  • Mekong Delta Day Trip: What to Expect
  • A Guide to Vinh Long in the Mekong
  • Con Dao: An Island Travel Guide
  • Azerai Can Tho: A Luxury Stay in the Mekong
  • Odys Boutique Hotel Review: A Chic Mid-Range Stay in HCMC


All the best Vietnam travel tips! | vietnam trip, vietnam travel guide

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Vietnam Travel Guide

Vietnam is a fascinating travel destination with good cuisine and lots of history.

North Vietnam has rugged mountains and green rice terraces, while south Vietnam has the Mekong Delta, the infamous Cu Chi tunnels, and other interesting locales from the Vietnam War era.

Read through this complete Vietnam travel guide for more info on what to expect!

Quick Facts

Vietnamese; 'Thank you' is 'cam on'

Folk religion

Vietnamese Dong (VND)

eVisa or visa free access for 70+ countries

Tropical; hot & humid year round. Dry season is Nov - April

Power Plugs

Type A / C / F

Grab , Go-Jek

The main airports in Vietnam are in Hanoi (HAN), Ho Chi Minh City (SGN), and Da Nang (DAD), which all have direct flights from many countries in Southeast Asia and beyond. There are also direct international flights to popular spots like Nha Trang and Phu Quoc.

You can shop for flights to Vietnam on Skyscanner.

Vietnam is a relatively safe place to travel, with a low violent crime rate of 1.5 per 100k inhabitants (76% lower than the global average). People are very friendly and welcoming.

The biggest safety risks are probably motorbike accidents and natural threats, like dengue fever or malaria. Be sure to wear mosquito spray in rural areas or near farmlands, especially during the rainy season.

The climate of Vietnam is tropical, so the weather is generally hot and humid year round, although the northern part of the country can have cooler temperatures at altitude.

Vietnam's 'winter' is mostly dry and that runs from November to April in the north, while the summer experiences a lot of rain and lasts from May to October (with the wettest months being June, July, and August).

Vietnam is a very budget friendly travel destination, with  hostels available from 120k Vietnamese Dong ($5 USD) and private hotels from 360k . Meals are also cheap, costing about 50k to 150k VND depending on location.

Transportation in Vietnam is generally by motorbike or car, and these can be rented, but hiring a driver is cheap and often preferable. Transportation apps like  Grab and Go-Jek  are great for short distance trips. For longer distance trips, buses are the way to go.

The best Vietnam tours & activities

My latest blog posts about Vietnam

How To Visit The Vietnam Incense Village (Quang Phu Cau)

The Hanoi area of Vietnam has lots of interesting places that you can visit on a short trip outside the city, and one of the best for …

Fansipan Mountain In Vietnam: Scenic Tour By Cable Car

Fansipan mountain (also known as Phan Xi Pang) is the tallest mountain in Vietnam, and also the tallest mountain in the Indochina peninsula (Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia). …

Get In Touch

Feel free to contact me if you have travel questions, comments, or suggestions! I'll try to get back to you!

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TRAVEL to VIETNAM – Tips and Information Guide (2024 Edition)

Everything you need to know about travel to Vietnam in our comprehensive 2024 Vietnam travel guide.

We get it. You’re wondering what the absolute best destination to travel in Southeast Asia is.

You’ve spent hours researching.

Talked to friends.

Scoured the internet for blogs.

Watched YouTube videos.

And you’ve finally realised something.

Without a doubt, Vietnam is the place for you.

And trust us, as a couple that have travelled the world for over a decade, we think you’ve made the right decision.

There’s a reason Vietnam is our all-time favourite country…

From the tropical coral reefs of Nha Trang to the northern mountains of Sa Pa, travel to Vietnam is one of the most adventurous yet culturally empowering experiences you can have.

One moment you will find yourself haggling for  banh mi  deep within Saigon and later that day you could be watching a breathtaking sunset from the Mekong Delta.

Vietnam is more than a country. It’s an experience.

You’ll find yourself immersed among street food vendors cooking up exotic cuisines such as  pho  along streets with stores selling suits and ties.

Or you’ll be cruising the waters of Halong Bay while monkeys jump from island to island.

Or you might find yourself trekking to the highest peak in Vietnam, Fansipan soaring to over 3,100 metres!

Not into adventure activities? Homestays are the perfect way to spend your day as the monsoon rains fall across the endless snaking rivers of the Mekong.

Vietnamese hospitality is unrivalled and is something that you should experience once in your life, so what are you waiting for? Say good morning Vietnam! And go get lost!

So we’ve convinced you to travel to Vietnam? Awesome!

Now check out the basic information about the country in our Vietnam travel guide.

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25 BEST Things to Do in Hue, Vietnam (2024 Edition)

The perfect vietnam itinerary for 1, 2, or 3 weeks, canyoning in dalat – what it is really like, travelling in vietnam: at a glance.

Here are the basics about travel to Vietnam.


Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Da Nang, Hue

Vietnamese Dong (see  current exchange rate ). 1USD approximately = 23,000 dong. 1 beer = 30,000 dong ($1.30USD)


Travellers from most countries in the world are required to have visas. In most cases these can be obtained upon arrival for either 3 or 6 months. For information about your specific visa requirements click  here.

Vietnam is fairly safe for travellers. Petty theft tends to be the biggest concern and always be on the lookout for taxi scams. Also of concern are minor auto/motorbike accidents. This is one place it’s great to have travel insurance when visiting.


220 Volt at 50Hz. Power plugs – Type A: 2 vertical pins, Type C: 2 round pins, Type F (also known as Schuko plug): 2 round pins (Be sure to get your  universal travel adapter  before you leave)


Intercity travel is possible by plane, train and bus. Within cities, towns and villages you can expect to get around on bicycle rickshaws, motorbike taxes, taxis and bus.

Don’t Forget to Pack the Most Important Thing: Travel Insurance !


With so much to see and do in Vietnam, it really is hard to pick the top experiences.

However, we think that to truly appreciate Vietnam you need to plan to do these 5 activities during your visit.

Take the Overnight Train from Hanoi to Sapa

Said to be one of the most eye-opening train rides in the world, as you pass through lush forests, rice paddy fields on your way to the Vietnamese – Chinese border.

Book your  train ticket here .

Sapa Trekking

Hike Through the Rice Terraces of Sapa

Explore the area with the local hill tribes. Stay with them during your trek. And enjoy the beautiful terraced countryside for which Sapa is known.

Here’s our full post about  trekking in Sapa .

Mekong River, Laos, Luang Parabang, Boat, Cruising

Cruise the Mekong Delta

Probably one of the ‘must do’s of Vietnam.’ The Mekong Delta is full of hidden gems including floating markets, friendly locals and late afternoon storms.

Book a multiday  tour of the Mekong Delta

Things To Do In Vietnam

Go Caving in Phong Nha

Caves there can fit a 747 plane in it. They are massive and spectacular. This is an adventure you will never forget.

Book your  Phong Nha cave tour

Motorbikes The Evolution Of Nomadasaurus

Ride a Motorcycle

Yes, that’s right! Hiring a motorcycle or scooter is a must. But maybe do it out on the country roads. Opt for the famous ride to the mountain village of Dalat, or pretty much anywhere throughout the country.

Read about how to ride through the famous  Hai Van Pass

Other Things to do in Vietnam

Learn to cook Vietnamese food . Eating delicious Vietnamese food is one thing. Eating it after you’ve  learned to prepare it  is another!

Scuba dive  in Nha Trang. You may not think of Vietnam as a big scuba location, but there is  some great diving  to be had in Nha Trang.

Go canyoning  in Dalat. Rappel, slide, jump and  climb your way through canyons  in this gorgeous place!

Explore the Marble Mountains  in Da Nang.  These beautiful mountains  have been mined for marble for years and have incredible views and temples to visit along the way.

Sandboard down the sand dunes  in Mui Ne. It’s like snowboarding, but down massive sand dunes! Enjoy this rush!

Visit the Giants Causeway  in Ghan Da Dia. Half the world away from the Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, be amazed at  this unique geologic structure .

Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels  outside of Ho Chi Minh City. No trip to HCMC is complete without  touring these historic tunnels  that were used during the war.

Conquer the Hoi An Pass on a motorbike . This is known as one of the most beautiful sections of highway in the world. Enjoy!

Explore the world’s biggest cave . We have a special connection with  Hang Son Doong  as it is where we were engaged. Make your own special moment too!

Climb the highest mountain in Indochina  in Sapa. Fansipan is over 3,000m above sea level and  offers incredible views  along the way to the top!



A First-Timer’s Guide to Trekking in Sapa

The 11 Best Things to Do in Da Nang, Vietnam (2024 Guide)

33 BEST Things to Do in Vietnam (Epic 2024 Guide)

10 BEST Things to Do in Ninh Binh, Vietnam (2024 Guide)

Scuba Diving In Nha Trang – Is It Worth It?


There are plenty of amazing places to visit in Vietnam. Depending on your interests, trip duration and time of year you will find plenty of things to do during any length of stay. 

When slurping a bowl of pho in a local market or exploring an ancient temple, it’s easy to feel like you’ve stepped into a time machine in Ho Chi Minh City.

Halong Bay Photo Essay

A collection of over 3,000 limestone islands providing endless kayaking opportunities. Take the time to relax aboard a boat or venture to Cat Ba National Park for mystical waterfalls!

Book your  tour of Halong Bay

Tenple Hanoi

The capital of Vietnam is also one of the most ancient capitals in the world. The history of Hanoi is rich, devastating and full of legends. This mystical city is also known for its cuisine, silk, buzzing nightlife as well as cultural diversity.

Plan your 3-day  Hanoi itinerary

Temples Of My Son Near Hoi An

My Son Temple

Ancient temples dating back 1,000 years give a culture understanding into Vietnam’s past all while showing the scars of the war.

Book an early morning  tour of My Son

For more information on specific things to do in the top places to visit in Vietnam, reference our following city travel guides: 

Ho Chi Minh City:

*  Ho Chi Minh City Itinerary *  Day Trips from Ho Chi Minh City

*  Hanoi Itinerary * Day Trips From Hanoi

Dalat Hoi An

Da Nang Hue Ninh Binh



We’ve put together a few Vietnam itineraries that are sure to leave you wanting for nothing at the end of your visit. 

There are so many amazing things to do in Vietnam that planning an itinerary for your travel can be a little overwhelming. 

Even though the country is one united nation, you can think of it geographically as being divided into a northern and southern region.

So depending on how much time you have, you may want to explore the northern region, southern region or the entire country.

Of course, no one-size-fits-all plan will suffice. But if we were to head back to Vietnam these are the top places and things that we would want to do! 

1-Week Vietnam Travel Itinerary Highlights

Most people spend at least a month went hey travel to Vietnam. But if you had just one week, or were willing to split a few weeks between the northern and southern regions, this is how we’d spend our time! 

Northern Vietnam

  • Fly into Hanoi
  • 2 nights – Hanoi
  • 2 nights –  Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay
  • 2 nights  – Sapa
  • Alternative to Sapa  –  2 night in Hue
  • Fly out of Hanoi

Central Vietnam

  • Fly into Hanoi or HCMC. Get a local flight down to Dong Hoi
  • 3 nights  – Phong Nha
  • 2 nights  – Hue
  • 2-3  nights  – Hoi An
  • Fly out of Da Nang to either Hanoi or HCMC to leave

South Vietnam

  • Fly into Ho Chi Minh City
  • 2 nights  – Ho Chi Minh City
  • 2 nights –  Mekong Delta
  • 2 nights –  Dalat
  • 1 night –  Mui Ne
  • Fly out of Ho Chi Minh City

READ MORE: Check out this post for more details on our  Vietnam travel itinerary . 

Hoi An Streets


Best time to visit vietnam.

The best time to travel to Vietnam really depends on what you are looking for in terms of weather, scenery and budget.

Peak season occurs from mid-December through to February. But expect prices to double during this time. The low season is perfect for those on a budget.

  • Low Season –  April to June, September to November
  • Shoulder Season –  December to March
  • High Season –  July & August

Northern Vietnam  –  The best months to travel Northern Vietnam are April to May or September to October. There are mostly sunny days and the rain has stopped.

The weather gets really cold from December to March and is not suited for hiking or sailing a junk boat in Halong Bay that time of year.

Central Vietnam –  The best months for travel to Central Vietnam are January to June. There are heavy rains in October and November and the really hot months are from May to August.

Southern Vietnam  –  The best months to explore Southern Vietnam are January to April where conditions are beautiful.

You really can travel the south at any time of the year. Just note that from May to November there are afternoon downpours.

Things To Do In Hanoi


Vietnam is a cheap country to travel if you want it to be, this all depends on what your budget is like. Our advice is always over-budget when making plans, and if you come home with money, it can go towards your next trip. All prices below are in USD per day.

Budgeting Tips

To make your money go further here are a few tips: 

  • Eat street food as often as possible. You can usually fill up for $1-2USD.
  • Travel in groups when possible. Staying in hostels will lead to making friends. And with friends, you can split transportation costs and barter on other expenses.
  • Negotiate taxi fares before taking the ride. Vietnamese taxi drivers are notorious for flexible fares that tend to fall int heir favor. Don’t be afraid of a little negotiation.
  • Drink  bia hoi . Sure it’s not the more delightful beer. But it is shipped in fresh each day, it’s cheap and it’s what the local drink.
  • Take in the sights for free. Do a little research and walk the streets on your own. You’ll also find there are a number of free tours and other opportunities if you ask around.
  • Sleep on overnight busses for longer trips. Combine the transportation and accommodation line items of your budget and save a few dollars.

But there are a few things you should know about the different budgets at which you can choose to travel.

Note: Budgets shown as Single Traveller / Couples per day. 

Budget Traveller ($35 Single / $50 Couples)

If you are on a backpacker budget and planning on staying in dorm rooms, getting street food, drinking a few nights of the week, I would budget for about $35 a day.

A single hostel bed can be $5-$8 per person. A budget basic private room is $15-$20. A street food meal can be $1-$2. A bottle of beer is about $1- $1.50 and a  bia hoi  is $0.20 per cup. This is not the nicest beer. But it is passable and you get to make new friends when drinking it.

Walking or taking public transport will keep your budget down. There are many free things to do, you just need to think outside the box.

Mid-Range Traveller ($100 Single / $120 Couple)

If you have a little more cash in your budget your travels in Vietnam will become a lot more comfortable.

A nicer hotel is definitely affordable.

There are restaurants where you will pay more than the street food price. But the food is definitely of nicer quality (most of the time). The local beer can get a little too much sometimes so you will be able to enjoy an international beer or wine.

For the attractions you are most interested in, get a guide and learn more about the history of the country. You’ll be able to commit much more of your budget to do things rather than cutting corners just to stay alive.

Luxury Traveller ($90+ Single / $120+ Couple)

You don’t have to have that much more to enjoy a luxury trip to Vietnam. With a few more dollars in your budget, a nicer hotel is definitely affordable. Eat and drink anything you would like at virtually any restaurant.

You can hire transportation without having to haggle. And you can pretty much do any tour you would like to do when visiting any part of Vietnam.

Steaming Grain Best Compact Travel Camera


Entry requirements.

Most travellers are required to have visas when travelling to Vietnam, which can typically be arranged upon arrival. You are typically allowed to stay for 3 – 6 months, depending on nationality.

For information about your specific visa requirements click  here

Additionally, Vietnam has introduced an electronic visa (e-visa), which costs $25 USD and is granted for single entry visits for up to 30 days.

You no longer will have to apply through an agent to get an invitation letter or queue at the airport immigration for hours waiting to receive your visa upon arrival.

Apply in advance  here .

Once you are approved, all you need to do is print the visa out and present it on entry to Vietnam. Don’t lose this e- visa print out as you will need this during your travels in Vietnam.

Hotels will ask for it on check-in at the accommodation and travel agents may ask for it if you are booking flights.

Also, print out your  travel insurance  as well. Immigration will ask for this also as they want to know you are covered if you fall ill or get injured during your stay.

Japanese Bridge In Hoi An

Getting to Vietnam

There are a number of different ways to travel to Vietnam, depending on where you are coming from and how you like to get around with transport.

There are a lot of different airlines that fly to Vietnam from all over the world. There are two major international airports in Vietnam: Tan Son Nhat Airport (SGN) in Ho Chi Minh City in the south and Noi Bai Airpot (HAN) in Hanoi in the north.

Direct flights to Vietnam from Australia, Europe and North America are still limited, but it is improving. You will most likely have to book a flight with a stopover in either Hong Kong, Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul or Singapore.

There are many domestic airports scattered among the country. Vietnam Airlines is Vietnam’s national carrier. We have flown with them several times and they are amazing.

You can cross into Vietnam by train from China, all the way from Beijing to Ping Xian. This is the Dong Dang Crossing which is 160km from Hanoi.

After you have crossed the border hop on a train to Hanoi. Don’t buy the direct ticket from Beijing to Hanoi. It works out cheaper to buy your ticket from Beijing to Ping Xian then cross the border and purchase another ticket from Dong Dang to Hanoi.

If you do the train trip from Beijing through to Hanoi, it will take 36 hours so it is best to book a sleeper. Make sure you have your visa organised before getting to the border.

You can bring your own food and drinks for the train or purchase them from the cafeteria on board. There are squat toilets on board and areas to store your luggage.

You can get to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City through either the Cambodia, Laos or China borders. There is a route from Vientiane (Laos) to Hanoi, and one from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City.

Most travel agents in Vientiane, Siem Reap or Phnom Penh will sell the tickets or at your accommodation. You can also get a minivan from Guangzhou through to Hanoi.

Make sure you have your visa ready. The border crossings by land may not be set up as well as others.

If you want to book any of your bus trips online rather than trying to deal with travel agencies in the country, you can do so on the popular website  Bookaway .

Man In Rickshaw

Getting Around Vietnam

Getting around Vietnam is surprisingly easy. Public transport goes everywhere, and there are plenty of moto-taxis that are happy to take you to the places that public transport won’t reach.

Travelling by Air

The fastest way to get around the country, of course, is by air. There are many domestic airports all over the country and you can fly in from major cities.

You can get cheap flights within the country through VietJet Air and Vietnam Airlines. For the best deals head directly on the airline’s website.

Travelling by Taxi, Tuk Tuk Or Mototaxi

When you are in the cities and town catching a taxi, tuk-tuk or moto-taxi can be the best way to get around. For taxi companies, look for the biggest and most reputable companies as you can be ripped off.

For the tuk-tuks, ask your accommodation the average price to your destination so you can agree on a price with the driver.

We recommend Uber and Grab (car or motorbike) which you can use an app and get the price.

Travelling by Bus

It is possible and advisable to travel by bus throughout Vietnam. Busses inside of cities can be complicated and should be a last resort.

However, when travelling long distances in Vietnam busses are a great option. This is especially true if you take night busses and sleep during the ride.

Travelling by Motorbike

We think travelling by motorbike is the best way to see Vietnam if you have the time. Buy your own motorbike and ride the length of the country. Or you can choose one area and explore Northern Vietnam or South Vietnam.

Here’s our post to help guide you on  how to buy a motorbike in Vietnam .

Travelling by Train

Taking the train is a great way to get around the country. They are great for overnight journeys as the trains have bed cabins.

In Vietnam, there are many places with roadwork that can last for years. So trains can be the best way to go.

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We know you’ll absolutely love travelling in Vietnam. But technology has made it easier, more affordable and safer to travel than ever.

Here are a few apps we think you should definitely acquaint yourself with prior to your travels:

Grab  – Use this app to catch a ride from any metro area in Vietnam.

XE Currency  – Transfer, monitor and calculate currency as the need arises. This app may not be totally necessary as you are typically tied into rates the banks charge for services. But it is handy to have around. 

Express VPN  – This will protect your sensitive information wherever you travel – not just in [Country]. Be sure to have this to keep your online information secure as you travel. 

iTranslate  – Even if you don’t know more than a handful of Vietnamese words, iTranslate will help you communicate as you travel in Vietnam. 

WiFi Finder  – With this app, you no longer have to guess whether the next place on your itinerary has WiFi or scramble across town looking for hot spots.

Market Be Your Own Travel Concierge


When you travel to a foreign country one of the new and most exciting things you will experience is the food. There are so many amazing food choices in Vietnam, and Vietnamese food is delicious.

Here are a few of our favourites.

Goi Cuon:  This is a rice paper packed with greens, coriander and various combinations of minced or shredded pork, shrimp or crab. It will be served with a sweet and sour sauce or a delicious homemade peanut sauce.

Sometimes to make the experience even better, you get to hand roll them yourself. This was our favourite dish.

Banh Mi:  With this one, it will be different in every corner of Vietnam. This is a baguette sandwich that is filled with meat, greens, pata, pickled vegetables, soy sauce, cilantro and sometimes an omelet.

The meat filling will be roasted pork belly, grilled pork loin, barbecue pork, boiled chicken, or a fried egg.

Pho (pronounced ‘fur’):  This flat rice noodle soup is either light beef or chicken broth flavoured with coriander and ginger with spring onions and bits of meat (chicken, pork or beef).

It is a dish you can have any time of the day and is delicious, but it can be hit and miss in some places. If you have an average one, please do try it again. We ate pho a lot for breakfast and never got sick of it.

Bun Cha:  This is a Hanoi specialty and it is deliciously addictive. Bun Cha is served with grilled fatty pork over a plate of white rice noodles. It will be served with a sauce.

It will all be served separately and you combined everything together. You can ask for some little fried spring rolls on top too. It is so delicious!

Coa Lau:  Hoi An is the best (and only authentic) place to try this one. as the noodles are made using water from a special well in town.

It is chewy rice flour noodles with Chinese barbecue pork, bean sprouts, croutons and fresh herbs in a delicious pork-based gravy.

Bun Cha Hanoi


There are accommodation options for all budgets in Vietnam. You can stay in a shared dorm for $5 USD per night, or a luxury hotel for over $300 USD.

The accommodation standards can vary in each destination.

For example, we got a really nice hotel in the middle of nowhere when we were on our bike for $12 a night. But we would not find a place like this in Hanoi, Hoi An, HCMC or Hue for less than $25.

NOTE –  In Vietnam, the accommodation will keep your passport for the duration of your stay. This is to do with the government. Officials will randomly come around and check hotels and hostels.

If they do not have the ID or passport of every person staying there, the accommodation will be fined. The accommodation will keep your passport in a safe. If you are unsure just ask, “do you lock my passport up?”

Types of Accommodations

Vietnam is wildly popular among backpackers. Because the costs are generally incredibly low, budget travellers flock to the country.

This means that there are lots of great hostel options when looking for accommodations in Vietnam.

Whether you are busy spending all your time exploring and are just looking for a cheap place to crash for the night or want to make friends along the way, you will find most of what you are looking for in a variety of hostels throughout Vietnam.

Because costs are generally lower in Vietnam than in most parts of the world your quality of life can go up quite a bit when you travel to Vietnam.

One way you can upgrade your travel experience is by booking rooms in hotels instead of beds in hostels. For a few dollars more you’ll get vastly more space and privacy.

In some towns and villages, hotels are your only option.

But generally, these are very reasonably priced. You can expect to spend USD$20-30 for a decent hotel room in most cities, towns and villages across Vietnam.

Another good option in recent years is AirBnB, and there are more and more amazing places popping up to stay in Vietnam for very affordable prices every day.

As is typical in many destinations where Airbnb accommodations are available, you’ll likely find great value and a little more personal space with an Airbnb stay. 

If you’re looking for an awesome place to stay, we personally love using Airbnb. If you’ve never used the platform before,  sign up using this link to get USD$35 off your first booking .

Our Favorite Places to Stay in Vietnam

We travelled from the south to the north and stayed in many different places. Here are a few accommodation options we highly recommend.

Temple Hoi An


The Vietnamese people are friendly, welcoming and hospitable towards travellers. It is a great destination to travel to in Southeast Asia.

The people are very respectful and would like the same back from you. Here are a few things that you should know before going to Vietnam.


While we have  many basic travel tips  we suggest you use when travelling to Vietnam, there are also plenty of Vietnam-specific tips that will make your visit the best it can be. 

Here are a few we recommend you consider as you plan your trip to visit Vietnam: 

Please show respect to their religious beliefs and their cultures . You are travelling to someone else’s country. They have different religious beliefs and cultures in your home. Please respect them.

Watch your belongings.  Vietnam is a safe country but unfortunately, there still is petty theft. Whether you are at a restaurant or on a bus always watch your belongings.

Beware of the counterfeit tour agencies . Unfortunately, there are plenty of these around, especially in the main tourist areas. Book through the main owner or operator or any of  these tours that we recommend .

Do not drink the tap water.  The locals don’t even drink the water. There is bottled water available everywhere. Popular tourist restaurants will usually have on their menu that they wash their salad and veggies in sterilised water and make tea, coffee and soup from that too.

Carry toilet paper everywhere . There are toilets available in restaurants or in public but there may not be toilet paper. Most of the time you have to pay for the public toilet and they may give you some toilet paper, but don’t count on it. Always have your stash.

Toilet paper goes in the bin . DO NOT put the toilet paper in the toilet. Please put it into the bin provided. Vietnam’s sewerage systems are not built for much more than human waste so toilet paper and other items will just clog up your toilet.

Embrace the “bum gun “. Next to every toilet in Vietnam, there is a water hose. This is not to wash down the floor. This is to clean yourself up after you do your business. Don’t be disgusted by this. Embrace it.

Vietnam is bigger than you think . This country is huge and many people underestimate it. Vietnam is about 1,650 kilometres long from north to south. The distance on buses and trains is long so be prepared.

Take note of the Vietnamese money . It will be a new currency for you so do take a look at it before you go out spending. There are more zeros in it than you might be used to (1USD = 23,000 Dong)

Always take photos when you rent a scooter . Renting a scooter in Vietnam is something everyone does. It is a great way to get around and see all the attractions. But where you rent it from can get you into trouble. Whenever you rent a scooter take photos of the bike or else might end up with a crazy expensive bill.

Always wear a helmet. Always . Please wear a helmet. The roads are crazier here than they are in your country. The rules are different and road conditions are not the best. A quality helmet could save your life in an accident.

Make sure you have travel insurance . We tell people who are going travelling, “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.” You do not know what is going to happen while you are away and knowing you are covered will put your mind at ease.

Be confident when crossing the road . The roads in Vietnam are crazy. Crossing the road can be daunting but you need to be confident. Do not walk backward or hesitate. Walk slowly and watch the traffic coming towards you. They will all move around you.

Take your shoes off before entering a temple or a person’s home . It is a custom that stems back to ancient times and a big part comes back to cleanliness. The ground is used for chatting, dining and even sleeping.

Cover your shoulders and knees when entering a temple . This is common in most religious sites. There are always signs suggesting visitors dress ‘appropriately.’ Shoulders and knees should be covered. If it is a hot day and a t-shirt is too sticky, carry a scarf for when you visit to cover your shoulders.

Keep a low profile . Do not be loud, raise your voice in aggression or show off. Do not show dramatic affection publicly like kissing. Save it for the hotel room

Ask for permission before taking a photo of someone . This is polite and ensures you are not intruding on them. The people are not there for your entertainment. If they say no, smile and thank them anyway.

Do not take photos of anything to do with the government or military.  This is a big NO in any country and can end up with you in jail.

Do not touch someone on the head . The head is the most important part of the body. Touching someone’s head who you don’t know is like saying you are more important than they are.

Place your chopsticks across the top of the bowl when finished . Don’t have your chopsticks hanging out of the bowl, and don’t point them at anyone when they are resting on the plate.

Riding Northern Vietnam


We always travel with a  core packing list  wherever we go. And when it comes to Vietnam, many factors will affect what else you need to bring along with you. 

Check out our  travel essentials  and be sure to add any of the other additional items listed below. 

Important Note!  Before you book any international trip, we honestly recommend getting travel insurance. You never know when things will go wrong, and medical bills can add up quickly if you get sick or injure yourself overseas.

Our personal recommendation based on our own experience is  World Nomads .


Which countries or regions are you traveling to, what’s your country of residence, enter traveler’s age, staying safe in vietnam.

Vietnam is extremely safe, apart from the one major danger which is the roads. They are crazy, even more so if you try to ride 10’000km around the country on motorbikes as we did!

Aside from that, common sense will keep you safe.

Here are a few reminders of what common sense when travelling in Vietnam means:

As you saw above, Vietnam is extremely safe. We did not feel unsafe once in the 7 months we were there (excluding the roads).

This doesn’t mean you can completely let your guard down though, and petty theft does happen in this country, although it’s not common.

Some tips for protecting your things:

In other words, use common sense and you’ll be fine.

Band Playing In Street Hanoi


Staying connected with friends and family (and work) when travelling in Vietnam is important. But if you don’t know how to connect you can find yourself greatly inconvenienced or spending too much money.

We feel like your money will go a lot further if you consider a few options. 

Purchase a SIM Card

Picking up a SIM card has become the quickest and typically most affordable way to stay connected in Vietnam or any country for that matter.

If you have an unlocked phone you can use a 4G SIM card to connect to the cellular networks in Vietnam. From there you can cast a hot spot if you need to crank out some work on your computer or want to connect a tablet.

This 3G/4G SIM card  is a great and affordable option for a SIM card if you are flying into Vietnam.

Rent a Portable WiFi Device

Alternatively to a SIM card, particularly if you don’t have an unlocked phone, you can rent a portable WiFi device during your travel to Vietnam.

This device  will be delivered to you when you arrive in Vietnam and will provide 4G service for less than USD$5 per day.

You’ll be able to connect anywhere you can find service across the country, which will be most of the places you are likely to travel in Vietnam.

Access Free WiFI

Free is always best, if it is convenient. And there are plenty of places throughout Vietnam that will provide free WiFi in public spaces or at restaurants, cafes and hostels and hotels.

We recommend using the  WiFi Finder  app, which will help you locate WiFi anywhere you travel in Vietnam.

This Image Has An Empty Alt Attribute; Its File Name Is Vietnamese-Market-Lady-1024X683.Jpg


We absolutely love Vietnam. And we love the idea that it will remain a beautiful and friendly place for travellers for years to come.

Here are a few tips specific to travel to Vietnam that will promote sustainable tourism in the country:

Use your own energy to get around.  Walk or cycle through town as much as possible. Taking a cyclo-taxi is a close alternative if you don’t have the energy to propel yourself through the city. But this reduces the impact of taxis, busses and other forms of automotive transportation.

Mind your plastic . Plastic is everywhere in Vietnam. But using your own reusable bag for groceries and other shopping, carrying a reusable water bottle and having your own straw are just 3 of the many simple ways you can reduce the amount of plastic you use.

Shop local . Visiting the markets will be one of your top experiences when travelling to Vietnam. Support local vendors as often as possible, including in taking tours when available.

Be mindful of wildlife . Wildlife in the wild is great. But be mindful not to provoke, feed or otherwise molest wildlife. And never purchase any item made of or involving rare or endangered species.

Attempt to communicate in Vietnamese . You’re probably not going to be fluent as soon as you arrive in the country. But knowing a few phrases and doing your best to communicate with locals will show respect and earn trust and make your experience richer.


You don’t have to be fluent in Vietnamese to have a great time when you travel to Vietnam. But it does help to know a few key phrases.

This will not only assist you in your travels but it will also show respect to the local Vietnamese people that you are doing your best to assimilate into their culture. 


Maybe you already know everything about Vietnam. Chances are you don’t!

But even if you are well-read, here are a few suggestions that might be worth your time while you’re on the plane to Vietnam. 

The Quiet American  (Graham Greene) – Originally published in 1956 and adapted for film twice, this story by Greene became an instant classic. Greene fictionalizes life in 1950s Vietnam as told by a British correspondent trying to understand the roots of the rising conflict set to occur.

At Home In The World  (Thich Nhat Hanh) – World renown Vietnamese monk, Hanh reflects on lessons and stories in life from the Buddhist perspective.

Vietnam: Rising Dragon  (Bill Hayton) – A piece of nonfiction that looks back on the Vietnam of old and attempts to projects its place in the future of Southeast Asia.

The Sympathizer  (Viet Thanh Nguyen) – The Pulitzer Prize-winning book, allegedly influenced by  The Quiet American , is told through the eyes of a double-agent during the Vietnam War who struggles to understand the minds and hearts of men engaged in war.

DISCLAIMER:  Some of the links in this article are affiliate links, which means if you book accommodation, tours or buy a product, we will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help us keep creating more free travel content to help people plan their holidays and adventures. We only recommend the best accommodations, tours and products that ourselves or our fantastic editorial team have personally experienced, and regularly review these. Thanks for your support, kind friend!

Table of Contents

Read our vietnam posts, 20 amazing things to do in hoi an, vietnam (2024 guide), 14 incredible things to do in dalat, vietnam (2024 guide), the perfect 3 days in hanoi itinerary [2024 guide], 25 amazing things to do in hanoi, vietnam (2024 guide), the perfect 3 days in ho chi minh city itinerary [2024], the 8 best day trips from ho chi minh city (2024 guide), caves, zip lines and deep mud in phong nha, ganh da dia – vietnam’s own ‘giant’s causeway’, ba be national park – the lake, trekking and happy water, motorbiking the road from dalat to nha trang in vietnam, riding sea to sky: hue to hoi an by motorbike, getting a chinese visa in hanoi, vietnam.

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50+ Essential Vietnam Travel Tips You NEED Before You Go

I decided to sweat it out on a beach on the island of Phu Quoc to pass on my top Vietnam Travel Tips, via video.

My travel tips for Vietnam haven’t come lightly though. I’ve spent over six weeks there, have written 15 posts on this blog, and right now Google deems my two-week Vietnam itinerary so good I’m at number one if you search ‘two-weeks in Vietnam’ or similar. I’m also pretty high for my post on things to do in Vietnam – thanks to the bloggers I’ve featured.

So yeah, I like to think I know Vietnam, as much as you can after cycling through it from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City , and visiting twice.

I’ve had a think about everything you need to know before you travel Vietnam and it’s all here, with links to some of my other Vietnam advice from the last three years too. Honestly? One of my favourite countries.

Let’s do this…

My Vietnam Travel Tips

(Just hover over the bar and move the player to get to where you want to go)

  • Airports (0:32)
  • Money (1:37)
  • Costs (2:07, bit more at 14:20)
  • Hotels (2:45)
  • Traffic (3:10)
  • Overnight Trains (3:48)
  • Mopeds (4:06)
  • People (4:49)
  • Westerners (6:00)
  • Women (6:34)
  • Family Life (7:28)
  • Karaoke (7:56)
  • Language (8:35)
  • Tourism (9:44)
  • Food (10:23)
  • Booze (11:54)
  • Shopping (12:47)
  • Beauty (13:26)
  • Where to Go (14:57)
  • Wi-Fi (17:00)

Vietnam travel tips: airports

1. Sort your visa before you arrive for the quickest exit. You can spend 15 days in Vietnam visa free if you’re from the UK, any longer and you need to get a visa.


Click here to read all my advice on travelling to Vietnam . I’ve got over 30 posts, so you’ll be well prepared! 

Interesting Facts About Vietnam to Know Before You Go

2. Make sure to use a Mia Linh or Vinasun taxi when you exit the airport. They’re the most recommended and they’re reliable. You can just hail them off the street – anyone who does it for you will charge.

3. If you’re coming into Hanoi, a taxi will be about 300,000 Dong into the Old Quarter and will take 45 minutes. It’ll probably feel like a really long way.

4. Coming into Ho Chi Minh City? It’ll be about 150,000 and 15 minutes to Pham Ngu Lao – the main backpacker area.

5. I found getting in and out of the airports I used – Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Phu Quoc – very easy. Arriving two hours before was fine.

Vietnam travel tips: money

6. You need to get to know the colours and value of the notes… money in Vietnam comes in thousands . Right now it’s about 40,000 dong to the pound, meaning you’re a millionaire with just £40. This is VERY confusing when it comes to paying and working out which notes to hand over.

7. Vietnam can be SO cheap, but of course you’re trading off time and comfort for that. How much you’re willing to sacrifice totally depends where you are in your travel life.

8. If the price you’re given, for anything, isn’t written down then it’s negotiable. Get your haggle on!

Accommodation in Vietnam

9. You can get hostel beds in the cities for around $5 – I can’t vouch for how good they are seeing as I’ve stayed in hotels, where a room starts at $13. Time to treat yourself right?

Vietnam advice

10. There are some incredible hotels in Vietnam – if you’re willing and able to spend £20 each a night, if there are two of you, your can live it up! Check out this post on some of the most unique places to stay in Vietnam to suit your budget. 

11. If it’s important to you, make sure to check your hotel has a lift. Most of the places I stayed in didn’t. Cue me wheezing as I climbed up six flights of stairs with my 20kg bag.    

Travelling Vietnam advice

12. One of the first things you’ll notice in travelling Vietnam is that the traffic is crazy, it’s tough to cross the road. In the cities you just need to go and trust that the motorbikes will go around you. Practice will give you confidence.

Vietnam advice

13. Overnight trains run up and down the country and they’re a fun way to get around. I’d definitely recommend you give one a try but please make sure you take your own pillow case. I was horrified to see that they don’t change them in between people – after I’d slept there for 12 hours, with a terrible cold.

Sorry next person .


‘Sleeping’ on the Overnight Trains in Vietnam

14. Seems like everyone in Vietnam has a motorbike and you can rent one too. Personally I wouldn’t recommend them in the cities, but Hoi An would be fun and if you go to Phu Quoc you definitely should. So much fun.

15. The roads in Vietnam are crazy with cows and all sorts. Don’t be surprised if you have to divert round an ox as you try to get from A to B.

Vietnamese people (travel tips )

16. I’ve seen a few comments on blogs and sites about ‘scammy’ Vietnamese people and I absolutely wholeheartedly disagree . In my experience, everyone I met was so friendly. I’ve just done a two-week cycle ride with Intrepid through the Vietnamese countryside and people would come out with their children to say hi to us, absolutely no strings attached.

vietnam advice

17. Generally, Vietnamese people are much smaller than Westerners, in fact they’re the smallest in South East Asia. So don’t be offended if you hear people refer to ‘Western size’.

“Average height of Vietnamese people aged 22-26 is 1.642 meters in men and 1.534 in women” – Prof. Dr Nguyen Cong Khan , head of the Science, Technology and Training Department under the Health Ministry. “The average man in England is 5ft 9in (175.3cm) tall and the average woman is 5ft 3in tall (161.6cm).” – BBC News

16. Women do it all in Vietnam. Apparently it’s starting to change but you’ll see the women carrying, caring, cleaning and working. Life as a woman in Vietnam is very hard and they die much earlier than men. As one male tour leader told us, ‘from exhaustion’. This is all down to a Chinese teacher and philosopher called Confucius . Read up on him if you want to know more, but from what I’ve heard he’s a sexist, psychotic, megalomaniac.

17. Different generations of families all live together as standard. The youngest son is expected to stay with his family, bringing his wife and kids into the home, while the oldest one would traditionally go and serve the country.

18. Vietnamese people love karaoke. Love it . Even in the deepest countryside you’ll find karaoke places. In Ho Chi Minh City in particular I saw older guys with their own karaoke machines going up and down the street singing at the top of their lungs, totally tunelessly without a care as to whether anyone was enjoying it or not.

19. Women wear twinsets pyjamas by day. I’m not entirely sure they are pyjamas but that’s the best way to describe them. Very matchy matchy, they look super comfy.

Vietnamese travel tips: language 

20. You’re going to have to get your best pointing finger out because English is not widely understood here. I mean, you’ll get by, don’t worry, but don’t expect any long D&Ms. Our Intrepid tour leader was awesome and I learnt a lot about Vietnam from him, but I didn’t really meet anyone else to talk to.

So, if you want my Vietnam advice, I’d say you need to learn some Vietnamese.

21. Vietnamese language is all about the intonation – the same written word without all the accents could mean a number of things which can get confusing.

22. The longest word is only 5 letters long, except for Nguyen – half of the Vietnamese population have this as a surname.

23. How to say ‘thank you’ – ‘cam on’ (like cam as in Camembert and on as in on, watch the video above to avoid making a mistake!)

24. How to say ‘hello’ – ‘Xin Chao’ (said like zin chow).

25. Oh and ‘yum yum’ means ‘I’m horny’, so I was told. Be careful.

Tourism in Vietnam 

26. Tourism is the big business in Vietnam, and it’s only getting bigger. So go now . Tourism in January 2017 is up 23.6% on January 2016. That’s crazy! There are big plans by the government to get Vietnam up in the leagues of Thailand. In 2016 there were 10 million tourists to Vietnam, while Thailand had 32.6 million – still a way to go, but with all the development, it’ll happen.

27. Given the positioning and length of Vietnam, there’s a lot of coastline to explore. And other countries are interested in having some presence there too. Vietnam’s coastline is being redeveloped with loans coming in from all over the place – mainly Russia. When it comes to booking try and choose Vietnamese places to keep the money with the locals.

READ MORE: Where to Go in Vietnam

28. Wi-Fi is everywhere in Vietnam. On my Intrepid Cycle Vietnam trip I’d be in the middle of nowhere and there’d be a connection from a local garage or house that’d left it open. The cities have public connection too – strong enough for your Facebook and Instagram updates.  

Food and drink in Vietnam

29. Banh mi and pho are the most popular dishes for tourists visiting Vietnam, but check out my article on the top things to eat in Vietnam to widen your palate. Save the article to your phone so you have it ready for action.

30. Do a street food tour in either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City to experience more of the Vietnamese foody repertoire. Do it at the start of your trip so you have more time to go back to the places you liked the best. Get your money’s worth!

Vietnam advice

31. It’s rice for breakfast, lunch and dinner in Vietnam. Speaking of breakfast, if there’s ever a Western option I’d recommend you avoid it. It won’t be the croissant and delicious muesli you dream of, guaranteed. Go East, it’s what you’re there for.

32. Some of my favourites Vietnamese foods for you to try:

  • Try Bao Xeo – shrimp and beansprouts wrapped in a pancake.
  • Fresh spring rolls – shrimp and veggies wrapped in rice paper
  • BBQ – choose your meats and cook them in front of you, or ask the waitress to do it ,
  • Egg coffee – coffee, with egg…
  • Claypots, we’d call them stews or curries

– it’s all DELICIOUS .

33. You can get a glass of beer for 5,000 VND in Vietnam, that’s about 20p . You need to look out for the signs for ‘bia hoi’. This is their fresh beer that’s brewed that day and needs to be used that day too. It’s good stuff!

If you prefer to drink out of bottles than kegs you’re looking at around 20,000 VND, still less than a £1 for a Hanoi or Saigon beer.

34. Every region has its own fare to try so if in doubt when you’re in a restaurant, ask what the local dish is and go for that.

35. Wine is horrible in Vietnam. Well, the Dalat wine I tried was. Undrinkable. Stick to beer. Or it’s super sugary questionable cocktails for you.

36. Don’t drink out the taps. A 500ml water is 6,000 Dong in the shops, around 21p, and 10,000 if you take it from your mini bar. Try and drink the bigger 1.5 litre bottles to save money and on plastic waste.

37. I didn’t use any public toilets, but I did just walk into hotels I wasn’t staying at and use theirs. No one minded. Sometimes toilets will be long drops but most of them now are Western style.

Shopping and spending in Vietnam 

38. There are cash machines everywhere and if you’re sticking to the main cities you’ll have no problem. They charge around 30,000 Dong to withdraw from (£1) plus your bank fees.

39. You can get a pair of ‘Nikes’ for 200,000 (£7) sports branded bags for 100,000 (£3.50) and tailor made shirts for 300,000 (£10.62). If you want to know the best souvenirs to buy in Vietnam, click here.

40. In Hoi An you can get shoes, suits and other clothes tailor made. Check out my post on my blog on how much I spent in Hoi An (coming) to find out what I paid. If you have a particular pair of trousers, or any item of clothing, you really like, you can take it along and they’ll replicate it.

41. Beauty treatments are so cheap in the cities. I paid 200,000 (£7) for an 80-minute hot stone massage, 180,000 (£6.37) for a shellac, and 50,000 (£1.77) for a pedicure. Go nuts!

42. You can get your laundry done in Ho Chi Minh City for 10,000 a kg (35p).

43. Most historical and cultural attractions are either free or around 40,000 (£1.42) to get in.

Where to go in Vietnam advice

44. Wait till you get to Vietnam to book your tours and excursions, you’ll get them a lot cheaper.

45. There are a few sides to Vietnam I’d love you to include in your itinerary – beach, city and countryside. Make sure you get all three in yeah?

Vietnam advice

46. There’s so much diversity in the locations in Vietnam. Here’s a super quick run down of what each place has to offer…

Hanoi is an old city, Ho Chi Minh is new. Hue has a huge palace, Hoi An a strong influence from the French and some would say too touristy, I say lovely.  Phu Quoc is where the Vietnamese go on holiday, Mui Ne where the kite surfers go. Nha Trang is another holiday place, popular for its mud baths while Qui Nhon is super modern. Sapa is for hikers, Halong Bay to sail and Mai Chau  for the home stays.

Here are the top Vietnam landmarks to include in your trip.

Check out my two-week Vietnam itinerary on my blog to find out more, or just ask me in the comments below – always happy to help!

Where to go in Vietnam Advice

Check the prices for your Vietnam buses , trains, flights and ferries here… 

Pin these Vietnam travel tips for later

Vietnam Travel Tips

More blog posts on Vietnam

If these Vietnam travel tips haven’t quite quenched your thirst for knowledge, or answered your questions, then check out some of my other posts on Vietnam here…

  • Where to Go in Vietnam
  • Two-Week Itinerary for Vietnam
  • Halong Bay: The Most Beautiful Place in the World?
  • Best Things to Do in Vietnam According to 11 Travel Bloggers
  • My Friend is Not a Sex Tourist
  • What Vietnam Was Like, For Me
  • Ever Drank Weasel Poo Coffee?
  • ‘Sleeping’ on the Overnight Trains in Vietnam
  • Visiting the Egg Mud Baths in Nha Trang
  • 9 of the Most Beautiful Beaches in Vietnam for Sunbathing
  • The Craziest Things I Saw in Hanoi

Vietnam Travel Tips

Related Posts:

  • My Tips for Travelling Vietnam Solo
  • The Ultimate Vietnamese Adventure: Hiring a Motorbike
  • Unique Places to Stay in Vietnam
  • 9 Most Beautiful & Best Beaches in Vietnam for Sunbathing
  • 12 Interesting Facts About Vietnam to Know Before You Go

Hi, I'm Vicky! I wrote this. You can find me on all the social media @VickyFlipFlop. I love a bit of adventure, will try anything once, and have a strong passion for the local food and drink, whatever it may be. I'm here to help inspire you to travel to places a little out of your comfort zone, or at least to explore the usual destinations in a different way. Stay, have a look around, and if you have any questions – let me know below.

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Visa application - is it a scam? Urgent advice please - Vietnam Forum

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Visa application - is it a scam? Urgent advice please

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vietnam travel advice reddit

31 replies to this topic

' class=

The 'scam' with all of these sites is that she overpaid for a service she could have just got herself from the Vietnamese government for $25 US by getting it from a commercial agent.

I have never ever ever heard of a scam where the agent took the money and supplied false documents. Ever. She'd be the first.

I do wish people would start just quoting which is 1) easier to communicate, 2) obviously correct and 3) can be typed into a browser without having to search for 'visa for Vietnam' or whatever. The internet is awash with these commercial sites, but they're so easy to avoid.

vietnam travel advice reddit

You know, l don't recall ever seeing a post about someone being denied boarding or entering, because they applied for a visa through a 'scam' site.

But posts about people using sites other than the one they should have?

Not saying she won't have an issue, but my suspicion is she'll be fine, and she just paid more than she should have.

Thanks for your help, greatly appreciated

vietnam travel advice reddit

Sounds like your daughter decided to pay a 3rd party visa agent (nothing appearing for me with the website address given however) to apply for the visa for her, instead of just doing it herself on the official Govt visa website as always advised

All the 3rd party visa agent websites I have seen clearly state they are a visa agent who you pay to apply for a visa for you, rather than the official Govt visa website. They are not scams

The best way to find the official Govt visa website for any country is to just go to the relevant TA forum for the country & it takes 2 mins at the most normally to find the correct website

People who just google, pick the 1st website that appears & don't bother checking anything, are normally the ones who use 3rd party visa agents

The website has finally appeared, & states this on the front page of the website. It is quite clearly not the official Govt visa website, & people should not use it, unless they want to pay a 3rd party visa agent to apply for the visa for them

vietnam travel advice reddit

If this EVisa she has been given is a scam, is there any way she can get a visa there?


Her photos and details will be stored on immigration hard drives No visa on arrival since the pandemic.

She will be ok, just out of pocket $80 for something she could have done herself.

We are getting 10 a month on this forum, no one had been denied entry.

She must keep that evisa untill she leaves the country.

Thanks again everyone for your help. At least she learnt a valuable lesson re applying for Visa's, and to double check sites that she is on.

' class=

It's a scam.

I received the document on, what looks to be the official letter with a scannable QR code.

The QR code navigates to google, that's it. Nothing else.

Do NOT use this site.

Only use the official site:

it's $25.00 USD. If you're on another site OR you're paying more, know that you're likely getting scammed.

Also, look at the bottom of the website's main page. It's registered in Madrid Spain. Why would government agency register their approved passport providers in a foreign location? Answer: they wouldn't.

> The QR code navigates to google, that's it. Nothing else.

Well, let's see before we cry scam. Official E-Visa QR code deocdes to something like


5555555555GBRyymmddXmYYMMDDX'lots of less than signs'X

5555555555 Passport number

GBR Country

yymmdd Date of birth

YYMMDD Valid until date

X Presumably check digits

It's doesn't 'link' to anywhere. It's just data. Does yours check out for that data?

You can't say it's a scam (other than the extra payment for the service) unless and until it's refused as not genuine by Immigration.

Tripadvisor doesn't like anything that look s like HTML, so don't type the less than characters.

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vietnam travel advice reddit

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Vietnam Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Vietnam

There are no notices currently in effect for Vietnam.

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines


Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Vietnam.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers of all ages traveling to Vietnam.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

Japanese Encephalitis

Recommended for travelers who

  • Are moving to an area with Japanese encephalitis to live
  • Spend long periods of time, such as a month or more, in areas with Japanese encephalitis
  • Frequently travel to areas with Japanese encephalitis

Consider vaccination for travelers

  • Spending less than a month in areas with Japanese encephalitis but will be doing activities that increase risk of infection, such as visiting rural areas, hiking or camping, or staying in places without air conditioning, screens, or bed nets
  • Going to areas with Japanese encephalitis who are uncertain of their activities or how long they will be there

Not recommended for travelers planning short-term travel to urban areas or travel to areas with no clear Japanese encephalitis season. 

Japanese encephalitis - CDC Yellow Book

Japanese Encephalitis Vaccine for US Children

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Vietnam take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Vietnam.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Rabid dogs are commonly found in Vietnam. However, if you are bitten or scratched by a dog or other mammal while in Vietnam, rabies treatment is often available. 

Consider rabies vaccination before your trip if your activities mean you will be around dogs or wildlife.

Travelers more likely to encounter rabid animals include

  • Campers, adventure travelers, or cave explorers (spelunkers)
  • Veterinarians, animal handlers, field biologists, or laboratory workers handling animal specimens
  • Visitors to rural areas

Since children are more likely to be bitten or scratched by a dog or other animals, consider rabies vaccination for children traveling to Vietnam. 

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

  • Avoid contaminated water


How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil

Clinical Guidance


  • Wading, swimming, bathing, or washing in contaminated freshwater streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, or untreated pools.

Avoid bug bites


  • Mosquito bite
  • Avoid Bug Bites
  • Mosquito bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Vietnam, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene | Healthy Water
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Vietnam. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Some diseases in Vietnam—such as dengue, Zika, and filariasis—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Vietnam include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Vietnam. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Vietnam’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of Vietnam. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.


Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Vietnam may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Vietnam, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Vietnam, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Vietnam .

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in Vietnam, dial 115 for an ambulance, 114 for the fire department, and 113 for the police. Write these numbers down to carry with you on your trip.

Learn as much as you can about Vietnam before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Vietnam from the US Department of State

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Vietnam for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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Exercise normal safety precautions in Vietnam.


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Local emergency contacts

Fire and rescue services, medical emergencies, advice levels.

Exercise normal safety precautions  in Vietnam.

  • Road accidents are a major cause of injury. Be alert at all times on the roads. 
  • Petty theft, including bag slashing, is common in tourist areas and crowded places, especially during holiday times. Snatch-and-grab theft by thieves on motorcycles is also common. Hold bags and backpacks in front of you or on the opposite side to the traffic to make them harder to steal. Be aware of motorbikes approaching as you walk. Carry the minimum amount of valuables. Be prepared to surrender your valuables rather than risk being injured in a struggle.
  • Aggravated theft, sexual assault and assault happen. Travellers have been assaulted after having their food or drinks spiked. Pay attention when your drinks are being mixed. Get urgent medical help if you suspect drink spiking.
  • Personal or commercial disputes sometimes lead to threats of physical violence or death. Have a clear agreement on the expected level of service. Report any threats to police.
  • Travellers have been robbed withdrawing money from ATMs. Credit and debit card fraud and card skimming happen across Vietnam. Taxi and gambling scams are also common. Only use ATMs in banks and shopping centres. Always keep your credit card in sight. Use metered or prearranged taxis, especially at airports. Report gambling scams to police.
  • During the rainy season (June to November), floods, typhoons and severe weather can disrupt essential services. Follow the advice of local officials.

Full travel advice: Safety

  • Air pollution levels can be high in Vietnam, particularly in large cities.
  • Insect-borne diseases such as dengue, Japanese encephalitis, malaria and zika virus are a risk. If you’re pregnant, discuss your travel plans with your doctor. Use insect repellent. Get vaccinated before you travel. Consider taking anti-malarial medication.
  • Rabies occurs in Vietnam, especially in the north. It’s fatal without treatment. If you’re bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help immediately.
  • HIV/AIDS is a risk. Take precautions if you’re taking part in high-risk activities.
  • Diphtheria is a risk. Ensure your vaccinations are up-to-date.
  • Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is common. It mainly affects children and young adults. Foodborne, waterborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases include cholera, hepatitis and typhoid. Wash your hands well and often. Drink only boiled or bottled water. Avoid raw or undercooked food.

Full travel advice: Health

  • Don’t use or carry illegal drugs, including marijuana. Penalties for drug offences include the death penalty and life imprisonment. Never carry parcels or luggage for others.
  • Get professional legal advice before signing any contract. If you're in a business or civil dispute, officials could stop you leaving Vietnam until it’s resolved.
  • It's illegal to gamble in a non-government licensed casino or possess pornography. Non-state sanctioned political or religious activity or material, or involvement with groups perceived by the Government of Vietnam to be associated with dissident groups, is also illegal. 
  • It’s illegal to export antiques without a permit. Get a permit from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (Vietnamese) . It’s illegal to photograph border areas or military sites. Be careful when taking photos.
  • Possessing or distributing images or objects linked to the former Republic of Vietnam, including commemorative or Vietnam War service-related items, is an offence that could attract harsh penalties.
  • Vietnam recognises dual nationality in limited situations. If you're a dual national, travel on your Australian passport. You may need to do compulsory military service. Contact your nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate for details.

Full travel advice: Local laws

  • You must have an appropriate visa before travelling to Vietnam. You can  apply online  for an eVisa for tourism or business purposes. If approved, the eVisa allows for a stay of up to 90 days and is valid for multiple entries. Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. You should contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam for the latest details.
  • You must check your details are correct when applying for a visa. The visa details must match exactly the information on your passport's biodata page, such as your full name and date of birth. Any errors or name omissions may result in you being refused entry. You may be charged a significant fee at check-in or on arrival to correct the visa error.
  • If you're travelling with prescription medication, check the value and quantity restrictions on the import and export of prescription medication with the nearest  embassy or consulate of Vietnam .

Full travel advice: Travel

Local contacts

  • The Consular Services Charter details what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
  • For consular assistance, contact the Australian Embassy in Hanoi , or the Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City .
  • To stay up to date with local information, follow the Embassy’s social media accounts

Full travel advice: Local contacts

Full advice

Petty crime.

Petty crime, street crime and harassment happen, especially in larger cities.

Bag slashing is common in tourist areas, at markets, on crowded trains and buses, and at supermarkets. It increases in the lead up to and during Vietnamese and Western holiday periods.

Thieves on motorcycles commit snatch-and-grab crimes against pedestrians. This happens often and sometimes results in injury.

Thieves steal valuables, such as jewellery, handbags, mobile phones and cameras.

To protect your belongings:

  • take care crossing the street or walking along footpaths
  • be aware of motorcycles approaching from behind as you walk on the footpath
  • hold bags and backpacks in front of you or in ways that make them harder to snatch
  • carry only what you need and leave other valuables in a secure location
  • be prepared to surrender your valuables rather than risk being injured in a struggle

Violent crime

Aggravated theft, sexual assault and assault happen. Hot spots include:

  • Ho Chi Minh City
  • Sapa, especially on the train to and from Lao Cai
  • Cat Ba Island, near Ha Long Bay

Reports of groping and other sexual assault are rising.

Drink spiking occurs. Foreigners have been robbed and sexually assaulted after having spiked food and drinks. This happens at late-night establishments in major cities.

To protect yourself from drink spiking:

  • only drink alcohol at reputable places
  • pay attention when your alcoholic drinks are being mixed
  • stay with people you trust in bars and at nightclubs

If you think your drink or a friend's drink has been spiked, get urgent medical attention.

If you're a victim of a violent crime, especially sexual assault, get medical attention. There is a risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other sexually transmitted diseases in Vietnam.

Although gun violence is uncommon in Vietnam, there have been isolated incidents in recent years. 

Travellers have been robbed after withdrawing money from ATMs.

Break-ins to hotels and private homes are reported. This happens even while guests are in their rooms.

To protect yourself from robbery :

  • only use ATMs in banks and shopping centres
  • make sure your hotel room is locked at all times, including when you're inside
  • pay close attention to your personal belongings, especially in crowded areas
  • be alert on overnight trains and buses and on quiet stretches of road

Report thefts straight away to the local police and hotel management.

Personal or commercial arguments sometimes lead to threats of physical violence or death.

If you're threatened with violence, report it to local police.

To avoid commercial disputes, have a clear agreement on what the expected level of service is.

Many travellers have become victims of credit and debit card, taxi and gambling scams .

Credit and debit card skimming is where card data is taken for use in fraudulent transactions. This happens throughout Vietnam.

Some Australians have lost thousands of dollars after accepting invitations to private homes from friendly locals. Beware of rigged card games and other confidence tricks organised by criminals.

Gambling may break local laws, which also apply to travellers. See Laws .

To avoid credit and debit card scams:

  • keep your credit card in sight at all times
  • don't share or show your PIN to others, especially when using ATMs
  • check your transaction statements

At airports, use airport taxis, prearranged hotel transfer services, taxis from clearly marked taxi ranks with staff, or one reserved through a car booking app.

Check that any person holding a placard with your name on it knows where you are going.

Be careful of people who are overly friendly and invite you to their home.

If you're a victim of a gambling scam, report it to local police.

Cyber security

You may be at risk of cyber-based threats during overseas travel to any country. Digital identity theft is a growing concern. Your devices and personal data can be compromised, especially if you're connecting to Wi-Fi, using or connecting to shared or public computers, or to Bluetooth. 

Social media can also be risky in destinations where there are social or political tensions or laws that may seem unreasonable by Australian standards. Travellers have been arrested for things they have said on social media. Don't comment on local or political events on your social media. 

More information:  

  • Cyber security when travelling overseas  

Kidnapping can happen anywhere, anytime, including in destinations that are typically at low risk.

The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn't make payments or concessions to kidnappers.

More information:

Civil unrest and political tension

Although rare, protests sometimes happen.

Don't take photos of demonstrations, the military or the police. Authorities may not tolerate this.

Some localised violent clashes between protesters and police have resulted in casualties. The most recent incident occurred in Đắk Lắk Province in June 2023, when several police were killed in organised attacks on police stations.

Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent.

Demonstrations and civil unrest

Terrorism is a threat worldwide.

Tours and adventure activities

Transport and tour operators' safety and maintenance standards may not meet your expectations. This can include adventure activities, such as mountain climbing and boat trips.

If you plan to do an adventure activity :

  • check if your travel insurance policy covers it
  • ask about and insist on minimum safety requirements
  • always use available safety gear, such as life jackets or seatbelts

If proper safety equipment isn't available, use another provider.

Climate and natural disasters

Vietnam experiences natural disasters and severe weather , including:

  • flash floods

Severe weather events can disrupt air, sea, road and rail transport, electricity and communications.

If there's a natural disaster:

  • always carry your passport in a waterproof bag
  • keep in regular touch with family and friends
  • check the media and other local sources for information
  • follow the advice of local authorities

Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System

Flooding and typhoons

Floods , flash floods, typhoons and severe weather are common during the rainy season, from June to November.

Flooding can lead to landslides including in built up and residential areas of towns and villages. 

Typhoons mostly affect the coastal areas of the north and central regions. Though less common, typhoons also happen in the south.

Monitor the media, and weather and flood level reports during the rainy season.

The Mekong River Commission gives information on flood levels for the Mekong River region.

If there's a flood, typhoon or severe weather:

  • don't enter the affected areas without getting advice from local authorities
  • check with tour operators before travelling to affected areas
  • if in doubt about the safety of any location, change your travel plans. 

Large, frequent earthquakes in the region make destructive tsunamis more likely.

Be alert to warnings. A tsunami can arrive within minutes of a nearby tremor or earthquake.

To receive tsunami alerts, register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System .

Move immediately to high ground if advised by local authorities or if you:

  • feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
  • feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
  • see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
  • hear loud and unusual noises from the sea

Do not wait for official warnings. Once on high ground, monitor local media.

If there's a tsunami or if a tsunami warning is current, check the US Tsunami Warning System .

Travel insurance

Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. 

Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.

If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.

If you're not insured, you may have to pay many thousands of dollars up-front for medical care.

  • what activities and care your policy covers
  • that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away

Physical and mental health

See your doctor or travel clinic to:

  • have a basic health check-up   
  • ask if your travel plans may affect your health
  • plan any vaccinations you need

Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.

If you have immediate concerns for your welfare, or the welfare of another Australian, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on +61 2 6261 3305 or contact your  nearest Australian Embassy, High Commission or Consulate  to discuss counselling hotlines and services available in your location.

  • General health advice
  • Healthy holiday tips  (Healthdirect Australia)

Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.

Some addictive and psychotropic medications are controlled.

If you plan to take medication, check if it's legal in Vietnam. Take enough legal medicine for your trip and always carry it in its original packaging.

If you are travelling with prescription medication, check the value and quantity restrictions on the import and export of prescription medication with the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam .

Carry a copy of your prescription or a letter from your doctor stating:

  • what the medication is
  • your required dosage
  • that it's for personal use

Health risks

Localised outbreaks of diphtheria can occur in Vietnam.

Seek medical advice to en sure your vaccinations are up-to-date.

  • Diphtheria (HealthDirect)

Insect-borne illnesses

Zika virus  continues to be a risk. There's no vaccination for it.

If you're pregnant, the Australian Department of Health recommends you:

discuss any travel plans with your doctor

consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas

Dengue  is found, especially in the south. There's no vaccine or treatment.

Japanese encephalitis  is also found. To protect yourself, consider getting vaccinated. A vaccine is available in Australia.

Malaria is a risk in some remote mountainous areas.

To protect yourself from disease:

  • make sure your accommodation is insect proof
  • use insect repellent
  • wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
  • consider taking medicine to prevent malaria

Discuss your travel plans and other vaccination needs with your doctor before you travel.

Infectious diseases

Rabies is potentially fatal if you don't get vaccinated or receive quick treatment.

Rabies is found in infected dogs, monkeys, bats and other mammals.

Most reported cases are in the mountain areas of northern Vietnam. It's most commonly passed on through dog bites.

To reduce your risk of rabies, don't go near dogs and other mammals.

If you're bitten or scratched, seek medical help immediately.

HIV/AIDS is a risk.

Take precautions if you engage in activities that expose you to risk of infection.

Hand, foot and mouth disease

Hand, foot and mouth disease (HFMD) is common. Sometimes more serious outbreaks happen.

Outbreaks usually peak from March to May and from September to December.

HFMD mostly affects children under the age of 10 years. Adult cases, especially young adults, are not unusual.

The illness appears as a fever, blisters and rashes on the hands, feet and buttocks.

HFMD is spread by direct contact with nose and throat discharges and faeces of infected people.

To reduce the risk of getting or passing on HFMD, pay close attention to hygiene. Wash your hands well and often.

Bird flu (avian influenza)

Human cases of avian influenza or 'bird flu' are reported in Vietnam.

Cholera and other health risks

Acute watery diarrhoea and cholera occur.  

Waterborne, foodborne, parasitic and other infectious diseases occur. These include:

  • tuberculosis

Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.

To protect yourself from illness:

  • drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
  • avoid ice cubes
  • avoid uncooked and undercooked food, such as salads

Get urgent medical attention if you have a fever or diarrhoea or you suspect food poisoning.

Air pollution

There can be high levels of air pollution, up to and including hazardous levels, in major cities, especially during January to March. Pollution can increase the risk of breathing problems. People with pre-existing medical conditions, particularly heart and lung conditions, may be affected.

If you're concerned about the levels of air pollution:

  • seek medical advice
  • follow advice from local authorities about methods to reduce exposure
  • monitor an air quality index
  • reduce your exposure

World Air Quality

Drug use has been reported to cause psychotic episodes and hospitalisation.

If you use drugs in Vietnam, you face possible health and legal risks. See Local laws

Medical care

Medical facilities.

The standard of medical facilities and care varies, is generally below Australian standards, and may lack medicine and supplies.

Foreign private medical clinics are available in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. They may not meet Australian standards.

Medical facilities and care at most public hospitals are poor. This is especially true outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

You may need medical evacuation to a major centre, even for minor operations.

Doctors and hospitals expect payment before providing medical services, including for emergency care.

Some hospitals may talk with your travel insurance company to secure payment. Others may need up-front payment before they will start treating you.

If you become seriously ill or injured, you may need to be evacuated to Bangkok or Singapore. Medical evacuation can be very expensive.

You may need to show a legalised birth certificate to be recognised as next of kin for medical consent purposes.

You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.

If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter . But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.

Vietnamese authorities have broad powers to implement various measures to contain COVID-19. These include movement restrictions and mandatory isolation for positive cases. These can vary from province to province. Follow the advice of local authorities.

There are strict security and investigative measures to stop drug trafficking.

Penalties for all types of drug offences, including those with small amounts of drugs, are severe. Many drug offences attract the death penalty or life in jail.

Marijuana in any form is illegal.

More than 20 Australians are serving sentences for drug offences in Vietnam. More have been arrested and are waiting for further investigation or trials.

Never carry parcels or luggage for others.

For information about carrying prescription medications into Vietnam, see Travel .

Carrying or using drugs

Marriage laws

Foreigners who want to marry a Vietnamese citizen in Vietnam must get formal approval from the Department of Justice. This must be done in the province where the Vietnamese citizen is registered.

You also need a Certificate of No Impediment to Marriage (CNI) if you plan to marry in Vietnam.

Apply for a CNI through the:

  • Australian Embassy in Hanoi
  • Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City

You can also apply for the CNI from DFAT in Australia.  Fees apply. The embassy or consulate of Vietnam in Australia needs to authenticate it. Only then will the Department of Justice in Vietnam recognise it.

Getting married

Business laws

Increased Australian business activity has resulted in a higher number of commercial disputes in recent years.

If you're thinking about entering into a contract, get professional legal advice.

If you're involved in a business or civil dispute, authorities could stop you from leaving Vietnam until you resolve the matter.

  • Doing business
  • Doing business in Vietnam
  • Living or working overseas

Disputes over alleged misrepresentation of working and living conditions for Australians working in Vietnam often happen. This is especially the case for people teaching English.

Before signing an employment contract or travelling to Vietnam for work, verify the true nature of the work you're offered.

Check for unacceptable employment conditions. For example, conditions for early termination may state that you surrender your right to a return air ticket. Your potential employer may also withhold your pay.

To safeguard your stay, also:

  • check the living arrangements your potential employer has offered
  • make sure you have the correct visa before arriving — ask an embassy or consulate of Vietnam
  • get professional legal advice before signing any contract
  • get all the work permits you need

The Australian embassy or consulate-general can provide a limited range of notarial services for some documents needed for a work permit.

Never hand over your passport to your employer, even for safekeeping. Reputable businesses won't ask you to hand over your passport.

Make sure you keep a valid visa and work permit. If you don't, authorities will fine you and could detain you.

Going overseas to live or work

Penalties for serious crime, such as rape, espionage and hijacking, may include the death penalty.

It's illegal to:

  • take photos at border crossings or military installations
  • go too close to the border with China, Cambodia or Laos without prior written permission from the local authorities
  • gamble, except in government-licensed casinos where foreign passport holders can gamble
  • possess pornography
  • possess non-state sanctioned political or religious material

These activities may result in arrest and imprisonment.

Taking part in unsanctioned religious activities, including online, is against the law. Any involvement with non-state sanctioned political organisations, or groups perceived by the Government of Vietnam to be associated with dissident groups is also illegal. If authorities suspect you of involvement in these activities, they could stop you from entering the country, detain or deport you. Authorities could also stop you from leaving, place you under surveillance or subject you to interrogation until an investigation has been completed.

It's illegal to export antiques without a permit. The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism (Vietnamese) offers advice and necessary permits.

Possessing or distributing images or objects linked to the former Republic of Vietnam, including commemorative or Vietnam War service-related items, is an offence that could attract harsh penalties. 

Embassy or consulate of Vietnam

Australian laws

Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.

Staying within the law

Local customs

Same-sex relationships are legal. However, social and cultural attitudes towards same-sex relationships can be conservative, especially in rural areas.

Avoid public displays of affection.

Same-sex partners aren't legally protected or recognised.

Advice for LGBTQIA+ travellers

Dual citizenship

Vietnam recognises dual nationality in limited situations.

If you're a dual citizen and you enter Vietnam on a Vietnamese passport, this limits the consular services we can give if you're arrested or detained. Vietnamese authorities may not tell us of your situation.

Always travel on your Australian passport .

Australian citizens must re-enter Australia on an Australian passport.

If you're a dual national, you may need to do compulsory military service in Vietnam.

Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam in Australia before you travel.

Advice for dual nationals

Visas and border measures

Every country or territory decides who can enter or leave through its borders. For specific information about the evidence you'll need to enter a foreign destination, check with the nearest embassy, consulate or immigration department of the destination you're entering. 

To enter Vietnam, you must have either a:

  • visa exemption certificate

Australian passport holders are not able to obtain visas on arrival in Vietnam.

Learn more about  visa requirements.

You can now apply for an eVisa for tourism or business purposes. It allows eligible travellers to stay up to 90 days in Vietnam if granted. The eVisa is valid for single or multiple entries.

You can complete the  visa application form  online. As there have been reports of difficulties in accessing eVisas during airport check-in, once granted, you should consider printing a hard copy of the visa approval document.

Make sure you enter your details correctly when applying for a visa. The visa details must match exactly the information on your passport's biodata page, such as your full name and date of birth details. When you're issued a visa to enter Vietnam, check that all your Vietnam visa details are correct, match the information in your passport, that your full name is listed, and that there are no spelling or other errors. Any errors or name omissions may result in you being refused entry, or you could be charged a significant fee at check-in or on arrival to correct the visa error. 

For stays longer than 90 days, please contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam.

If your visa expires or is no longer valid, you may be detained and/or fined when leaving.

The Australian Government cannot sponsor your visa application or extension.

Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the nearest  embassy or consulate of Vietnam  for details about visas, currency, customs and quarantine rules.

You must register your place of residence with local police within 24 hours of arrival. Check that your hotel does this as part of the check-in process. Register at the local police station if you're staying in private accommodation.

Travellers have been scammed by private online visa services and travel agents.

Only apply for your visa through the Government of Vietnam’s official website or offices.

Vietnamese spouse or parent visas

If your spouse or parent is a Vietnamese national, you can apply for a visa exemption certificate.

Changes to visa status and visa extensions

You can't change the status of your entry visa to any other visa type in Vietnam. For example, you can't change a tourist or a spouse visa to a working visa.

Vietnam does not issue automatic visa extensions. If your visa has expired, contact the Vietnamese immigration authorities to make arrangements to exit Vietnam. Visa extensions are only possible before your visa expiry date.

To get a visa extension from the Vietnamese immigration authorities, your passport must have at least 6 months validity left at the time of application. 

This requirement is subject to change.

Check with the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam  for details.

Border measures

Travel and entry requirements may change rapidly. Contact your nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate for details on entry and exit requirements.

Other formalities

Import and export of prescription medication .

Medication  and medical equipment 

Register place of residence

All foreigners must register their place of residence with the local police within 24 hours of arrival.

The Australian embassy and consulate can't provide translation services to help with registration.

If you stay at a hotel, check that you'll be registered as part of the normal check-in process. They'll need your passport details.

Many hotels ask foreigners to leave their passport with hotel staff for registration purposes. It isn't a legal requirement for hotels to keep your passport for the time you stay there.

If you stay with family, friends or in another private residence, you need to register at the local police station. Use a translator if needed.

Local hosts need to pre-register foreign guests. If you stay in a private residence, make sure your host has followed this legal requirement.

Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. This can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.

Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.

You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.

The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport .

Lost and stolen passport

Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.

Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.

Keep a photocopy (or photograph) of your passport bio page and visa somewhere separately in case you lose your passport.

If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:

  • In Australia, contact the Australian Passport Information Service .
  • If you're overseas, contact the nearest Australian embassy or consulate .

Passport with 'X' gender identifier

Although Australian passports comply with international standards for sex and gender, we can't guarantee that a passport showing 'X' in the sex field will be accepted for entry or transit by another country. Contact the nearest  embassy, high commission or consulate of your destination  before you arrive at the border to confirm if authorities will accept passports with 'X' gender markers. 

  • LGBTQIA+ travellers  

The currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND).

When you arrive or exit Vietnam, declare:

  • foreign currency in excess of $US5,000, including cash and traveller's cheques
  • more than 15 million Vietnamese dong

If you carry more currency or gold than you declared, authorities could confiscate it. They could arrest or fine you.

These requirements may be subject to change. Contact the nearest embassy or consulate of Vietnam for details.

Credit cards are widely accepted throughout major cities in Vietnam.

ATMs are widespread in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang.

Check with your bank to confirm if your ATM (eftpos) card will work in Vietnam.

Card skimming happens throughout Vietnam. See Safety .

You may have trouble getting replacement ATM cards.

Many Australian banks don't have local or regional branches with English-speaking staff.

The Vietnamese postal services are generally unreliable. If you need a new card, consider using an international courier service. The Australian embassy or consulate can't help you with money while you wait for a new card. It can't act as a personal mail-holding service.

Local travel

Travel is restricted:

  • in some parts of the central Highlands
  • around some border areas
  • near military installations

Long Tan Cross site

The Vietnamese Government won't permit official Long Tan commemorations at the Long Tan Cross site in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.

Access to the site will remain open to small groups of people for private visits without media coverage. This may change at short notice.

Visitors to the site may not:

  • wear medals or uniforms
  • carry banners or flags

You must behave in a solemn manner, respecting the wishes of local communities.

Landmines and explosive remnants of war

Unexploded ordinance and landmines are a danger in former battlefields, especially in central Vietnam and along the Laos border.

Mine-free roads and paths are well-marked.

If you visit former battlefields, stay on marked pathways.

Driving permit

You must have a valid Vietnamese driver's licence to drive or ride in Vietnam. This includes for motorcycles of 50cc or more.

An International Driving Permit (IDP) issued in Australia is not recognised in Vietnam.

Authorities may fine you for driving without a valid licence.

Your travel insurer will likely deny any claims you make if:

  • You're unlicensed and/or
  • You don't hold the correct class of licence.

Australian embassy, Hanoi

Road travel

You're more likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Vietnam than in Australia.

Hazards include:

  • crowded streets in major cities
  • drivers ignoring road rules 
  • poor vehicle and road maintenance

Traffic accidents often happen and attract large crowds.

If you're involved in an accident, you could face criminal charges. This is regardless of who's at fault. You may need to pay a large sum to the injured person or their family.

If you're not familiar with local conditions, avoid driving or riding a motorcycle.

Whether driving, riding or walking, be very careful when crossing busy streets. Traffic can appear from any direction.

Road Safety


The number of travellers involved in serious motorcycle accidents is increasing.

Check your travel insurance policy covers you when travelling by motorcycle.

Always wear a helmet that meets Australian safety standards.

Only ride motorcycles if you're:

  • properly licensed (Australian driver licences or International Driver Licences issued in Australia are not accepted in Vietnam; you must hold a Vietnamese driving licence to ride a motorbike 50cc or above); and
  • familiar with and comfortable in local driving conditions

Be careful using taxis hailed on the street.

Major metered taxis are generally reliable. Ensure the taxi driver knows how to get to where you're going before you get in.

Check the meter is used. Leave the taxi if the driver tries to pick other passengers up.

If you book a taxi online or through an app, make sure the details of the vehicle and driver match those the company gives you.

Unless using an Australian safety standard-approved helmet, we discourage using motorcycle taxis as they provide riders with helmets that offer little to no protection against injury in the case of an accident.

Be careful of taxi scams. See Safety

Public transport

Inter-city buses have a high accident rate.

Petty theft often happens on buses. See Safety .

When travelling by rail, keep the ticket stub as you need it when leaving the train station.

Getting around

Boats, hydrofoils and ferries may not meet Australian safety standards.

Accidents on waterways happen. Vessels have sunk and people have died. This includes in Ha Long Bay.

Whenever you plan to travel by boat :

  • ask tour operators about the safety record and emergency procedures
  • make sure there is enough safety equipment such as life jackets on board
  • if proper equipment is not available, use another provider

Piracy happens in coastal areas of Vietnam.

  • Reducing the risk of piracy
  • International Maritime Bureau piracy reports

You may need to show your luggage tags when leaving a Vietnamese airport. Keep your luggage receipt from your airline on you at all times.

By law, children under 14 years travelling alone on domestic flights must:

  • bring a birth certificate
  • have an authorisation letter between the legal guardian of the child and the airline confirming the child can travel alone

Contact the airline in advance to check what is needed for unaccompanied minors.

DFAT doesn’t provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.

Check Vietnam's air safety profile  with the Aviation Safety Network.

Travelling by air


Depending on what you need, contact your:

  • family and friends
  • travel agent
  • insurance provider

Emergency numbers in Vietnam are operated in Vietnamese only and may be unreliable. You may have a long wait before emergency services arrive.

Always get a police report when you report a crime.

Take a translator with you to report a crime to the local police. Cases reported by foreigners may be accepted at the discretion of local police.

Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.

Consular contacts

Read the Consular Services Charter for what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.

For consular assistance, contact the nearest embassy or consulate.

Australian Embassy, Hanoi

8 Dao Tan Street

Ba Dinh District, Hanoi, Vietnam

Phone: (+84 24) 3774 0100


Facebook: Australia in Vietnam

X: @AusAmbVN

Australian Consulate-General, Ho Chi Minh City

20th Floor, Vincom Centre

47 Ly Tu Trong Street

Ben Nghe Ward, District 1

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Phone: (+84 28) 3521 8100


Check the relevant website for details about opening hours, and any temporary closures.

24-hour Consular Emergency Centre

In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:

  • +61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
  • 1300 555 135 in Australia


Travelling to Vietnam?

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vietnam travel advice reddit

Vietnam Travel Tips Reddit: Insider Advice & Hacks

Planning a trip to Vietnam? Look no further than the Reddit community for insider advice and hacks to make your journey unforgettable. With a wealth of travel tips and recommendations from fellow travelers, Reddit is the go-to resource for discovering the hidden gems and must-see attractions in Vietnam.

From the bustling streets of Hanoi to the breathtaking landscapes of Sa Pa, Vietnam offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler. And who better to guide you than those who have already explored this incredible country?

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Reddit is a valuable source for insider advice and hacks when planning your trip to Vietnam.
  • Explore the best cities in Vietnam, such as Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Hoi An, as recommended by Reddit users.
  • Get insider tips for exploring Hanoi, including must-visit attractions and local street food recommendations.
  • Discover unmissable experiences in Sa Pa and how to make the most of your visit.
  • Learn essential packing tips for Vietnam, including what to bring and what to leave behind.

Best Cities to Visit in Vietnam

When it comes to exploring Vietnam, Reddit users have shared their top recommendations for the best cities to visit. Each city offers its own unique charm, attractions, and unforgettable experiences. From the chaotic streets of Hanoi to the stunning landscapes of Ha Long Bay and the cultural heritage of Hoi An, Vietnam has something to offer every traveler. Take a luxury train to Hue, marvel at the beautiful beaches of Nha Trang, or immerse yourself in the cultural richness of Sapa. To make the most of your trip, remember to plan your itinerary wisely and allocate enough time to soak in the beauty of each city.

Here are some of the best cities to visit in Vietnam, according to Reddit users:

These cities offer a wide range of attractions, from historical sites and cultural landmarks to stunning landscapes and vibrant street markets. Make sure to include these destinations in your Vietnam itinerary to create unforgettable memories.

Exploring Hanoi: A Cultural Delight

“Hanoi is a city that truly captures the essence of Vietnam’s rich history and culture. From the bustling Old Quarter to the peaceful Hoan Kiem Lake, there’s always something fascinating to discover. Make sure to visit the iconic Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and take a stroll through the beautiful Temple of Literature. And, of course, don’t miss out on the incredible street food scene!” – Reddit User

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, offers a glimpse into the country’s past and present. Immerse yourself in its vibrant streets, taste the delicious street food, and explore its numerous cultural landmarks. Rent a bike or explore the city on foot to fully experience its vibrant atmosphere. Remember to dress modestly when visiting temples and pagodas, and don’t forget to try the local street food.

Discover the Beauty of Ha Long Bay

“Ha Long Bay is a true natural wonder and should be on everyone’s bucket list. The stunning limestone karsts rising from the emerald waters create a breathtaking sight. Taking a cruise through the bay is a must-do activity, allowing you to explore hidden caves and soak in the serene beauty of the surroundings.” – Reddit User

Ha Long Bay is renowned for its picturesque landscapes and stunning rock formations. Join a cruise or a boat tour to navigate through the emerald waters, explore hidden caves, and witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the limestone karsts. It is an experience you won’t want to miss.

Experience the Culture of Hoi An

“Hoi An is like stepping back in time. The preserved old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is incredibly charming. Take a walk through the lantern-lit streets, visit historical sites, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture. Don’t forget to get custom-made clothes or shoes at one of the many tailor shops!” – Reddit User

Hoi An is known for its well-preserved ancient town, which offers a glimpse into Vietnam’s colorful past. Wander through the lantern-lit streets, visit historical sites such as the Japanese Covered Bridge and the Assembly Hall, and indulge in the local cuisine. Hoi An is also famous for its tailor shops, where you can get custom-made clothes and shoes.

These are just a few highlights of the best cities to visit in Vietnam, according to Reddit users. Each city offers its own unique experiences, and your trip to Vietnam will be enriched by exploring these diverse destinations. Whether you’re seeking history, natural beauty, or cultural immersion, Vietnam has it all.

Insider Tips for Exploring Hanoi

vietnam travel itinerary reddit

Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, is a vibrant destination that offers a combination of bustling streets, mouthwatering street food, and a rich historical heritage. Whether you’re wandering through the Old Quarter or immersing yourself in the cultural landmarks, Hanoi has something for every traveler. To help you make the most of your visit, here are some insider tips from the Reddit community:

  • Visit the Old Quarter: Explore the narrow lanes and bustling markets of the Old Quarter, where you can find a variety of shops, street food stalls, and traditional architecture. It’s a sensory experience that captures the essence of Hanoi.
  • Experience Hoan Kiem Lake: Take a leisurely stroll around the picturesque Hoan Kiem Lake, a popular gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Enjoy the tranquil scenery and don’t forget to visit the iconic Turtle Tower.
  • Pay your respects at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: Pay a visit to the final resting place of Vietnam’s beloved leader, Ho Chi Minh. The solemn and imposing mausoleum is an important site in Hanoi and offers a glimpse into the country’s history.
  • Explore the Temple of Literature: The Temple of Literature is a significant historical and cultural site in Hanoi, known as Vietnam’s first national university. Marvel at the well-preserved architecture and soak in the peaceful atmosphere.

To truly immerse yourself in Hanoi’s vibrant atmosphere, consider exploring the city on foot or renting a bike. This way, you can navigate the busy streets, discover hidden gems, and interact with the friendly locals. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the local street food, which offers a wide array of flavors and culinary delights.

For a deeper understanding of Vietnam’s history, make time to visit the city’s museums. The Vietnam Museum of Ethnology and the Vietnamese Women’s Museum are highly recommended by Reddit users for their informative exhibits and insights into Vietnamese culture.

“Hanoi is a city that never fails to amaze me. The energy, the street food, and the historical sites make it a must-visit destination in Vietnam.” – Reddit user

Soak up the vibrant culture, indulge in delicious food, and discover the historical treasures of Hanoi with these insider tips from the Reddit community. Your journey through this captivating city will be filled with unforgettable experiences.

Unmissable Experiences in Sa Pa

Sa Pa, located in the northern part of Vietnam, offers breathtaking landscapes and unique cultural experiences. If you’re looking for amazing adventures off the beaten path, Sa Pa is the place to be. With recommendations from Reddit travelers, you can explore the beauty and authenticity of this hidden gem.

“Sa Pa offers unparalleled natural beauty and cultural immersion. It’s the perfect destination for hikers, nature enthusiasts, and those seeking a genuine Vietnamese experience.” – Reddit user

To make the most of your Sa Pa trip, Reddit users highly recommend taking an overnight train from Hanoi. This scenic journey allows you to enjoy the stunning landscapes along the way and wake up to the beauty of Sa Pa. Once you arrive, renting a bike and riding to Thac Tinh Yeu, also known as the Love Waterfall, is a must-do activity. The cascading falls surrounded by lush greenery create a picturesque sight that will leave you in awe.

Sa Pa’s unspoiled beauty sets it apart from the crowded Ha Long Bay, making it an ideal destination for nature enthusiasts. Whether you choose to trek through the terraced rice fields, interact with local hill tribes, or simply relax in the peaceful atmosphere, Sa Pa promises unforgettable experiences.

Why Choose Sa Pa?

Sa Pa offers a truly authentic experience that allows you to connect with nature and immerse yourself in the local culture. Unlike some of the more touristy destinations in Vietnam, Sa Pa remains unspoiled and retains its natural beauty. From the vibrant green rice terraces to the warm hospitality of the local hill tribes, Sa Pa offers a glimpse into a different side of Vietnam.

So, if you’re seeking an off-the-beaten-path adventure filled with breathtaking landscapes and unique cultural encounters, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Sa Pa. With recommendations from the Reddit community, you can make the most of your trip and create unforgettable memories.

Essential Packing Tips for Vietnam

Vietnam Travel Tips

When it comes to packing for your trip to Vietnam, it’s important to consider the unique climate and diverse activities you’ll encounter. Reddit users have shared their best travel tips for Vietnam, helping you pack efficiently and make the most of your adventure.

Here are some essential items recommended by fellow travelers:

  • A good pair of walking shoes: Vietnam is a country best explored on foot, so comfortable and sturdy shoes are a must.
  • Lightweight and breathable clothing: With humid weather in many parts of Vietnam, lightweight and breathable fabrics like cotton and linen are ideal.
  • A rain jacket: Vietnam’s rainy season extends from May to October in many regions, so a waterproof jacket will keep you dry during unexpected showers.
  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the strong Vietnamese sun by packing a high SPF sunscreen.
  • Mosquito repellent: Vietnam is known for its mosquitos, particularly in rural areas. Stay protected by packing a reliable mosquito repellent.
  • A reusable water bottle: Hydration is key, so bring a refillable water bottle to stay hydrated and reduce plastic waste.

In addition to these basics, remember to pack a hat and sunglasses to shield yourself from the sun, as well as a small backpack for day trips. Don’t forget essential travel items like travel adapters to charge your electronics, and travel-sized toiletries for convenience.

Lastly, it’s always wise to bring any necessary medications and first aid supplies, as certain items might not be easily available in Vietnam. By packing smartly and taking these essential items with you, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your Vietnam adventure.

Money and Transportation Tips

ask reddit vietnam travel tips

When planning your trip to Vietnam, it’s important to have the right information about money and transportation. Reddit users have shared their valuable tips and insights on how to navigate these aspects of your journey.

When it comes to handling money in Vietnam, ATM withdrawals are recommended by Reddit users as a convenient way to obtain Vietnamese Dong (VND). It’s a good idea to keep small denominations for ease of use in shops and markets. Additionally, it’s advisable to carry both cash and a debit card for emergencies.

Transportation Tips

Getting around Vietnam can be an adventure in itself. According to Reddit users, taking overnight trains and buses is a popular choice for long journeys. These options provide an opportunity to rest and save on accommodation costs. For shorter distances within cities, taxis and Grab, a popular ride-hailing service, offer convenient transportation options.

Prior to your trip, it’s recommended to research transportation options and prices. This will help you plan your budget and avoid overpaying for fares.

“When it comes to money, I suggest using ATMs to withdraw Vietnamese Dong (VND). Keep small denominations for convenience.” – Reddit user123
“Taking overnight trains and buses is a great way to travel long distances. It saves money on accommodation and allows you to see more of the countryside!” – Reddit user456

By following these money and transportation tips from the Reddit community, you’ll be well-prepared to make the most of your Vietnam adventure!

Cultural Etiquette and Safety Tips

insider tips for traveling in vietnam reddit

To make the most of your trip to Vietnam, it’s important to be aware of the local customs and safety precautions. Reddit users have shared valuable insider tips for traveling in Vietnam, offering helpful advice on how to navigate through the cultural nuances and ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Respect the Local Culture

When visiting temples and pagodas in Vietnam, it is crucial to dress modestly as a sign of respect. Both men and women should cover their shoulders and knees. Wearing appropriate clothing demonstrates your understanding of Vietnamese culture and helps you blend in with the locals.

“Always dress modestly when visiting religious sites in Vietnam. Respect the locals’ customs and traditions.”

Keep an Eye on Your Belongings

While Vietnam is generally a safe country for tourists, it’s important to exercise caution and be mindful of your belongings. Avoid displaying expensive items, such as jewelry or electronics, in crowded areas to minimize the risk of theft. Keep a close eye on your bags and valuables, especially in crowded markets and tourist attractions.

“Be vigilant with your belongings, especially in crowded places. Keep your bags zipped and your valuables secured.”

Enjoy Local Street Food, But Be Cautious

Vietnamese street food is renowned for its delicious flavors and unique culinary experiences. Reddit users recommend trying local delicacies, such as pho and banh mi, to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant food culture of Vietnam. However, it’s essential to exercise caution and consider the hygiene standards of the street food stalls you choose. Look for busy stalls with a high turnover of food to ensure freshness and cleanliness.

“Don’t miss out on the incredible street food in Vietnam, but choose busy stalls to ensure freshness and hygiene.”

Stay Hydrated and Stay Safe

Vietnam’s tropical climate can be humid and hot, especially during the summer months. It’s crucial to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a reusable water bottle with you to minimize plastic waste and always opt for bottled water when tap water is not available.

Additionally, it’s advisable to carry a photocopy of your passport with you at all times and store the original in a secure place. Stay updated on travel advisories and follow the guidance provided by local authorities and embassies.

“Stay hydrated, carry a photocopy of your passport, and stay updated on travel advisories for a safe and worry-free journey.”

Planning a trip to Vietnam can be an exciting and enriching experience, and the advice from the Reddit community can be invaluable in ensuring a smooth and memorable adventure. From exploring the vibrant streets of Hanoi to immersing yourself in the natural beauty of Sa Pa, Vietnam offers a wide range of experiences for every traveler. By following the tips and recommendations shared by fellow Redditors, you can unlock Vietnam’s best-kept secrets and make your trip an unforgettable journey.

Whether you’re seeking cultural immersion, breathtaking landscapes, or mouthwatering cuisine, Reddit users have provided valuable insights to enhance your Vietnam travel experience. With advice on the best cities to visit, packing essentials, and transportation tips, you’ll be well-prepared to navigate this fascinating country.

So pack your bags, embrace the adventure, and get ready to create memories that will last a lifetime. With the collective wisdom of the Reddit community, your trip to Vietnam is bound to be a remarkable and fulfilling adventure. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to explore the wonders of Vietnam with the guidance of seasoned travelers. Get inspired, start planning, and embark on the journey of a lifetime.

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Vietnam nominates its public security minister as new president

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HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has nominated its Public Security Minister To Lam as its new president, state media said on Saturday, after his predecessor resigned in the ongoing anti-corruption campaign that has shaken up the country’s political establishment.

The Communist Party’s Central Committee had agreed to the nomination of To Lam, a Politburo member, as president, state-run Vietnam News Agency reported. The nomination will likely be approved by Vietnam’s rubber-stamp National Assembly during its next session on Monday.

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Former President Vo Van Thuong resigned in March after a little over a year in the position. His predecessor had also resigned in 2023 while taking “political responsibility” for corruption scandals during the pandemic.

The anti-graft campaign is being led by Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, 79, an ideologue who views graft as the gravest threat facing the party. The country’s most powerful politician has vowed that no one is untouchable in the so-called “blazing furnace” campaign.

Lam, who has spent over four decades in the Ministry of Public Security before becoming the minister in 2016, has been a key figure in the execution of anti-corruption measures.

The most recent high-profile resignation linked to the campaign was that of Vietnam’s Parliament head, Vuong Dinh Hue, in April. The current vice-speaker, Tran Thanh Man, has been appointed as Hue’s replacement.

The president and the head of Vietnam’s Parliament are among the top four political positions in the party and the resignations point to instability that analysts say could threaten Vietnam’s ambitions as it vies to become an alternative to China in the region’s supply chains.

Analysts say that rivals in the party were jostling to position themselves as a successor to Trong, who was elected to an unprecedented third term as party chief in 2021. Given his age, experts say that it is unlikely that he will continue for another term.

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  6. 50+ Essential Vietnam Travel Tips You NEED Before You Go

    vietnam travel advice reddit


  1. 7 Common Scams To Avoid In Vietnam 🇻🇳⚠️

  2. Vietnamese Traditional Market At Tet Holidays

  3. 5 Things You Should NEVER Do In Vietnam!

  4. Long Van Tu Street Market

  5. Must Try Foods Mekong Delta

  6. ජපානයේ සිට වියට්නාමයට ගිය විදිහ |THE BEST PLACES IN VIETNAM TO VISIT IN 2024


  1. Planning a trip to Vietnam and need advice/recs : r/travel

    lightredemption. ADMIN MOD. Planning a trip to Vietnam and need advice/recs. Itinerary. I'm attempting to plan a trip to Vietnam - thinking of going for approximately 10-12ish days and would love some advice on my potential itinerary. It would be just me and my sister and while I love to travel, I'm not big on hiking or moped/motorbike reading ...

  2. All Travel Tips in Vietnam and Essential Advice for Your ...

    Discover comprehensive travel tips in Vietnam and essential advice for an unforgettable Vietnam trip. Plan your journey with expert insights for an enriching travel experience in Vietnam. Prepare for the trip Visa a. Visa Exemption b. Entry Visa Guide and Driver Climate - Temperature a. In the north b. In the south: average temperature is 30°C c.

  3. A guide to visiting Vietnam for the first time

    There's a lot to love about travelling in Vietnam, which stretches from the soaring mountains and fascinating ethnic groups of the north to the endless rice paddies and vibrant waterways of the Mekong Delta in the south, with more than 3000km of glorious coastline in between. Throw in a good transport infrastructure of buses, trains and flights ...

  4. 11 Must-Know Vietnam Travel Tips (for a Tourist in Vietnam)

    From what to know before you go on your trip and practical advice, these Vietnam travel tips will definitely enhance your trip! In This Post: hide. 1. Download Grab (the Most Important of all Vietnam Travel Tips) 2. Get a Vietnam Tourist Visa Pre-Approval Letter Online. 3. Carry Small Bills On You.

  5. Vietnam Travel Tips Reddit: Insider Advice & Hacks

    Reddit is a valuable source for insider advice and hacks when planning your trip to Vietnam. Explore the best cities in Vietnam, such as Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, and Hoi An, as recommended by Reddit users. Get insider tips for exploring Hanoi, including must-visit attractions and local street food recommendations.

  6. 50 Vietnam Travel Tips

    5. Understand Vietnam's very vast geography. Of all my initial Vietnam travel tips, the biggest one is this — realize just how long this country is. Like longer than you'd think when planning your trip. If you want to travel efficiently, you're going to want to fly in between places or be prepared to be on a train or bus for hours.

  7. Vietnam Travel Guide

    Vietnam is a relatively safe place to travel, with a low violent crime rate of 1.5 per 100k inhabitants (76% lower than the global average). People are very friendly and welcoming. The biggest safety risks are probably motorbike accidents and natural threats, like dengue fever or malaria. Be sure to wear mosquito spray in rural areas or near ...


    1-Week Vietnam Travel Itinerary Highlights. Most people spend at least a month went hey travel to Vietnam. But if you had just one week, or were willing to split a few weeks between the northern and southern regions, this is how we'd spend our time! Northern Vietnam. Fly into Hanoi; 2 nights - Hanoi; 2 nights - Halong Bay or Bai Tu Long Bay

  9. Backpacking Vietnam: A Complete Trip Planning Guide

    You need a visa to enter Vietnam. In 2023 Vietnam changed its visa system, making it way easier and more flexible. The new e-visa lets you stay for up to 90 days. It can be used to enter Vietnam multiple times using any airport or overland border. It costs $25 for a single entry or $50 for a multiple-entry visa.

  10. 50+ Essential Vietnam Travel Tips You NEED Before You Go

    Vietnam travel tips: money. 6. You need to get to know the colours and value of the notes… money in Vietnam comes in thousands. Right now it's about 40,000 dong to the pound, meaning you're a millionaire with just £40. This is VERY confusing when it comes to paying and working out which notes to hand over. 7.

  11. 337 Verified Reviews for Vietnam by Travelers

    Our trip to Vietnam was amazing. The travel agents from Asia Aventura were great. Our trip was seamless. We were there for 14 days and visited Hanoi, Ninh Binh, Ha Long, Hoi An, Quy Nhon and Saigon. There was some overlap with the cooking classes and a trip to the coconut groves in Hoi An and Saigon which was a little disappointing, but it did ...

  12. is it a scam? Urgent advice please

    Urgent advice please. 1 year ago. It's a scam. I received the document on, what looks to be the official letter with a scannable QR code. The QR code navigates to google, that's it. Nothing else. Do NOT use this site. Only use the official site: it's $25.00 USD.

  13. Vietnam

    To call for emergency services while in Vietnam, dial 115 for an ambulance, 114 for the fire department, and 113 for the police. Write these numbers down to carry with you on your trip. Learn as much as you can about Vietnam before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Vietnam from the US Department of ...

  14. Vietnam Travel Advice & Safety

    Always keep your credit card in sight. Use metered or prearranged taxis, especially at airports. Report gambling scams to police. During the rainy season (June to November), floods, typhoons and severe weather can disrupt essential services. Follow the advice of local officials. Full travel advice: Safety.

  15. Vietnam

    Security status. Normal Precautions. General Travel Advice. All Irish passport holders are required to hold a visa before travelling to Vietnam. Irish visitors travelling to Vietnam can apply for an eVisa through Vietnam Immigration's eVisa portal (please note that this is the only official eVisa portal for Vietnam). These visas can be single or multiple entry and are valid for up to 90 days.

  16. Vietnam Travel Tips Reddit: Insider Advice

    Best Places to Visit in Vietnam According to Reddit Users When it comes to exploring Vietnam, Reddit users have shared their top recommendations for the best places to visit. Whether you're seeking cultural experiences, natural beauty, or historical landmarks, Vietnam has something for everyone.

  17. Vietnam travel advice

    The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO) provides advice about risks of travel to help British nationals make informed decisions. Find out more about FCDO travel advice. Follow and ...

  18. Vietnam nominates its public securities minister as new president

    Article content. HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam has nominated its Public Security Minister To Lam as its new president, state media said on Saturday, after his predecessor resigned in the ongoing ...