Vietnam Facts For Visitors
1. How to get a tourist visa to Vietnam
1.1 Normal way to obtain a Vietnamese entry visa.
At this time of writing, all nationalities require a visa except Thai, Malaysian, Philippino before arriving on the tour. You should allow 3 weeks for visa processing. The cost is between US$60 - $100. When your passport is returned to you or your travel agent from the Vietnamese embassy, one application form with photo will be returned along with it. Keep this form as you will be required to hand it at the immigration upon arrival in Vietnam. If by any chance you misplace this form, don’t panic - you can complete a new form upon arrival and there are photo booths at the airport. Remember to keep all those customs and immigration forms when you arrive, as you will need them to exit Vietnam. It is advisable to keep extra passport photos with you.
Note: Passports must be valid for at least six months beyond the end of your trip.
1.2 New: Landing visa (Some nationalities may not be permitted yet. Contact us for details).
Tourist single entry visa can be obtained at all international airports such as: Ho Chi Minh city, Da Nang, Hanoi. If you decide to get a landing visa. Click here for sample Invitation Letter. Please send all personal information to TNK Travel at least 10 days before your arrival with details: Full name, Passport number, date of birth, sex, nationality. We will send you an approved letter issued by the Vietnamese Immigration Office stating that you can obtain a landing visa upon arrival. Do not worry, this is quite legal and simple. The cost is around US$60 - 80 including Invitation letter, visa fee, arrangement, telecommunication. That way, you will save a lot of time and money.
At this time, the Customs Inspection at all airports in Vietnam are much improved and faster. You are permitted to bring in 200 cigarettes, 50 cigars, two 250g of tobacco, 2L of liquor, gifts worth up to 50 USD, and a reasonable quantity of luggage and personal effects. Items which you cannot bring into Vietnam include opium, weapons, explosives and “Cultural materials unsuitable to the Vietnamese society".
There are no specific health requirements for entry into Vietnam. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial requirements and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses while traveling in Vietnam. We recommend that you carry a first-aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses). Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
We recommends the services of International SOS for all the medical requirements of our travelers when traveling in Vietnam. International SOS's 24-hour clinics have expatriate doctors and specialists, and can be found at the following locations:
Hanoi - 31 Hai Ba Trung St., Clinic Tel: (84-4) 934-0666, 24-hr Emergency Hotline: (84-4) 934-0666
Ho Chi Minh City - 65 Nguyen Du St., District 1
Clinic: (84-8) 829-8424, 24-hr Emergency Hotline: (84-8) 829-8520
4. What to bring
You will be on the move most of the time, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 15-20 kg). It is in your own interest as you will have to carry your own luggage at all times, and you may leave a bit of room for souvenirs that you will no doubt pick up along the way!
Travel documents: passport, visa, travel insurance, air tickets, voucher.
Health requirements arranged
Money: travelers checks/cash/credit card
Day pack to carry your personal needs during the day
Lightweight travel towel
Hat, sun cream and sun glasses
Refillable water bottle
Vietnamese travel guide - great for history and general information.
Light raincoat or umbrella in the wet season (May to Oct)
Warm clothes for the winter months (Nov to Feb). The mean temperature in Hanoi in January is just 16 degrees Celsius - so cold for Southeast Asia. Bring a winter weight sweater and trousers when traveling in these months, and a jacket too if you feel the cold.
6. Spending Money
You will need to allow enough money for shopping and additional sightseeing. Items of a personal nature such as phone calls and laundry in the hotels are not included. Approx. US$15 per day would be adequate for most extras, but this is of course subject to your eagerness to shop!
7. Money Exchange
US currency (cash or travelers checks) is the most convenient to carry when traveling in Vietnam. US dollars can be used to purchase goods and services along with the local currency, Vietnamese Dong. Other major international currencies may be exchanged in the larger towns and cities where Visa and Master Cards may also be used for cash advances, some fees may apply. There are a few banks in Saigon and Hanoi that have installed Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) where you are able to withdraw Vietnamese Dong. Our hotels do offer exchange services at a reasonable rate. It is not possible to exchange Vietnamese Dong outside the country so convert or spend all your Dong before leaving Vietnam. Black markets are reemerging in Vietnam but are considered a danger and should be avoided.
8. Business hours
The business hours in most of the organizations are from 8:00 to 11:30 and 13:30 to 16:30.
Pickpocket is still a problem in large cities and crowded streets; in general it is quite safe when going out. Police 113 is newly set up for security and they are very effective. There is no racism or violence except the above – mentioned case.
International, domestic, fax, E-mail, calls are available at all hotels and cities. Internet access mushrooms at every corner. For sure, you will not have any problems.