The Socialist Republic of Vietnam
National motto: Doc lap- Tu do- Hanh phuc ( Independence, Liberty, Happiness)
Population: 84 million
Vietnam People and Vietnamese language
The population of Socialist Republic of Viet Nam is more than 78.5 million with an urban population consisting of about 19.7%. There are 54 ethic minority groups living in Vietnam. The ”Kinh” people (or Viet) account for nearly 90% of the population. Major ethic minority groups include the Tay, Thai, Muong, H”Mong, Dzao and Khmer.
Vietnamese language is the main language. English, French and Russian can be heard in the major cities. More about Vietnam People and Language…
Vietnam Land & History
The land of Vietnam has an S shape with a total surface area of 329,600 km2. Vietnam has common borders in the North with China, to the East and Southeast with Laos and Cambodia. The West of Vietnam faces the Eastern Sea (South China Sea). Vietnam”s coastline is more than 3,260 kms long. The land is very diverse with mountains, highlands, deltas, rivers and forests. Hanoi is the capital and Ho Chi Minh City is Vietnam”s largest city. More about Vietnam history…
Vietnam has a tropical climate, which is characterized by lots of sunshine, high rainfall, humidity and two distinguished seasons in general: the cold and dry one from November to April and the other, hot and wet from May to October. Annual average temperatures range from 22ºC to 27ºC. But the weather usually varies North and South, as between land and mountains. More about Vietnam weather…
The currency is Vietnamese Dong (VND). The local currency is the Dong (abbreviated “d” or VND). Bank notes are 100d, 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2,000d, 5,000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d & 500,000d. Coins include 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2000d & 5000d. The exchange rate (as of July 2006) is approximately Dong 15.850 to one US. Dollar.
Money and travelers cheques, particularly U.S. Dollars, can be exchanged at banks, hotels and authorized money- exchangers. It is advisable to carry U.S. Dollar bills in small denominations.
Credit cards are generally only accepted in major hotels, and in some up-market shops and restaurants in major cities.
ATM facilities are readily available now in major cities.
Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the banks, exchange bureaus or hotel reception desks. Travelers” cheque and most of Credit cards are accepted in the major cities. We are recommend that you bring some cash with you. Check online currency exchange at Vietcombank: http://www.vietcombank.com.vn
Time zone: GMT/UTC + 7 (the same zone as Thailand, Laos and Cambodia)
Business days: Monday through Friday.
Business hour: Mornings: 07h30 – 12h00; Afternoons: 13h00 – 16h30.
Museums are usually closed on Monday but you can visit temples and pagodas every day. Most restaurants and shops open from 08h00 till 22h00.
01 January: New Year”s Day
Late January to mid-February: Vietnamese Lunar New Year ( 04 days off ).
30 April: Re-unification Day and 01 May: International Workers” Day.
02 September: National Day
Internet and mobile phone
Email & Internet:
E-mail and Internet services are available in most hotels and posts in Vietnam. In major cities, there are also a number of internet cafes available.
In Vietnam you will be able to use your mobile phone as long as it is programmed for roaming internationally. You may also rent a mobile phone, which may be easier, or buy a pre-paid phone card. (This service is available at your hotel or at a Mobile Phone Service Center on the street.) Click here for more details.
Entry visas for most nationalities are obtainable from a Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate. Processing usually takes 4-10 working days. The validity of tourist visas is one month and is extendable.
Vietnam has three International Airports : Hanoi / Noi Bai, Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat and Danang / Danang Airport.
Cities with directs flight to Hanoi / Noi Bai Airport are Bangkok, Beijing, Frankfurt Guang Zhou, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Kunming, Moscow, Paris, Siem Reap, Singapore, Taipei, Tokyo, Vientiane and Seoul.
Airlines currently serving Hanoi : Aeroflot (SU), Air France (AF), All Nippon Airways (NH), Asiana Airlines (OZ), Cathay Pacific Airways (CX), China Airlines (CI), China Southern Airlines (CZ), Eva Air (BR), Japan Airlines (JL), Korean Air (KE), Malaysia Airlines (MH), Lao Airlines (QV), Singapore Airlines (SQ), Thai Airways (TG), Tiger Airways (TR), Uni Air (B7), Vietnam Airlines (VN).
Cities with directs flight to Ho Chi Minh City / Tan Son Nhat Airport are Bandar Seri Begawan (Brumai), Bangkok, Frankfurt, Fukuoka, Guang Zhou, Hong Kong, Kaohsiung, Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Melbourne, Moscow, Osaka, Paris, Phnom Penh, San Francisco, Seoul, Siem Reap, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, and Vientiane.
Airlines currently serving Ho Chi Minh City: Aeroflot (SU), Air France (AF), All Nippon Airways (NH), Asiana Airlines (OZ), Cathay Pacific Airways (CX), China Airlines (CI), China Southern Airlines (CZ), Eva Air (BR), Japan Airlines (JP), Korean Air (KE), Lufthansa German Airlines (LH), Malaysia Airlines (MH), Pacific Airlines (BL), Philippine Airlines (PR), Singapore Airlines (SQ), Shanghai Airlines (FM), Thai Airways (TG), Tiger Airways (TR), Royal Brunei Airlines (RBA),United Airlines (UA), Vietnam Airlines (VN).
Cities with directs flight to Danang/ Danang Airport are Bangkok, Singapore.
Airlines currently serving Danang: PB Air (PB); Silk Air (MI).
Vietnam domestic flights
If flights are required in your itinerary they are in coach class, unless specified otherwise. Flight timings quoted are local and are subject to change. Domestic flights require a check-in, 1-hour prior to the flight departure.
Carry on luggage is limited to one piece plus a camera.
All “carry-on” hand luggage must have luggage tags which are provided by the airlines when passengers check in at airports for their flights. Security regulations at airports are strict. Passengers are required to identify their checked luggage after they have passed through security check points in the airport. This identification process is done before boarding your flight. Appropriate announcements may or may not be made for this procedure.
In economy class air travel baggage allowance is 20kg per person. Excess baggage may be subject to overweight charges by the airline. We cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage to passenger’s belongings. Domestic flights are prone to last minute schedule changes and cancellation without ANY advance notice.
Airport departure tax for international flights currently is:
US$ 14 from Hanoi
US$ 8 from Danang
US$ 14 from Ho Chi Minh City
The departure airport tax may be paid in local currency or in US Dollars.
Airport departure tax for domestic flights is included in the airfare.
Vietnamese food ( Vietnamese cuisine) and drinks
There is a wide range of dishes in Vietnam, including the very popular nem (spring rolls) and pho (Vietnamese noodle soup). They are eaten together with rice or noodles. Not all foods are spicy. Vegetarian foods, dietary dishes & western menus are also available at some restaurants. A rich variety of tropical fruits is on hand year round, however, it will vary depending upon the season.
Imported beers and alcohols are available in hotels, restaurants and shops. There are many Vietnamese brands or country wines made from rice. If you prefer to drink water, please use bottled mineral water, which has an unbroken seal. Do not ingest tap water that has not been boiled.
Hospitals in Vietnam and Emergency phone numbers:
International SOS: 24 hour alarm center & medical emergency teams.
Add: 31 Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi
Tel: 39340555 Fax: 39340556
Vietnam International Hospital: 24 hour emergency clinic
Add: Phuong Mai road, Hanoi
Medex: 24 hour emergency (090401919)
Add: A1 Van Phuc, Suite 109-112, Kim Ma. Hanoi
Tel: 8430748 Fax: 8461750
Ho Chi Minh City:
International SOS: 24 hour emergency
Add: 65 Nguyen Du, Dist.1., Ho chi Minh city
Tel: 38298424, 38298520 Fax: 38298551.
Alain Carpentier Foundation- IMC-Heart Institute: 24h emergency
Add: 520 Nguyen Tri Phuong, Dist.10, Ho chi Minh city
Colombia Asia Saigon: 24 hour emergency
Add: 8 Alexandere de Rhodes, Dist.1, Ho chi Minh city
Fire Brigade: 114
First Aid: 115
We all wish you a pleasant staying in Hanoi soon!