Travelo Vietnam(T.L.V), Vietnam Package Tours, Adventure in Vietnam, Trekking, Cycling, Multi-activity Tours, Family HolidaysTravelo Vietnam(T.L.V), Vietnam Package Tours, Adventure in Vietnam, Trekking, Cycling, Multi-activity Tours, Family Holidays
Forgot password?

Knowledge

Detail Itinerary

Why Us

Travelo Vietnam is truly unique, affordable and professional different kinds of packages; Cycling, trekking, soft & hard adventure, bird, kayaking, culture and leisure’s tour in Vietnam, etc. We offer wide ranges of high quality mountain cycling adventure tours for all active people who want to explore Vietnam plus Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar by their unique way.

Why_us

Our company is run by Victor Dung and Tony Nguyen who has great experience and knowledge in outdoor – activities sports, really adventure tours manager in Vietnam. He has been working as Tour Manager and tour leader for all most Cycling travel Clubs, Peace wheels, CTC Cycling Holidays, Comebiking, RedSpokes, X-Trekkers, Monogram S.A, Tradewind, Marathon Travel, Starship Travel,Strumenti di Viaggio Torino, Lake Como Cycling, Flora and Fauna Field Tours, Team Gorky, Odans Travel, ODPELJI.SE, HELIA SLOVENIA, ENZ.ZO, bluesky travel, Rothar Cycle Tours, Klub Podróży HORYZONTY, Generous Adventures Travel Auctions for a Better World, Hash House Harriers, Discover Adventure. Etc…, Help For Heroes, a dozens of international adventure tours partners and private cycling groups, Family cycling, Charity cylcling, Individual for over Ten Years. Otherwise, we offer wide selections of Trekking tour in North Vietnam, North Laos, Cambodia, Adventure Tours, off the beaten tracks tours, kayaking tours covering in whole Vietnam.

What is differences?

Our name: Travelo Vietnam is unique name in Vietnam, the travellers travel slowly to distinct the difference. that is the reason why we stand out of the crowded and easily search on website or social networks.

Our cycling route

Travelo Vietnam aims to take tourists to see real Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. 70 to 80% of our cycling routes are off road and back roads to enjoy untouched regions, the countryside, the villages, hill tribal track, the people to experience their cultures and their wonderful smile children.Our phiosophy is: to provide once in a lifetime adventure tour with real life experience and see realcountry.

Our team carefully design and newly develop cycling routes for fun and enjoyable to suit all level of cyclists. Being advance for cycling in Vietnam, our team has always worked hard to develop new product for our customers. More than cycling, we are really excited to show tourists our country, meeting with the people and interacting with the community. You will enjoy local food to experience rural Vietnam at its most authentic.

Our cycling guide:

The tour will be led by one of English – speaking guides. All our guides have great knowledge of history, local culture, and religions of the area where you are cycling and introduce that experiences for you . our guides have been trained in this field and is fully licensed in tour guiding by Vietnam National Tourism. Our guides are also medically skilled in first Aid by SOS and they know how to deal with hard situations.

why_travelo.com.vn-3Our support team:

Our support team carry your luggages and provide a nice place for tea and coffee break on the route ( 20 – 25 km for each stage). Our staff will make any running repairs on your bikes. Once riding we keep you stop with water, fruits, soft drinks and snacks, energy bars, and we make sure you get a nice cold towle drink with cold towel as well. Prepare picnic lunch enroute for cyclis,.at the end of cycling day, we make sure you will enjoy good meal, clean and prepare bike for next days.

why_travelo.com.vn-3Our transportation:

Fully support and carry our luggages in whole cycling trip.
We often used mini bus and bus with air condition for transfer and back up as itineraries.
We use van Support bikes and cyclist
( 1 – 4 pax) we use Van to support and carry out bikes.
( 5 – 8 pax) we use one Van and one truck to supports.
(10 – 25 people), we use one bus and one truck support and carry lugguages and bikes.

why_travelo.com.vn-4Our Accommodations:

When cycling we stay in friendly hotel, guesthouse or homestays. Some are more basic than others! Bear in mind that some of the places we overnight in are not on the standard tourist trail.In larger cities and towns, our hotels are generally more western style and are three or four hotels or resort. Please do not expect the same standard as you would your home.

Our mountain bikes:

we use the new 4300/4500.Etc… trek moutain bikes for all most cycling trip with different size from
13.5’’ – 23,5’’.We generally use models of TREK mountain bikes because they are high quality, durable pieces of equipment. Besides We like the versatility and durability of the mountain bike as it has been designed to cope with different types of terrain and riding. Our trips can be on asphalt and can often be broken or potholed, and there are usually unsurfaced sections included, so mountain bikes are the most suitable. They also have the range of gears to cope with the hills.

why_travelo.com.vn-1Each bike comes with a single water bottle cage, if you prefer more you are welcome to bring your own. Bikes also have gel seat cover slips if you prefer a softer ride. If you have your own saddle that you are comfortable with seat, you are welcome to bring it and we’ll fit it. On long tours women specific seats are recommended and we have some available, but we cannot guarantee we will available for every tour.These bikes also are available for rent in case you want to go it alone or just need a bike for a day.

Our maps, elevation, gps:

When you book our tours, we will deliver our detail cycling itinerary with route maps, elevation and Gps downloads. the cyclist can ride and enjoy on the road.

Our meals:

All the meals which, are mentioned in itinerary, are included in the price of this tour. Most of meals are Vietnamese local food in Homestays. while in towns, we will enjoy Vietnamese cuisine in delicious restaurants: Meals consist of a variety of banlanced dishes and aim for universal appeal, we avoid highly spiced foods. Vegetarians are certainly welcome and are always accommodated, please let us know of any dietary concerns at time of booking.

why_travelo.com.vn-5Our picnic lunches:

We supply highly nutritious food and hot drinks whilst cycling enroute. Every cycling day our support team organise picnic lunch enroute where the scenery is extraordinary. Especially, cycling in the North Vietnam, Hochi minh trail and cycling through Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. We can turn impossible things into possible.

why_travelo.com.vn-6Our Homestays:

Homestay in the villages is simple interm of bedding condition and ementies. We will sleep on beds or floor with mattress, clean sheet, pillow and mosquito nets. Toilet is usually western style.

why_travelo.com.vn-7Our responsible:

We strongly believe that Responsible Tourism can support to local communities: proving incomes,positive cultural exchanges and an incentive to protect natural invironment. We recognise that there is always space for improvement. We continually strive to narrow the gap between principle and practice.

Our price:

All travellers want a good sense of balance and we strive to make right balance between price and sevices for your tours. We want to offer you best sevices, accommodation for clients with affordable price.

We are local people and work with local ground services suppliers for long years, we have been keep at competitive price for clients wit its best services.
Our tour cost an everage of USD 100 – 150 USD a day.for some people that is cheap. While for another it is expensive. This is the reason why we try to our best to work hard and offer extraordinary services and high quality accommodation at price well below our competitors and a high standard of services and accommodation than another travel agency in our price ranges.

As reliable and specialize adventure tour in Vietnam. Travelo Vietnam strive to offer wide ranges of  REAL outdoor activities sports such as cycling, trekking, hiking, kayaking and off the beaten tracks itineraries for active and adventurous people who have plan or arrange plan to travel Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

We also acknowledge that the traveller have a little information about these destination or very confused with a hundred of copied itinerary companies when do search on Internet or social network. Therefore, Travelo Vietnam stands out of crowded and unique name, assist and consult for travelers have real adventure holiday. we offer  outline frame itinerary how the tour going or what you expect when you travel with us. there are outlines following as

Air port or cross border picking up.

Our  adventure tour guide and vehicle support  will meet you at Air Port or  Vietnam International border gates to  assist and pick you up to Hotel or starting  cycling point.

Briefing itineraries

After meeting our group and tour leader, the adventure tour guide will meet you  and do brief itinerary for currently  adventure itinerary. to make sure with you everything is running smoothly and safely.

choose  and fix the gears

All our bikes are available for you  with your name tag, you can check and adjust the saddle, change pedals, cover gel seat or GPS computers if you have your own.

On the tour

We always  have one local guide for group less 10  travelers,  meanwhile, we supply one professional cycling guide plus one assistant for group over ten people.

Our support vehicle:

We use one van for group 2- 4  cyclist  plus with luggage, cold box and necessary things for cycling tours

We use one van plus one truck for group less than ten people for caring luggage  and bikes .

Our daily cycling distance; we  ride point to point in each day with everage 80 – 120 km / day.

On your bikes

We regularly ride every  20 – 25 km  (depend on terrain and elevations) stop for  refreshment and fill up  energy honey tea, coffee, tropical fruits,  energy drinks, cake . the next distance is 25 – 30 km for picnic lunch.

Picnic lunch:

We offten organise picnic lunch for over one week cycling itinerary. you will be feasted by fresh, delicious  and hot food whilst cycling with us.

Kodak moment:  all our cycling  itineraries boast  highlight  magnificent scenery and cultural values, you can ride by your own speed and interact with local people, shooting photos and share your experience with them.

Off your bikes

Upon arriving in  hotel, we offer chili cold beer  for long day cycling challenge if you enjoy ( but not include in our itinerary)  while our support staff clean and prepare your bike  for the next day’ s cycling.

Dinner meal:

We offer incredible local food  for dinner meals in well selected restaurant in our cycling trips. you will enjoy delicious food  at the best restaurant in town

Accommodation

We strive to offer a good mix of accommodation on all of our tours, always aiming for local charm. Depending on the tour, we stay at three- or four-star lodges that compliment the local culture, and sometimes logistics forces us to become creative. If we have a great cycle route through an area where there isn’t any accommodation, so we will find a local family that is happy to work with us or perhaps set up tents for the night. In isolated or newly developing areas, we are sometimes forced to stay somewhere more basic than we would like, but it is only for one night and we make sure everything is clean and comfortable. And these places are certainly authentic, and often form some of the better memories of your tour.

Vietnam is one of the most magnificent countries in South East Asia, which is safe to travel and full of wonders. Although the root of Vietnam’s culture are firmly bedded in a thousand years  of Chinese domination, the French colonialist brought European – style administration, Christianity in the form of Catholicism.

  1. Vietnam is one of the most magnificent countries in South East Asia, which is safe to travel and full of wonders. Although the root of Vietnam’s culture are firmly bedded in a thousand years  of Chinese domination, the French  colonialist brought European – style administration, Christianity in the form of Catholicism. Vietnamese  are very gracious, polite and generous with conservative nature of Confucianism inherited from Chinese. They are very appreciative for visitors try to abibe by their customs. The following Vietnamese travel tips Dos and Do’nts will help you to avoid somes social taboo and make your trip to Vietnam a culturally and socially enrich experience.
  2. Do not sit with your feet pointing towards people, when visiting someone’s house. Do not sit or sleep  with your sole of your feet, back toward the family altar.
  3. Do not give a handkerchiefs, anything black, yellow flower chrysanthemums as a gift. Bring fruit, sweet, flowers, or incense as a gift if invited to a Vietnamese home.
  4. Do not sit until show where to sit. The oldest person sit first.
  5. Do not carry a large a mount of money or wear  a lot of jewellery. Never leave your bag unattended. You may become a victim pickpocket or driver – by bag snatcher.
  6. Do not show off, keep a low profile, and a cool head, remain polite, losing temper in Vietnam  mean a “loss face”
  7. Do not cause Vietnamese to loss face. The conceipt of “save face” is extremely importance in East Asia social relationship. Avoid behavior that cause embarrassment to another party, and hol back behavior that can be misconstrued overly aggressive.
  8. Do not take cameras video into the ethic minority villages. They are considered to be too intrusive by the local people.
  9. Do not take some photo of some bodies without asking for permission. Do not take picture of anything to do with the military, which is considered a breach of national security
  10. Vietnam travel tip  DO’S
  11. DO dress conservatively,never wear shorts, dresses, skirts or tops with low neck lines and bare shoulders to temple and pagodas.
  12. Do avoid public display of affections with a member of a apposite sex, anything beyond holding seriously frowned upon.
  13. Do use both hands to pass things. But do not pass anything over someone’s head.
  14. Do learn to use chopsticks. Try to finish everything on your plate, and rest your chopsticks on top of bowls when you are finished eating. Hold your spoon in your left hand while eating soup.
  15. Do hold your bag infront of you and easy grab, especially when you hire a motobike taxi to avoid bag snatching.
  16. Do  take your shoes off at the entrance if you are invited to a Vietnamese home.
  17. Do expect toiletries in your hitel room such as toothbrush, comb, soaps, shampoo etc. But do carry toilet paper with you when you go out.
  18. Do drink plenty of bottled water, especially when you walking around sightseeing. Do expect to pay less  local beer than for a bottle of water.
  19. Do  keep  valuables such as cashes,  credit cards and airline tickets etc in a safe box.
  20. Do change money from recognized money changer
  21. Do get medical insurance before your travel.

Rules of the roads

  • Always wear a correctly  adjusted helmets
  • Always ride at the speed you are comfortable with
  • Do not  over do it or ride beyond your abilities as accidents are not fun. If stretches are too technical for you. It is better to walk than fall.
  • Always ride with at least one another person in case of difficulty
  • Give each of other plenty of space the tracks – nothing is worse than a file up.
  • The person infront  has right of way anh may not be aware of what a person behind doing, so if you overtaking, let the person in front of you know which side you passing on.
  • Always stop at Junctions, unless specifically told not  to by the guide
  • If in doubt as to the route, stop and wait for the rest of the group and tour leader
  • If you get lost, go back to the last place where you were sure you saw other group members and wait them where we will find you.
  • In general,  the leader rides at or near  the back of the group, and the supported vehicles ( where applicable) are right at the back. With two guides one will be towards the front, one at the back
  • For safety, always know the final destination for each day, alway carry some money and emergency number
  • Drink plenty of water and take some energy bars incase you get hungry between meals.
  • Dogs: dont try to race off. Stop normally enough to frighten the dogs aways, get off your bike  kneeling between you and the dog and pretend  to througha stone and throw one if you have to.

On the bikes

  • Set up your bike properly ( saddle height…) and carry out basic safety check
  • Particularly the brakes, beforeyou riding each day if in doubt ask your guide
  • Concentrate on the track in front of you and resist waving to local whilst riding as this is frequent cause accidents. If you want to enjoy of the view, it’s safiest to stop
  • Used the gear frequently to maintain a comfortable  and constant peddalling rate
  • Lower gears ( easier)  and higher  revolutions are sustainable for a longer period than a slow revs in a highe gear.
  • Anticipate gear changes, especially when the track start going  up hill or  approaching an obtacle, dont try and change the gear half way up a hill whenr you can no longer pedal. It doesnt work.
  • Be aware of the position of your feet when going around corners: on a right hand bend, have your left foot  down, and on the lelf  hand bend have your right  foot down. This dramatically increases your traction  and corner control
  • Be a ware of your body position and how to alter it for maximum stability,  eg.. Moving you behind off the back of the seat and gripping your seat between your legs on steep down hill sections maintains stability, improve  braking control and prevent you from over the bars.
  • Use the both brakes simultaneously, control your speed by letting them on  and off frequently rather than holding them  on all the times ( this  puts less strain on your hands / wrist and will stop skidding)
  • Braking whilst cornering requires skill brake before corner not in them unless you know howl.
  • In soft sand and loose gravel, change down a gear , move your weight back and keep pedalling going  a straight  line to avoid loosing steering control.
  • Be lelax: the bike will find its way over most obstacles. If you let it.  A relaxed upper body will reduce fatigue and the likelihood of falling off.
  • Where possible try  and help other members of the group – teamwork get you there faster
  • If hiring a bike, bring your own  saddle from your home if you have a comfortable one.

Check your passport

It is absolutely standard requirement for entry into any country in the world that  you have valided passport at least 06 months beyond the date you complete your travel. If your passport have less than 06 month validity you should to apply a new one before you start you trip.

If you do apply for new one, make sure you can get it before  travel date. If your passport has onely few pages left, you should have more pages inser. In most parts of Vietnam, Laos, cambodia you will have to show your passport when check into hotels, resorts, guesthouses and homestays. You will alos neet itwhen you buy airline, tickets, changing airline date,exchange money, traveler’s cheques in local banks.

Make a copy of your itinerary and travel documents

Travel  and  cycling  in  Vietnam,  Laos,  Cambodia,  Mynamar.  We  highly  recommend  that  you  should   make  two photocopies of all your travel documents incase of emergency or if your documents are lost or stolent. Leave one copy with a friend or relative at home. It is always a great idea t let at least one person know excactly where you will be  staying  and  how  to  contact  you  in  an  emergency.  Carry  the  other  copy  with  you  stored  separately  from  the originals. Documents to make copies of includes

+  Passport ID page

+ Foreign visa ( if applicable)

+ Approval letter for visa on arrival

+ Some passport size photos

+ Itinerary

+ Hotel confirmation

+ Airline tickets

+ Driver’s license

+ Credit cards brought on the trip

+ Travel’s check serial number

. if you lose passport or travel documents, you must report it at once to your local guide, tour leader, the local police

and the nearest ambassy or consulate of your country.

Visa

Most travelers to Vietnam need to apply to visa

Vietnamese entry visa is required for all foreigners wishing to visit Vietnam except for citizens of countries with visa  exemption  agreements  who  may  stay  up  to  30  days  with  out  visa.  Exempted  countries  include  most  Asean countries

1.  Citizens of Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Mynamar and Laos for visit of 30 days at

the maximum.

2.  Citizens of Philipphin for visit of 21 days at the maximum.

3.  Citizens of Japan,  South Korea, Sweden, Denmark, Russia and Finland for visits of 15 days at the maximum.

4.  Citizens of Brunei for visit of 14 days at a muximum.

5.  Citizens  of  France  holding  valid  diplomatic  official  passports  for  visits  of  90  days  at  the  maximum  or

serveral  visits of 60 days at the  maximum.

6.  Citizens of Chile holding valid diplomatic or official passports for visit of 90 days at the maximum.

7.  APEC  Bussiness  Travel  Card  (  ABTC)  Holders  from  Asia  –  Pacific  Cooperation  (  APEC)  members

economies for visit of 60 days at the maximum.

8.  for  those  who  travel  to  Phu  Quoc  island  –  Vietnam:  foreigners  and  Vietnamese  nationals  bearing   foreign passports who enters Vietnam through an international border gate and then travel to Phu Quoc island and Stay in Phu Quoc less than 30 days will also be granted Vietnam visa exemption. Passport must be valid for at least 45 days. After arriving in Phu Quoc Island, if visitors want to travel to other localities or stay in Island more than 30 days, the immigration department will be responsible  for issuing visas right spots .All other citizens are require to get an entry visa before arrival or pre approved entry visa(a visa that is issued on arrival  at  Vietnam’s  Internationa  Airport):  Hanoi  international  airport,  Danang  International  Airport,Can Tho International Airport,  CamRanh ,International Airport in Nha Trang city, Tan San Nhat International Airport in Hochiminh city. You must be arranged before arriving in Vietnam

9: Citizens of United Kingdom, Republic of France, Germany, Spain, Italy and Belarus fo visits of 15 days at maximum.

Visa apply

There are two ways to obtain your visa to Vietnam

1: Apply by yourself at embassy or consulate of Vietnam in your country  or to  any one of the Vietnam embassies and consulates around the world.

Document  needed:  passport  of  06  months  validity,  visa  application  form,   visa  forms  are  available  directly  at  the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country or by sending the embassy or consulate a stamped, self – addressed envelope addressed to the visa section. Fee vary between embassies. It will take 04 to 10working days depending on your country of origin.

2: Visa on arrival.

Incase of there is no embassy or consulate in your country, or you just make Vietnam part of a multi – destination trip, then visa on arrival as your best option.

This is the most likely way to obtain your visa without having to chase down embassies, consulates and the like prior to your trip and is valid alternative when applying for a tourist visa. The entry visa will be stamped on your passportas you pass through our immigration check points at the air port . through valid for 30 days, it can be extended once you enter Vietnam, with this type of visa, you can go to Vietnam by air

Travel documents

When you book an tour you will be issued with a confirmation Invoice. To make sure that all the services which you have booked and paid for are shown on you travel documents and that are names have been spelled  correctly. If you have  booked  additional  services  like  extra  night  accommodation,  transfers,  excursions,  please  make  sure  that  you have been issued with a voucher for these services .

Customs Regulations

Thanks  to  policies  to  promote  tourism,  custom  regulations  in  Vietnam  today  are  getting  simpler  than  ever  before. However, as a sensible visitor, you should pay attention to basic information about essential documentation and things you are obliged and not obliged to bring along on arrival at and departure from Vietnam.

Goods and Products:

You are able to bring the maximum amount of the followings; otherwise, it is mandatory to declare and pay import

taxes:

Duty Free:

Cigarettes: 400

Cigars: 100

Tobacco: 100 gram

Liquor: 1.5 liters

Perfume and jewellery for personal use

Souvenirs and gift items valued at not more than US$ 300

Materials Under Declaration

There are no restrictions on the amount of currency, gold, precious metals and stones; however, you have to declare on the customs forms provided that your luggage includes:

Declare if you bring:

Foreign currency: in excess of US$ 5,000

Vietnam Dong: in excess of VND15.000.000

Gold: in excess of 300gr

Gold and jewellery not for personal use

Video tapes, CDs: CDs and tapes are often kept for screening and returned to you after a few days

Banned Materials

Things below should be excluded from your luggage:

Weapon, ammunition, explosives and inflammable objects

–  Military technical equipment; drugs, opium and other narcotics

–  Anti-government literature; pornographic literature, etc.

On top of this; antiques, some types of precious stones, wild animals, rare and precious plants listed in Vietnam’s redbook could not be exported.  Visitors are normally required to fill in arrival-departure forms and also  custom forms on condition that you bring things  that  require  declaration  or  exceed  duty-free  norm.  Nevertheless,  from  15  November  2010,  arrival-departure forms are exempted for all visitors in all international airports and 12 border checkpoints in Vietnam. Thus, it is likely that may not have to fill in any form when you visit Vietnam.

Please be noted that this is only a brief summary and that customs regulation in Vietnam are subject to change at any time. So, always double check all information before making any important decisions. The Vietnamese Customs maintain an extremely informative website (www.customs.gov.vn/English/Lists/CustomsFormalities/Traveller.aspx) which you can refer to.

Money

How to use US dollars, Vietnamese Dong, Credit and Debit Cards in vietnam is one  of  the  most  important  and  complicated  thing  for  all  travelers’mind  is  Money.  Before  travelling  to  Vietnam, please take fee minutes to rea through this informations so that your trip goes smoothly

How to spend money.

The official currency in Vietnam is Dong. The Dong is non-convertible and in december 2014 trades at approximately 21,300 to USD. You can use the website of Vietcombank to  see the daily exchange rate. The U S dollar, preferably crisp clean bills, is widely accepted among major shops and restaurants. The downside to this is that the prices will be converted from Dong at the vendor’s chosen exchange rate, which may or may not  be close to the official exchange rate, and will be rounded up to the nearest USD, making it more expensive than the cost in Dong.It is illegal to list prices or ask for payment in any currency that is not the Dong.The  Euro,  Pound  and  various  other  currencies  are  also  easy  to  exchange.   If  you  intend  to  exchange  your  home currency for Dong, ensure your notes are clean and undamaged, as banks and other exchanges will not accept any notes  which  are  torn,  excessively  crumpled  or  have  writing  on  them.   Visa  and  Master  card  are  becoming  more accepted in many of the bigger hotels and restaurants, especially in the larger cities with usually a surcharge of 3%. Make sure that the Vietnamese notes you receive are not torn, this is because many shops and restaurants will not accept them. Also try not to change too much money at one time, as you will end up with a large wad of notes. The largest  denomination  is  currently  500,000  dong  (approx.  USD  24).  Be  careful,  the  20,000  notes  look  only  slightly different from the 500,000 one but the value is a big gap. Handy tip: Keep 500,000 dong notes separate from your other dong notes. Less chance of confusion then. Other paper notes are 1,000, 2,000, 5,000; 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 200,000 Dong. Most are clearly identifiable by colour.

vietnam-money

When you are agreeing prices with Taxi drivers or shops, always use Dong to save arguments later about the exchange rate  you  were  expecting.   While  most  will  use  the  official  rate  of  the  nationals  banks,  some  do  try  to  argue differently.  Always double check the conversion rate you have been offered.Also with such high denominations of note, be careful of common scams run by street sellers where you are short changed by a factor of ten (eg as part of your change, you may receive five 2000 dong notes as “100,000 VND!”).

Outside Vietnam the Dong is normally not accepted (excluding Cambodia and Laos), so before leaving the country remember to exchange any Dong left. In Saigon airport you can change before immigration at two bank  booth that use the standard rate plus 2% fee. After immigration there are two more small booths that charge no fee, no receipt and standard rate. On arrival there are two exchange booth with a normal exchange rate and a bunch of ATMs outside turning right.

Banking:

There are a number of international banks operating in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with 24hour cash withdrawal facilities. Most ATMs enables you to get cash from VISA, MASTER CARD, Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and JCBnetwork. Under Vietnamese law, ATM may only dispense cash in Vietnamese Dong. Current amounts that can be withdrawn at any one time is usually very low, 2,000,000 Dong with an additional usage charge variable from 30.000d up. On March 2014 the situation is getting worse particularly for debit card using MasterCard circuit (Cirrus, Maestro), while Visa debit is accepted by more ATMs. Banks are increasing fee against foreign debit cards, both Techcombank and Vietinbank charge 55.000d (the last even without showing the amount, just a generic message “There will be fees”, or even without a message). Avoid both, use SCB. Vietcom bank usually charges 20,000 dong.In HCM City , the best choice is still (September 2014) Commonwealth Bank (Australia) with zero fee and a max limit of more than 10.000.000d, 4 ATMs around Bui Vien St, no plan to extend the net ouside HCMC. ANZ and HSBC have a 10.000.000d and  4,800,000d but with high fees. Citibank ATM at HCM Airport permits withdrawals of 8,500,000 Dong. Dong A can go up to 5.000.000 Dong but it only accepts card from the Visa circuit, no MasterCard .There is nothing to stop you putting your card back in to get more money out, but remember you are still subject to your own bank’s daily cash withdrawal limits, about 500E for Maestro/MasterCard network in Europe, and you pay your bank fee every time. Also, ensure you tell your bank before travelling to Vietnam if you intend to use your card to withdraw cash from ATM’s. The machines here use the magnetic strip not the more secure chip technology.Note for  Australians:  Stored value cards where you preload with one or more foreign currencies are generally poor value.   To make up for “no fees”, they generally offer a poor exchange rate that contains very large hidden fees. For instance  Commonwealth  Bank’s  Travel  Money  card  charges  a  hidden  fee  (via  the  poor  rate)  of  about  12%  on converting from AUD to VND, and the same fee again on converting back to AUD. Getting any unused funds back once  you’re  home  may  also  be  difficult.      You  can  benefit  if  the  exchange  rate  drops  dramatically  after  you  have loaded the card, but it could also go the other way. A way to avoid these fees hidden in the exchange rate is to only load the card with your home currency, which is AUD for Australians. Then you won’t have to pay to  convert unused funds back to AUD after the trip, and all conversions to VND while overseas will happen at the time of transaction, using MasterCard’s rate, which is approximately the ‘correct’ exchange rate (what you’d see if you Googled ‘Convert AUD to VND’ – this is what bankers call a ‘mid-rate’ and contains no hidden fees) and you only pay an explicit, flat 3% fee.

Two  cards  available  to  Australians  are  the  Citibank  Plus  visa  debit  card,  which  uses  your  own  funds,  and  the 28Degrees MasterCard, which is a credit card (and which from Jan 1 2014 will charge hefty fees for cash withdrawals even  for  cards  which  are in  credit).  Both  have  no foreign  exchange  fees  and  one  of the  best  exchange  rates  you’ll get.  The 28Degrees card was the Choice Magazine “Travel Card of 2012”.

Note  for  Italy: Only  one  fee  free  debit  card  exist,  CheBanca  (Maestro/MasterCard),  zero  fee,  zero  cost,  standard.

MasterCard exchange rate but like other MC card limited support in Vietnam.Some large stores, hotels and restaurants may accept  credit cards but most of them will not!   Make sure you check beforehand.   Firstly,  any  establishment  that  allows  credit  card  purchases  will  generally  only  accept  Visa  and MasterCard.   You may have some difficulty in finding places that accept American Express, Diners International or credit cards from other charge card companies.   You will most probably be charged a 2-3% transaction fee for credit card purchases.   On top of that, you may be charged an international transaction fee through your credit card  bank or company,  usually  3-5%  of  the  purchase  price.   If  you  are  an  avid  traveller,  it  may  be  beneficial  to  obtain  a  no international  fee  credit  card.   The  best  ones  are  the  Discover  It  Card,  Capital  One  Venture  Rewards  Card,  Chase Sapphire Preferred, or the American Express Platinum Card.

In many instances, paying by credit card may not be an available option or may not be cost effective, but there are certain advantages to paying with a credit card.   The first is that Visa and MasterCard give you the best exchange rate of  the  week.   The  exchange  rate  that  they  will  give  you  will  be  better  than  what  you  will  get  for  cash  at  the banks.   Another  important  consideration  when  paying  for  things  with  credit  card  is  that  there  is  often  inherent insurance  provided  by  either  the  charge  card  company  (Visa/MasterCard)  or  your  credit  card  company.   For  large amount items such as hotels or flights, it may be beneficial to use your credit card, just in case there is a discrepancy or emergency.  Depending on your coverage, you can claim or dispute all sorts of things if you pay by credit card – hotel burglary,  fraudulent  transactions,  insurance  for  jewelry  purchases  and  more.   However,  be  very,  very  aware  of  the transaction fees and the associated costs, because the cost of using your credit card in Vietnam may not be justified.

Safety

By joining with Travelo Vietnam, you can be sure that safety and well- being is our prime concern.We have built up a network of local offices,  and local  staffs enable us to maintain constant contact events on the ground in each of our destination, and to ensure thah every aspect of your tour run as smoothly as possible . If you find yourelf worrying far too much about all the terrible things that might h appen to you whislt traveling in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia. Remember that generally Vietnam cycling travel is safe and group travel is more so if you would like us to recommend some advice please contact us by email:All of our components are use in trips. High quality products , imported directly from Factory, workshop in the world, guaranteed by safety

Insurance

Our tour price do not include insurance. However, it is a condition of joining our tours that traveler are fully insured for any medical expenses they may incur whislt traveling. At the start of your travel the tour guide guide will ask and collect your insurance document and will note down the policy number and emergency contact number.Travel insurance is compulsory for any participant. It is adviced that all travelers should have travel insurance covered before your departure. This will be helpful incase of medical emergency evacuation. It is with go safe. The travel insurance  will  cover  against  hospital  and   medical  expenses,  the  cover  rela tes  to  expenses  as  a  consequence  of accidents occurring to the bearer during the period of insurance and /or unforseen illnesses which arise during that period as well.. However travel insurance will cover all your valuable things,  luggages  , laptop, ipad,  camera broken, lost or cut off itinerary once you traveling. Please come to visit WORLD NOMADS.COM to get more details

Entrance fee

Concessions are available on some entrance feesfor holders of some students and youth cards. If you have a card or entitled to one, you should bring it along so you can take advantage of any discount.

Health and medical

When  you  are  planning  trip  in  Vietnam.  it  is  important  to  get  up  date  with  all  necessary  Vietnam  travel  health information. Here, we compiled some handy tips and advice about how to get prepared for your trip to help to ensure that you stay healthy during your travel. Though we have taken the greatest care to make sure that the information on this page is accurate. It is your responsibility to visit your doctor or medical facility at least 06 months before you depart for full Vietnam travel health information.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations  are  not  officially  required  by  the  Vietnamese  authorities,  However,  immunization  against  cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, polio, and Japanese encephalitis is strongly adviced. Please consult your doctor for further medical advice. Also bring mosquito repellent. Wearing long sleeved shirts and slacks from dusk onward and avoiding perfume is also recommended. In addition to an ample supply of any prescription drugs you are taking ( a prescription which can be filled incase your pills go missing) bring medicines for: headaches, diarrhea, constipation, insect bites, sorethroats, eyes drops, cuts, etc. Medical standards outside Hanoi and Hochiminh city, SiemReap and luang Prabang are lower than those found in western countries.

Personal medical kits

You should bring along a personal supply of basic medical items such as plaster, aspirin, insect repellent etc. In area of  limites or suspect medical facilities, some travellers also like to take their own medical kit which can be used by the local medical staff in case of accident or illness. Our adventure tour leader carry a comprehensive First Aid Kits (include a sterile pack) for emergencies but do not dispense medicine.

Exisiting medical conditions

All persons joining uor tours are assumed to be in good health and to have a sufficient level of fitness to complete their chosen  itinerary.  If  you  have  existing  medical  condition  or  disability  you  must  make  this  known  at  the  time  of booking. If accepted on the tours, you must also make your condition know to the cyclign tour leader.

What to pack.

Travel light

The first thing to remember when you ara packing for your trip is that your airline baggage allowance is alpmost certainly going to be no more than 20 kg. The next thing to remember is that apart from a few occasions when hotel poster will take your bags from hotel out to tour bus, you will have to carry your own lauggage.

Luggage.

For ease of use, the best type of bag to bring is backpack or hold all, preferably with some sorts of shoulder strap. This type of bag tent to be less bulky and easier to handle than rigid suitcase. Wheeled suitcases might be useful for airport.In addition to your maain bag, we also recommend that you should bringA small day pack for items like camera, water, suncream, hat, soft drink, cakes for getting hungry between meals.A money belt or waist pouch ( bum bag) for your travel document and money.Your luggage, bags and personal item are your own responsibility at all times.

Luggage requirement check list

As a guideline we have compiled a list of things that you might need on your tour. Naturally, you have your own ideas, so please remember that with the exception of the essentials these list are intended as a guide and you should choose which items you wish to bring.

  • Money
  • Passport
  • Keep a note of emergency contact number for your visa or ATM card, and the serial number of any travel’s cheques, if used.
  • Travel insurance
  • Take a photocophy of your policy with you and make sure that you leave a photocophy at home
  • Airline ticket
  • Travel document, service vouchers
  • Comfortable clothing for cycling allowing your leg to move freely
  • Helmets
  • Cycling gloves
  • Stiff soled cycling shoes
  • Insulated water bottle
  • Waterroof jacket ( rain is always possible in Indochina)
  • Spare inner tube
  • Abike
  • Front and rear bike lights
  • Cycling water bottle
  • Money belt or pouch
  • Torch and batteries
  • Personal washing/ shaving kit
  • Camera and memory cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Lightweight wind/ waterproof jacket.

Travelo Vietnam have professional cycling guides who  have been passionate about cycling for many years. Cycling team carefully design and newly develop cycling routes for fun and enjoyable to suit all level of cyclists. Being advance for cycling in Vietnam, our team has always worked hard to develop new product for our customers.

More than cycling, we are really excited to show tourists our country, meeting with the people and interacting with the community. You will enjoy local food to experience rural Vietnam at its most authentic. Most of our cycling guides are , full well trained by Vietnam National Administration Departerment . and  well educated  with First Aid Certification by Vietnam SOS.. They are proud and eager to promote cycling across Vietnam and the region

The official currency in Vietnam is Dong. The Dong is non-convertible and in december 2014 trades at approximately 21,300 to USD. You can use the website of Vietcombank to see the daily exchange rate. The U S dollar, preferably crisp clean bills, is widely accepted among major shops and restaurants. The downside to this is that the prices will be converted from Dong at the vendor’s chosen exchange rate, which may or may not be close to the official exchange rate, and will be rounded up to the nearest USD, making it more expensive than the cost in Dong.

It is illegal to list prices or ask for payment in any currency that is not the Dong.

The Euro, Pound and various other currencies are also easy to exchange.  If you intend to exchange your home currency for Dong, ensure your notes are clean and undamaged, as banks and other exchanges will not accept any notes which are torn, excessively crumpled or have writing on them.  Visa and Master card are becoming more accepted in many of the bigger hotels and restaurants, especially in the larger cities with usually a surcharge of 3%.

Make sure that the Vietnamese notes you receive are not torn, this is because many shops and restaurants will not accept them. Also try not to change too much money at one time, as you will end up with a large wad of notes. The largest denomination is currently 500,000 dong (approx. USD 24). Be careful, the 20,000 notes look only slightly different from the 500,000 one but the value is a big gap. Handy tip: Keep 500,000 dong notes separate from your other dong notes. Less chance of confusion then. Other paper notes are 1,000, 2,000, 5,000; 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000 and 200,000 Dong. Most are clearly identifiable by colour.

When you are agreeing prices with Taxi drivers or shops, always use Dong to save arguments later about the exchange rate you were expecting.  While most will use the official rate of the nationals banks, some do try to argue differently.  Always double check the conversion rate you have been offered.

Also with such high denominations of note, be careful of common scams run by street sellers where you are short changed by a factor of ten (eg as part of your change, you may receive five 2000 dong notes as “100,000 VND!”).

Outside Vietnam the Dong is normally not accepted (excluding Cambodia and Laos), so before leaving the country remember to exchange any Dong left. In Saigon airport you can change before immigration at two bank booth that use the standard rate plus 2% fee. After immigration there are two more small booths that charge no fee, no receipt and standard rate. On arrival there are two exchange booth with a normal exchange rate and a bunch of ATMs outside turning righ.

Banking:
There are a number of international banks operating in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City with 24hour cash withdrawal facilities. Most ATMs enables you to get cash from VISA, MASTER CARD, Cirrus, Maestro, Plus and JCB network.

Under Vietnamese law, ATM may only dispense cash in Vietnamese Dong. Current amounts that can be withdrawn at any one time is usually very low, 2,000,000 Dong with an additional usage charge variable from 30.000d up. On March 2014 the situation is getting worse particularly for debit card using MasterCard circuit (Cirrus, Maestro), while Visa debit is accepted by more ATMs. Banks are increasing fee against foreign debit cards, both Techcombank and Vietinbank charge 55.000d (the last even without showing the amount, just a generic message “There will be fees”, or even without a message). Avoid both, use SCB. Vietcom bank usually charges 20,000 dong.

In HCM City the best choise is still (September 2014) Commonwealth Bank (Australia) with zero fee and a max limit of more than 10.000.000d, 4 ATMs around Bui Vien St, no plan to extend the net ouside HCMC. ANZ and HSBC have a 10.000.000d and  4,800,000d but with high fees.
Citibank ATM at HCM Airport permits withdrawals of 8,500,000 Dong. Donga can go up to 5.000.000 Dong but it only accepts card from the Visa circuit, no MasterCard.

There is nothing to stop you putting your card back in to get more money out, but remember you are still subject to your own bank’s daily cash withdrawal limits, about 500E for Maestro/MasterCard network in Europe, and you pay your bank fee every time. Also, ensure you tell your bank before travelling to Vietnam if you intend to use your card to withdraw cash from ATM’s. The machines here use the magnetic strip not the more secure chip technology.

Note for Australians: Stored value cards where you preload with one or more foreign currencies are generally poor value.  To make up for “no fees”, they generally offer a poor exchange rate that contains very large hidden fees. For instance Commonwealth Bank’s Travel Money card charges a hidden fee (via the poor rate) of about 12% on converting from AUD to VND, and the same fee again on converting back to AUD. Getting any unused funds back once you’re home may also be difficult.    You can benefit if the exchange rate drops dramatically after you have loaded the card, but it could also go the other way. A way to avoid these fees hidden in the exchange rate is to only load the card with your home currency, which is AUD for Australians. Then you won’t have to pay to convert unused funds back to AUD after the trip, and all conversions to VND while overseas will happen at the time of transaction, using MasterCard’s rate, which is approximately the ‘correct’ exchange rate (what you’d see if you Googled ‘Convert AUD to VND’ – this is what bankers call a ‘mid-rate’ and contains no hidden fees) and you only pay an explicit, flat 3% fee.

Two cards available to Australians are the Citibank Plus visa debit card, which uses your own funds, and the 28Degrees MasterCard, which is a credit card (and which from Jan 1 2014 will charge hefty fees for cash withdrawals even for cards which are in credit). Both have no foreign exchange fees and one of the best exchange rates you’ll get.  The 28Degrees card was the Choice Magazine “Travel Card of 2012”.

Note for Italy: Only one fee free debit card exist, CheBanca (Maestro/MasterCard), zero fee, zero cost, standard MasterCard exchange rate but like other MC card limited support in Vietnam.

Hanoi and northern Vietnam have a distinct winter and summer season. A dryer winter lasts from November to April with average temperatures of 18 – 20ºC. Summer lasts from May to October and is hot and humid with temperatures around 30 – 35ºC. In areas like Sapa, prepare accordingly for the winter months as it has been known to snow on occasion.

Hue and Danang, in the center of the country, have very hot, dry weather from February to August with temperatures reaching over 35ºC. The region can experience quite heavy rainfall between September and January.

Ho Chi Minh City and the south have a hot, dry season from December till April with average temperatures around 28ºC. The rainy season lasts from May through till November. It rarely rains for long periods, even in the rainy season, with most rain coming in short, heavy bursts.

HANOI (North) DANANG (Center) SAIGON (South)
Av. Temp
(Celsius)
Av. Rainfall
(mm)
Av. Temp
(Celsius)
Av. Rainfall
(mm)
Av. Temp
(Celsius)
Av. Rainfall (mm)
Jan 17 18 22 102 27 15
Feb 18 28 23 31 28 3
Mar 20 38 24 12 29 13
Apr 24 81 27 18 30 43
May 28 196 29 47 29 221
Jun 30 239 30 42 29 330
Jul 30 323 30 99 28 315
Aug 29 343 30 117 28 269
Sep 28 254 28 447 27 335
Oct 26 99 26 530 27 269
Nov 22 43 25 221 27 114
Dec 19 20 23 209 27 56

Do I need a visa to enter Vietnam?

Yes! Except for few countries with visa exemptions (most Asian countries, Korea, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, all others are required to have a Vietnamese visa or a pre-approved entry visa letter supplied before arrival to Vietnam by your Vietnam Immigration Office.

How do I apply for a visa to Vietnam ?

There are 2 ways to get your Vietnam visa:

1. Get your visa in the country where you are living by contacting the visa department at the Vietnam Embassy or Consulate there.

Documents needed: Passport of 6 months’ validity; visa application forms; and probably some others required by the embassy or consulate. Visa forms are available directly from the Vietnamese embassy or consulate in your country.

Fees: vary from embassy to embassy.

Duration: It will take between 4 to 10 days depending on your country of origin.

2. Get your visa upon arrival in Vietnam with pre-approved entry visa letter.  

Relax and we will handle everything from here for you.* Travelo Vietnam, as your sponsor, will email you the Visa Approval Letter issued by the Vietnam Immigration Office here. When you enter Vietnam by air** you will, fill out a short form, and give the issuing officer two passport photos and a fee. He/she will give you  the all important visa and stamp on your passport.

How long does it take? Normally it takes 2-3 days to complete from when we receive all your information.

How much does it cost? This depends on the typr of visa you require (Tourist or Business, 1 or 3 months, Single or Multiple Entry). Please get this information from our Travelo Vietnam consultant.

How long can I stay? The regular Tourist visa are valid for 30 days. You can extend it here if needed.

Documents needed: Please send us a complete copy of your passport via email including your full name as it appears on your passport, date of birth, gender, nationality, passport numbers, passport expiry date, and your arrival date to Vietnam or flight information.

Attention please:

(*) We can only obtain the visa for you once you have decided to book a tour with us. This is set by the Vietnam Immigration Department.
(**) Visa upon arrival can only be arranged when you enter Vietnam by air (Hanoi, Danang, Saigon).

Shopping culture is huge in Vietnam. And, visiting the many local markets, shopping districts, and shopping centres is a great experience. Bargaining is the norm at many of these places. Vietnam offers some excellent products at great value, so be sure to schedule some shopping time while in Vietnam.

Tips for shopping and bargaining in Vietnam

  • If the item does not have a price tag, the price is nearly always negotiable.
  • When negotiating a price, knock at least three quarters off the top.
  • If negotiations are getting you nowhere start to walk, you will be amazed by the number of sellers that will agree on your price while walking away.
  • Vietnam has recently changed from paper to polymer (plastic) bank notes, and some of the notes look very similar because of their color, and because of all the zeroes. For example the 20,000 Dong note looks very similar to the 200,000 dong note, and the same goes for the 50,000 and 500,000 dong notes. So It always pays to double check before handing over any money and also when receiving change.
  • When you enter into a negotiation figure on a price that you feel good about and shoot for that.
  • Always remain positive and smiling throughout the process.

Wandering around and shopping in Hanoi is endless. Look for great bargains and interesting products at these recommended spots:

Dong Xuan Market – Although it is mainly set up for Vietnam wholesalers selling to the numerous Hanoi shops, it is stil a great place to see Vietnam in action, and maybe even get a good buy on something.

Dong Xuan Night Market – On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings Hang Dao and Hang Duong streets are pedestrian only lit up for Hanoi’s largest night market. The market has a range of cheap products including clothes, cell phone cases, and sunglasses. Lots of great local energy and street food to be found along the side streets as well.

Warning: The night market has become notorious for pick-pocketers and bag slashers. Please leave all valuables at your hotel, do not take your passport, do not take a bag or purse, and only take as much money as you will need for the evening. If you do this you will not have any problems at all, and soon those pesky theives will have nothing better to do but go home. 

Hanoi’s Old Quarter – The Old Quarter’s shopping possibilities are endless! You can walk around and around for days shopping and bargaining, and filling up your luggage with souvenirs and gifts. Most of the streets are organized to sell a certain product. Look for shoe street, silver street, and kitchen supply street to start off. Hang Bong is well known for its numerous multi-floored art galleries.

Luxury Shopping and Brand Names – Near the Opera House and Metropole Hotel, there are a number of true brand name stores. Find Louis Vulton, Gucci, and others here.

Ho Chi Minh City perhaps some of the best shopping areas in the country. Here are some recommended markets in Ho Chi Minh city:

Ben Thanh Market – Number one on any trip to Saigon should be the historic Ben Thanh Market, located in District One. The variety of items for sale here is quite staggering with the sale of everything from clothing, fabrics, cosmetics, fake Rolexes and coffee, to fruit, vegetables and live animals. As mentioned Dong Khoi Street in District One is the place to go for top quality brand labels, and is well worth a visit. Dong Khoi’s trendy neighbourhood also host some quality Vietnamese art and craft shops, cafés, and nightclubs.

Diamond Plaza – The most popular shopping mall is Diamond Plaza, which has a good rang of quality designer clothing, fragrances and electronics, with a cinema and bowling alley on the upper floors.

Saigon Tax Trade Center – Sitting on the corner of Nguyen Hue and Le Loi Street is the Saigon Tax trade center. The ground floor mostly specializes in locally made gold and silver jewelry. Throughout the store there is great quality local and imported clothing, shoes, cosmetics and tourist souvenirs. Of special note is the 3rd floor where you will find a seller of pirated DVDs along with a reasonable sized supermarket selling a great selection of local and imported foods from around the world.

Parkson Department Store – Parkson Department Store, which opened its doors in 2005, is different from the two mentioned above, as the entire store is owned operated entirely by Parkson, and they sell more of the big ticket items such as plasma TVs and electronics, along with the usual clothing and cosmetics.  Great for a quick look if you have the time.

An Dong Wholesale Market (Near China Town) – Shoppers are presented with an overwhelming choice of clothes fabrics, jewelry and food, but with an emphasis on clothing and fabrics. Even though this is a wholesale market store holders are happy to sell to the public and international travelers. Fewer tourists frequent An Dong because it’s a little further away and not as well known as Ben Thanh, however it’s a great opportunity to see a local Vietnamese market in action. The ground level of An Dong specializes in mainly gold jewelry and food, with the upper levels of the market selling clothing and home items.

Binh Tay in Cho Lon (China Town) – Nearly every major city in the world has a China Town and Saigon is no different. Cho Lon District is Saigon’s China Town with the huge Binh Tay wholesale market at its focal point, is bigger than Ben Thanh, and just like An Dong, sellers are happy to sell to everyone. Binh Tay has a huge array of items imported from China (as you can imagine), around the world, as well as locally made items.

Warning: this market is not air-conditioned and not well ventilated so its recommend you get there early in the morning to beat the heat.

Great things to buy in Vietnam

  • Ladies have a traditional Vietnamese Ao Dai (long silk dress) and other tailor-made clothing.
  • Vietnam is renowned for stunning quality lacqureware pictures, bowls, plates & drink coasters.
  • Vietnamese art. Saigon and Hanoi has many great traditional and contemporary art shops offering sculptures, carvings, rattan, and stunning paintings.
  • Vietnam’s coffee is some of the best in the world. Renowned for its unique flavor and richness, it’s no wonder the global coffee giant Nestlé reportedly buys a third of the country’s entire coffee export. When purchasing your coffee also get yourself a coffee grinder and a stainless steel coffee filter.
  • Shoes and Handbags. All women love their shoes and hand bags and Vietnamese women are no different! You will find an enormous range and variety of shoes and handbags, from reasonable quality brand name rip-offs to original Vietnamese designed masterpieces.
  • Men often have a casual or business suite made. Vietnam’s tailors are some of the most skilled in the world and fantastically cheap.
  • You can get some very cheap yet practical tourist items. Wooden business card holders, for example, are cheap and compact, and friends and business acquaintances love them.

Crossing the street in Hanoi or Saigon, or any other city in Vietnam can be an daunting. The traffic is maddening and chaotic, there seems to be no traffic rules, and there is not a working cross-walk in the country.  To help you cope with the action of crossing the street safely, here are a few tips that we picked up along the way:

  • Don’t hesitate. Waiting for a lull in traffic is hopeless, so if you want to get across, just go.
  • Don’t stop and make a sudden unexpected turn in opposite direction when you’re in the middle of the street. Keep going at an even pace. Know that traffic will adjust to you.
  • Don’t look just one way. Vehicles can sometimes go against the flow of traffic so do pay attention to both directions. Make eye contact with oncoming road users helps see whether they notice you and your movement pattern.
  • Don’t run! If anything is going to get you killed in Vietnam, it’s attempting to run across the street. Take it slow, walk in a straight line, keep a steady pace, and traffic will flow smoothly around you.

Crossing the street in Vietnam is anything but pedestrian. But if you approach the problem with a healthy dose of newfound confidence you should live to tell the story.

It is best to travel light in Vietnam. One medium sized bag and a day pack will provide more than enough room to carry everything you’ll need to survive for one month, and still have enough space for the things you’ll buy in Vietnam.

There is extensive consumer goods in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, so do not worry about running out of or forgetting something.

Here is Travelo Vietnam version of a fun and helpful Before-you-go Checklist. Print this page out, stick it to your fridge, and begin checking off all the items.

2 – 3 months before you go:

᩿ Check your passport to ensure that it is valid with at least 6 months prior to the date you will arrive in Vietnam.
᩿ See your doctor to ensure your healthy and fit enough for your trip.
᩿ See your doctor or specialist about any necessary vaccinations.
᩿ Begin a book about Vietnam (fiction or nonfiction is okay).
᩿ Follow Travelo Vietnam on Facebook and Twitter for the latest updates, news, and stories about Vietnam.

1 month before you go:

᩿ Look into and purchase the necessary travel insurance
᩿ Scan all your important documents and identification (including your passport) and email it to yourself and a friend at home
᩿ Start an address book of friends that you will want to send postcards to
᩿  Have a few business cards printed (you can make them yourself if you don’t have any)
᩿ Find a friend to water your plants and take care of your pets
᩿ Begin learning a few Vietnamese greetings
᩿ Start practising using chopsticks
᩿ Have our phone unlocked if you are planning to use your phone in Vietnam

1 week before you go:

᩿ Collect, print, and email any other important documents, like your itinerary
᩿ Get a few passport pictures for your visa on arrival in Vietnam (or if you are planning to travel to Cambodia or Laos)
᩿ Collect and record any important / emergency phone numbers – Email Travelo Vietnam for their list as well
᩿ Prepare your lightweight, quick-dry clothing (summer), your warmer comfy clothes (winter months), as well as your sun hat, and swimsuit.
᩿ Prepare flashlight, alarm clock, sunglasses, insect repellent, personal first aid kit.
᩿ Prepare any medications, toiletries, and sunscreen.
᩿ Change money in US dollars (crisp $100 bills is best), or traveler checks (not recommended)
᩿ Prepare your breathable raincoat
᩿ Prepare footwear: sandals, hiking shoes, walking shoes
᩿ Cable locks for your luggage
᩿ Double check that your camera and photography equipment is in good working order
᩿ Buy any gifts you are planning on giving to friends or people you meet in Vietanam
᩿ Start your ‘Departure for Vietnam Countdown’ on Facebook

2 days before you go:

᩿ Reconfirm your flight
᩿ Clean out your fridge of perishables
᩿ Try to get some sleep, because the excitement is building!

1 day before you go:

᩿ Say your farewells
᩿ Zip up that suitcase, it’s time to head to Vietnam!

Safe and happy travels!

Hotels and hostels in Vietnam, as well as many homestays and private hosts must register your presence with the police. You will be expected to hand over your passport, along with your visa number. Many people do not like this one bit. A handy tip is to photocopy your passport details several times, write you visa number on this when you get it on entry, and then hand this copy in instead of your original.

The official currency, the Vietnamese Dong, is non-convertible and is currently at about 21,000 (Mar. 2012) VND to 1 USD. The US dollar, preferably crisp clean bills*, is widely accepted among major shops and restaurants. Travelers checks can be cashed at authorized foreign exchange outlets and banks, and always require presentation of passport. There is normally a 2 to 5 percent transaction fee for cashing travelers’ checks. Visa and Mastercard are accepted in some of the bigger hotels, restaurants, and shops.

There are also a small number of international banks now operating in both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city. There are also many 24-hour ATM machines now all over Vietnam. The ANZ machines work with all cards and give the highest widrawl amounts.

(*) When changing money you may find that your UDS will not be accepted if it is not crisp and clean. One hundred dollar bills also offer a slightly higher rate.

No vaccinations are required except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However, visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region and it is advisable to take precautions especially if traveling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are rather limited in all of the country and it is essential to purchase good comprehensive medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed.

The cuisine of Vietnam comes as a pleasant surprise to many visitors and is definitely a part of the Vietnam experience not to be missed. One of the characteristics of Vietnamese food is that it is always fresh; being bought the same morning straight from the market. Food is usually prepared with a minimal amount of oil and served with the ubiquitous fish sauce called nuoc mam.

Typical Vietnamese dishes you can expect to try include pho, a type of rice noodle soup eaten for breakfast; cha gio,  deep-fried spring rolls; and goi ngo sen, a delicious salad made with lotus stems, shrimp and peanuts. Due to the strong Buddhist influence in Vietnam, vegetarian food is widely available, however fish sauce is in nearly everything.

For those who have never used chopsticks, it might be a good idea to learn before you come to Vietnam – or you can bring your own fork. Not to worry though, spoons are offered at almost every restaurant.

Voltage throughout Vietnam is mainly 220V.

Plugs and sockets: Type C is used, this two-wire plug is ungrounded and has two round prongs. A plug has two 4 mm diameter pins spaced 18.5 mm on centres at the base.

C-plug

International phone charges are steep in Vietnam and many hotels, especially up-market ones, add extra fees. It is however very easy to pick up a SIM card virtually anywhere in Vietnam. Be sure to unlock your phone before you come or you will find that the SIM card won’t work. Many SIM cards are also 3G.

Faxes can be sent from hotels, business centers and post offices. Again, rates vary. To rent a mobile phone call 821-8465 in Hanoi or 824-2382 in Ho Chi Minh City.

A suggestion for making international calls is to log onto or sign up for an internet phone provider, like skype, before leaving home. There are also ones that have been recently set up in Vietnam.

Email and interent is readily available in almost every hotel. Although, a times it can be a little tempermental as the servers tend to be overloaded.

In Vietnam, tipping for good service is not expected but is always appreciated. It is customary, though not compulsory, to tip tour guides and drivers at the end of a tour. Hotel and station porters should also be tipped, especially if the service exceeds expectations.

If you consider tipping tour guides, drivers, hotel staff, boat crews, waiters or waitresses, and cyclo drivers here are a few tips that will help you along you way:

  • There is no standard amount or percentage for tipping;
  • People rarely tip at street-food stands;
  • If you want to tip the hotel staff, ask if there is a community tip box;
  • If someone ever politely declines your tip, thank them, take back your tip, and please do not overly press the issue (this is normal Vietnamese culture);
  • A fair tip for tour guides and drivers on a one-day tour is about 100,000 VND, but it is completely up to you;
  • For or multi-day tours you might tip more depending on how long the trip was, the quality of your guide, etc.

It is not advisable to drink tap water in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand or Myanmar, but bottled mineral water is safe and available everywhere. Ice in drinks is generally okay in good standard hotels and restaurants but it is best to avoid it on street stalls or in countryside areas.

To be a more responsibe traavler you are best to bring a refillable water bottle with you and fill it at water stations in your hotel. We at the Travelo Vietnam office have a water station as well, so if you like, you can always come pay us a visit and fill up your water bottle here!

Here are a list of the public holidays in Vietnam. Hotels and transport with be busy at these times with domestic tourists who are travelling with their families.

January 1: New Year’s Day

End of January / Beginning of February: Tet or Vietnamese New Year. The actual dates vary from year to year according to the lunar calendar. Officially 3 days are given for the holiday but many businesses close down for a full week. This is the busiest time of year for traveling in Vietnam and hotels, flights and trains are often full.

April 30: Liberation of Saigon Day

May 1: International Labour Day

May 19: Birthday of Ho Chi Minh

September 2: National Day

Check out the Do’s and Don’ts page to help you avoid some of the social taboos during your visit. Take these into consideration and you will be rewarded with a culturally and socially enriching experience.

Offices are usually open from Monday to Friday from 7:30am or 8:00am until 5:00pm or 6:00pm, and often close for lunch between 11:30am and 1:30pm. Some offices also open Saturday morning. Shops open early and close any time between 6:00pm and 10:00pm. Most shops and restaurants are open 7 days a week.

Here is a fun list that candidly describe the Rules of the Road in Vietnam:
  1. Obey the road rules if you can work out what they are
  2. Maintain direction no matter what
  3. Remember the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
  4. Expect the totally unexpected
  5. Do not be surprised when a 10-metre boat slung on a pole between two motor cycles crosses the expressway in front of you.
  6. Do not be surprised if, despite bird flu, a flock of ducks suddenly fills the entire the highway
  7. Do not be surprised if a laden bus (or anything else) comes at you on the wrong side of an expressway.
  8. Red traffic lights often seem to be only advisory
  9. Do not stop immediately on a red light or someone behind will run into you
  10. The man with the two full-size refrigerators on the back of his mortor cycle is NOT going to stop at a red light.
  11. Traffic roundabouts are only a slight inconvenience to traffic
  12. It’s quite reasonable to go the wrong way up one-way streets
  13. When doing something totally stupid like going the wrong way up a one-way street or into oncoming traffic, blast away on your horn
  14. Ride with a finger pressed almost continuously on the horn since this is easier than obeying road rules
  15. Just because you have four on the bike and are going the wrong way up a one-way street does not mean the police will stop you
  16. Lights are not used during the day because they use too much electricity
  17. Traffic lights can often be hidden behind trees or signs
  18. “No left turn” signs are usually inconspicuous and can be moved from time to time
  19. Just because you are turning left and on the left side of the carriageway doesn’t mean someone will not pass you on the left to go straight ahead
  20. Just because someone is on the left side of the carriage-way in front of you does not mean they do not intend to suddenly turn right
  21. Ditto if they are on the right side of the road
  22. Just because there is a wall of motorbikes spanning both sides of the road facing you, don’t think you are necessarily heading into a one-way street.
  23. Just because there is a car bearing down on you on your side of the road doesn’t mean he’s on the correct side of the road
  24. Crash helmets are for putting in the basket at the front of your bike
  25. Remember most car drivers don’t own a cars – they own motorbikes and drive accordingly
  26. Double ditto for bus drivers
  27. If you are going to be hit by a car make sure it is not a government car
  28. Avoid foreigners since most are riding Russian bikes and need to keep going or the engine cuts out
  29. Avoid any drivers wearing a green hat as they are probably xe om drivers and thus feel they are right of way
  30. What rules?

The main thing to consider is the weather. It can be freezing cold in the Northern mountains, and at the same time incredibly hot and humid on the Southern coast. If you are traveling in the North or the Central Highlands during the winter months definitely bring long pants and a warm coat or sweater (preferably not cotton). It seems that it is always raining somewhere in Vietnam, so lightweight, breathable rain gear is essential.

In the hot summer months, dress cool but conservative. Many Vietnamese cannot understand why foreigners insist on wearing short-shorts, tank tops and sleeveless t-shirts when they have the money to dress well. For the Vietnamese, appearance is very important, so if you are dealing with or as an official of any rank, make sure you are dressed appropriately.

The rule on shoes are a little more lax. Flip flops are a must on your travels. It is okay to wear leather sandals to a business meeting. Proper, broken-in footware is needed if you plan on doing any trekking.

A summer hat and sunglasses are also advised.