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VIETNAM TRAVEL TIPS - VIETNAM INFORMATION

Vietnam stretches over 1600km along the eastern coast of the Indochinese Peninsula. Vietnam’s two main areas are the Red River Delta in the North and the Mekong Delta in the South. Most of Vietnam is made up of mountains. The main parts of Vietnam that you should visit are Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Haiphong, North-West & North-Est Vietnam, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Dalat.

Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are enormous cities that have such attractions as museums, markets, parks and pagodas, many restaurants and bars and an exciting nightlife.

Halong Bay has beautiful emerald green waters and thousands of islands and caves that you can explore.

North-West & North-Est Vietnam's breathtaking mountain scenery and colourful hill tribe minorities should not be missed.

When visiting Hue you absolutely must visit the ancient citadel and take a 'Dragon Boat' trip to the majestic Royal Tombs.

Hoi An has a charming atmosphere and while here you must see the extraordinary Cham ruins, located at nearby My Son.

Nha Trang & Phan Thiet has crystal clear turquoise waters and offers great island-hopping and scuba diving.

Dalat is made up of pine-forested hills, cultivated valleys, lakes and waterfalls.
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Culture
Four great philosophies and religions have shaped the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity.

Mekong Delta www.DiscoveryHalong.com

The Vietnamese language (kinh) belongs to the Mon-Khmer stock, which comprises Mon (spoken in Burma) and Khmer (the language of Cambodia), as well as Khmu, Bahnar, Bru and other languages of the highlands of Vietnam. Mon-Khmer, Tai and Chinese elements with many of its basic words derived from the monotonic Mon-Khmer languages. The most widely spoken foreign languages in Vietnam are Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), English, French and Russian, more or less in that order.

Popular artistic forms include: traditional painting produced on frame-mounted silk; an eclectic array of theatre, puppetry, music and dance; religious sculpture; and lacquerware.

Vietnamese cuisine is especially varied - there are said to be nearly 500 different traditional dishes, ranging from exotic meats such as bat, cobra and pangolin to fantastic vegetarian creations.
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Local Currency

The currency for Vietnam is Dong. The US dollar virtually acts as a second local currency and all hotels, airlines and travel agencies quote prices in US dollars. However, you should pay in Dong. Vietnamese law requires all transactions in dong, though in practice many people will accept dollars.

Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted in the major cities and towns popular with tourists. Getting cash in advance is also possible but you will be charged between 2% and 4% commission plus any charges levied by your bank.

Travellers cheques in US dollars can be exchanged and only at certain banks. Most hotels and airline offices do not accept travellers cheques as payment. Lost or stolen cheques are not replacable in Vietnam.
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Transport
Domestic Air Services: All air travel within Vietnam is handled by Vietnam Airlines. All reservations can be made by your agent or the airlines directly.

Buses: Most foreigners do not use local buses. It is advisable to use Taxi's, private buses or hired rentals with a driver.

The Vietnamese drive on the right-hand side of the road. You can hire a motorcycle to drive yourself if you have an International Driver's Permit endorsed for motorcycles. Travelling through Vietnam by bicycle is worth considering, though the traffic is still a hazard on highways without wide shoulders. Trains and buses will carry your bike when you want a break.

Hitching: Though it is practised it is not recommended. You are expected to pay the driver for picking you up and he will negotiate the fee prior to letting you on board.

Boats: are widely used in the Mekong Delta area and Halong Bay, Lan Ha bay or Cat Ba island
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Visa Information
Tourist visas are only valid for a period of 30 days stay.You must specify your exact city of arrival and departure and the respective dates. You cannot arrive even one day earlier and should you change your mind on arrival you will need to contact the Immigration Police or the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Hanoi or Saigon.
The cost of visa's vary from country to country. We suggest that you contact the Vietnamese Consulate General in your country to arrange your visa.

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