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Vietnam - Frequently Asked Questions

Table of contents

  1. When is the best time to go?
  2. Do you need a visa?
  3. How can I get there?
  4. What is the local currency and what currency should I take?
  5. What is there to see and do?
  6. Where are the best beaches?
  7. Is it cheap to eat out?
  8. What is transport like and is it expensive?

When is the best time to go?

Vietnam's climate is varied, which means that the best time to travel to the country in terms of the weather will depend on where precisely you want to go and what you want to do. Broadly speaking, though, Vietnam's weather patterns can be split into north and south, with two monsoons affecting the climate. The winter monsoon that runs from October to March typically makes the north of the country cool and damp, while the south is dry and warm. From April or May to October, the summer monsoon generally leads to the whole nation becoming quite humid and hot - except for around the mountains.

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Do you need a visa?

British citizens and those of most other nationailities (except from a few neighbouring Asian countries) need to apply for a visa to enter Vietnam before travelling. Tourist visas for Vietnam are valid for a single 30-day stay. It's best to organise this through your nearest Vietnamese Embassy ahead of your holiday, although if you travel to Cambodia first as part of a multi-centre holiday you can obtain a Vietnamese visa on the same day and for a cheaper price. If you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter the country on the same trip, make sure you get a multi-entry - rather than a single-entry - visa. Your passport needs to be valid for at least one month from the date that your Vietnamese visa expires.

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How can I get there?

Vietnam Airlines is the only airline that offers direct flights from London to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There are many other international carriers that operate services from continental Europe, such as Lufthansa and Air France. The average flight time on a direct service to Vietnam is around 12 hours.

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What is the local currency and what currency should I take?

The local currency is the Vietnamese dong, although U.S. dollars are widely accepted and easy to exchange. In the main cities, it's not hard to change most common foreign currencies, though. There's also an extensive network of ATMs throughout the country's big cities and towns. Major credit cards, such as Visa and MasterCard, are widely accepted in many cities and main tourist attractions, although be aware that there's usually a three per cent charge for using a credit card.

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What is there to see and do?

Vietnam is a fantastic all-round holiday destination, with plenty of natural and cultural attractions to keep you entertained. There is a wonderful variety of landscapes, from mountains and waterfalls to sweeping beaches and stunning islands. Among the must-visit natural attractions are Halong Bay, with its amazing limestone islands and towers, the Cao Bang mountains and the picturesque Phong Na National Park that's home to an impressive cave system. The country does, of course, have a fantastic coastline too, where you can soak up the sun on glorious beaches or try water sports like kite surfing and scuba diving if you're looking for a bit of adventure. In terms of cultural and historical attractions, you'll be spoilt for choice in cities like Hoi An, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. There's an incredible blend of local culture and outside influences from places like France and China. As well as discovering the various monuments in these destinations, you can also visit sites like the Cu C

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Where are the best beaches?

Vietnam is home to a number of stunning beaches, with everything from hidden coves to developed stretches of coast available. Nha Trang is one of the most famous and is close to a range of amenities, while the Con Dao islands offer something a little quieter and less developed. Likewise, Phan Thiet, Danang, Quy Nhon, Phu Quoc and Mui Ne are excellent coastal destinations.

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Is it cheap to eat out?

Eating out in Vietnam can be very cheap if you stick to local places. There are a host of restaurants where you can sample traditional Vietnamese dishes at very affordable prices.

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What is transport like and is it expensive?

There's a good transport network in Vietnam, with buses, boats and domestic flights connecting much of the country. Travelling around in Vietnam is generally inexpensive, making it affordable to see different areas of the country on a single trip.

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