Vietnam’s well preserved and vibrant cultural heritage is no more prevalent than in the northern capital city of Hanoi. Harmoniously blending old world charm with the contemporary, Hanoi is a city with a captivating mix of architectural heritage and European influences, making it one of Asia’s most striking cities. A short journey southeast of Hanoi and you will discover the UNESCO World Heritage site of Halong Bay, featuring more than 2000 stunning islands and islets rising from the azure waters of the Gulf of Tonkin to create a dramatic and awe-inspiring setting. Along Vietnam’s curvaceous coastline is Hue and Hoi An. The towns are short transfers from each other and straddle the banks of the Song Huong River. In the south is the extensive Mekong Delta and Ho Chi Minh City, the country’s greatest metropolitan area consisting of a vibrant and high energy mixture of culture, commerce, tradition and modernity. Here designer hotels, boutique properties, markets, street stalls and high-end restaurants meet every desire.
Vietnam’s weather varies greatly from north to south with each area marked by slightly different seasons and climates. Because of these regional variations, there are always pleasant and favorable areas to visit throughout the year. The north, overall, tends to be cooler than the rest of the country. During the winter from November till February, the day time temperature is cool and the weather often damp. Central Vietnam experiences warm weather from July to October and wet, colder weather from November to May. Although the temperature remains fairly steady throughout the year, Southern Vietnam has two seasons. The dry season lasts from December to May, while from June to November is the rainy season.
MONEY : Vietnamese Dong (VND); ATMs and Money changers throughout the country. USD widely accepted. As of Aug 2015: 1USD = 22,000 VND
VISAS:Most nationals require a visa to enter Vietnam and all travelers must have a passport valid for at least 6 months after their planned exit from Vietnam. Visa on Arrival service is possible with advance notice to Directravelasia to prepare all permissions and documents.
ELECTRICITY : Vietnam mainly uses 220V but in some areas, 110V is used. A mixture of flat and round 2-pin outlets are used in the country.
DIALING CODE : +84
TIME ZONE : GMT/UTC +7
GETTING THERE & AWAY : Vietnam has 3 international airports: Tan Son Nhat Airport (Ho Chi Minh City), Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) and Danang Airport. These airports are well connected to major Asian cities with increasing international connections.
PUBLIC HOLIDAYS : Vietnam celebrates many holidays; however it is rare that shops are closed. The exception is Tet, the Vietnamese New Year – officially a three-day holiday but many businesses close down for a full week. This is the busiest time of the year for traveling in Vietnam and hotels, flights and trains are often full. 2012 Dates : 22-25 January.
LANGUAGE : The national language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. In big cities and in places with many tourists, people can speak basic English. As Vietnamese has six different tones, it is a difficult language for most foreigners to speak despite the fact that the Roman alphabet is used in the modern Vietnamese script.
– HELLO : xin chao pronounced sin jow
– THANK YOU : cam on pronounced caam ern
– YES : Vang pronounced vang
– NO : Khong pronounced cong