Quick Facts About Vietnam
‘DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is famous for its hospitality, and the average visitor will have no difficulty in adapting to local traditions.”
Capital: Ha Noi
Population: 96,462,106 (2019, according to World Bank Data)
Language: Native language is Vietnamese. Other than the native language, the most widely spoken foreign languages are English, French, Chinese and Russian.
Currency: VND (Vietnamese Dong)
Time Zone: UTC + 7 hours
Electricity: 220V-50Hz. Plug type A, C & F are widely used.
Popular International Airports: Noi Bai Airport (HAN), Hanoi, Cam Ranh Airport (CXR), Nha Trang, Tan Son Nhat (SGN), Ho Chi Minh City
Religion: Indigenous Religion, Buddhism, Christianity
Local Currency Exchange
Local currency can be exchanged at the banks or authorized agencies.
Popular banks are Vietcombank, Vietinbank, BIDV and Techcombank.
You are advised not to make any transaction at unauthorized shops or the popularly called black market. If caught, you will be fined, the difference is not worth it.
In Vietnam, mobile network is quite strong with availability of 4G network data. A 4G data SIM card cost less than $5 (USD), which give you about 3GB of data.
The most popular network service providers are Mobiphone, Viettel and Vinaphone.
All means of transportation for your trip are available in Vietnam.
Travel is simple by air (Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air) Vietnam
Airlines is the premium 4-star airline and the other 2 are budget airlines. Air travel is reasonably priced and tickets can be purchased easily from travel agencies or airline offices.
Train is available for limited routes. There are 4 kinds of accommodation on a train, including Hard Seat, Soft Seat, Hard Bed and Soft Bed. For a route from Hanoi to Saigon, the price for Hard Seat, Soft Seat, Hard Bed and Soft Bed are about USD40, USD50, USD70, and USD90 respectively. To buy train tickets in advance, refer to Vietnam Railways booking site www.dsvn.vn
For the short distances between the destinations of the north, south or center, you can hire a car or private bus. Motorbikes are available for hire in most cities but you must possess an International Driver’s Permit. Motor biking is a leisurely and cost-‐effective way to travel the country.
It is said that food in Vietnam is not only a way of life, but also a form of sustenance. Breakfast is often light and simple, taking place from 7:00 -‐ 8:00 AM, and lunch/dinner are the big meals of the day. Most restaurants are open late until approximately 10:00 PM, but you must book in advance. Fast food restaurants and cafeterias are open until midnight and there is no need to book in advance. Coffee and tea are popular drinks in Vietnam, and cafés are found on nearly every street corner. Other drinks (like whisky, cokes, wine) are always in stores and restaurants.
Taking advantage or robbing of tourists is a threat just about anywhere in the world because they are perceived as soft targets.
It is therefore advised that you don’t take valuable items with you on the street, if you must, try to conceal them as much you can.
Also, if you are carrying a backpack or a bag, ensure it’s in front of your body so you can keep an eye on it.
Night time is ideal for robbery to come visit you on the street. Therefore, avoid walking alone on empty and dark roads. If you have to, make it quick or get accompanied.
In case of emergency, here are the numbers you can dial for help:
Fire Service: 114
Hospitals and clinics with English-speaking doctors are based in the two biggest cities: Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh. It is very difficult to see the doctor in rural or remote areas in Viet Nam. Stock up with medication that you might need.
Pharmacies can be found in every big city or small town, but pharmacists usually do not speak foreign languages. If you need to buy medicine, consider writing down the name of the medicine and check what you receive carefully before leaving. It is difficult to exchange or return medicine.
Vaccination requirements should be checked before traveling. Malaria and dengue fever can be an issue if travelling in some rural areas. Travelers should plan to wear long pants and sleeves and use insect repellent, particularly in the evenings. Emergency assistance can be contacted can be reached at 113 (Safety) or 115 (Health).
“DID YOU KNOW THAT…Ha Long Bay is generally considered to be the most beautiful scenery in the whole of Vietnam. It consist of 1,969 islands and islets situated in the Gulf of Tonkin. This zone is known for its spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. It is one of the most popular spots in Asia. Ha Long Bay has been recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO.”
The Vietnam War
You might be wandering why talk about war in a travel guide? Well talking about the beauty of Vietnam will not be complete without mentioning its scars. This will help you appreciate its beauty the more. Don’t you think?
The Vietnam War was started in 1959 in an attempt to stop the spread of communism to neighboring countries. The country had split at the 17th parallel in 1954 when the French had attempted to takeover the country but was defeated at Dien Bien Phu.
The split wasn’t supposed to last, but an election was never held to reunite the North and South. The ruler in the North, Ho Chi Minh, did not agree with the anti-communist government in the South and started to support southern groups who rebelled against them, who became known as the Viet Cong.
The Viet Cong did their best to fight the Southern Government but eventually North Vietnam infiltrated and the fighting became a full-fledged war. The United States had signed the Truman Doctrine in which they agreed to help in the assistance of any government who was trying to resist being taken over by communism and to stop the spreading of communism to neighboring countries. This was known as the domino theory.
They became involved in the early 1960’s and starting deploying troops in 1965. While most people think a large number of these soldiers were drafted, 2/3 of them actually volunteered. Richard Nixon signed the Nixon doctrine after an attack in 1968 to withdraw troops in a process called Vietnamization.
All U.S. troops were withdrawn by 1973 when the Paris Peace Accords were signed, although they continued to give economic aid to South Vietnam until North Vietnam ended the war in 1975 with the capture of Saigon.
The fatalities of the Vietnam War were astronomical. Over 3 million Vietnamese soldiers were killed, over 1.5 million soldiers from Laos and Cambodia were lost, and over 58,000 from the United States. Over 900,000 of the survivors of the war had to deal with wounds, amputations, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
The Vietnam War has been publicly portrayed in a number of prominent films. Taxi Driver, Apocalypse Now, Full Metal Jacket and Platoon are just some of those.
“DID YOU KNOW THAT…Vietnam is world-famous for its animal wildlife. This wildlife -which includes elephants, buffaloes, tigers, monkeys, rhinoceroses, snakes and turtles- attracts thousands of tourists to Vietnam each year.”