Frequently Asked Questions

Airport Tax
Is there any airport departure tax in Vietnam?
No, According to Vietnam Airlines, both international flight and domestic flight, airport tax is now included in the airfare. Thus, passengers do not have to pay it before leaving Vietnam.

Getting There
How can I get to Vietnam by air?
Depending on your country of origin, ask your national carrier – they may have convenient flights for you. You can also consult your local travel agent for routing, fares and availability on flights to Vietnam. Check on the Internet: discount websites and flight search engines may offer some good deals. Major airlines flying to Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi include:
Aeroflot     Air France     All Nippon Airways
Asiana Airlines     Cathay Pacific     China Airlines
China Southern Airlines     Emirates     Eva Air
Garuda Indonesia     Japan Airlines     Korean Air
Lao Airlines     Lufthansa     Malaysian Airlines
Pacific Airlines     Philippines Airlines     Qantas
Shanghai Airlines     Singapore Airlines     Thai Airways Intl.
Tiger Airways     United Airlines     Uzbekistan Airlines
Vietnam Airlines         
Code shares are possible with fellow Star Alliance, One World or Sky Team members. If you are a frequent flyer, check directly with one of the members to see what best suits you. British Airways, Air France-KLM and Austrian Airlines have representative offices in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Major airlines flying to Danang International Airport include PB Air from Bangkok and Silk Air from Singapore.

How can I get to Vietnam by road?
Vietnam shares a border with China in the north (three border crossings), Laos in the west (three border crossings) and Cambodia in the south-west (two border crossings).
From China: Trains from Beijing to Hanoi pass by Nanning and Pinxiang in China and enter Vietnam at Dong Dang (north of Lang Son). There is also a road crossing know as Huu Nghi in Lang Son province.
Trains coming from Kunming cross the border at Lao Cai, in north-west Vietnam.
From Guangzhou, you will cross the border at Mong Cai, a few hours drive from Halong and its spectacular Bay.

From Laos: If you travel from Laos by road via Savannakhet and Sepon, you will get to Vietnam by the Lao Bao (Vietnam) border crossing. This crossing links Laos to central Vietnam (Danang and Dong Ha)
If you travel from Vientiane, you will cross Lak Sao before entering Vietnam by Cau Treo border crossing, in Ha Tinh province (Vietnam).
Nam Can border crossing connects Nghe An province (Vietnam) and Xieng Khuang Province (Laos).

From Cambodia: If you travel from Phnom Penh by speedboat, you will enter Vietnam at Chau Doc, in the Mekong Delta area.
If you arrive from Cambodia by road into Ho Chi Minh City, you will enter Vietnam at Moc Bai, which connects Vietnam`s Tay Ninh province with Cambodia`s Svay Rieng province.

NOTE: You cannot obtain a visa on arrival at land border-crossing points (with the exception of Moc Bai border crossing). If you enter Vietnam by land, you must obtain the visa before arrival. Refer to our VISA section below for more information.

Health
Do I need to have any vaccinations to enter Vietnam?
No vaccinations are mandatory 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 and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed.

NOTES: Consult your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial tablets and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst traveling in Vietnam. Some vaccination courses may need time to be completed. If you plan to take anti-malarial tablets, you usually need to start one week before arrival. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses).

Money – Currency
What is the local currency in Vietnam?
The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND) although US Dollars and Euros are accepted in many hotels, restaurants and shops. Banks are open Monday to Friday and some on Saturday morning. In the major cities there are bureaus de changes and most hotels will change US Dollars and Euros.

Vietnamese Dongs come in the following forms:
Bank notes: 200; 500; 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20.000; 50,000; 100,000; 500,000.
Coins: 200; 500 (silver) and 1,000; 2,000; 5,000 (bronze)

NOTES: Most hotels offer the opportunity to change USD and Euros at a reasonable exchange rate. Check at the reception of your hotel or ask your Alantour guide for assistance.
Shall you want to pay a bill calculated in VND by using USD, ask for the exchange rate? Alternatively, ask your Vktour guide for assistance.
Is it better to use Vietnamese Dongs or US Dollars?
For everyday expenses, we recommend carrying a mix of US Dollars and VND in cash. For larger items or when the exchange rate works in your favour, use US Dollars. For cyclos, local food stalls and small purchases, it’s best to use VND. In either case, make sure you always have a stock of small notes so that you don’t have to worry about change.

Are Travelers’ Cheques accepted in Vietnam?
Banks such as: Citibank, ANZ Bank. HSBC and Vietcombank can change your Travelers’ Cheques for VND or US Dollars but a commission applies (1% to 3%). Very few shops, hotels or restaurants accept Travelers’ Cheques.
NOTE: Travelers’ Cheques can be difficult to change outside of the major cities.

Can I use credit cards in Vietnam?
Most credit cards are accepted in Vietnam. VISA and MASTERCARD are the most widely accepted. JCB and AMERICAN EXPRESS are also accepted in some outlets. Not all hotels, commercial centers, shops and restaurants accept credit cards. Check with the cashier whether card is accepted. Bear in mind that a surcharge usually applies for credit card purchases. VISA and MasterCard: 3 % surcharge
American Express: 4% surcharge
NOTE: Surcharges can change without prior notice. Check the percentage charged before you buy.

Where can I withdraw cash?
ATMs for withdrawal of Vietnamese Dong are available in major airports, hotels, towns and capitals of provinces throughout Vietnam. Most ATMs have an English language version. Ask your tour guide for help when you need to locate an ATM.

What is the exchange rate for Vietnamese Dong (VND)?
Commission rates are slightly lower if changing Travelers’ Cheques into Vietnamese Dongs rather than US Dollars. Vietcombank does not charge commission when changing US Dollars cash into Dong, though some banks do. You receive a slightly better exchange rate for $100 and $50 notes than for smaller denominations. When cashing Travelers’Cheques you may be asked for your passport.

You can check real-time official exchange rates with the combination of a currencies converter anytime.

Safety
How safe is Vietnam?
Vietnam is a relatively safe country to visit. As a global rule, never leave your belongings unattended and always maintain eye contact or a firm grip on cameras and shoulder bags. Avoid cyclos late at night and choose reliable metered taxi companies. Ask your alantour guide for advice on safety issues.

Telecommunications
How can I get in touch with my family, workplace and friends?

Telephone: Most hotels now have IDD phones in rooms and it is possible to send faxes from hotels and post offices although these services are expensive. It may not always be possible to make international calls in remote areas.

If you have worldwide coverage, you can bring your own mobile phone and use it to make domestic or international calls. Check with your mobile phone provider for the costs before using it abroad – it may be expensive.

Internet: Major hotels have Business Centers with PCs connected to the Internet. Some of them have wireless broadband access in rooms or public areas. Cyber cafes are becoming popular and are easily found in major towns and cities. Prices are reasonable, usually below US$1 per hour. In many Internet cafes, you can buy pre-paid international phone cards to dial from a computer to a landline or mobile phone worldwide. Most Internet cafes are equipped with webcams, headsets and microphones.

Mail: Postcards are sold at all main tourist sites and stamps are available from post offices and some hotel reception desks. A postcard to Europe costs VND 9,000 to send and takes up to two weeks to reach the country of destination.

NOTES:
If Internet connections at hotels are vital for you during your visit to Vietnam, please advise your alantour consultant. Alantour will provide you with the names and contact details of all hotels you will be staying in, should you need to be contacted while on tour.

Time
What is the time difference in Vietnam?
Vietnam is GMT + 7 and does not operate daylight-saving system.

Transportation
Can I rent a car and drive myself?
Vietnamese law does not allow foreigners to rent and drive a car. It is highly advisable to rent a car with a driver who knows the roads and can speak Vietnamese in case of any problems. Traffic and roads conditions may be very different to what you are used to.

Can the driver speak English and act as a guide?

No, he cannot. In Vietnam, drivers are just drivers. Tour guides need to be licensed by the National Tourism Authority. Tour guides are the only persons legally entitled to escort tourists. Vktour specializes in arranging tours with private drivers and qualified professional tour guides.

Do I need to get a tourist visa for Vietnam?
Most visitors to Vietnam require a visa to enter the country. Since the 1st of May 2005, nationals from Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland traveling to Vietnam and staying for 15 days or less no longer need to apply for entry visas, provided that their passports are valid for at least three months and they can show their return ticket. Those who wish to stay longer than 15 days will need to apply for a visa. Tourists holding Thai, Indonesian, Lao, Malaysian and Singaporean passports do not need a visa for a visit up to 30 days. Philippines passport holders do not need a visa for a visit up to 21 days. Japanese and South Korean passport holders do not need a visa for a visit up to 15 days.

NOTES:
A tourist visa is a single entry visa which means that if you exit Vietnam, you will require a new tourist visa to enter Vietnam again.
All travelers must have a passport valid to 6 months after their planned exit from Vietnam.
The above information may change without prior notice. It is your responsibility to check whether or not you are subject to a tourist visa for Vietnam.
For visa information, contact your nearest Vietnamese embassy or consulate.

Visas
How long is a tourist visa to Vietnam valid?
A one-month tourist visa is usually sufficient for most visitors though it is possible to arrange 3-month and 6-month multiple entry visas.

How do I apply for a Vietnamese visa?
There are 2 ways to obtain a visa:
If you arrive to Vietnam by land, it is NOT possible to get a visa on arrival. You must obtain the visa beforehand, as outlined in Case 1. (The one exception is the Moc Bai land crossing, at the Cambodian border ‘“see Case 2).
Case1: Collect your visa before arrival from your closest Vietnamese embassy or consulate. For a complete list of Vietnam’s embassies and consulates worldwide, please click here
Case 2: Collect your visa on arrival at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Danang International Airports. Click here to see how to get your visa on arrival.

What are the immigration procedures on entering Vietnam?
On entering Vietnam, all visitors must complete an entry/exit form including a customs declaration (white/yellow color). It is important that the bottom copy (yellow sheet) of this form is kept safe with your passport while in Vietnam and is presented to the customs and immigration officials on departure.

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