Essential guide to Viet Nam
Update: Sep 18, 2017
Viet Nam is a country that has a rich history and is one of the few countries in South East Asia with an economy that is on the up. Fantastic people, great food and plenty of things to see make this country a tourists hotspot for westerners who want to experience a culture that is so different to their own. Before one packs up their bags and travels to a country they have never visited before, it is important to be well educated. Here is a travel guide to Viet Nam which will make adjusting to new surroundings very easy.

Vietnamese visas
Citizens from some countries need to apply for a cheap Viet Nam visa in advance before they travel to Viet Nam and will be given a standard tourist visa which is valid for 30 days. Visa exempt nationalities on the other hand can visit Viet Nam as a tourist for a period of 15 days.

Getting from place to place while in Viet Nam
Most Viet Nam travel guides point out that buses are the preferred mode of transport used by the locals however, tourists seems to prefer travelling around by trains, bikes and planes.
• Cars – A car is one of the best ways to get around in Viet Nam because it allows tourist to travel at their own pace, visit places that cannot be reached through public transport plus a car always comes with a local driver who knows the area quiet well and ensures that tourists get to where they want to go easily.
• Trains – The price of train travel in Viet Nam is very reasonable and they are very comfortable.
•  Planes – Anyone who want to travel around by plane needs to book their tickets in advance in order to get the best deals.
•  Buses – Tourists with extra income can opt for open bus tours which pass through all major tourist hot spots in the city they are in. Viet Nam also has local bus services which tourists can use to travel from city to city and they are quiet frequent.

The people
A Viet Nam travel guide would not be complete if it does not talk about the locals. Vietnamese people are very friendly and welcoming to tourists who visit their wonderful country. They can often be seen smiling a lot and men often salute each other with a very lovely handshake. Women on the other hand do not shake hands like the men however, they bow their heads. Touching of the head is seen as a rude gesture in Viet Nam and it is something that people from other cultures need to be aware of before they travel. It might be acceptable in other cultures but not in Viet Nam.

Local cuisines
A good travel guide to Viet Nam will always educate tourists on local dishes. Foods found in the west like hot dogs and pizzas are rare but can be found in Vietnam however, they have a local twist to match the taste buds of the locals. Noodles are the number one dish in Vietnam and one can also find a wide range Stir fry, Tofu, seafood and meat dishes. Fruits are sold everywhere especially in the local market and can be purchased by tourists without feeling like they are breaking the bank, they are absolutely affordable and fresh.

Working hours
There is an expression which says “the early bird gets the worm” and this applies to Vietnamese people with businesses opening as early as 8am in the morning and close their doors at 5pm in the evening. Lunch time is very important part of the day and all businesses and offices take a lunch break. This is usually between 12pm and 1pm. Government agencies on the other hand can be on lunch break up to 2pm.

Some of the best places to visit in Viet Nam
1.    Hue – Found in central Viet Nam along close to the Perfume River, this was once the imperial capital of the country. These days, that glorious period in Vietnamese history is represented by the town’s cuisines, architectures and culture.

2.    Hoi An – Found in South Central Viet Nam and just off the East Sea, this town is rich in history that goes back thousands of years. The city centre is a wonderful place to walk around and one is able to see tailor shops and traditional wooden houses.

3.    Ha Noi – This is a town not be missed by anyone who visits Viet Nam. The city centre has an open air museum of historic Asian and French colonial architecture which still stands today having survived the Vietnam War and an Old Quarter. Apart from the cafes and the markets, one can also visit hotspots like the St. Joseph Cathedral, the Grand Opera House and the Presidential Palace.

4.    Ha Long Bay – Ha long Bay is like a scene taken from a fantasy novel and is found about 80 miles east of Ha Noi. This lovely bay has lakes, caves, islands and grottoes for tourists to admire.

Some of the best things to do in Viet Nam
1.    Visit Hoi An and light a lantern – The lovely town of Hoi An has a New Year Lantern Festival that lasts from 7 days where coloured Lanterns are lit. It is a very event to witness because the entire town is filled with lights and colours which are absolutely stunning.

2.    History lessons in Ho Chi Minh City – Anyone who loves history and want to understand events that took place during the Vietnamese War must visit Ho Chi Minh City because they are still remembered in the city. The Ho Chi Minh City Museum is one that cannot be overlooked because it has pictures, memorabilia and artefacts that explain what happened.

3.    Visit the world’s largest cave - A trip to the small town of Phong Nha makes it very easy to visit the caves. While in the town, tourists can hire gear and guides they need to visit the caves.

The months of May to September are known as the low season for international tourists, high season for Vietnamese tourists as it is school holiday and prices of items, accommodation and food down the coast increased by as much as 50%. Booking in advance is something that is highly recommended by many Viet Nam travel guides.  The entire country apart from the northern region is very humid and hot during this time of the year with the monsoon bringing in periods of rain.

October all the way until April is what many regard as the shoulder season and during the famous Tet festival, the entire country is on the go and tourists notice a rise in prices. Cooler weather around this time of the year can be found in the north. For those looking for some sunshine and clear skies, the south is the place to be.

Vivu Travel