Please make sure that your passport is valid at least 6 month starting from the end of your trip.
Visa is required in most countries in Asia (Vietnam included). Please make sure you have one before boarding the plane. In case visas are required, Lotussia Travel would be delighted to help you organizing the visas. Please note however, that we can not be held responsible for information on visa regulations, or in case visas are not obtained or visas are not accepted by local authorities. It is the traveler responsibility to ensure that they have valid passports and visas, where necessary.
The tour price does not include personal insurance so we highly recommend you to take your own insurance before your departure. Polices should cover any potential risks involved in your holiday.
Our guide (or driver) will greet you at the airport hanging a banner with your name and/or our company logo on. Please let us know should you need a specific welcome banner.
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/motor-taxi late at night and choose reliable metered taxi companies. Common scams include cyclos, motor-taxi, taxi, money exchange, street vendor, food prices, prostitution, massage, pickpocket, street shoe repair.
Most of hotels provide safety box in the room. Therefore the hotel is not responsible for any lost if you put your valuable objects or money in your safety box. These must be declared upon your arrival and kept in the safety box at the hotel lobby.
Money and Currency
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 bureaux de change and most hotels will change US Dollars and Euros.
Vietnamese Dongs come in the following forms:
Bank notes: 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20.000; 50,000; 100,000; 200,000; 500,000.
Coins (exist but not in daily use): 200; 500 (silver) and 1,000; 2,000; 5,000 (gold)
Most hotels offer the opportunity to change USD and Euros at a reasonable exchange rate. Shall you want to pay a bill calculated in VND by using USD, ask for the exchange rate.
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.
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 centres, 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
• JCB: 3% surcharge
• American Express: 4% surcharge
The service fee can be higher/lower. Ask the seller for you make the payment.
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.
Commission rates are slightly lower if changing Travellers’ 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 Travellers’ Cheques you need to come to the bank and your passport is required.
Hanoi and the north of Vietnam have distinct winter and summer seasons. The mainly dry winter lasts from November to April with average temperatures of 18-20°C. Summer lasts from May to October and is hot and humid with temperatures around 30°C.
Hue and Da Nang, in the centre of the country, have very hot, dry weather from February to August with temperatures reaching the mid 30’s Celsius, but can experience some heavy rainfall between September and January.
Ho Chi Minh City and the south have a hot, dry season from December till April with average temperatures around 28°C and a warm rainy season from May to November. In the rainy season, most rain comes in short, heavy bursts.
More information about Vietnam weather.
Baggage and Clothing
Please ensure that your luggage is of a standard size. It should be clearly labeled and not exceed the airline’s own limitations. Any flight booked through Lotussia Travel (both domestic and international) has a luggage limit of 20kg per person. If you have made your own flight arrangements, please check the luggage allowance directly with the airlines. Luggage limits on airlines are strictly enforced and space on vehicles and trains is limited. Lotussia Travel is not responsible for any excess luggage fees that may be incurred due to bags that exceed the airline limitations.
Please note you may be required to carry your own luggage at times. Porterage is not included in the cost of your journey.
Comfortable casual clothes made of cotton are best in tropical and semi tropical climates – packing one set of smart casual clothes is advisable. Warm clothes are advised during winter (from October to April the following year). Laundry services are available throughout the country.
Please note that airlines insist all sharp items (knives, scissors, nail clippers etc.) are packed in your ‘check-in’ luggage. Liquid is no longer permitted onboard domestic flights and must also be stored in your check-in luggage.
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 travelling off the beaten track. Medical facilities are rather limited and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before travelling in case evacuation is needed.
Consult your doctor for up-to-date information and prescriptions for vaccinations, anti-malarial tablets and any reasonably foreseeable illnesses whilst travelling 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).
Water and Drink
The simple rule is do not drink tap water in Vietnam even when water looks clean and safe to drink. Fortunately there are plenty of alternative drinks around. In many Hotels provide thermos flasks of boiled water. Bottled water and carbonated drinks are widely available. When buying bottled water check the seal is unbroken as bottles are occasionally refilled from the tap. It is important to drink enough water through the day to combat the effects of dehydration. If you drink tea or coffee you will have to increase your water intake accordingly. This is especially important during the summer months.
Water in major cities like Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh city is chlorinated and most travelers use it for brushing their teeth without problem. The only time you are likely to be out of reach of bottled water is trekking into remote areas when you will be replying on boiled water. Boiling for ten minutes gets rid of most bacteria in water but at least twenty minutes is needed to kill amoebic cysts. A cause of dysentery.
Ice can upset your day as well. Usually the more reputable restaurants and café will use boiled or bottled water to make ice .check with the waiter or waitress before you will order it.
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.
If you would like a local mobile phone number, please inform your Lotussia Travel consultant. We will buy a SIM card and give it to you upon your arrival in Vietnam. Please do not forget to bring your mobile phone.
Major hotels have Business Centres 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. 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.
Postcards are sold at all main tourist sites and stamps are available from post offices and some hotel reception desks. A postcard to Europe takes up to two weeks to reach the country of destination.
The electric current in Vietnam operates mostly on 220 volts but occasionally you will find 110 volt sockets. Electric plug types vary throughout the country, however the two-rounded pin standard Asian plug is usable in most parts of the country. As the electrical current varies, use a surge protector when running sensitive electronic equipment like laptops.
If you are happy with the services provided by your local guides and drivers a tip is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, tipping inspires great service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry.
For classic sightseeing culture tour, we recommend 4-5 USD/person/day for guide, 2-3 USD/person/day for driver and 2 USD/person/hotel when you check in/out; For adventure tour which includes trekking, cycling, kayaking, motorcycle touring… we recommend 5-8 USD/person/day for guide, 3-4 USD/person/day for local porter/cook.
Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality,the length and the difficulty of your trip.