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VIETNAM
 

 

 
 
 
WEATHER
Ha Noi
24 - 32oC
Lao Cai
26 - 34oC
Lang Son
23 - 31oC
Vinh
25 - 34oC
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24 - 34oC
Da Nang
25 - 34oC
Qui Nhon
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Nha Trang
25 - 33oC
Phan Thiet
26 - 32oC
Ho Chi Minh
25 - 36oC
My Tho
27 - 36oC
Can Tho
25 - 35oC
Ca Mau
25 - 35oC
 
 
 
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Untitled Document
  FAQs  
 
Q:

What is the local money called? Can I use credit cards and travelers check?

A:

Vietnam’s official currency is the dong, which can not be purchased outside Vietnam. The main banks in Hanoi and HCMC can handle a fairly broad range of currencies nowadays, but the dollar is still the most widely accepted. I therefore recommend taking a combination of US$ cash and US$ travelers’ cheques, with the bulk in travelers’ cheques for safety. American Express, Visa and Thomas Cook cheques are the most recognized brands. It’s a good idea to arrive with at least some small denomination dollar bills ($1s, $5s and $10s) to get you from the airport into town and to a bank. Even if they’re open, the airport exchange desks offer unfavorable rates. If you do bring dollars cash into Vietnam, make sure they are not badly tattered as they may be refused.

Credit Cards in Viet Nam

Credit cards are accepted at most hotels and better restaurants and shops.

Travelers Checks in Viet Nam

Traveler's checks are accepted on a limited basis and may be difficult to change.

ATM Machines in Viet Nam

Only available in large cities such as Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
   
Q:

If I bought a returned ticket and I only traveled one-way. May I get half of my money back?

A:

The applicable one-way fare for the portion you did fly will be calculated and deducted from the total price of your ticket. If there is any value remaining, this will be refunded. Cancellation fees would be charged.

   
Q:

Is it better to use dollars or dong for daily expenses?

A:
For everyday expenses, I recommend carrying a mix of US$ cash and dong. For larger items (hotel bills, train tickets, etc.) or when the exchange rate works in your favor, use dollars. For cyclos, local food stalls and small purchases, it’s best to use dong. In either case, make sure you always have a stock of small notes so that you don’t have to worry about change.
   
Q:

Should I do a bargain in Vietnam?

A:

Almost everything is negotiable in Vietnam (with the notable exception of meals) and bargaining is very much part of the Vietnamese way of life. All tourists are regarded as wealthy - which we are compared to most locals - but that doesn’t mean you’ll always be quoted an outrageous price; small shopkeepers and restaurateurs will often charge you the local rate.

When bargaining it helps if you know some Vietnamese numbers and have a general idea of the going rate for the item. Otherwise, the trick is to remain friendly, be realistic and make the process fun. If you manage to reduce the price by 40%, you’re doing well. In most cases it’ll be more like 10-20%. A common ploy is to start moving away if you’re on the verge of agreement. But don’t bargain just for the sake of it - if your price is agreed, then you are honor bound to purchase. And always keep a sense of perspective: don’t waste time and energy haggling over what only amounts to a few cents.
   
Q:

What is the home stay like?

A:
A stay with the family of an ethnic minority in their traditional houses means interacting with the family, including cooking lessons with local food (and nips of traditional rice wine!) and a good night’s sleep on a bamboo bed with local mattress.
   
Q:

What kind of Vehicles do you use for road trips ?

A:
Safety and comfort are very important! We use modern, reliable, spacious vans and buses with very experienced drivers who are excellent in dealing with the complicated traffic in Vietnam.
   
Q:

Is it safe to travel in Viet Nam?

A:

Traveling in Vietnam is generally very safe. Women and independent travelers have found it relatively hassle-free and easy to travel throughout the country. Petty theft can occur in Ho Chi Minh City, but is far less common elsewhere in the country. Visitors are advised to avoid wearing extravagant jewelry or carrying a large amount of money when walking in the streets. However, when traveling anywhere in the country, travelers should exercise caution and use common sense to avoid incidents of personal misfortune

 

The other problem area is on the trains, especially the night trains from Hanoi to Lao Cai. Again, make sure all your luggage is safely locked, preferably stowed out of sight or attached to an immovable object, and don’t leave things near open windows. It’s also wise not to accept food or drink from people you don’t know (there are reports of one or two people being drugged and robbed this way).

You might also have read warnings about unexploded shells, mines and other ordnance lying around. This is still the case in the DMZ, around My Son and certain border areas, particularly along the Chinese border. It is advisable to visit such areas only with an experienced local guide and never stray off well-trodden footpaths anywhere in
Vietnam.

Finally, there’s the traffic. Trying to cross the street in
Hanoi or HCMC is an adventure in itself! You’ll be faced with a tightly-packed stream of scooters, bikes and cyclos which looks completely chaotic at first. But don’t give up! Either walk till you find some traffic lights or just go for it. The key is to walk slowly and steadily out into the traffic. As long as you keep a steady pace and make your movements clear, the traffic will flow round you. Problems arise if you stop or move too quickly and the drivers/riders can’t anticipate your progress.

But don’t get paranoid! Thousands of people visit
Vietnam each year without experiencing any problems whatsoever. It’s also worth bearing in mind that the situation in Vietnam is certainly no worse than many big European and American cities. Just take the same precautions you would in any unfamiliar place, and you should be fine.

   
Q:

What kind of boats will We use on our trip to Ha Long Bay ?

A:
You will be on the big boat (23 metres long, 5 meters wide) which has three storeys. The first is the clean cabins for you (with mosquito nets, pillows, blankets, sheets.) The second has a large dining room. The third is a spacious top deck for you to enjoy the spectacular view of Ha Long Bay.
   
Q:
How can I apply for a visa?
A:
Visitors must obtain visa approval prior to entry. We offer the visa approval service. The procedure can be summarized as follow:
(1) Passport details and arrival , departure dates are to send to us no later than 14 day prior to your departure. ( You can send by email, fax or snail mail; we need: full name as stated in passport, gender, date of birth, passport number, expiry date, nationality, arrival & departure date, place to receive your visa-please advise which Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate where your want to get your visa stamped)
(2) We then go ahead and submits these details to the Vietnamese Immigration Department.
(3) The Immigration Department will confirm us of visa approval and send it by fax/telex approval to the Embassy or Consulate in the country of visitors' residence.
(4) We send you the approval document via email.
(5) You bring your passports & 2 passport sized photos to Vietnamese embassy to get the visa stamped ( stamp fee will be paid by yourselves).
   
Q:
Can I organize my own group?
A:
Our website is just the starting point. If the specified trips are not suitable, or you don't want to follow the same itinerary, we would be happy to come up with a program to suit your travel interests. This service is available to any individual, family or group. We regularly organize tailor-made holidays for families, groups of friends, schools, clubs, societies, associations and special interest groups. We're happy to be of any assistance in planning and making your trip as you've ever wanted it to be!
   
Q:
How fit do I have to be?
A:
Our trips are first and foremost fun, educational and engaging and can be undertaken by anyone in good shape. All our trips are graded, thus helping you to choose a suitable trip. Bear in mind that our tour products have a wide range from easy touring to physically challenges, not to mention adventure trekking, sea kayaking and mountaineering trips. For those who would prefer a less active holiday, or sign up for special interest trip, family vacation please do let us know. We take pride in tailor made holiday and able to come up with interesting program.
   
Q:
What about the food?
A:
Your good health is a top priority on all our trips. We are therefore fully aware of the healthy appetites that build up when trekking, kayaking or touring and provide tasty and varied meals with plenty of fresh ingredients. All our food is prepared by genius cooks who ensure high standards of hygiene and who serve a sensible combination of local and Western dishes. . We also cater for vegetarians, and none-seafood individuals. Whereas sometimes you have to choose your own meals, eat only the well cooked food at decent hotels and restaurants. While snacks may be offered for sale else where, one never knows the condition under which they were prepared nor the health of the food handlers. You may want to bring along dried fruits and other "comfort" for the bus ride ( there is a " dining car" on the train which serves drinks and light meals). I strongly recommend you try the small local restaurants, especially the street kitchens which consist of a few tables and a stove in an open-fronted dining area. The key is to choose carefully. Look for clean places with a high turnover and where the ingredients on display look fresh. If you see the food cooked in front of you, all the better.
Expensive restaurants usually price their menus in dollars. In the middle of the range it could be in either dollars or dong, but at this level prices are often not indicated at all, which makes for tedious ordering as you go through each dish. It’s worth doing, however, to avoid a nasty shock at the end of the meal. Watch out for the extras as well: peanuts, hot towels and packs of tissues on the table may be added to the bill even in untouched. Ask for them to be removed if you don’t want them.
Finally, eat early. Though places in the south (especially in HCMC) tend to stay open longer, outside the main cities and tourist areas restaurants rarely serve beyond
8pm.
   
Q:
Are there any hidden cost or extra charges?
A:
Good question! Most of our tours include all transport, meals, accommodation and much of arrangement and service you will need in the tour the cost is a little to spend. Read though the inclusion, exclusion portion and you will find more specific about it. Compare our quality, inclusions and daily rates our holidays offer good value for money.
   
Q:
How about tipping?
A:
Tipping is not expected in Vietnam, but will be greatly appreciated. Smart hotels and restaurants nowadays add a 10-15% service charge (which should be indicated on the bill) but elsewhere it’s up to you. It’s a good idea to tip guides, drivers and anyone else who has provided good service.
   
Q:
How can I get more information?
A:
You can tell us more about your requirement. We can provide you with comprehensive, useful and most up to date information by fax or email. Our friendly and professional staff have in depth local knowledge and experience of the trips we offer and can provide helpful advice and practical travel tips. They are pleased to help you or your travel agent select your holiday. This is one reason why most our passengers join us through personal referrals or have had a great experience with us before.
   
Q:
How can I make a booking?
A:
Booking can be actually made on line. Once you are interested in the trip, you then can go ahead and sign up the tour by sending us by fax the completed reservation form so that we could process your booking. In case you won't find any option that matches your expectation or you want to follow your own itinerary, then do not hesitate to fill the customized trip form and forward it to us. We will work it out and tailor your trip to just what you long for.
   
Q:
Are children charged the full room rate?
A:
Rates are normally reduced for children under the age of 12 years.
   
Q:
Do I need to have some vaccine shots before the trip?
A:
No vaccinations are officially required by the Vietnamese authorities, however immunization against cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, tetanus, polio and Japanese encephalitis is advised. Please consult your doctors for further medical advice. Also plan to bring mosquito repellent. Wearing long-sleeved shirts and slacks from dusk onward and avoiding perfume is also recommended. In addition to an ample supply of any prescription drugs you are taking ( and a prescription which can be filled in case your pills go missing ) bring medicines for: Headaches, diarrhea, constipation, insect bites, sore throats, eye drops, cuts, etc. Medical standards outside Hanoi and Saigon, are lower that those found in western countries.
   
Q:
What the accommodation like?
A:

Hotels range from budget to five-star. While Deluxe properties are located only in the major cities, the charm, and quaint local family run accommodations with varying levels of private facilities can be found through out the country. Discovery Indochina constantly stays abreast of hotel developments in order to offer our clients the best available and most preferred lodging ?

   
Q:
Who is my Tour Guide ?
A:
Positive feedback from our clients validates our policy of employing local people as guide. Our guides are open-minded, qualified and enthusiastic young people who can accommodate your travel needs and provide you - the traveler, with first-hand knowledge of local history and culture. They are also curious about foreign culture and are keen to engage in cultural exchange with visitors. They are there to make your trip a success.
   
Q:
When is the best time to travel to Vietnam?
A:
There are no good or bad seasons for visiting Vietnam. When one region is wet or cold or steamy hot, there is always somewhere else that is sunny and pleasantly warm. Although the entire country lies in the tropics and subtropics, local conditions vary from frosty winters in the far northern hills to the year round sub-equatorial warmth of the Mekong Delta.
   
 
 
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