Travel tips and advice before Coming Vietnam


The Hotel Stamp is getting more and more important for when you leave Vietnam/apply for an extension (which is itself becoming extremely hard to get). Only official hotels have a hotel stamp and they charge official prices for you to stay there (in part because they have to give half their foreign revenue to the government over and above a substantial “foreign licensing” fee). If you want the stamp but not the overnight then offer one of the desk staff a few dollars to borrow their stamp.

It is almost impossible to find lodgings during Tet holidays. Book in advance and sit tight through the holiday or you may be spending some nights out on the street.

You are generally not charged extra for an extra person in the room. You will probably be charged extra for a second bed, even if you’re not using it. To avoid confusion (and surcharges) over the various interpretations of “single”, “twin”, and “double”, go have a look at the room to be sure you’re getting what you want.


Taxis with meters are available in big cities. The current price is about US$ 0.5 per kilometer. A taxi ride from Tan Son Nhat Airport (Ho Chi Minh City) to downtown Ho Chi Minh City costs about US$4. A taxi ride from Noi Bai Airport (Ha Noi) to downtown Ha Noi costs abouts US$15. Most metered taxi drivers speak little English. In HCM City, Saigontourist runs a fleet of red-painted cabs.

The traditional means of transport in remote areas is waterways. Ship of all types together with the river and the wharf, are familiar in the Vietnamese geological and humanitarian images. So if you want to make trips to such places like Mekong Delta, be prepared to go by this means. Super trips!


The following items are preferred by foreign travellers:

Carved wooden furniture, fine lacquerware (these can be shipped home upon request).

Traditional Vietnamese hand-made silk dresses, kimonos, embroideries, etc.

Simulated antiques, fine ceramics, old watches or Zippo lighters, etc.

Copies of famous artist paintings


As with any big city, do not bring items of value as you go shopping or sightseeing on city streets.

It is customary to give alms to beggars and to buy souvenirs from street vendors.

Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks, or authorized exchange facilities. Do not exchange money in the street.

It is advisable NOT to take pedicabs or “honda-om” on your own.