Frequently Asked Questions: Vietnam

This article is aimed at answering all the questions you may have before heading to our country.

 What’s the time difference?

+ 7 hours in Winter (GMT)

+ 6 hours in Summer (GMT)

-4 hours in Summer (UTC)

-3 hours in Winter (UTC)

What are the general opening hours?

All offices and administrations are open eight hours a day, from 7:30 am to 17:30 pm (one hour break for lunch) Monday to Friday. The shops (food & fashion) generally open from 08:00 am to 21:00 pm and remain open on weekends. All banks are closed on Saturday afternoon and Sunday. 

What the local currency?

The local currency is the Dong (abbreviated to "D" or VND).  Bank notes are 200 VND, 500 VND, 1000 VND, 2,000 VND, 5,000 VND, 10,000 VND, 20,000 VND, 50,000 VND, 100,000 VND and 500,000 VND.

1 EURO = ~ 24,500VND
1 USD = ~ 22,500VND
1 AUD= ~17,000 VND

The USD will be accepted almost everywhere but change will be given in VND. Euros are only accepted in big cities. Check out the currency exchange rate at www.xe.com for the latest exchange rates. 

How do I pay?

Many shops accept Visa and MasterCard, and there are more and more ATM's where you can get VND. Of course, you won’t be able to pay with your card at a small street vendor or café/restaurant. Withdraw cash and keep it on you.

Bonus: Vietnam does not have any coins so you won’t be weighing down your wallet with useless change!

Must I tip?

Tipping is not compulsory in Vietnam; however, if you are happy with the services provided by your local staff as guides and drivers, a tip is appreciated. While it may not be customary for you, tipping inspires great service and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across Indochina destinations. 

As a general guide for tipping on private tours, please see our suggestion below:

Your group size between 1-5 persons:

3-4 USD per day per person for driver
5-6 USD per person for guide 
1-2 USD for doorman waiter

However, please note these are just suggestions. Of course, you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip

Am I being ripped off?

Price tags are rare so it is recommended that you approximately know the price/ exchange rate so that you don't pay more than its worth. As a foreigner, there's a chance you may be charged more but the guides on our tours are here to assist with exactly this. 

Can I use my own appliance?

Throughout Vietnam 220 volt, 50 AC appliances are used, although some of the bigger hotels may use 110-volt electrical appliances. Plugs are usually twin pin and so electrical appliances will normally require an adaptor. 

Make sure you bring a few plugs from home so that you can charge your electronic devices. Vietnamese outlets will accept EU plugs & US plugs, so though is no need for an adapter. Most large hotels will have a hair-dryer in the room, or you can ask for one at the reception desk.

Why did it go dark all of a sudden?

With close to 100 million people in Vietnam and if you’ve ever seen one of Hanoi’s telegraph poles, you’ll know why the power cut out. We recommend to coming prepared with a flashlight/torch in these unexpected circumstances.

Are taxis easy to get?

Taxis are usually white or green and frequent most roads in big cities. There are many different companies to choose from. 

Always check that the meter is on and that the km is shown because some meters tend to go up quite quickly. Or, if you prefer, try and confirm a price before you get in. 

Also, please note UBER is an option here in Vietnam although waiting for collection can take significantly longer than a taxi. This is due to a few main roads only accepting scooters or motorbikes. The benefit is you will be charged appropriately. If you’re feeling really brave, you can even use UBER Moto or Grab. The riders provide helmets. 

How are the hotels?

In hotels rated from 2-5 stars, you will be equipped with a bathroom, air condition, TV, a fridge, free internet in the hotel or a personal computer in the room. Bathrooms withstand international standards and are equipped with a hairdryer. You will also be given an assortment of toiletries (toothbrush and toothpaste included).

Room standards?

Standard, superior, deluxe. In Vietnam, by standard room, it usually means that there's a small window. Huzzah! Superior rooms are your more mid-ranged hotels and deluxe is around 3.5 to 4 stars. We do have five-star hotels packages as part of our tours however if you want the western five-star treatment you will need to book with the big chains. But we'd be happy to assist!

How do I wash my clothes?

There's a laundry service in almost every hotel that has at least 2 stars.
Pressing: you’ll have to ask for it and you may have to pay extra charges.

Accommodation at a home stay?

We highly recommend this authentic experience. It is very different from the usual Bed & Breakfast. You will sleep in a big room with other tourists. Depending on the historic sites nearby, the house is often lived in by the family. Mattresses will be placed on the floor and you will be given a duvet and a mosquito net. One or more bathrooms with showers will be available.The comfort is basic but it is an authentic and original experience in the heart of Vietnamese culture.

What about photos?

You will easily find your digital flash cards for your cameras in every big city. If you want, you can also make a DVD with your pictures from your camera which can be done very quickly. Although, as it is 2017 we also recommend regularly storing your pictures on the iCloud or emailing yourself your favorites in order to preserve those memories were the worse to happen. 

What is Tet?

“Tet” in Vietnam is a big annual event that reunites the family. However, this also means that a lot of places will be closed.

In Saigon, it is quite easy to find restaurants and shops that are open in this period however in Hanoi, only the touristic streets are a little animated. The local 'Street Food' stands and street shops are closed too. Give it a week or so before activities open up again.

Can I shop until I drop?

Yes. Travel light coming to Vietnam! You're bound to find everything at a very attractive price and the craft industry is very diversified. We'd be happy to refer you to establishments where you can find a highly skilled seamstress. A must-do attraction in Hanoi & Hoi An. Your first purchase will surely be an empty suitcase so you could pack it with all your shopping!

Do I really need a visa?

It’s highly likely. Please see our Visa related section.

Are there any other national holidays?


1st January: New Year (01 day)
30th April: Anniversary of the Liberation of South Vietnam (01 day)
King’s Commemoration Day in Vietnam: (10th March Lunar calendar) 
1st May: International Labour Day (01 day)
2nd September: National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (01 day)
Vietnamese Lunar New Year: 05 days (often mid-January or early February lasting from the last day of the previous year till the 3rd day of the following year according to the lunar calendar).

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