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Vietnam

A Whole New World for History, Adventure and Culture Lovers

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There’s never been a better time to explore Vietnam. Head for the iconic cities of Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, venture into the spectacular landscapes of the mountainous north, cruise through the Mekong or Red River Deltas, hike into enormous caves at Phong Nha, check out the World Heritage Sites of Hue and Hoi An, or just sprawl on one of the many beaches that line the coast.

Meet Our Vietnam Expert

Diep Nguyen

Vietnam

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Here are some basic things you need to know before going on a Vietnam vacation

LANGUAGE

Vietnamese is the main spoken language, with different dialects between the North and South. The Vietnamese language can be difficult for visitors to understand. However, with its Roman alphabet you may be able to recognize the words, and with the assistance of a phrase book or translation program. English is becoming more commonly spoken, with others speaking French as well.  If you do try the language, please don’t be discouraged if you are laughed at, for when many try and speak they inadvertently say incorrect words, the locals laugh but really appreciate you trying. So be brave and try to say hello, or as we say “Xin Chao!” (Sin Chow).

TRANSPORT

With the size of Vietnam, most of the main trips are done so by flight. On the other hands some road journeys are also required. The road system has got better and many roads have been updated to a modern standard, however, you’ll still experience more local and rural roads. Our cars and drivers are to the highest standard to ensure your safety. We do not advise car hire as you are only allowed to drive if you have a local driving license.  Within the cities and beach resorts, we suggest taxi’s and always try to get a metered taxi to avoid any confusion. We will advise which companies to use to ensure not only the price but also your safety and that the car has insurance. Also, in many destinations you can take a ‘Cyclo’ (a pedal taxi); always determine the price before setting off. Another option in most regions is “Xe Om” which are motorbike taxis, whilst cheap and normally fine for the locals, you will not be covered by insurance so please consider this.

CUSTOMS

As a typically Oriental country, Vietnam has its own customs, some of which are the same as other Southeast Asia countries; others are really unique which can amaze you much during your trip.

Everyone is family – The greatest feature of Vietnam is the people. The Vietnamese are renowned for being kind, friendly, helpful and very respectful. Locals call others as if they are part of their family. For example “anh” means older brother, “chi” older sister and “bac” means uncle or aunty. It’s common that you hear they shout “Anh oi! Anh oi!” at people passing by. Whilst it sounds a little rude to visitors, but this turns out to be a very respectful way to show their friendliness.

Please share everything about you! – It is normal for Vietnamese to ask very personal questions when you first meet. Don’t be too surprised when they ask your age, hometown, marital status, how long you have been in Vietnam, or your religion. It’s not rude in the minds of the locals to ask these questions, they do it to show they’re caring, and they want to learn more about people in order to introduce them to others.

Sharing food – Like many other Asian countries, where people eat rice and use chopsticks in daily meals, Vietnam also has a “sharing food” culture. Locals tend to share the same dishes with others who join their meal, and won’t hesitate to finish your food for you, if you are sat with them.

Holding hands to show closeness – Holding hands with the same gender is not uncommon here, it’s the way locals express their closeness and caring for their friends. It is quite sweet!

Better go shopping after at least 9 am! – Vietnamese people believe the first customer of the day determines their luck for the rest of the day. So if you do not want to bring bad luck on a store for the day, we suggest not going until after 9 AM, when others have already been. Unless you are buying something, then you will bring them great luck all day long!

HEALTH AND SAFETY

Vaccines are required for visits to Vietnam, including the following:  Polio, Typhoid, Tetanus, Japanese Encephalitis, Yellow Fever. Be sure to check the latest updates from your own government on these issues. Here’s a handy reference.

Travel insurance is advised.

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