Vietnam is a state in southeast Asia, located on the Indochina peninsula and washed from the east and from the south by the South China Sea. Officially, the country is called the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The neighboring states of Vietnam are Laos and Cambodia, with which Vietnam borders in the west, as well as China, the border with which lies in the north. The total area of the country is 331,700 square kilometers, which is only the 65th indicator in the world. Used on most of Vietnam occupied by low or medium altitude mountains and plateaus. The highest point of the country is Mount Fansipan (3,143 meters) of the Hoang Glenshon mountain range. In addition, the largest Indochinese rivers, the Mekong and Hongha rivers, which flow into the South China Sea flow through Vietnam.
With an area of 331,700 square kilometers and a population of just under 90 million, Vietnam is one of the most populated countries in the Southeast Asian region, along with Thailand . The capital Hanoi has recorded rapid growth over the past decades and now provides home to nearly seven million people.
Vietnam War is still the first event that has many travelers in mind. Behind the shadows of the war, which hung over the socialist republic for years, a country full of tradition, beautiful natural wonders and a rich and interesting history opened in the 1990s .
Since the opening of the country, tourism has intensified many times and is considered one of the most important sources of revenue in Vietnam. For holidaymakers hides behind the cold facade of the war-damaged, socialist republic, a true mecca of diversity. Of untouched nature centuries old temples or classic colonial buildings up to the extravagant nightlife in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City , Vietnam offers variety and entertainment for everyone. Thanks to a constantly growing infrastructure, tourists can also travel extensively across the country without having to put up with too much effort.
|Official Name||Socialist Republic of Viet Nam|
|Form of Government||Unitary Marxist-Leninist one-party socialist republic|
|Population||95.54 million (~ 276 inhabitants per km²)|
|Religion||73.2% Folk or Irreligious|
0.1% Other religions
|Time zone||UTC + 7|
|National flag||Vietnam flag|
Table of Content
Cities and Regions
The main cities, provinces, regions and attractions in Vietnam:
The capital of Vietnam is one of the highlights of the country. Whether historical temples, old colonial buildings, the traditional markets or the colorful nightlife, Hanoi has something for everyone. In order to get to know the city and its diversity extensively, several days should be estimated for the stay.
Haiphong / Halong Bay
The city in the north of Vietnam plays a minor role in terms of tourism, but provides a good starting point for boat trips through the impressive rock landscape of Halong Bay , which has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1994.
Hoi An is a small port city in central Vietnam . Through the dreamy historical backdrop and an idyllic beach, the city has managed in recent years to secure a special place in the heart of many tourists.
The former capital of Central Vietnam, with its historic buildings and rich history, is a hub for culture lovers . The citadel, which was modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, has also been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1993.
The largest port city in Vietnam impresses with beautiful beaches and a rich history. In addition to the many activities on offer, you can reach the impressive Marble Mountains from Da Nang.
Nha Trang is considered one of Vietnam's tourist hotspots alongside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City . Apart from the numerous sights and entertainment options, the city is very well integrated into the national infrastructure and should be a must visit for every Vietnamneling.
Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon
Ho Chi Minh City, still called Saigon by many, is the country's largest city and economic hub , with around seven million inhabitants . Historic temples contrast with the colonial buildings that characterize the face of the city. There are numerous attractions and a turbulent nightlife waiting for the visitor, in a city that despite its size has retained a pleasant and charming atmosphere.
A port city in central Vietnam , which has a variety of attractions besides beautiful beaches and has become increasingly popular with tourists and tourists in recent years.
A place taken by the French during the colonial era, which impresses at an altitude of about 1500 meters, above all, by its idyll. From here tours can be organized on the former Ho Chi Minh Trail .
Here, Vietnam unfolds in its original naturalness. Generally, the Mekong Delta is considered the rice chamber of the country. Tourists have the opportunity to book a day tour on one of the numerous, overflowing delta branches of the delta and to get acquainted with the popular floating markets.
A mountain resort in the north , which is of particular interest as a base for trekking tours and travelers interested in the traditional and original side of Vietnam.
The struggle for independence runs throughout Vietnam's history. For nearly 1000 years Vietnam was a Chinese province. Only in the 10th century, the north of Vietnam was able to free itself from Chinese supremacy. Changing dynasties tried more or less successfully to consolidate the country in subsequent years. Over the centuries, it has carried many names (Nam-Viet, Annam, Dai-Viet). The name Viet Nam first appeared in 1802 with the last empire of the Nguyen dynasty. But already at that time, the country was targeted by various European colonial powers, especially France.
France's attempts to reintroduce Vietnam into an era of colonial rule sparked the first phase of the Vietnam War in 1946, the Indochina War . Nearly 10 years later, in May 1954, the Vietnamese succeeded in ending the French colonial rule in Indochina with a victory at the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.
It was followed by the North-South division of Vietnam and a period of corruption, chaos and protests, in which the US increasingly supported the south of the country to prevent the Communist influence of the North. Finally, the US also intervened militarily in the riots and led from 1965 massive air strikes against North Vietnam by.
Trortz military superiority, the US could not force the North Vietnamese Viet Cong to a task. The years of guerrilla warfare were literally rubbing off American troops, and due to public pressure, the US government decided to gradually withdraw troops in the late 1960s. The war ended in 1975 with the final surrender of South Vietnam. In 1976, the country was reunited as the Socialist Republic of Vietnam .
In the following years, there were armed conflicts with Cambodia , in which China was involved. The conflict ended without a clear winner, so that Vietnam finally withdrew its troops from Cambodia in 1989. At the same time, reforms provided for an opening of the country and thus for an unexpected economic rise. Part of this success goes back to the boom of the tourism industry, from which holidaymakers benefit more than ever before.
Visitors with passports from the following countries do not require a visa for stays up to the days specified but wish to stay for longer you need to take visa:
14 days - Brunei, Myanmar
15 days - Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
21 days - Philippines
30 days - Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Kyrgyzstan
90 days - Chile
Visitors who are citizens of the following 44 countries can apply for an e-visa. The e-visa is valid for a single entry, tourist purpose and a maximum stay of 30 days. Argentina, Australia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Timor Leste, UAE, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela.
Weather and Climate
The weather in Vietnam is dominated by two climate zones; the subtropical north and the tropical south . As a dividing wall between the two climate zones the cloud pass in central Vietnam applies.
In the north there are two seasons . The winter lasts approximately from November to April, whereas the summer dominates the months from May to October with maximum temperatures beyond the 30 ° C. December and January are the coldest months, with temperatures in mountainous regions plummeting.
The weather in Vietnam's south is characterized by three seasons . From November to January there is a pleasant travel time with average temperatures of about 28 ° C. From February it gets increasingly warmer until the temperatures peak in May with peaks around 35 ° C. It follows the rainy season, which lasts into October. This phase is mainly characterized by a high level of humidity, but the temperatures hardly fall.
The monsoon periods vary from region to region . While there is considerable rainfall in northern Vietnam from June to mid-September, it rains in the south from May to mid-November. In central Vietnam, however, the rainy season determines the climate from May to mid-November .
Best time to go to Vietnam
The ideal travel time for Vietnam is very dependent on the region, In the south the months are from November to the beginning of February. Here, however, it is a little peculiarity to note. The Tet festival is the Vietnamese counterpart to our New Year celebration. Every year in February, the Vietnamese celebrate the beginning of a new calendar year. Shops, attractions, restaurants and markets are often closed. Officially, the festival lasts only four days, but the country is still a week before and one week after the festival in a state of emergency, so that some shops remain closed even beyond the holidays. In addition, since many Vietnamese visit their families at this time, public transport is usually overcrowded. Anyone interested should not be advised to travel to Vietnam at this special time.
Currency and Money
The monetary unit of the country is the Vietnamese dong (VND). Actual rate: 1 USD = 23327.85 VND, 1 EUR = 26578.09 VND
It is better to go to Vietnam with dollars and euros, the dollar is a bit more profitable, but for small amounts the difference is insignificant. Currency can be exchanged at banks, exchange offices, jewelry stores, offices of travel agencies, markets and even at airports - the rate is almost the same everywhere, there is practically no extraordinary mark-ups.
Away from the big conurbations, it is not always easy to find a bank, ATM or a currency exchange. When traveling in sparsely populated areas, therefore, sufficient cash should be carried. In addition, every tourist should take care to keep the existing money safe.
Finding a room in Vietnam is usually not a problem . If you travel to the country at the time of the Vietnamese New Year, you should book a hotel in advance via one of the numerous online providers. For Western Europeans rather uncommon is the fact that some hotel rooms do not have a window. This issue should therefore be clarified before booking.
In the major cities of Vietnam, the choice of hotels is the most diverse - from mini-hotels to luxury establishments. Service in them, in general, at an average European level. Type of food - breakfast (most) or half board, the “all inclusive” system is practically not found here. The buffet is extremely varied. All rooms from 3 to 5 "stars" are equipped with air conditioning, television with satellite channels and a telephone, more expensive options include bathrobes, a hairdryer, tea and coffee sets, safes and mini bars.
Prices for accommodation are kept throughout the year at about the same level. Night in a luxury hotel in Hanoi will cost from 1.85 million VND per night for a double room in a four - from 740,000 VND , in a good "three stars" - from 200,000 VND , and stay the night in a hostel would cost between 80 000 VND per person per day.
Voltage in the mains 220 V, frequency 50 Hz. The plugs generally have flat connectors. Rooms in many hotels are equipped with universal sockets, which fit forks of almost any configuration. If necessary, the hotel staff will find the necessary adapter.
It is possible to travel with a direct flight to Vietnam. But even those who are already in the region can enter relatively easily via one of the neighboring countries.
Vietnam Airlines and many major airlines operate direct flights from many european and asian countries to Hanoi. Vietnamese Airlines also fly to Ho Chi Minh City .
Two low-cost airlines fly at once from China, Laos and Cambodia - Air Asia and VietJet Air.
From Laos from it is possible for the International Airport in Vientiane with the airlines Lao Airlines and Vietnam Airlines, to reach the Capital Airport in Hanoi.
Twice a week, usually on Thursday and Sunday, a passenger train operates on the route from Beijing to Hanoi. Beijing - Hanoi (from 304 USD , journey time - 37 hours) and Nanning - Hanoi (from 37 USD in a double compartment, on the road - journey time 11.5 hours). Both trains leave from China in the evening.
From / to Cambodia you can travel through the Mekong River . The route Can Tho - Chau Doc (Vietnam) - Kandal - Phnom Penh - Siem Reap (Cambodia).
Numerous international cruises include Vietnam on its route from European countries, Australia, China, Japan and South Korea among others.
It is possible to take a bus service to Vietnam from the following countries:
From Nanning (China) to Hanoi : The bus takes two hours from the center of Nanning to the border of Pingxiang. After crossing the border, it is another 4 hours to Hanoi.
From Vientiane (Laos) to Hanoi: The bus takes 18 hours in total.
From Phnom Penh (Cambodia) to Saigon : The bus takes 8 hours in total.
Vietnam has a well-developed infrastructure . There are numerous bus lines that can be used to explore large parts of the country. But also the railway and the shipping traffic connect numerous destinations in the country. In addition, it has become much safer in recent years to travel in Vietnamese domestic land by plane. In addition to various state airlines, there is also a private provider.
In order to travel long distances in Vietnam, it is advisable to travel by plane. Due to the not always optimal road conditions, the flight routes offer a convenient and affordable alternative. Of the three major international airports in the country (Hanoi / Ho Chi Minh City and Danang), the state-owned airline Vietnam Airlines and budget airline Jetstar Pacific Airlines and private airline Air Mekong offer numerous domestic flights to one of the nearly two dozen airports in the country.
Buses are the central means of transportation in Vietnam . Almost any place can be reached by one of the numerous bus lines. Buses are especially suitable for those who are going to visit the maximum number of places, thus making many stops. Also, the advantage of buses is that they even go to very remote places or, say, in the direction south of Ho Chi Minh, where you cannot reach by train.
Vietnam Open Tour Bus
A special feature is the "Open Tour". These are buses that travel the entire country on predetermined routes . The cost of the tickets is about 30 to 50 US dollars, depending on the length of the route. There are now numerous providers so that a previous price comparison is profitable. However, in recent years there have been frequent complaints from tourists due to the lack of security and low comfort.
The railway network in Vietnam is rather weakly developed; in fact, it cannot be called a network, since the trains run from north to south between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, as well as to the mountain resort of Sapa, to the cities of Haiphong and Halong. However, despite this, you can get by train to most Vietnamese cities, primarily because of the peculiar elongated shape of Vietnam (in one of the regions, the width of the country does not exceed 45 kilometers). However, there are still no trains to the south of Ho Chi Minh City - the Mekong is to blame for all of its many sleeves.
In Vietnam, there are two types of passenger trains: TN and SE. SE trains stop only at major stations, so the travel time is significantly reduced. So, the fastest train between Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon station) and Hanoi is 29 hours. Superior trains are also available along the routes Hanoi - Sapa and Hanoi - Halong, as well as Ho Chi Minh - Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh - Kuynon.
In some cases it is very convenient to use sea and river transport. For example, if you need to get to the region of the Mekong Delta, it’s not very easy to get there by bus or car. In addition, you may want to visit any of the Vietnamese islands. There is a regular route from Halong via Hue to Ho Chi Minh (so far these are not daily flights). Also from Ho Chi Minh City is convenient by boat to get to the city of Kanto in the Mekong Delta.
Communication and Wi-fi
If you want to use your mobile phone or smartphone in Vietnam, you should not have any problems with it. The country now has moderate network coverage. The three major mobile operators, Viettel, Vinaphone and Mobiphone, can be used in numerous shops to obtain SIM cards.
Tourists rarely complain about mobile communications in Vietnam. It is inexpensive and covers almost the entire country, including small towns and villages.
Everything is good in Vietnam and with the Internet, especially in large cities. Mobile Internet is often faster and more convenient than hotel Wi-Fi, but it needs to be connected separately, the details are on the SIM card package. The speed and tariffs of the operators are about the same, which eliminates the agony of choice. Free Wi-Fi is available in almost all hotels and restaurants.
In addition to Thai cuisine, Vietnamese cuisine is probably one of the most popular in Southeast Asia . Among other things, strongly influenced by its large neighbor China, you can still find memorabilia of French colonial rule. Baguettes, croissants and coffee were taken in a modified form in the Vietnamese cuisine.
As in other Asian countries, rice is one of the most important staple foods in Vietnam. This is usually combined with vegetables and a little meat. But seafood also plays an important role. Over time, various regional cuisines have evolved. While in the north of the country, spicy soups, often fish soups, dominate the culinary climate, one can clearly see the influence of Thai cuisine in Central Vietnam. Even influences of Indian culinary culture can be found today in the south of Vietnam.
Compared to Thai cuisine, Vietnamese dishes are much less flavorful. Particularly popular in the country is the spicy and, for the Western European, a rather unusual scented fish sauce. But spices such as star anise and cinnamon and black cardamom refine many of the local dishes.
Although there are also classic restaurants in Vietnam, the culinary picture is dominated by the many street stalls and food stalls. It is a good idea to choose places that are frequented by locals as well.
Incidentally, tea is mainly drunk. Especially the preference for green tea, which can be bought almost everywhere, is a characteristic of the Vietnamese food culture.
Do's and Dont's
As in other Asian countries, the public appearance in Vietnam is given an enormous importance. Quiet and polite behavior should be a matter of course . Loud intrusive behavior, however, as well as publicly criticized and complaints, are not seen in Vietnam like. Also, tourists should pay attention to a neat appearance. This is especially true when entering temples and other cultural cities.
The head is regarded in Vietnam as the most noble part of the human body and should therefore never be touched by strangers. The feet, on the other hand, are the lowest part of every human body. It is therefore considered to be extremely disrespectful if the feet while sitting on another person or even a Buddha statue or a monk aim. Also, the public display of affection, the exchange of tenderness and other violent emotional outbursts is also frowned upon. In addition, older people and monks should always be met with great respect.
Vietnamese is a member of the Vietnamese group of the Australian-Asian family and is the mother tongue of the Viet people and the Kinh people. Neighboring China has had a great influence on the Vietnamese language and culture: two thirds of the words in Vietnamese are of Chinese origin.
For tourists, the fact that instead of hieroglyphs in Vietnamese, Latin is used is very convenient, albeit with the addition of vowels with diacritical marks below or above the letter, which indicate a particular tone. Due to the fact that in the Vietnamese language a huge number of tones and semitones, it is very difficult to perceive it by ear. At the same time, the Vietnamese themselves have problems with the correct pronunciation of European words. It is often very difficult to make out that the Vietnamese speak English.
English is the most common foreign language among locals, which, however, is not surprising. It is studied in schools, universities, courses, etc. Also, in Vietnamese schools they teach Chinese, the second most popular foreign language after English. French, Russian and German follow English and Chinese, but they are much less common. However, if you travel to regions that are still untapped in tourism, you should expect to be able to communicate with your hand, foot and dictionary, if necessary.
Nightlife and Party
The nightlife in Vietnam takes place mainly in the larger cities. In recent years, a number of discos and bars have opened there, aimed primarily at tourists and a wealthy local audience. Tourists should make sure that many of these clubs close at midnight.
The center of the party scene is Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City . In both cities there are currently very trendy locations, of which the "Apocalypse Now" (Ho Chi Minh City) is currently one of the most popular tourist magnet. But also in Hoi An and Hue there are some very popular with holidaymakers meeting places. A special feature is the "Sailing Club" in Nha Trang. On Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays there are regular booth parties, which have enjoyed great popularity among locals and tourists in recent years.
Also in the case of Vietnam, some information that should be taken into account before departure.
Basically, Vietnam is considered one of the safest travel destinations in the Southeast Asian region . Violent crimes against foreigners are registered much less frequently here than, for example, in Thailand or Cambodia.
However, in recent years in tourist areas such as Ho Chi Minh City / Saigon, theft crime is increasing rapidly. On trips with bike or motorcycle taxis should therefore be waived after dark.
At the Hanoi railway station, there are some cases of thefts, which mainly affect tourists. In addition, only official taxis should be used at international airports, as the probability of manipulation of the taximeter is much lower here than with privately offered travel vehicles.
In the event of loss of passport, cash or traveler's checks, this fact must be reported directly to the police, as such incidents are not subsequently recorded by the police.
Partly, tourists are invited under flimsy pretexts in private apartments, which can come in the course of the evening after the establishment of a homely atmosphere to extortion attempts, sometimes under threats of violence. Such offers should therefore always be rejected.
Special care should be taken when storing cash in the hotel. Occasionally there is also theft of hotel staff in high-class hotels or theft with the help of the staff. It is therefore recommended to deposit valuables in the hotel safe.
Away from crime, the Foreign Office warns of accidents in traffic. Vietnam occupies one of the top spots in the world statistics on accidental death. In principle, it must be noted here that foreign or international driving licenses are not recognized in Vietnam.
Natural disasters in the form of floods and storms can also be a problem in some southern provinces and around the Mekong Delta. Especially in the months between June and October travelers in these regions should pay attention to the weather forecasts.
In Vietnam too, the ongoing drug problem has intensified for a long time. Imports and / or exports are strongly discouraged as Vietnamese laws already impose a high prison sentence on the possession of small quantities of narcotics provide. Acquisition and distribution as well as import and export can be punished in addition to long imprisonment even with the death penalty. Also the transport of objects for third parties, without own knowledge of the content, can have fatal consequences. The fact that these are not empty threats is indicated by the fact that in the past, foreigners were repeatedly sentenced to death for drug trafficking. In addition, the legal proceedings do not comply with the rule of law European standard, so that even a pre-trial detention may extend over several years.
Special criminal law
In addition to the current drug problem, there are some special criminal law rules to consider. Unlike its distant neighbor Thailand, prostitution is punished in Vietnam. In addition, sexual contacts with minors can be punished under execution of the death penalty.
Special custom regulations
When entering Vietnam, there are some customs regulations to follow. It is allowed 400 cigarettes / 100 cigars / 50 grams of tobacco be introduced. In addition, only 1.5 L of alcohol over 22% / 2.0 L of alcohol below 22%.
Furthermore, items must be cleared whose value exceeds 5 million Dong. Cash of foreign currencies worth more than 5000 USD as well as cash of the Vietnamese currency dong worth 15 million must be declared. Tea and coffee can be imported up to 5 kg or 3 kg without any criminal consequences.
When traveling to this region, it is generally advisable to have worldwide health insurance coverage and reliable travel insurance. Even a personalized first aid kit should be taken and stored according to the temperatures.
Dengue fever and malaria
As in other East Asian countries, there is an acute risk of infection with dengue fever and malaria in Vietnam. Both diseases are transmitted by a mosquito, with dengue fever being transmitted during the day, while malaria is transmitted in the evening and at night.
Dengue is accumulating in Vietnam and is increasingly occurring in urban areas, especially during and after the rainy season. There is a nationwide transfer risk. However, areas in the northern regions, notably the Mekong Delta, are particularly affected.
Malaria can also occur year-round, depending on the region visited.
An increased risk of malaria occurs in the north during and after the rainy season . Village regions are usually more affected here than the urban centers. In addition, there is an increased risk of malaria in the southern regions. Most affected are the provinces of Ca Mau, Bac Lieu and Tay Ninh. In the highland provinces, Dak Lak, Gia Lai and Kon Tum are considered a particularly vulnerable travel area. In the Mekong Delta, however, the risk of infection is slightly declining. The same applies to the coastal regions up to Nah Trang and the areas northwest of Hanoi. There is a slightly higher risk especially in the months from May to September.
Special care should be taken before malaria tropica . This can end fatally for Europeans and occurs in Vietnam, especially in comparison with neighboring countries, especially heaped up. Since up to 70% of malaria infections are dangerous Malaria Tropica, tourists and tourists should take special precautions.
In addition to the always necessary protection against mosquito bites , a chemo-prophylaxis (taking tablets) or an emergency self-treatment can be useful. Since malaria prophylaxis can certainly be associated with risks and side effects, it should be discussed with a knowledgeable physician or doctor before departure.
Both malaria and dengue fever are transmitted by mosquitoes. For this reason, it is generally recommended that people wear light-colored clothing and, if necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Above all, care should always be taken to apply insect repellent. This applies to the day as well as the evening hours and the night. Especially in Vietnam, the risk of infection should not be underestimated. Precautions should therefore be meticulously met.
Protection against diarrhea and cholera
As in many other East Asian countries, there are more and more cases of diarrhea and even cholera in Vietnam. In this context, it is especially not recommended to consume raw salad and vegetables and to drink untreated tap water.
However, the risk of diarrhea and cholera can be dramatically reduced by following a few simple rules:
- Never drink tap water, only water of safe origin
- To wash dishes and brush your teeth, tourists should always use drinking water from the bottle
- Food should always be boiled or peeled by yourself
- Regularly, hands should be washed with soap and disposable towels should be used. The use of hand disinfectants may also be appropriate depending on the situation.
Medical care in many parts of Vietnam does not meet western standards. In addition to training at a European level, doctors often lack extended foreign language skills. In addition, the smaller hospitals and doctors often complain about hygiene issues. Tourists who rely on a doctor in Vietnam should visit one of the practices in Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi. In both cities there is a French- or French-Vietnamese hospital with a high standard. In Hanoi also practices the preferred Family Medical Practice for tourists. It is one of several international clinics that is considered to be one of the key tourist destinations in addition to the French Hospital and the International SOS Clinics in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.