PASSPORTS & VISAS
All visitors to Vietnam must have a valid passport and visa irrespective of nationality.
Passport: A valid Canadian/American passport is required for Canadians/Americans intending to visit Vietnam. Passports must be valid for at least one month after the expiration of the visa.
Visa: Visas should be obtained prior to arrival. Most tourist visas are issued for a single entry/exit. Extensions can be obtained from the Immigration Department in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, or from some local travel agencies and tour companies for a fee.
Vietnamese visas in expired passports are no longer valid, and the visa needs to be transferred to the new passport.
All visitors should have inoculations for the following diseases: Cholera, Typhoid, Hepatitis A/B, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. It is advised to drink boiled or bottled water.
Tourists are permitted to import the following items duty free: One individual pack of cigarettes; 2 bottles of alcoholic beverages; a reasonable quantity of perfume. Personal effects of a reasonable quantity. All cash must be declared. Cash taken out of Vietnam must be less than the cash brought in.
The official currency is the Dong although US dollars are widely accepted.
Airport tax is D$15,000 for international flights only. The tax is payable at the airport upon departure. (Approx. CA$1.50; US$1.00)
POPULATION & LANGUAGE
Vietnam has about 90 million residents: 85% are ethnic-Vietnamese and 2% are ethnic Chinese. The official language is Vietnamese.
Telephones can be found in all major hotels. Long distance telephone calls are very expensive. It is advisable to make collect calls or have people call you in Vietnam.
Travellers cheques can be cashed at certain banks. VISA and MasterCard are accepted at the bigger hotels and restaurants. Cash advances can be made in local currency.
Offices, Museums, etc. are usually open from 7 or 8 am to 11 or 11:30 am and from 1 or 2 pm to 4 or 5 pm. Most museums are closed on Mondays.
Northern weather is cool from Dec. to Apr. bring clothes such as light sweaters and wind breakers. The rest of the year is hot, so light cotton clothing is suggested. In the South, only light summer clothes and sunwear are required. Short shorts and revealing tops are unacceptable unless on the beaches. During the rainy season, bring rain gear.