8 things you should know before you arrive in Vietnam

Vietnam is an opened country and there are not too many rules in Vietnam, but there are a couple of things you should notice for a better holiday in Vietnam. Let see 8 things you should know before you arrive in Vietnam.

1. How to get visa stamp at the airport:
For people who book our packages, we usually help them to get a visa approval letter for free and they will get visa stamp at the airport. But for those who are not our customers or just use a single service such as train ticket or hotel booking, please make sure that you have a visa approval letter and your passport is valid at least 6 months before arrival.
Please check below steps for how to get visa stamp at the airport:
Step 1: Print out your visa letter, prepare 2 photos (4x6cm) per person.
Step 2: When you arrive at the airport, go to the immigration office, show them the letter and photos. They will give you a form to fill in. You pay them $25/person (one month single entry) to get the stamp. The whole process is around 30 - 45 minutes depends on the number of passengers at the airport.

2. Weather
The weather in Vietnam is different between regions and depends on the periods.
When Southern part (Nha Trang, Mui Ne, Ho Chi Minh city, Cu Chi, Mekong delta) is hot all year round (30-35°C), just divides into 2 seasons: dried season from October to April and rainy season from May to September. The hottest month is April. The temperature in this month can be 37 degree Celsius, but much cooler in the late afternoon and at night.
The weather in the central part from Nha Trang to Hoi An also divides into 2 seasons, but not too hot as the southern part. November to December is not the best time in this area as storms sometimes hit this area.
Even Da Nang, Hue and Quang Binh are in the central Vietnam but don’t share the same weather. April to August is the best time here with sunshine and beautiful beaches. The temperature is around 30°C. Many Vietnamese people visit this area for their summer holiday.
Red delta area, including Hanoi, Ninh Binh shares the same weather with Halong. Spring time from January to March is cool, sometimes cold with a chance of shower rains. Summer time is from April to September. The hottest months are June and July. Heavy rains and storms can be seen in August and September. It’s cooler in October and November, cold some days in December. The temperature in this time is around 17 - 25°C.
North Western and North Eastern are mountainous, even there are 4 seasons in this area, but the temperature is always lower than the delta. June and August is rainy season, so sometimes trekking in Sapa can be difficult in this period.

3. Currency in Vietnam
Official currency in Vietnam is Vietnam Dong (VND)
USD1 equals VND22.700. We all use VND for our daily transaction but USD is widely accepted in most of big cities in Vietnam. You can use USD in some restaurants, shops and hotels, but it's more convenient to use VND to shop.
You can change money easily at the airport or at the hotel, but the rate at the hotel is not good as at the airport or bank offices.
Visa, Master, Amex are all accepted but only in restaurants and hotels because they have a machine and the bank charge is 2-5%. So prepare cashes to shop in Vietnam is a wise way.

4. Shop in Vietnam
Vietnam is considered as one of the cheapest countries for shopping, especially clothes.
Hanoi: Highly recommend Hanoi night market which runs in Friday nights and weekend nights only. Hanoi Old Quarter is a big area, including Hanoi night market. You can find everything here: clothes, bags, souvenirs, silks, food.
For international brands, you can go to Trang Tien Plaza which is nearby the lake or Vincom centre (2km from the Old Quarter).
In Ho Chi Minh city, you can shop at Ben Thanh market (day & night), Saigon Square, Taka Plaza.
In Hoi An: great place for tailoring clothes, you can buy lanterns as a gift or souvenir. And Ms Shachar, if you want a traditional dress of Vietnam (Ao Dai), Hoi An is the best.
In Da Lat: you can shop at Da Lat night market, good for you if you buy fruits (fresh and dried). Lang farm is the most popular brand there. You can buy as a gift for your beloved ones and friends in your country. Coffee is not a bad idea, but you can buy coffee throughout Vietnam.
In Sapa: you can shop around the town or Bac Ha market. The typical goods here are indigo and embroidered bags. Remember to check all stuff before paying money to make sure there is no mistake on the product.
You can find night markets in other places.

6. Clothes and baggage
Depending on the places you visit and the time you travel to bring suitable clothes. Please remember to wear shirt or T-shirt cover your shoulders and pans cover your knees whenever you visit temples, pagodas or mausoleums.
If you temperately leave somewhere for a short overnight trip, for example Halong cruise, just bring a couple of clothes, you can leave your luggage at your hotel, they won’t charge you for luggage storage.
For baggage allowance of the airlines, Vietnam Airlines allows their passengers 7 kg of cabin bag and 20kg of checked baggage while Vietjet Air and Jetstar allow 7kg of cabin bag for free only. If you have big or heavy bags, make sure you buy extra checked baggage in advance to get cheaper price.

7. Entertainment
You can find some bars, lounges in Ho Chi Minh city and Hanoi.
Hanoi: Ta Hien, Luong Ngoc Quyen is the place you should visit if you want a cup of beer and join in exciting atmosphere of bars and lounges. Many kinds of drinks and food are available
Ho Chi Minh city: Pham Ngu Lao, De Tham and Bui Vien street are the places for backpackers. You can find a lot of bars and lounges here; also can find some local food, international restaurants.
Besides that, the walking street of Nguyen Hue is good place to see how the local spend their night.
Hoi An: just go along the ancient town, you won’t get any difficulty to find something to see.
Hue: There are some bars, beer clubs in Le Loi and Chu Van An street.
If you prefer culture shows, you can take a look at water puppet show (highly recommended - both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city), AO show (both in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city), Ionah show - Hanoi only, Ca Tru - traditional singing performance  of Vietnam that you never find outside of Vietnam - only in Hanoi.
Links and ticket prices:
Water puppet show: http://bongsenwaterpuppet.com/12/Performance-schedule.htm#.V_3jmuV94rg
Ticket price: VND100.000 (~$4.5) per person. In Ho Chi Minh city, it's VND200.000/person.
AO show: http://www.luneproduction.com/
Ticket price is from VND630.000/person
Ionah show: http://ionah.vn/
Ticket price is from VND750.000/person
Ca Tru: http://catruthanglong.com/
Ticket price: VND270.000/person

8. Safety
Vietnam is considered as one of the safest countries for travel but you should keep your belongings carefully, especially in the bus.
Always save the phone number of your guide or your sale person for better support.