You may have been enticed by your favorite tv show about Vietnam, or you are bound for your next business trip here, and still anxious about what to expect. On this article, we cover things that can help you as a first-time traveler to Vietnam.

1. Get your travel document and paperwork sorted!

When planning a trip, you simply want everything to be convenient and to have a memorable stay. To ease your way in and navigate the country, you first need to get your paperwork and VISA sorted.

In Socialist Republic of Vietnam, the facility for tourists in getting a visa on arrival is (initially) valid for 30 days only.  For business visitors, you might need pre-approval even if your passport is listed for a visa on arrival to enter Vietnam. Other document such as local sponsor or related endorser is also asked if you are a non-tourist visitor. Then, if you would like to extend as a tourist on vacation, you will need to apply and visit the nearest Immigration office by another 30 days.  All visitors must hold a passport valid for 6 months and a valid return ticket.

Southeast Asia is a magical land combining some of the most beautiful and exotic places on earth. You will be fascinated with the bustling capital Saigon, the mighty Mekong River and the mysterious minority tribes of Sapa in Vietnam

As a member of ASEAN countries with a common interest and shared history within the South East Asia neighbourhood, VISA exemption can be enjoyed by travelers who hold passports issued by a fellow ASEAN country.  However, the Immigration officer at the port of entry may also ask any traveler to produce the necessary documents (such as hotel reservation and proof of finance). Please refer to the Embassy of Socialist Republic of Vietnam website that was intended for your own country for the latest information.

Take a glimpse on the history of Vietnam’s war time by taking a guided tour in the Museum . This contains fascinating remnants and photographs of the Vietnam War including US armored vehicles, artillery pieces, bombs and infantry weapons. 

Keep in mind the necessary details of your stay, your passport, and visa validity. You can bring along copies of your Tripcetera hotel receipt and booking reference in Vietnam, in any case you need to show it to the authorities. If you are on business trip and unsure about how to extend and proceed, you may always get in touch with your country’s embassy for any requirements.

2. Learn about the demographics and the culture of its people!

Getting out and catching a flight is only half of the story. You also need to learn about basic greetings and appropriate gestures that you can use to communicate with the locals. As they say: When in Rome, do as the Roman does – proverb attributed to Saint Ambrose that you should also put in mind when traveling to any city in Vietnam.

Finding an accommodation that can match your preference and expectation may be a challenging feat. Look no further, Tripcetera has a wide selection of hotels, resorts, chalets, homes, and excursion travel packages that you can book for your next trip to any destination in Vietnam

Quite similar with other ASEAN countries, Vietnamese people usually greet each other by bowing slightly. However, in major cities, such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh, some men have adopted the Western practice of shaking hands. Be advised that a public display of affection, taking photos without a permit and using foot wear on certain religious places may be considered inappropriate by the locals. Dress casually like the locals everywhere you go. Hence, you need the sensitivity to understand this matter long before your arrival.

Travel to the heart and soul of Indochina on one of our tailored two, three or four countries to explore the hidden beauty of this region by booking on 6 days 5 nights in Hanoi – Ha Long bay – Ninh Binh. You can also customize your own trip by telling us your ideas, and we’ll take care of the rest for you.

You can easily spend your holidays in Vietnam enjoying the hotels and resort facilities on the first day of your visit. If you are an free independent traveler with a sense of adventure, you can also discover cities such as Ho Chi Minh by yourself, take a day tour package around the city and take a closer look on many place of interest in the city’s downtown area.

You can also get to enjoy an afternoon break with a cup of freshly made Vietnamese coffee as served with the well known Vietnam drip filters. The local tradition of sipping a coffee on a street side cafe is very common. However, for some tourists, sitting on a small plastic bench on the road side or even seeing the locals smoking on public places while eating is not comfortable.

As a first time visitor to Vietnam, you should expect the common sight of scooters zipping around the city with overweight loads or people do not wear helmets to comply with regulations, cyclist that ride on the sidewalks, even one-way street that suddenly become a flea market at night. So many thing is happening on the city of Ho Chi Minh, and if you do want to organise your own backpacking tour around the city and capture all of those insta-worthy photos, you need to travel light and have the fitness to do so.

On a 3 hours walking tour you’ll explore the culture, history of Hanoi, step into a world full of street food vendors. Unlike big cities all around the world, street food in Hanoi are not just hot dog carts and pretzel stands, we offer an opportunity to try out 10 different dishes at local food stand, family restaurants.

It is not difficult to find complaints on the internet about unsatisfied and biased experiences by international tourists who visit Vietnam. Due to the lack of preparation, or perhaps did not read thru the terms and conditions of a tour package that they have booked, tourists often experience a culture shock in Hanoi, Da Nang, or any destination within South East Asia. Be advised that certain Etcetera vouchers is subject to availability and terms and condition that has been set on each package, so you definitely need to confirm your visit and other details thru the provided contacts.

You may opt for a ride on a three wheeled rickshaw with a carriage at the front for the passenger to sit in, while the driver uses pedal power to power us along. This allows us to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Ho Chi Minh City without the barrier of a car window or the sound of an engine, which is very environmental friendly.

People in Vietnam speak in Tiếng Việt, while English and French are practiced as the second and third language, together with Mandarin and Japanese. The dominant Viet or Kinh ethnic group constituted nearly 85.8% of Vietnam’s population, while ‘Nguyen’ is a common family name there. Locals do respect the age seniority in public places, such as queuing for lunch in a cafeteria and other places. Vietnamese also known for its complex calling names that are based on their age and gender associated customs. So if you talk to a local, ‘hi‘ or ‘hello ‘ is highly recommended, while a basic language gesture such as saying thanks or “cảm ơn” (read: gauhm uhhn) in the Vietnamese language will get you further.

The street food in Vietnam is also acknowledged by its unique iteration of spices and hint of the French influence. You can easily find comfort snacks almost on any corner of the city. A day of strolling around Ho Chi Minh City, also allows you to enjoy a wide assortment of street food delicacies that have been famed worldwide. You can immediately queue for a set bowl of Bún chả with a unique broth consisting of nước chấm a “savoury dipping sauce” laced with vinegar, a smattering of patties and grilled pork fatty (chả) on the side of the bowl, plus a serving of bún or noodle made of rice vermicelli, and a plate of fresh herbs like basil and mint, fresh salad, Giá (bean sprouts). That many foods served on your plate usually cost around VND 85.000 or about S$5. 

3. When is the best time to go to Vietnam?

Vietnam’s landscape covers a vast latitude with variety in topographical relief that should satisfy naturalist photographers or for your Insta-worthy feed. The climate also tends to vary considerably for each city and region. Moreover, major cities and other places of interests are also distantly located to one another. Hanoi is 1,720 km (1,070 mi) north of Ho Chi Minh. You need to have at least three days plus to discover multiple cities like both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh.

Good planning on your next holiday to any country around the globe takes 50% of the anxiety away. Browsing through travel packages, completing the paperwork, finding the right hotel to book, and building the itinerary to visit local attractions are also the fun part of the experience.

Most tourists go to Ho Chi Minh to visit Bến Thành Market, learn the history of Vietnam’s people in Ho Chi Minh City Hall, experience the colonial roots by taking memorable pictures of classical Western-style buildings and French villas, The Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica of Saigon, Independence Palace, and the Municipal Theatre. Tourists can reach such places of interest on a good weather during the drier months of December to March, as the temperatures range between 21°C and 34°C.

The culture of Vietnam is influenced by oriental customs and architecture despite of its location on South East Asia. From Vietnam you can also take a tour on the neighbouring countries such as Laos, Thailand and others along the Ha Long bay area.

For sophisticated tourists or cultural aficionados who are looking for the yearly feast in Vietnam, you may as well plan your visit here during the Vietnamese Lunar New Year or Tết Nguyên Đán, which is Sino-Vietnamese for “Feast of the First Morning of the First Day”. Cities such as Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi will have a brightly red-colored decorations on every corner.

4. Cash is king in Vietnam

As you land on one of three international gateways: Noi Bai airport in Hanoi, Da Nang International Airport in Đà Nẵng or in Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh, you should immediately look for a money exchange service provider. Major currencies are accepted to be traded with Vietnam Dong which is represented by the symbol “₫” (International code: VND). 

Coin valuation is still accepted in Vietnam. However, you will rarely use them as there are equivalent valuation with printed money. Take your time to get familiar with the locally accepted currency. Be advised that not all money changers in Vietnam will accept your home country’s currency. So, you should better exchange them before visiting the country.

Before having the time of your life in Vietnam, don’t forget to prepare a special wallet or pocket for immediate dispensing of local currencies. We advise you to also note that the local checkpoint authorities will ask travelers to declare cash amount in Vietnamese Dong excess of VND 150,000,000 or foreign currency in excess of USD$5,000 or about S$8,700 in and out of the country.

You can use the Vietnam Dong to enter the many place of interest in Vietnam by yourself. Most tourist attraction venues apply dual pricing standard that they charge to visitors. It is a common practice that tickets to enter such venues and prices that are listed there are more expensive if you are an international tourists.

In Tripcetera, you can also book Half Day Saigon Culinary From Hotel Inside Ho Chi Minh City. Itinerary start with a morning tour to a local traditional market accompanied by Chef to introduce and to let participants understand more Vietnamese ingredients and more hands-on activities.

Although the US dollar price range is widely shown by travel related businesses in Vietnam, most commodities at street markets, taxi fares, grocery shops, and local cafes did not have a price tag or exchange for the smaller value of notes. You need to ask first or name your price before you buy or consume their product and services.

5. Safety measures and comfort while you are having the time of your life in Vietnam

It is certainly a good idea to vaccinate yourself before visiting any country, although not a mandatory to have a vaccine document to apply for a VISA to Vietnam. If you do travel on medication or in need of regular intake of medical pills, do not forget to declare and bring printed copies of documents for your legally prescribed medication wherever you go. 

During peak seasons or holidays, it requires physical agility when queuing in Immigration checkpoints. If you a traveler with a long connecting flight or a transit flight to Hanoi, be advised that in certain terminals, they are also equipped with thermal scan cameras that may detect anyone with abnormal body temperatures, which may indicate illness. Present your passport and ask for immediate help if you cannot withstand the queue due to health problems or other issue.  

Let say you are taking a day tour package packed with all the place that you are eager to see. As you navigate, you need to also hydrate better and use that bug repellent as well. It is advised that you should take a bath twice a day due to humidity during your trip in Vietnam. Physical fitness and personal comfort should be managed if you engage in trekking and walking activities. Do not forget to prepare and bring your personal necessities such as sun block and related skin care products that are usually difficult to find in Vietnam.

Tripcetera also allows you to book hotels or evouchers for someone else. You can ask the favor of anyone back home to book accommodation at many cities in Vietnam with You can ask them to send the Tripcetera evoucher and receipt to your email. You may refer to the ‘Hotel booking Number’ as listed on the hotel voucher and receipt for check-in reference. This is also practical as a back-up plan when you run out of funds during your time in Vietnam.

Visit Tam Coc by a small boat rowed by a local for about 2 hours.  
Known as “Halong Bay on land”, Tam Coc is the name of the limestone caves area stretching along Ngo Dong river. The boat trip is a nice journey along the river with the peaceful scenery of Limestone Mountains, rice paddy and the sight of some temples along the way. If traveling during harvest season, you may have chances to see the yellow rice carpet along the river banks.

As you book hotels in Vietnam and pay online with Tripcetera, your identity and transaction will be safely protected with an extra layer of security via the One-Time-Password code. It allows our server to send the ‘secret digits’ or codes only to a specific user that are from a current or previously registered communication channel such as mobile-phone SMS and/or e-mail address. This authentication mode is also known as “something you recognize, something you know.”

After payment is confirmed, you will receive a Hotel voucher and receipt in your email. By having printed copies of this voucher and receipt, you can easily show them as supporting documents whenever required.

6. Stay connected with well prepared logistics in Vietnam

As a first time traveler to Vietnam, you definitely want to use your smartphone to navigate the place of interest that you want to discover, especially in a vibrant city as Ho Chi Minh. Having a local SIM card is convenient as you travel. Be advised that as you take that tour packages with itinerary to Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park in north-central Vietnam bordering the Hin Namno Reserve in Laos, Ha Long Bay or taking a road trip on the side of Da Nang’s coastal route, your signal may deteriorate due to local terrain of giant boulders, hills, and other landscapes. You should expect that the signal of local operators may not be as good as in the Ho Chi Minh’s downtown or the internet WIFI of your selected hotels.

To keep your devices’ battery fully charged everywhere you go, you should bring your own electrical socket that is compatible with plugs type A (two flat vertical pins), type C and type F (two round pins) that fit to most Vietnam electrical outlets. Also note that cities in Vietnam operates on a standard voltage of 220 V and the frequency is 50 Hz which is the same one as you can find in Thailand, Indonesia and People’s Republic of China.

If the electric socket of your devices are using Europlugs of two rounded pins with a standard voltage between 220 – 240 V (as is in Indonesia, Nepal, Europe, Australia and most of Asia and Africa), then you can also use them in Vietnam. Dual flat pins model as in mainland of People’s Republic China is also compatible with Vietnam’s electrical socket.

If you come from countries with power plugs that has 3 pins such as Singapore, Malaysia, India, US, Canada, Ireland, The UK, Thailand and Israel, and countries that have angled dual flat pins such as Australia, New Zealand, and Peoples Republic of China, you might need an adapter as most electrical outlets in Vietnam do not include a grounding hole.

Alternatively, you can also buy socket converters or adapters at convenient stores in Vietnam or can borrow one from your hotel. By keeping your electrical logistics sorted and having local internet connectivity and power bank devices, you can immediately purchase travel packages and find interesting activities in the format of evouchers in Tripcetera.

There you have it. Our very own tips on how to get a memorable experience on your first time visit to Vietnam. Plan your holiday with and visit your dream destination within a few clicks away. Sign up as a member today and start building your very own itinerary right away!

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