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Experience The Real Vietnam

Best of Vietnam Package Vacation

Price from
950 USD
Duration
10 Days
Distance
Luxury private trip
Difficulty
Luxury private trip
Tour Code
Trip start in
Hanoi City
Trip Finish in
Ho Chi Minh City
Trip Type:
Leisure Luxury Private Trip
Group size
MIn:02 -10

OVERVIEW

A perfect way for a taste of Vietnam’s best in a short amount of time. From the north to the south, this tour covers the most mesmerizing destinations with unrivaled activities that make this tour standing out.

The trip departure in Ho Chi Minh dynamic city and ending in Hanoi Capital. You will have a chance to visit the two biggest cities including the Mekong Delta and the world heritage of Halong Bay.

Brief Itinerary:

Day 1: Hanoi Arrival

Day 2: Hanoi City Tour

Day 3: Hanoi – Halong Bay

Day 4: Halong Bay – Hue City

Day 5: Hue Imperial City

Day 6: Hue – Hoi An

Day 7: Hoi An Excursion

Day 8: Hoi An – Ho Chi Minh City

Day 9: Mekong Delta – Day 10: Departure

 

HIGHLIGHTS

10 Days would be a great time for those who would like to experience all the highlights of Vietnam:

  • Hanoi: Sightseeing with a Local Guide; water puppets performance; visit Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, One Pillar Pagoda, Ho Chi Minh Museum, Presidential Palace, and Temple of Literature; take a “cyclo” ride through the Old Quarter
  • Halong Bay: Overnight cruise in a traditional Junk boat, discover caves & fishing villages, explore the lagoon.
  • Hue: See stunning scenery en-route to Hue; Take a dragon boat to visit pagodas; Visit the Imperial Citadel. Visit the Thien Mu Pagoda and the Tomb of Emperor Minh Mang.
  • Danang – Hoi An: See ancient sculpture in the Cham Museum, and tour Buddhist cave temples in the Marble Mountains. A walking tour through the UNESCO listed Old Quarter; Countryside bike ride, visit an old merchant house, the Hoi An Museum, and a Chinese assembly hall.
  • Ho Chi Minh City: City tour including entry to the War Remnants Museum & Cu Chi Tunnels.
  • Mekong Delta: Take an excursion to Mekong Delta, with a boat trip on the Mekong River to visit Cat Be floating market.
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation
Best of Vietnam Package Vacation

Day 1: Arrival Hanoi Vietnam
Today you’ll land in Hanoi. Warmly welcome by Tour Guide & Car Driver at the airport then transfer to Hanoi Downtown, a city of lakes, shaded boulevards, public parks, and the capital of Vietnam. Check into your hotel. Stay overnight in Hanoi.


Day 2: Hanoi Sightseeing full day (B, L)
Hanoi, a city of lakes, shaded boulevards, and public parks, is the capital of Vietnam. It is a very attractive city with French-style architecture. You have a full day of sightseeing ahead, including a visit to One Pillar Pagoda, which was built by Ly Thai Tong, and the Temple of Literature, founded by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong. Stop in the heart of Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake, which contains an islet with a tiny Tortoise Pagoda. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Opera House, and St. Joseph Cathedral. Conclude with a visit to Bao Tang Lich, once the museum of l’Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient, which includes artifacts from Vietnam’s turbulent history. Water Puppet Show, Cyclo visiting Old Quarter. Overnight in Hanoi.


Day 3: Excursion to Halong Bay and Stay overnight on Board. (B, L, D)
Early this morning, we’ll drive from Hanoi to one of the most magnificent scenic environments in the world, Halong Bay. Covering 577 square miles, this vast bay is filled with more than 3,000 limestones “peaks” or karsts that jut from the deep blue water as far as the eye can see. We’ll spend a day and a half, including an overnight with dinner and breakfast onboard, exploring this overwhelming seascape from the decks of a traditional Vietnamese boat. Comfortable and intimate, your boat features hand-crafted wooden interiors including a dining room and pleasant air-conditioned cabins with private baths. Since we’re overnight on the water, we’ll be able to explore Ha Long Bay’s most beautiful spots with time to swim and even visit some of the largest rock formations and caves. This promises to be one of your most memorable travel experiences in Asia. Stay overnight on Boat.


Day 4: Halong Bay Cruise – Depart for Hue Imperial City. (B, L)
Rising to the sound of lapping bay waters, we have time for an early morning dip followed by breakfast. Sitting on the upper deck, you can relax while taking in the breath-taking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the emerald water of the bay.
After breakfast, explore Sung Sot cave, swim, and relax. Cruises back to the jetty while brunch are served while you are cruising through the bay, along the way seeing more of the fascinating formations. Cruise check-out. Rejoin car drive to airport directly. Arrive at Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) at 3:00 pm. Catching a flight to Hue City. Arrive in Hue City, transfer to the hotel for check-in. Overnight in Hue.


Day 5: Full day sightseeing in Hue City – Old Imperial City. (B, L)
Spend full day to visit Hue City, Vietnam’s political capital from 1802 to 1945 under the 13 emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Traditionally, the city has been one of Vietnam’s cultural, religious, and educational centers. Visit the Imperial City, which is located in the Citadel. Modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Imperial City was built in the early 19th century. Explore the Thai Hoa Palace, with its spacious hall and ornate roof of huge timbers supported by 80 carved and lacquered columns. See the Halls of the Mandarins, the Nine Dynastic Urns, and the site where the Forbidden Purple City once stood. Overnight in Hue City.


Day 6: Leave Hue to Danang/City Sightseeing. (B, L)
Today, journey south past the Hai Van Pass and Land Co, over a spur of the Truong Son Mountain Range that juts into the South China Sea, with spectacular views along the way. Upon arrival in Danang, visit the Cham Museum, which features a fine collection of open-air sandstone carvings. Stop at China Beach, made famous in the American TV series of the same name. It stretches for many miles north and south of the Marble Mountains. The Marble Mountains surrounding the area are five stone hillocks – once islands made of marble – and each is said to represent one of the five elements of the universe. There are many natural caves in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built over the centuries. Transfer to Hoi An Ancient Town. Check-in hotel & overnight in Hoi An.


Day 7: Hoi An Excursion/Thu Bon River Boat Trip. (B, L)
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Hoi An, a major trading center, once known as “Faifo” to the earliest Western traders. It was also an important port for the Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and other merchant vessels from the Far East. Visit a temple with partially gilded statues in the center, a pagoda dedicated to sailors and fishermen, and a chapel with origins in the 1700s that reflects the influences of Chinese and Japanese styles. Stop at the Sa Huynh Museum, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, which contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An’s history. Late this afternoon, take a boat trip on the Thu Bon River to Kim Bing Village on Cam Kim Island to see the woodworkers and shipbuilding families. Return to your haven on world-famous “Cua Dai Beach,” with the evening at your leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.


Day 8: Leave Hoi An to Saigon/City Sightseeing. (B, L)
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, the largest Vietnamese city. There are street markets, sidewalk cafes, and sleek new bars. This teeming metropolis offers 300 years of timeless traditions and the beauty of an ancient culture. To the west of the city is the huge Chinese neighborhood called Colon, which means “Big Market.” Notre Dame Cathedral, in the heart of Saigon’s government quarter, is of neo-Romanesque architecture with two high square towers and iron spires. The Central Post Office is French-style and City Hall, known as “Hotel de Ville,” is typical of the French architecture that would be seen in any village in France. Visit the War Remnants Museum, featuring collections of weapons and photographs from the two Indochina wars. Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.


Day 9: Full day to Mekong Delta/River Boat Trip. (B, L)
Today takes you to My Tho, the capital of Tien Giang Province. Situated on the Mekong River, 75 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the city is surrounded by orchards and rice fields, which produce grain for the entire country. Visit one or two of the islands that produce traditional handcrafts, coconut candy, and bee farms. Visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, the oldest ones in the delta on your boat trip on the Mekong River. Return to Ho Chi Minh City. Check-in hotel & stay overnight in Saigon.


Day 10: Conclude Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. (B)
You have the morning free to relax before your return flight home. Finish your trip arranged by Indochina Legend Travel or you can extend some day to Siem Reap (Cambodia), Mui Ne (Phan Thiet), or Phu Quoc Island.


Countryside Adventures Team

Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Meals:L.D
Accommodation
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Accommodation( 04 Stared Hotel)
Meals: B.L
Drinks(Water)
Water Puppet Show
Richshaw Tour
Experienced Local Guide
Ground transportation
Halong Bay Junk Boat
Meals:B.L.D
Drinks: Water
Entrance Fees
Accommodation
Drinks: Water
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Flight to Hue City
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Meals: B.L
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Accommodation
Entrance fees
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Boat trip Hoi An
Flight To Saigon City
Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Accommodation
Meals
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Local Guide
Flight to Saigon City
Meals:B.L
Accommodation
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Mekong Boat trip
Entrance fees
Meals:B.L
Drinks
Ground Transportation
Local Guide

Day 1: Arrival Hanoi Vietnam
Today you’ll land in Hanoi. Warmly welcome by Tour Guide & Car Driver at the airport then transfer to Hanoi Downtown, a city of lakes, shaded boulevards, public parks, and the capital of Vietnam. Check into your hotel. Stay overnight in Hanoi.


Day 2: Hanoi Sightseeing full day (B, L)
Hanoi, a city of lakes, shaded boulevards, and public parks, is the capital of Vietnam. It is a very attractive city with French-style architecture. You have a full day of sightseeing ahead, including a visit to One Pillar Pagoda, which was built by Ly Thai Tong, and the Temple of Literature, founded by Emperor Ly Thanh Tong. Stop in the heart of Hanoi at Hoan Kiem Lake, which contains an islet with a tiny Tortoise Pagoda. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, the Opera House, and St. Joseph Cathedral. Conclude with a visit to Bao Tang Lich, once the museum of l’Ecole Francaise d’Extreme Orient, which includes artifacts from Vietnam’s turbulent history. Water Puppet Show, Cyclo visiting Old Quarter. Overnight in Hanoi.


Day 3: Excursion to Halong Bay and Stay overnight on Board. (B, L, D)
Early this morning, we’ll drive from Hanoi to one of the most magnificent scenic environments in the world, Halong Bay. Covering 577 square miles, this vast bay is filled with more than 3,000 limestones “peaks” or karsts that jut from the deep blue water as far as the eye can see. We’ll spend a day and a half, including an overnight with dinner and breakfast onboard, exploring this overwhelming seascape from the decks of a traditional Vietnamese boat. Comfortable and intimate, your boat features hand-crafted wooden interiors including a dining room and pleasant air-conditioned cabins with private baths. Since we’re overnight on the water, we’ll be able to explore Ha Long Bay’s most beautiful spots with time to swim and even visit some of the largest rock formations and caves. This promises to be one of your most memorable travel experiences in Asia. Stay overnight on Boat.


Day 4: Halong Bay Cruise – Depart for Hue Imperial City. (B, L)
Rising to the sound of lapping bay waters, we have time for an early morning dip followed by breakfast. Sitting on the upper deck, you can relax while taking in the breath-taking beauty of the rocky islands rising from the emerald water of the bay.
After breakfast, explore Sung Sot cave, swim, and relax. Cruises back to the jetty while brunch are served while you are cruising through the bay, along the way seeing more of the fascinating formations. Cruise check-out. Rejoin car drive to airport directly. Arrive at Noi Bai Airport (Hanoi) at 3:00 pm. Catching a flight to Hue City. Arrive in Hue City, transfer to the hotel for check-in. Overnight in Hue.


Day 5: Full day sightseeing in Hue City – Old Imperial City. (B, L)
Spend full day to visit Hue City, Vietnam’s political capital from 1802 to 1945 under the 13 emperors of the Nguyen Dynasty. Traditionally, the city has been one of Vietnam’s cultural, religious, and educational centers. Visit the Imperial City, which is located in the Citadel. Modeled after the Forbidden City in Beijing, the Imperial City was built in the early 19th century. Explore the Thai Hoa Palace, with its spacious hall and ornate roof of huge timbers supported by 80 carved and lacquered columns. See the Halls of the Mandarins, the Nine Dynastic Urns, and the site where the Forbidden Purple City once stood. Overnight in Hue City.


Day 6: Leave Hue to Danang/City Sightseeing. (B, L)
Today, journey south past the Hai Van Pass and Land Co, over a spur of the Truong Son Mountain Range that juts into the South China Sea, with spectacular views along the way. Upon arrival in Danang, visit the Cham Museum, which features a fine collection of open-air sandstone carvings. Stop at China Beach, made famous in the American TV series of the same name. It stretches for many miles north and south of the Marble Mountains. The Marble Mountains surrounding the area are five stone hillocks – once islands made of marble – and each is said to represent one of the five elements of the universe. There are many natural caves in which Buddhist sanctuaries have been built over the centuries. Transfer to Hoi An Ancient Town. Check-in hotel & overnight in Hoi An.


Day 7: Hoi An Excursion/Thu Bon River Boat Trip. (B, L)
Enjoy a full-day excursion to Hoi An, a major trading center, once known as “Faifo” to the earliest Western traders. It was also an important port for the Dutch, Portuguese, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, and other merchant vessels from the Far East. Visit a temple with partially gilded statues in the center, a pagoda dedicated to sailors and fishermen, and a chapel with origins in the 1700s that reflects the influences of Chinese and Japanese styles. Stop at the Sa Huynh Museum, located near the Japanese Covered Bridge, which contains exhibitions from the earliest period of Hoi An’s history. Late this afternoon, take a boat trip on the Thu Bon River to Kim Bing Village on Cam Kim Island to see the woodworkers and shipbuilding families. Return to your haven on world-famous “Cua Dai Beach,” with the evening at your leisure. Overnight in Hoi An.


Day 8: Leave Hoi An to Saigon/City Sightseeing. (B, L)
Fly to Ho Chi Minh City, Saigon, the largest Vietnamese city. There are street markets, sidewalk cafes, and sleek new bars. This teeming metropolis offers 300 years of timeless traditions and the beauty of an ancient culture. To the west of the city is the huge Chinese neighborhood called Colon, which means “Big Market.” Notre Dame Cathedral, in the heart of Saigon’s government quarter, is of neo-Romanesque architecture with two high square towers and iron spires. The Central Post Office is French-style and City Hall, known as “Hotel de Ville,” is typical of the French architecture that would be seen in any village in France. Visit the War Remnants Museum, featuring collections of weapons and photographs from the two Indochina wars. Stay overnight in Ho Chi Minh City.


Day 9: Full day to Mekong Delta/River Boat Trip. (B, L)
Today takes you to My Tho, the capital of Tien Giang Province. Situated on the Mekong River, 75 kilometers southeast of Ho Chi Minh City, the city is surrounded by orchards and rice fields, which produce grain for the entire country. Visit one or two of the islands that produce traditional handcrafts, coconut candy, and bee farms. Visit the Vinh Trang Pagoda, the oldest ones in the delta on your boat trip on the Mekong River. Return to Ho Chi Minh City. Check-in hotel & stay overnight in Saigon.


Day 10: Conclude Saigon/Ho Chi Minh City. (B)
You have the morning free to relax before your return flight home. Finish your trip arranged by Indochina Legend Travel or you can extend some day to Siem Reap (Cambodia), Mui Ne (Phan Thiet), or Phu Quoc Island.


Countryside Adventures Team

Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Meals:L.D
Accommodation
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Accommodation( 04 Stared Hotel)
Meals: B.L
Drinks(Water)
Water Puppet Show
Richshaw Tour
Experienced Local Guide
Ground transportation
Halong Bay Junk Boat
Meals:B.L.D
Drinks: Water
Entrance Fees
Accommodation
Drinks: Water
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Flight to Hue City
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Meals: B.L
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Accommodation
Entrance fees
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Boat trip Hoi An
Flight To Saigon City
Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Entrance fees
Accommodation
Meals
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Local Guide
Flight to Saigon City
Meals:B.L
Accommodation
Experienced Local Guide
Ground Transportation
Mekong Boat trip
Entrance fees
Meals:B.L
Drinks
Ground Transportation
Local Guide

Included:

8 nights hotel accommodation on a twin-share basic with daily breakfast
01 night stay overnight on Board in Halong Bay in twin-share cabin.
Kayaking in Halong Bay
Internal flight tickets: Hanoi – Hue, Danang – Ho Chi Minh City (economy class) Vietnam Airlines including fuel charge & Airport taxes.
Meals as mentioned in the itineraries: Vietnamese food, Asian Food basic.
All landed transfers within the tour by air-conditioned vehicle, including pick-up and drop-off at airports on arrival and departure days
English Speaking Tour guide. Other languages on request
Boat trips in the Mekong Delta, Hue & Hoi An
All entrance and sightseeing fees
Water Puppet Show & Cyclo Tour in Hanoi Old Quarter.
Approval letter for landing visa to Vietnam: single entry, one month valid
All taxes & services charge.


Tour Cost Non-Included:

International airfare and airport tax in Vietnam
Beverages and other meals do not indicate in the program
Visa fees to Vietnam
Early check-in and late check-out at all hotels
Massage onboard
Travel insurance
Personal expenses (laundry, telephone, shopping…)
Tipping/ Gratuities
Single supplement
Any additional expenses caused by reasons beyond our control such as natural calamities (typhoon, floods),
flight delays, rescheduling or cancellations, any accidents, medical evacuations, riots, strikes, etc.


 

Package cost per person quoted in US Dollar:

Group size: 02 persons: 1350 USD per person.

Group size: 03 -05 persons: 1250 USD per person.

Group size: 06 -10 persons: 1150 USD per person.


Countryside Adventures Team

Best time to travel to Vietnam

Vietnam is long and slender, with different regions subject to different weather conditions at any one time, which makes figuring out the best time to visit Vietnam somewhat tricky.

The country has a tropical monsoon climate. If you’re visiting the south of the country the driest months tend to be between December and April, while the north of the country is typically driest in spring and autumn.

Within this broad weather, the picture is regional variations, with differences in altitude also key to varying temperatures. Whereas the south tends to have a year-round tropical climate, the north is considerably cooler in winter.


Climate of Vietnam

The weather in Vietnam is defined by the monsoon season. The southern summer monsoon brings rain to the two deltas and west-facing slopes. At the same time, the cold winter monsoon picks up moisture over the Gulf of Tonkin and dumps it along the central coast and the eastern edge of the central highlands.

There are marked differences according to altitude and latitude; temperatures in the south of Vietnam remain calm all year round, while the north experiences distinct seasonal variations.


When is the best time to visit Vietnam?

If you intend to see a bit of everything, you need to work around the regional weather differences. Overall, autumn/winter (September – December) and spring (March and April) are probably the most favorable seasons if you’re planning to cover the whole country.

Most of Vietnam enjoys dry conditions and basks in the sunshine by December. Central Vietnam is the exception, which is gradually emerging from its rainy season. So it’s a good time to head to the southern coast if you want to soak up some rays and rack up some time on Vietnam’s gorgeous beaches. Beaches such as Mui Ne, or on the island of Phu Quoc are great in this month.

It’s also a good time to visit Ho Chi Minh City, with temperatures averaging a comfortable 26ºC.

If you’re planning a Christmas getaway be aware that things get booked up way in advance, so plan ahead.

Outdoor activities in the north are good in December. It is somewhat chilly, however, especially in the mountains – so pack extra layers.


Vietnamese food

The staple of Vietnamese meals is rice, with noodles a popular alternative at breakfast or as a snack. Typically, rice will be accompanied by a fish or meat dish, a vegetable dish and soup, followed by a green tea digestive. Seafood and fish – from rivers, lakes, canals and paddy fields as well as the sea – are favoured throughout the country, either fresh or dried. The most commonly used flavourings are shallots, coriander and lemon grass. Ginger, saffron, mint, anise and a basil-type herb also feature strongly, and coconut milk gives some southern dishes a distinctive richness.

Even in the south, Vietnamese food tends not to be over-spicy; instead chilli sauces or fresh chillies are served separately. Vietnam’s most famous seasoning is the ubiquitous nuoc mam, a nutrient-packed sauce which either is added during cooking or forms the base for various dipping sauces. Nuoc mam is made by fermenting huge quantities of fish in vats of salt for between six months and a year, after which the dark brown liquid is strained and graded according to its age and flavour. Foreigners usually find the smell of the sauce pretty rank, but most soon acquire a taste for its distinctive salty-sweetness.

The use of monosodium glutamate (MSG) can be excessive, especially in northern cooking, and some people are known to react badly to the seasoning. A few restaurants in the main cities have cottoned on to the foibles of foreigners and advertise MSG-free food; elsewhere, try saying khong co my chinh (without MSG), and keep your fingers crossed. Note that what looks like salt on the table is sometimes MSG, so taste it first.

The most famous Vietnamese dish has to be spring rolls, variously known as cha gio, cha nem, nem ran or just plain nem. Various combinations of minced pork, shrimp or crab, rice vermicelli, onions, bean sprouts and an edible fungus are rolled in rice-paper wrappers, and then eaten fresh or deep-fried. In some places they’re served with a bowl of lettuce and/or mint. In addition, a southern variation has barbecued strips of pork wrapped in semi-transparent rice wrappers, along with raw ingredients such as green banana and star fruit, and then dunked in a rich peanut sauce – every bit as tasty as it sounds.


Drinks

Giai khat means “quench your thirst” and you’ll see the signs everywhere, on stands selling fresh juices, bottled cold drinks or outside cafés and bia hoi (draught beer) outlets. Many drinks are served with ice: tempting though it may be, the only really safe policy is to avoid ice altogether – dung bo da, cam on (“no ice, thanks”) should do the trick. That said, ice in the top hotels, bars and restaurants is generally reliable, and some people take the risk in less salubrious establishments with apparent impunity.


Tea and coffee

Tea drinking is part of the social ritual in Vietnam. Small cups of refreshing, strong, green tea are presented to all guests or visitors: water is well boiled and safe to drink, as long as the cup itself is clean, and it’s considered rude not to take at least a sip. Although your cup will be continually replenished to show hospitality, you don’t have to carry on drinking; the polite way to decline a refill is to place your hand over the cup when your host is about to replenish it. Green tea is also served at the end of every restaurant meal, particularly in the south, and usually provided free.

Coffee production has boomed in recent years, largely for export, with serious environmental and social consequences. The Vietnamese drink coffee very strong and in small quantities, with a large dollop of condensed milk at the bottom of the cup. Traditionally, coffee is filtered at the table by means of a small dripper balanced over the cup or glass, which sometimes sits in a bowl of hot water to keep it warm. However, places accustomed to tourists increasingly run to fresh (pasteurized) milk, while in the main cities you’ll now find fancy Western-style cafés turning out decent lattes and cappuccinos. Highland Coffee has become Vietnam’s very own Starbucks-style chain, while out in the sticks you’re best off going for cafés with a Trung Nguyen sign.


Money

Vietnam’s unit of currency is the dong, which you’ll see abbreviated as “đ”, “d” or “VND” after an amount. Notes come in denominations of 500đ, 1000đ, 2000đ, 5000đ, 10,000đ, 20,000đ, 50,000đ, 100,000đ, 200,000đ and 500,000đ, coins in 200đ, 500đ, 1000đ, 2000đ and 5000đ (though coins are rarely seen). In addition to the dong, the American dollar operates as a parallel, unofficial currency and it’s a good idea to carry some dollars as a back-up to pay large bills. On the whole, though, it’s more convenient to operate in dong, and you’ll often find dong prices are slightly lower than the equivalent in dollars. For the latest exchange rates go to xe.com.

Dong are not available outside Vietnam at present, so take in some small-denomination American dollars to use until you reach a bank or ATM. Most banks and exchange bureaux don’t charge for changing foreign currency into dong; banks in major cities will accept euros and other major currencies, but elsewhere may only accept dollars. Some tour agents and hotels will also change money, and most jewellery shops in Vietnam will exchange dollars at a slightly better rate than the banks, but watch out for scams. Wherever you change money, ask for a mix of denominations (in remote places, bigger bills can be hard to split), and refuse really tatty banknotes, as you’ll have difficulty getting anyone else to accept them.

There’s also a comprehensive network of ATMs, many open 24 hours: most accept Visa, MasterCard and American Express cards issued abroad. The maximum withdrawal is two million dong at a time, with a charge per transaction (in addition to whatever surcharges your own bank levies). In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City you’ll also find ATMs operated by ANZ and HSBC. These accept a wider range of cards, including those in the Cirrus and Plus networks.


Health

We recommend that you visit a travel medical doctor and ask about the following vaccinations: typhoid, polio, tetanus, and hepatitis A. A certificate for Yellow Fever is required when arriving from an infected area within six days.


Countryside Adventures