Vietnam Practical Information

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Currency

The official currency in Vietnam is Dong (VND). The denotations of notes are 1,000d; 2,000d; 5,000d; 10,000d; 20,000d; 50,000d, 100,000d, 200,000d and 500,000d with 1.000 as the major unit. The coins are 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2000d, 5000d.

US Dollars can be accepted in Vietnam, but you'd better to use Dong to buy things for it will save much problem. Credit Cards and Travelers' Cheques are accepted at most of hotels, restaurants and shops in the major cities only. In this case, visitors are recommended to exchange their home currency into Dong at banks, hotels and jewelry shops. Make sure the Dongs you received are clean and undamaged.

The Vietnamese Dong rates against major currencies are as follows as of Nov.2014:

 1 Australian Dollar (AUD)  18,354 VND
 1 British Pound (GBP)  33,384 VND
 1 Euro (EUR)  26,719 VND
 1 United States Dollar (USD)  21,285 VND

Before you leave Vietnam, do remember to exchange Dong you have left, because the Dong is normally not accepted outside Vietnam, including Cambodia and Laos.

Telephone

Although most international mobile phones are working in Vietnam, but you are likely to pay high "roaming" charges. It is suggested you go to post office, hotels or telephone booths to make long distance call. And you can buy a local SIM card on arrival.

Internet

In Vietnam, it is easily to find internet cafes with ADSL costing around 0.5 US$. And complimentary wi-fi access is available in almost all international standard hotels in Vietnam. But don't take high expectation in some remote home-stay or lodge accommodation.

Useful phrases

 Goodbye - chow, tam bi-ait  Hello - sin chow
 Excuse me (sorry) - sin looee  Please - lam on
 Thank you - gum urn  Yes - vung
 No - kom  How much - bough new?
 Tea - cha  Coffee - ca fe
 Water - nook  I don't understand - toy kom beet

Business hours

Offices: 07:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 01:00 p.m. to 04:30 p.m., closed on Saturday and Sundays

Banks: 08:00 a.m to 03:00 p.m, closed on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday.

What to wear

What to wear is differs from north to south. It is tropical year round in southern Vietnam and people usually dress comfortably and casually. So, it is comfortable to wear lightweight cotton and wool fabrics at any time of the year.

Northern Vietnam has two distinct seasons around the year: cool and cold season from November to March and warm, hot and wet season from April to October. So it depends on which season you visit.

You need to pay attention that Vietnam is a tropical country and it is warm and humid most of year. You may not get used to this humidity. In this case, you can change your clothes two or three times a day to get with it.

Things to remember

1. Vietnamese people always dress conservatively. It is not appropriate to show off to much skin.

2. Dress well when visiting pagodas and temples. No topless/sleeveless allowed in religious sites in Vietnam.

3. You'd better not drink tap water and choose the bottled mineral water to drink.

4. Don't offer money to minority people directly. You can donate to a local charity of offer them a small gift.

5. Always remember to ask permission before you taking photographs, especially in minority areas.

6. Be careful when exchange Dongs with locals. The 500,000 and 50,000 notes look similar as does the 100,000 and 10,000 notes.

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