USEFUL INFORMATION FOR TOURISTS

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Tourist entry and exit procedures
Customs formalities
Vietnam time
Office hours
Public holidays
Other major anniversaries
Some popular cultural Festivals
Electric power
Water supply
Money
Language
Tourism seasons
Post and telecommunications
Vietnam radio and television
Road, railway and sea transport network
Domestic air service
International air service
Useful addresses

CUSTOMS FORMALITIES

  1. All visitors to Vietnam, should fill in declaration forms and show their luggage to Customs officials on request.
  2. Luggage, personal possessions and goods brought to Vietnam in amounts sufficient for personal use only, and not listed among noncommercial goods not to be imported, are exempt from tax.
  3. Travellers' luggage as declared at Customs offices on arrival must be shown again at Customs when leaving Vietnam, except for articles which have been consumed or given as gifts.
  4. Visitors to Vietnam can bring in unlimited amounts of foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold, but these must be declared in detail on their customs forms.
    Travellers can change their money for Vietnamese dong (VND) at the banks, hotels and jewellery shops throughout the country.

  5. Foreign currency must be changed into Vietnamese dong for shopping.
  6. Travellers can take with them unlimited amounts of souvenirs bought with receipts.

VIETNAM TIME:

GMT plus 7 hours

OFFICE HOURS:

All Government offices are open eight hours a day from 7.30 to 16.30 (except for a one-hour lunch break) on Monday to Friday. Saturday and Sunday is a holiday.

PUBLIC HOLIDAYS:

January 1: New Year Day, one day holiday.

April 30: Saigon Liberation Day, one day holiday.

May 1: International Labour Day, one day holiday.

September 2: National Day of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, one day holiday.

Vietnam Traditional lunar New Year Festival (Tet Nguyen Dan): Four day holiday. It often falls between january and february. The holidays begin on the Eve and the first three days of a Lunar New Year.

OTHER MAJOR ANNIVERSARIES:

February 3: Anniversary of the Founding of the Communist Party

May 19: Birthday of President Ho Chi Minh

December 25: Christmas

The following major traditional festivals are listed by lunar calendar date:

SOME POPULAR CULTURAL FESTIVALS (BY LUNAR CALENDAR DATE)

The 2nd day of the 1st month: Wrestling Festival in Lieu Doi, Nam Ha.

The 5th day of the 1st month: Festival of Dong Da hill, Hanoi: Yo celebrate the anniversary of King Quang Trung's victory over 290,000 Qing invaders to liberate Thang Long (now Hanoi).

The 6th day of the 1st month: Festival of Eel-Catching in Pot in Ving Lac district, Vinh Phu province. This reflects the farmers' love for labour and the joy over bumper crops.

The 10th day of the 1st month: Festival in Trieu Khuc village, Hanoi. Cultural activities of a traditional handicraft village.

The 13th day of the 1st month: Lim Festival, Ha Bac. Festival of quan ho folk song singing. Boys and girls meet on river bank, on hill or in the yards of village's communal house and pagoda to sing and exchange emotions.

The 15th day of the 1st month: Festival of Spring on Ba Den mountain.

The 15th of 2nd month (formal date): Festival of Huong Pagoda, Ha Tay: Traditional festival lasting over 2 months.

Spring festival of buffalo fighting in Tay Nguyen Highlands highlighting the martial spirit of the ethnic minority people.

The 10th day of the 3rd month: Festival of Hung Temple celebrating the death a anniversary of Kings Hung.

The 9th day of the 4th month: Giong Festival, Hanoi, commemorating Saint Giong, a legendary child hero who defeated foreign invasion and saved the nation.

The 26th day of the 4th month: Festival of Queen Su in Chau Doc.

The 5th day of the 5th month: Water Festival in Nha Trang. People in the city go to the beach and have a bath for health improvement.

The 16th day of the 6th month: Festival of Nghinh Ong in Tien Giang - Ben Tre.

The 30th day of the 7th month: Festival at Lang Ong, Ho Chi Minh City.

The 9th day of the 8th month: Buffalo fighting festival, Do Son, Hai Phong.

The 13th day of the 9th month: Festival of Keo Pagoda, Thai Binh. Traditional communal festival.

The 22th day of the 11th month: Festival of Dong Quan in Chan Tien Pagoda, Hanoi.

ELECTRIC POWER:

Electric current in Vietnam is mostly 220 Volts, but 110 Volts system is still in use.

WATER SUPPLY:

Tap water in urban areas in Vietnam is chlorinated, but it is recommended that it should be boiled before drinking.

MONEY:

The currency issued by the Vietnam State Bank is the dong (abbreviated "d" or VND) which is used uniformly throughout the country. Bank notes in dominations of 100d, 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2,000d, 5,000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, and 50,000d are presently in circulation.

At present only certain travellers' cheques and credit cards are acceptable in big cities, including Visa, Master card, American Express.

LANGUAGE:

Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. Foreign language learning, particularly English, is currently in vogue among young people in hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Da Nang and other cities.

Tourist guides can speak English, French, Russian, Chinese and Japanese.

TOURISM SEASONS:

Vietnam is a country where tourists can visit in all four seasons. The country's tourism service offers a range of programmes convenient to your circumstances.

In the North, the best tourist season lasts from November to April the next year. Spring time is especially pleasant because of the cooler, drier climate. Also at this time there are a lot of ritual ceremonies and folk festivals of many diverse forms; such as: Festivals to commemorate national heroes and heroines, folk cultural festivals, spring festivals, as well as prayer ceremonies for good crops, to cite just a few.

The most interesting one is the Lunar New Year Festival.

Visiting Vietnam in that season, you are recommended to bring along warm clothes. The temperature in Winter is around 10-15 degree celsius. It becomes warmer in March and April.

Meanwhile in the South, the average temperature throughout the year is about 27 degree celsius, so you just need thin garments, sun glasses and may be a hat or two.

POST AND TELECOMMUCATIONS

POSTAL SERVICE

A regular international post service is available. In addition there are some new, special services: Express Mail Service (EMS). The domestic EMS ensures that letters and small parcels are delivered within 24-48 hours. International EMS has relations with nearly 30 countries world-wide, with a delivery time ranging from 2 to 10 days.

Air mail and small parcels must however be subject to additional charges.

Express money transfer: Money is delivered to the receiver within 24 hours.

Flower delivery on order by telephone: This service delivers messages of greetings or condolences, together with flowers, money or goods (allowed in circulation) to the receiver by order of the sender.

TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICE

Telephone 

International long-distance calls (direct): To make an international direct dial (IDC) call you must first dial the international prefix (00) followed by the country code, area code and the local number. In case you fail to contact the required number, dial 110 for the operator's help.

Domestic long-distance calls: To place a domestic long-distance call you must first dial the national trunk prefix (0) followed by the area code and local number. If you fail to get the required number, dial 101 for the operator's help

Facsimile (Fax): Fax machines are quickly proliferating in Vietnam. public and registered fax machines are available in hotels, business and public offices.

Also available are local and international cardphone on socioeconomic and cultural information. This service also runs advertisements and business self-introduction scheme.

USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS

Police 
113 
Fire brigade 
114 
Ambulance 
115 
Telephone directory 
116 
Time inquires 
117 
Telephone repair service 
119 
Domestic long distance telephone service 
101 
International telephone service 
110 
Inquiries on socioeconomic, cultural information 
108 

VIETNAM RADIO AND TELEVISION

RADIO 

At present Radio the Voice of Vietnam broadcasts on several channels for 68 hours a day, including: Moreover daily music and news programmes are pm FM, 100 kHz, from 07 am to 12 pm. All provinces and cities have their own radio stations with their own programmes.

TELEVISION 

The Central Vietnam Television Station broadcasts three programmes daily through the Starcionar 13 transmitting station: At present all provinces and cities have their own stations and programmes.

T.V.R.O.: Vietnam now has some 1000 parabolic antennae to directly receive satellite programmes. These antennae are installed on the roofs of hotels, guest houses, houses for rent to foreigners and some public offices. However, a TVRO is expensive, and consequently the Vietnamese government is presently considering setting up a cable television service.

Multi-channel Microwave Distribution Services: The service can simultaneously transmit several TV programmes including a news service, an economic broadcast, a science and technology service, as well covering educational issues, entertainment and sport. It operates from both local and international stations. This kind of entertainment is currently under test and it will soon be operational, to satisfy both Vietnamese and foreign viewers.

ROAD, RAILWAYS AND SEA TRANSPORT NETWORK

THE ROAD NETWORK (RUNNING NORTH-SOUTH AND EAST-WEST)


NORTH-SOUTH ROADS 

National highway 1: From the Huu Nghi Border Gate in Lang Son Province to Ho Chi Minh City and down to Go Dau Ha. This is the trans-Vietnam North-South high way.

Highway 14: Running along the Central Highlands from the ancient capital city of Hue to Kontum-Pleiku meeting Highway 1 at Bien Hoa.

Truong Son Train: Beginning at Tan Ky, Ha Tinh province, it runs in parallel with Highway 1 through the Tay Nguyen Central Highlands down to the east of South Vietnam.

WEST-EAST, SOUTH-EAST AND NORTH-WEST ROADS:  RAILWAYS 
NORTHERN LINE:  SOUTHERN LINE: 

From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City: 1,730km, through Nam Ha (Nam Dinh, 87km); Thanh Hoa (187km), Nghe an (Vinh 319km); Quang Binh (Dong Hoi 522 km); Quang Tri (Dong Ha 622km); Hue (688km);Da Nang (791km); Quang Ngai (928km); Phu Yen (Tuy Hoa 1,197km); Nha Trang (1,315km). MARITIME WATERWAY: 

Maritime communication and transport in Vietnam has also been developed. Hai Phong is a major port lying on the East-West and North-South international sea lanes. In recent years, the ports of Hai Phong, Da Nang and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) have received many international tourist ships each with between 300 and 500 tourists on board.

MAJOR SEA PORTS: 

DOMESTIC AIR SERVICE

FROM/TO HANOI  FROM/TO HO CHI MINH CITY 

INTERNATIONAL AIR SERVICE

FROM/TO HANOI  FROM/TO HO CHI MINH CITY  VIETNAM AIRLINES MAIN BOOKING OFFICES: 

USEFUL ADDRESSES

HANOI

Ministry of Foreign Affairs  Central  Overseas Vietnamese Board  Ministry of Commerce  General Department of Customs.  Central Foreign Trade Bank  Vietnam Post and Telecommunication  Hanoi Post Office  Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Vietnam Insurance Company  Hanoi Customs  State committee for Co-operation and Investment (SSCI)  Department of Border Gates Management  Hainoi Police  Entry - Exit Procedures Bureau  Expatriate Affairs Bureau 

MAJOR HOSPITALS IN HANOI

Friendship Hospital  Viet - Duc Hospital  Bach Mai Hospital  International Department, Bach mai Hospital  This department is reserved for foreigners for medical examination and treatment. The Department is staffed with experienced experts, doctors and nurses who are able to treat serious cases.

Ho Chi Minh City

Viet Nam Foreign Trade Bank in Ho Chi Minh City  Branch of Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Foreign Trade Development Centre  City Tourism Office 
Commerce Office  Foreign Office Service Company  City Finance Office  City Police Headquartes  City Customs Office  International Express Mail Service  Entry - Exit Visa Service Centre  Post Office 

MAJOR HOSPITALS IN HO CHI MINH CITY

Cho Ray Hospital  This is a large hospital with more than 1000 beds. On 10th floor, there are rooms reserved for foreign patients. The hospital is staffed by experienced professors and doctors. Most of them were trained abroad and they can speak English or French.

Nhi Dong Hospital  Thong Nhat Hospital 

This is a modern hospital which consists of five buildings situated at the junction of Ly Tu Trong Rd and Cach mang Thang Tam Rd, Tan Binh District.

In Ho Chi Minh City, There are thousands of pharmacies, and many private consultation rooms Equipped with modern medical instruments.

Health insurance cards have been issued by the government. The card bearers can have medical checks and treatments in registered hospitals without paying any additional charges.
Last Updated on Sunday, 27 December 2009 09:57