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Before departure

 
VIETNAM TRAVEL GUIDE - BEFORE DEPARTURE

          1. INTRODUCTION TO VIETNAM
Vietnam stretches south from the Chinese border along the east coast of the Indochina Peninsula. The country has a complex geography with soaring mountains, fertile delta plains, winding rivers and long sandy tropical beaches. Many years have passed since the end of the American War in Vietnam and yet this is often the first image that people still associate with this country. In reality, Vietnam is a country of outstanding natural beauty; some of the best beaches in Southeast Asia can be found along the coastline of Vietnam. The larger towns and cities are emerging into the 21st Century, yet they have retained much of the colonial charm and beauty in the architecture, parks and boulevards left behind by the French. The people of Vietnam are gentle, happy and welcoming to visitors. Spiritual life in Vietnam is a mix of beliefs including Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism (triple religion), with a blend of Roman Catholicism, Cao Dai and Hinduism.
          2. VISA
If you are planning to travel to Vietnam, you will need a valid entry visa in addition to a valid passport (at least 6 month validity).
The tourist visa is usually valid for one month and can be a single entry or multiple entries.
You can obtain a visa at Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate at your home country in advance. However, this type of visa is the most expensive and in some cases it is not so convenient as many people do not live anywhere near an embassy. For specific requirements, please contact the Embassy of Vietnam i in your country.  The most convenient way is to get visa on arrival which allows you to submit your identification documents to an authorized travel agency and receive an official letter. When you arrive in the airport in Vietnam, you present visa authorization letter and receives an entry visa.
** Visa Exemption for Oversea Vietnamese
Overseas Vietnamese will be exempt from visas for entering Vietnam, according to a new Government decision; instead they will be granted visa-free certificates valid for 5 years. The certificates will be handed out by either representative agencies in foreign countries or by the Ministry of Public Security’s Immigration Department.
 Vietnamese people that hold foreign passports and foreigners who are their wives, husbands and children are allowed to enter Vietnam without visa for less than 90 days.
          3. AIRLINES and AIRPORT TAX
There are 3 major airlines operating in domestic routes: Vietnam Airlines, Jetstar-Pacific and Vietjet Air. Jetstar Pacific and Vietjet Air are 2 low cost carriers (LCC). All airlines are using a both Boeing and Airbus.
There is departure airport tax for all international flights. The airport tax is already in the international airfare.
          4. RELIGION
Buddhism is the main religion in Vietnam. About 10% of the population is Catholic and there are also a small community of Protestants and Muslim. There is a unique religion called Cao Dai, a religious cocktail of all the world’s major faiths.
          5. TRANSPORTATION
The traffics and roads in Vietnam may be very different to what you are used to. Vietnam laws doesn’t allow foreigner to rent and drive a car. It is highly advisable to rent a car with a driver who know the road well and can solve problems on road.
          6. TRAVEL INSURANCE
It is essential to buy travel insurance for the reimbursement of medical expenses and execution incurred abroad. Insurance covering cancellation fees, baggage loss is also recommended.
          7. LANGUAGE
The official national language is Vietnamese. English is widely spoken, as is French by the older generation.
          8. VACCINATION
No vaccinations are mandatory except for yellow fever if you are coming from an area where the disease is present. However, visitors should be inoculated against typhoid, cholera, hepatitis A & B, tetanus and polio. Malaria is present in most of the region. Medical facilities are limited and it is essential to take out a good medical insurance policy before traveling in case evacuation is needed.
          9. TIME:
Vietnam is GTM 7.

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