TRAVEL TIPS

Climate


The country is granted a tropical monsoon climate with diversified characteristics varied significantly from North to South, from frosty winters to the year-round subequatorial warmth. At sea level, the mean annual temperature is about 27°C in the south, falling to about 21°C in the far north. In South Vietnam, the rainy season lasts from May to November, but the showers are usually limited to brief bursts in the late afternoons. Along Vietnam’s central coast, the driest season runs from June to October. Visitors to North Vietnam are often surprised by the sregion's distinct seasons; summers are hot and humid while winters are invigoratingly cool. As a result, each region has its best time for visiting: Hanoi from September to May with a pleasant winter, Hue from March to August with a sunny summer and Ho Chi Minh City with warm weather the whole year round.



In the north
(Hanoi & its vicinities), winter is from November to April and is characterized by cool damp weather (15 – 20oC), and summer lasts from May to October and is hot with periods of heavy rain (25 – 28oC).



Southern Vietnam
(Ho Chi Minh City & its vicinities) has a more tropical climate all year round (25 – 30oC) with a dry hot season from December to April and a rainy season from May to November.



Northern central Vietnam
(from Thanh Hoa to Danang) may have heavy rain from September to February and occasional typhoons along the coast from September to October.



Southern central Vietnam
(from Quy Nhon to Phan Thiet) is endowed with a long dry season from December to September and a short rainy season from October to November.


The highlands have a temperate climate but it is cooler and temperatures can be freezing in winter from December to February. Temperatures may range anywhere from 15-18°C in the central highlands to 7-10°C in the northern highlands with heavy rain from May to November.

 

Currency


All official congress prices are indicated in USD ($). The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnam dong (vnd). All major credit cards are accepted in most hotels, restaurants and shops.

Exchange rate: (2015)

  • 1USD = 22,500 VND
  • 1EUR = 24,125 VND

 

Shopping


The following items are preferred by foreign travelers:

  • Carved wooden furniture, rattan furniture, fine lacquer-ware and fine ceramics. They can be shipped home on request.
  • Traditional Vietnamese hand-made silk dresses (ao dai), kimonos and suits. They can be made to measure in 1 day or half a day.
  • Embroideries, embroidered pictures, etc.
  • Simulated antiques, old watches, Zippo lighters, etc.
  • Copies of famous paintings.

Local markets, supermarkets and department stores are plentiful in major cities, where visitors can find almost anything from simple gifts and souvenirs to sophisticated electronic products. Ben Thanh Market in Ho Chi Minh City is not only a famous historical attraction built by the French in their colonial time but also the biggest market in the city where all products and goods, especially souvenirs for international tourists, can be found.

 

Health


No vaccinations are presently required for visitors to enter Vietnam. However, it is advisable that precautionary measures be taken against cholera, malaria, hepatitis A & B, typhoid and tuberculosis. Although international medical centers are available in Ho Chi Minh City, they can be expensive for emergency and/or intensive care. Therefore, health and emergency medical insurance prior to visiting Vietnam is highly recommended. Clinics with qualified Vietnamese and foreign doctors to treat foreign patients:


Ho Chi Minh City:

  • Columbia Saigon – 24 Hours Clinic
    08 Alexandre de Rhodes St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
    Phone: (84-8) 38238888

  • FV Hospital
    6 Nguyen Luong Bang St., Tan Phu Ward, District 7, Ho Chi Minh City
    Phone: (84-8) 54113333

  • Ho Chi Minh City Family Medical Practice
    Diamond Plaza
    34 Le Duan St., Dist. 1, HCMC
    Tel: (84-8) 38227848

  • Westcost International Dental Clinic
    71-79 Dong Khoi St., District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
    Phone: (84-8) 38256777

 

Security


Tourists are advised not to bring along valuables while going shopping or sightseeing. It is dispensable to give alms to beggars or to buy souvenirs from street vendors. Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks or authorized exchange bureaus. Do not exchange money in the street.


When taking a pedicab (cyclo) or “honda-om” (motorbike-taxi), you should make a fare agreement with the driver first.


In big cities, nightlife is very bustling. Until 9 p.m., streets in the centers are still crowded with many shops and restaurant opened, so it is safe to have a leisure walk to enjoy the dynamic evening in Vietnam