On the water in Ninh Binh. Photo by Christian Berg
Question 1: I heard that Vietnam has visa exemptions. Do I qualify?
Vietnam currently offers visa exemptions from 15 to 30 days for citizens of 22 countries. Find out if you qualify for a Vietnam visa exemption here.
Question 2: I am an overseas Vietnamese visitor. Do I need a visa?
Overseas Vietnamese and foreigners who are spouses or children of overseas Vietnamese or Vietnamese citizens are exempt from visa requirements to enter Vietnam. Visitors in this group are allowed to stay visa-free for up to 6 months.
Question 3: Do I need a visa to visit Phu Quoc Island?
Foreigners and Vietnamese people holding foreign passports are allowed to stay in Phu Quoc Island for no more than 30 days without a visa. Foreigners who transit via an international entry point into Vietnam (by air or sea) and then directly onwards to Phu Quoc Island can also take advantage of this 30-day visa-free policy.
Question 4: Does Vietnam offer visas on arrival?
Visas granted on arrival are only given to travellers holding a pre-approval visa letter. This letter can be arranged within a few days via your local embassy or a third-party travel agent before your trip.
Vietnam also offers e-visas for stays of up to 30 days to citizens of 46 countries. You can find out more about e-visas and how to apply online in this article.
Question 5: How do I apply for an electronic visa?
You can read all about the e-Visa application process on this page. For a short version of how to apply for Vietnam's e-Visa online, see the steps below.
Step 1: Access https://www.immigration.gov.vn and fill in required information, upload your passport data page image and photo.
Step 2: Receive your document code and pay the e-Visa fee.
Step 3: Receive your e-Visa or related information within 3 working days from the submission of application and payment.
Step 4: Use your document code to check the result and print your e-Visa.
Question 1: Is Vietnam a good destination for solo female travellers?
Vietnam is one of the safest destinations for solo female travellers in the region. Vietnamese people are for the majority, non-confrontational, and are quite shy around foreigners. That being said, use your judgement wisely. In cities especially Ho Chi Minh City, women should look out for bag snatching from motorists driving by.
You can read more about safety in Vietnam on this page.
Question 2: What are the most common sicknesses travellers get in Vietnam?
Most likely, the worst you'll come home with is the common cold or some minor stomach woes. Heat-related illnesses such as heatstroke and dehydration can be an issue in the hot season. Stay vigilant about hydration and applying sunblock.
You can read more about health and safety in Vietnam on this page.
Question 3: Is there a malaria risk in Vietnam?
The risk of contracting malaria is heightened in the rural highlands. Consider taking anti-malarial medication before traveling to remote region. A more common mosquito-borne disease is dengue fever, which occurs mostly in the Mekong Delta. The best preventative measure is to wear bug spray at all times.
Question 1: How much should a taxi from the airport cost?
A round-trip taxi from Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat Airport should cost between 120,000 VND to 170,000 VND and last about from 30 to 50 minutes. An airport taxi from Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport is fixed at 330,000 VND may take you about 45 to 60 minutes depending on traffic.
Read more about transport within Vietnam on this page.
Question 2: Which taxi services should I use?
Unfortunately taxi scams are a concern for travellers in Vietnam. Use only reputable taxi companies, such as Taxi Group in Hanoi (red and blue horizontal stripes), Vinasun in Ho Chi Minh City (white taxis) and Mai Linh in both cities (green taxis).
Question 3: What are the best airlines to travel with domestically?
The official commercial airline, Vietnam Airlines, flies to 21 destinations across the country and is a reliable option. If you are on a budget, Vietjet and Jetstar are two affordable options but have a reputation for frequent delays.
Question 4: How long does it take to travel from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City and vice versa by train?
While the Reunification Express makes stops in Hanoi, Hue, Danang, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet (Mui Ne) and Ho Chi Minh City, if you were to stay onboard the whole journey, it would technically take you 36 hours. A slow, but memorable journey, five Reunification Express services run daily (7:30PM; 10PM; 6AM; 9AM; 1:10PM) from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.
Question 5: How much does it cost to rent motorbikes in Vietnam?
While you’ll find rental shops in almost every city, travellers should take care if planning to travel by motorbike in Vietnam. Rental prices depend on the quality of the bike. On average, most bikes go from 6 to 12 USD/day. You may be asked to deposit your passport at the motorbike company or leave a monetary deposit if renting a vehicle for more than a week. Always wear your helmet when on Vietnamese roads.
Question 1: When is the best time to visit Halong Bay?
The climate in the northern region of Vietnam is temperate so be prepared for cold weather in the winter months from December to March. The months of April and May offer sunshine and a refreshing breeze, while September to October are favoured for their cooler temperatures and clear skies.
Question 2: Is there a specific time of year I should avoid travelling around Vietnam?
An exhilarating way to experience the Sa Pa highlands is via motorbike. For a first person narrative, check out "Riding High: Motorbiking around Sapa." You can also explore the culture of the ethnic groups that live in the area through handicraft classes. Learn more about the fashionable hill tribes of Vietnam over at "10 Fashionable Textile Hill Tribes."
Question 3: What's the best way to experience Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park?
Phong Nha has recently exploded in popularity due to the opening of the Han Son Doong, the largest cave system by volume in the world. If you don't have the funds or the patience to wait for the two-year-long queue, this article on Phong Nha has a number of alternatives that are equally thrilling, and more accessible.
Question 1: I’d like to learn some Vietnamese. Where do I start?
You will find a selection of simple Vietnam phrases for your trip on this page.
Question 2: Is there a dress code for certain attractions in Vietnam?
When visiting religious sites, participating in homestays and visiting the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, you should dress modestly with your shoulders and knees covered. Remember to remove your hat when entering a temple or pagoda.
Question 3: What are the best cooking classes in Vietnam?
While there are many options for cooking classes around the country, you'll find a list of vetted courses in Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi and Hoi An at the bottom of this article.
Question 4: Is it easy to find vegetarian food in Vietnam?
Vietnam is one of the most vegetarian-friendly countries in the world. For a comprehensive overview on how to eat vegetarian in Vietnam, read "A Vegetarian Guide to Vietnam."