Vietnam travel tips
From the exciting pace of the cities to breathtaking rural landscapes and villages, Vietnam’s diversity is astounding. In the capital Hanoi, you will find peaceful lakes, wide tree-lined boulevards, and a fascinating Old Quarter. From Hanoi you can take an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay, with its thousands of limestone islands, or head to the mountains of Sapa.
With its modern vibe and frenetic energy, Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City) makes for a complete contrast, and is a great jumping off point for an exploration of the Mekong Delta, a mountain getaway to Dalat or a beach holiday in Nha Trang. And don’t forget the Central Vietnam towns of Hue and Hoi An. Here you will find history, culture, cuisine, beaches and some of the most spectacular coastal scenery in all Asia. If you have already booked your trip to Vietnam click here to download our pre-departure guide.
SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM
Voltage: 127V/ 220V
Dong (VND) exchange rates
International Calling Code
UTC +7 hours
Climate & times to visit
You can travel to Vietnam any time of year and each season has its own special appeal. The most popular time for travel is between November to April. You should book well in advance if you wish to travel to Vietnam at this time. Temperatures are generally lower, especially in the north, where it can be quite cool in the winter months (December to February). Halong Bay is often covered in mist, which reduces visibility but adds to the atmosphere. In the south of the country, days are usually warm and clear, but be prepared for some instability and possible flooding in Central Vietnam during the months of October and November.
During summer, which is also the monsoon season (May to November) you can expect days to be warm and humid with refreshing afternoon showers. Travel is rarely affected by the rain and everything is lush and green at this time. Skies over Halong Bay are usually clear and blue.
What to expect
Tourism in Vietnam has come a long way in the last 10 years. The industry is still evolving but these days you will find that services and facilities are similar to what you would find in Australia. Travelling in more remote areas could involve bumpy roads, noisy trains, and overnight stays in clean but basic accommodation.
Over 2,000 km separates the capital, Hanoi, from Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), so most holidays to Vietnam will involve some combination of plane, bus (or private car), and train travel. Domestic flights between major centres are readily available and an efficient way to travel long distances. Travelling by train on the Reunification Express is a unique and rewarding experience.
From Australia:Direct flight times from Australia to Vietnam range from 9 hours (Sydney, Melbourne, Perth) to 12 hours (Adelaide, Brisbane).
From New Zealand: 13 hours from Auckland
Banks, public offices and some tourist sites will be closed on the holidays listed below. As major holidays such as Tet (Vietnamese New Year) are set according to the lunar calendar, dates change every year. Please check with our Asia specialists for details.
- 1 January - New Year's Day.
- January/February is Tet Festival
- March/April - the anniversary of Hung Kings (Vietnam's one-time imperial rulers).
- 30 April is Independence Day, commemorating the reunification of Vietnam (1976).
- 1 May is Labour Day.
- 2 September is National Day.
- 31 December is New Year's Eve. It is celebrated in Vietnam with festive meals and fireworks.