Travelling Tips

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Travelling Tips



The country’s reverent citizens are heavily influenced by Buddhist traditions and still follow many ancient traditions that have been running through the centuries. Follow these simple guidelines and one shall certainly do well on one’s immersive journey into Vietnam.

  1. Head and Feet:In Vietnam, the body is seen as a manifestation of the spirit in Vietnam. The head being the highest and most sacred point of the body, and the feet are the lowest. While traveling in Vietnam, it would be best to refrain from touching anyone else’s head, and one’s feet shall never be used to touch or point at anything considered of value or sacred.
  1. Voice and Veneer:As is prevalent in most Buddhist cultures, Vietnam’s people stay “collected, calm, and cool” at most of the times, and travelers who have a similar attitude shall find their vacation much more rewarding.
  1. Beachwear:The culture in Vietnam is conservative, and even during the hottest weather women and men tend to wear shirts with long sleeves and pants. To avoid attraction of unwanted attention, one shall refrain from wearing beachwear when in public areas, outside of swimming pools or beach destinations.
  1. Temples:The Buddhist temples in Vietnam do not enforce dress codes as strictly as temples in other Southeast Asian destinations; even then, it would be the best to dress in modest clothing when visiting religious structures in Vietnam.
  1. Shoes: One shall remove their shoes before entering temples, offices, or homes in Vietnam.

Buddha: The images of Buddha are highly revered in Vietnam. Travelers should refrain from climbing on statues, and should never sit in front of the figure of Buddha unless one can curl their legs to avoid the pointing of their feet towards the sacred image.
Monks: Buddhist monks occupy a highly venerated position in society, and are given utmost respect, in Vietnam. Local customs forbid the monks from accepting gifts or touching women directly. They are also forbidden to shake hands with anyone. It is important to note that these customs are observed both on and off temple grounds throughout the country.

For good telephone/internet service it is important to make sure that one buys a sim card through an established service provider in Vietnam. One can also consider buying a tourist SIM right at the airport. There are usually some telecom booths or shops for tourists to choose from. The most-used brand in Vietnam is Viettel, Mobifone and Vinaphone.

One shall avoid buying Sim cards, Tours, Airport Transfers, etc., from their hotel, as they often put a premium on all these services.

One should not drink tap water and choose only good mineral water kept away from the sun.
One shall take a cycle ride, if one enjoys breathing traffic fumes.
One shall also avoid motorbike taxis (xe om), though, these bikes charge a bit less than a normal taxi for the same distance but the risk of injury through accident is great, and one might also not like the dandruff in the helmet they give to wear.
Dress modestly and appropriately when visiting local dwellings and religious sites, etc. If one wants to make a good impression, he/she shall make an offering to the gods and put a donation into the box. Also, one shall leave their valuables behind in the safe box at their hotel at all times.

  • When crossing the road – especially in HCMC – one shall always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly! One should also make eye contact with oncoming motor bikers and check that they see the ones crossing so that they can avoid them. One shall be prepared for zebra crossings to be ignored by the motor bikes.
  • At rush hour motorcyclists take to the pavements in droves in attempt to beat traffic jams, endangering the lives of pedestrians.
  • One shall wear a mask when walking in the cities for avoiding breathing in vehicle fumes and other noxious smells.
  • One shall be prepared for walking in the streets with the traffic. The pavements are for motorbikes to park on, people to sit and eat, or just lounge around on!
  • When walking one shall be prepared for people to stroll casually into other’s path and expecting others to navigate around them.
  • Money shall not be offered directly to beggars or minority people – instead, one shall offer a small gift, such as pens or donate to a local charity.
  • However frustrated, one shall not lose his/her temper, as it won’t get one very far!
  • Diaharrea pills are cheap and readily available in the cities of Vietnam. You WILL need them. Avoiding dicey street food, smoothies, milk drinks, etc., will help to minimize stomach problems.
  • Always ask for permission before taking photographs, especially in minority areas.
  • Mind the change – the 100,000 and 10,000 notes look similar; the 20,000 and the 500,000, both are blue. While most Vietnamese are honest and used to tourists fumbling for the right currency values, a few will try to short-change the tourists, actively. One shall take their own time to count the zeroes or they shall unintentionally make someone very happy.
  • One shall be prepared for bargaining, especially at markets, where one should pay about half of the asking price (except at fixed price stores).
  • In the summer, Vietnam is hot and humid, so one can leave their jeans at home. Unlike Saigon, Hanoi has four seasons with very hot and sticky summers and rather cold and humid winters. One shall pack accordingly, if there is a plan to be there from November to January as it can be extremely cold. Therefore, be sure to pack a warm jacket.

 

  • The official currency of Vietnam is Dong. Dong banknotes are available in denominations of 100, 200, 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000, and 500,000.2.U.S. Dollars might be accepted at a number of establishments, but it is always recommended to use local currency for any transactions in Vietnam.

    3. Credit cards are accepted in most high-end hotels and restaurants in larger cities like Yangon, but small shops, businesses, and markets will likely be cash only.

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