Vietnam is the perfect country for novice tourists. Someone once said that visiting Asia is best to start with Vietnam, because it is the best-organized country, and tourism conditions are not shocking like in poorer India. This year we have a fairly large group of globetrotters, as many as 7 people. Organizing attractions, accommodation, and the whole trip plan turned out to be quite a challenge. There was only one option at stake – to find a local guide with a private bus. You need more details you can refer to Vietnam Visa For Canadians.
1. Vietnamese local guide – where to look, how to choose?
Finding the right guide turned out to be more challenging than last year when we were looking for a local compatriot in Sri Lanka. Why?
Topography of Vietnam
Coming to Vietnam, every tourist is prepared to visit both the north, the middle and the southern part. Everything would be ok, if not for the fact that most distances are covered by plane. This greatly complicates finding one guide in your car. Usually, you have to decide on a minimum of 2 or 3.
Platforms with various guidebooks are easy to find on the Internet. The problem is that in most offers (which is very strange to me) there are no direct contact details. To contact the selected person, you need to log in to the portal, and this is not easy (I personally, despite a few attempts, failed to set up an account).
You have to be patient when contacting a potential guide. Most of them send their “leaflet” offers, without even reading your idea for sightseeing.
We finally decided on a local company that employs such guides – which is safer and simpler for us to organize, we pay for everything in one place and we have an approved travel plan with one office.
2. Visas and vaccinations
Traveling to more tropical places, the question is always asked – Vaccinate or not? If so, for what? When to start vaccination? Call me imprudent, but I always approach these matters with great distance. Information on vaccinations should be obtained from special doctors/internists dealing with tropical diseases, and a long queue to them than in Biedronka before Christmas.
I adhere to the principle that you must have current vaccinations for hepatitis A and B, tetanus and diphtheria in case of injury. You may be tempted to have typhus vaccination, but let’s not get crazy ( you can read more about vaccination in our post devoted to vaccinations). For all travelers with a delicate stomach, I recommend swallowing the bacterial flora before leaving, although my boyfriend believes that the best medicine is bourbon or alcohol above 40%, which will kill unknown bacteria.
And here a small digression – during our last year’s trip to Sri Lanka, gastrointestinal problems began the day after resetting the magical brown drink = Whiskey.
Visa to Vietnam
There are two options for obtaining a visa to Vietnam:
at the consulate – first, check the hours during which you can apply (the Vietnamese embassy operates at completely different times). Waiting for a visa for about a week.
at the airport – in this case, you will need a promise (for which you also have to pay) – it can be issued, for example, by the travel agency you use on-site. You receive the document immediately.
The visa is quite expensive, I have the impression that from year to year the Vietnamese are increasingly greedy. At the end of 2015, such pleasure cost us PLN 250.
3. Booking flights on site
Flights with Vietnamese airlines are quite cheap. Of course, you need to take into account seasonality (apparently such a season begins in December), but these are not big differences. It’s best if you already have an exact plan, attractions assigned to a specific day, then you can save some dongs and book tickets before the holiday. However, there is nothing to fall into paranoia, many tourists say that even on the day of the flight, ticket prices do not pose a threat to your wallet. We paid an average of about $30 for a one-way internal flight.
Remember to check baggage limits before buying tickets. If your suitcase weighs over 7 kg, and I assume that in most cases, so it will be, you have to take into account the extra 10-15 bucks.
4. What to pack in a suitcase
First of all, it is worth paying attention to the luggage limit on the plane. These limits may vary, for example, when flying from Warsaw to Saigon with Emirates, the maximum weight of a suitcase is 30 kg, while inter-city flights in Vietnam allow 20 kg. It’s good to remember that.
What to pack:
In short, what you will need. A bathing suit will be useful to the beach, and in the mountains – trekking shoes and a warmer jacket. However, there are things without which a trip can be a chore.
What to take outside of clothes:
The cover for a bag or backpack
Ne is about protection against rain, although this feature has its advantages. The cover will protect your backpack during transport when it is thrown in dirty trunks. It also limits access to pockets for unwanted people at this time. Also, the luggage is better protected during the flight.
A sachet for money and documents
should be chosen for hanging around the neck, made of pleasant to touch material (we wear it under the shirt).
An additional wallet
outside the main place where you store money and documents, it’s worth having an additional wallet for small money that you use on the street and whose loss will not be so painful. Unfortunately, when traveling to Asia you need to have eyes on the back of the head.
In addition to individual medicines, the first- aid kit should contain:
- elastic band
- analgesics and antipyretics,
- some antibiotics
- throat pills,
- anti-diarrheal drugs
- vitamins, calcium (lime),
- analgesic and anti-inflammatory gel or ointment,
- something for sunburn, cream with a strong filter,
- mosquito repellent,
- wet wipes are also very useful (e.g. for baby butts).
It should be valid for more than 6 months. You can also make a copy of all important documents: passport – photo and visa pages. I read somewhere that such scans should be kept in the mail. It is easy to find a scan later in an emergency.
The local currency in Vietnam is Dong. The amount of cash you need depends on the trip plan. You can have a large part of the costs already before you leave – paid flight, guide and accommodation. It is worth having an additional around 15 – 20 USD / day for food, and about: 50 – 100 USD for souvenirs. We usually take American dollars from Poland, you can also exchange them on the spot. However, there are places (touristic ones) where it can be done without local currency.