Vietnam Tours & Vacations

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Sample Tours in Vietnam

Vietnam is situated on the Eastern seaboard of the Indochinese Peninsula. Its neighbors include China to the north, Laos, and Cambodia to the west, with its coastal waters the East Sea and the Pacific Ocean.

About VietnamSome information and tips about Vietnam

Quick Look
Neighboring countries: China to the north, Cambodia to the southwest, and Laos to the west. The South China Sea borders the country to the east.

Area: 331 041 km²
Population: 96.49 million (Dec 2018)
Capital: Hanoi

Time Zone: GMT+7 hours. Daylight saving time (DST) is not implemented in Vietnam.
Religion: Buddhists (75 %), Catholics (7%), Caodaïstes (2 %), Hoa Hao (2%), Protestants (0.75%), Muslims (0.1%)
Language: Vietnamese
Currency: Vietnamese Dong VND ($1 = 23,073.50 VND – April 2021)
Visa
Electronic Visa (E-visa)
The Vietnamese government released a directive detailing an e-visa pilot program that would take effect from February 1, 2017. The two-year program states that citizens from 46 countries are eligible for electronic visa applications, including the United Kingdom, Canada, and the United States. The application can be processed through the website: https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/
The e-Visa is an electronic travel authorization from the Vietnam Government for up to 30 consecutive days, issued in PDF format. It is the equivalent of a visa, but no stamp or label is placed in the passport. Visitors with e-Visas can touch down at any of Vietnam’s eight international airports, including Tan Son Nhat in Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai in Hanoi, and Danang in the central region. They can also arrive via land at 13 international border gates, and via sea at seven ports across the country.
Applicability
• Travelers who do not belong to the list of visa-exempt countries like Switzerland, Ireland, and so on (around 30-50 countries).
• Travelers who are from visa-exempt countries but wish to apply for a multiple-entry visa.
Geography
Vietnam is situated on the Eastern seaboard of the Indochinese Peninsula. Its neighbours include China to the north, Laos and Cambodia to the west, with its coastal waters the East Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The country’s total length from North to South is 1,650km. Its width, (from East to West) is 600km at the widest point in the North, 400km in the South and 50km at the narrowest point - Quang Binh Province – central Vietnam. The coastline is 3,260km long and the inland border is 4,510km. Vietnam is also a transport junction between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean.
Weather
Vietnam has both tropical and temperate climate zones. It is characterized by strong monsoon influences, but has a considerable amount of sun, a high rate of rainfall with high humidity. Districts located near the mountainous regions are endowed with a temperate climate.
People & Culture
Vietnamese people are a special mix of cultures, languages and historical backgrounds. The common denominator amongst them is that, as in most Southeast Asian countries, they love to smile and are genuinely interested in foreign visitors. The new generation of Vietnamese are largely unfamiliar with the devastation the country suffered years ago. With around ten million followers and 20,000 pagodas, Buddhism is undoubtedly the largest established religion, however Vietnam has a rich and wide variety of religions based on imported faiths and popular beliefs, with several indigenous groups embracing animism, theism and ancestor worship. Catholicism, introduced by European missionaries, is the second largest religion, with about six million followers, and more than 6,000 churches. Vietnam’s indigenous religions, including the Cao Dai and Hoa Hao sects, have their holy lands in the city of Tay Ninh and the provinces of Chau Doc and An Giang in the Mekong Delta. They peacefully coexist with one another and have contributed to the struggle against foreign aggression through the Vietnam Fatherland Front. Visitors entering Buddhist pagodas are expected to remove their shoes and it is considered impolite to point your feet especially the soles towards people or Buddha statues.Donations to the upkeep of temples are not expected, but are received gratefully. Permission should be asked before taking photographs of people or in places of worship.
Tourism Potential
Vietnam’s diverse natural environment, geography, history and culture have created great potential for the tourism industry. Vietnam consists of long coastlines, forests and mountainous regions with a variety of unique geographic landscapes. Vietnam has a long history and is culturally diverse with fascinating architecture throughout the land for the tourist industry. Vietnam consists of long coastlines, forests and mountain regions with a variety of unique geographic landscapes.
The Vietnamese Experience
Vietnam is an evolving nation. Its people are energetic, friendly, motivated and resilient by nature. This is a delightful and fun country to explore. The locals love to laugh, and you’ll have plenty of opportunities to socialize, especially in the rural regions. Vietnam is developing at an astonishing pace.
When to Visit
The nation’s weather patterns consist of two distinct seasons – WET & DRY. Winter brings some monsoonal rains in the South, between October and March with cold ‘wind chill’ temperatures in the North. From April to October, summer season brings very hot and often humid weather to the entire country.The peak international travel season is from November to March and again in July/August. Domestic travel continues to grow with the busiest months being July/August.Some visitors like to plan a visit during the famous Tet holiday period (Vietnamese Lunar New Year). This is the biggest festival in the lunar calendar, which falls in late January or early February. It is an extremely quite and peaceful time to visit, where the majority of the population return to their homeland villages to spend time with families, friends and relatives.For those considering a summer vacation, then focus on the coastal areas to enjoy the sea breezes and cooler climate.
Transportation
BY AIR

Traveling to Vietnam by air is quite easy as many airlines offer direct or indirect flights and more and more airports in Vietnam are open to international destinations. Today, the international airports are Noi Bai in Hanoi, located around 45 minutes from the city center (45km), Cat Bi in Hai Phong, Danang airport only 4km from the city-center, Cam Ranh located at around 40 minutes from Nha Trang city-center (30km) and Tan Son Nhat located just 20 minutes from the center of Ho Chi Minh City (6km).

BY LAND

You can also travel to Vietnam by land, with the bus being the best means of transport to travel from Cambodia or Laos for example. Vietnam has land borders with China, Laos, and Cambodia.

Land borders China/Vietnam: (you must have a visa before going through immigration and customs)

Mong Cai (Quang Ninh) – by land: located at the northeast end of the country, this land border is accessible by road.
Huu Nghi (Lang Son) – by land: located 18 km from Lang Song city.
Dong Dang (Lang Son) – railway
Lao Cai (Lao Cai) – by land or railway: accessible by train from Hanoi, the route goes via the Hekou bridge.
Land borders Laos /Vietnam (land): (visa available at most land borders)

Cau Treo (Ha Tinh): located 80 kilometers from the city of Vinh on the route to Vientiane (Laos’ capital city).
Cha Lo (Quang Binh): in Dan Hoa province, accessible via road 12A from Ba Don – Quang Binh province.
Lao Bao (Quang Tri): at 150 km of Hue, on the route to Savannakhet in the South of Laos.
Tay Trang (Dien Bien Phu) : from Diên Biên province
Na Meo (Than Hoa)
Nam Can (Nghe An)
Bo Y (Quang Toum)
Land borders Cambodia /Vietnam: (visa available at most land borders).

Moc Bai + Sa Mat (Tay Ninh): at 70km from Ho Chi Minh this land border is accessible by bus and taxi and is located on the route between Ho Chi Minh and Phnom Penh (capital city of Cambodia)
Vinh Xuong + Tinh Bien (An Giang): enables access directly to the Cambodian seaboard.
Bo Nue (Binh Phuoc)
Thuong Phuoc (Dong Thap)
Xa Xia (Kien Giang)
TRANSPORT IN VIETNAM

BUS
Taking the bus is the cheapest way to travel around cities like Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, etc. The tickets usually cost 7000 dongs ($0.35)

The bus network is fairly well developed in big cities and is also a good way to get out of the inner city to visit some villages or other sites located in the suburbs and beyond. The inconvenience is that long-distance buses usually depart from bus stations located some kilometers from the city center, so it is necessary to take a taxi to first reach the bus station.

The bus is also a good means of transport to travel from one city to another and discover other outlying regions of the country. Many private companies offer bus services. Most of the time, buses are minivans, but you can also take night buses (buses with bunk beds) for longer trips.

Those night buses are generally a very good alternative to the train which is often substantially more expensive. You can buy tickets and ask for information at travel agencies and hotels to choose the bus service that matches your requirements (time of departure/arrival, place of departure/arrival, price, etc).

Please bear in mind, that even though the bus network is quite well developed, roads are often in bad condition and buses have to go slowly sometimes and stop often to pick up and drop off passengers. Transfer times are usually counted in hours and not in kilometers.

MOTO-TAXI
Moto-taxis (Xe Ôm) are everywhere! On any street corner, parked on sidewalks, moto-taxi drivers will enthusiastically offer you their services wherever you want to go. Moto-taxis are a good alternative to a car taxi as they are more able to infiltrate the dense traffic of cities such as Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh and can save a lot of travel time. Besides, travel by motorbike taxi is fun and a great way to get up close and personal with the sights and sounds of Vietnam. Please be aware that you should fix the price before departure. Don’t hesitate to bargain.

Caution: the driver should provide you with a helmet for the ride as helmets have been compulsory since 2007. If the driver does not give you a helmet, just find another driver. If you are overly concerned about comfort and safety, moto-taxis aren’t really made for you, however, if you are in a hurry and a bit intrepid, moto-taxis will be one of your best friends.

MOTORBIKES
Motorbikes are the main means of transport in Vietnam but even though most locals drive them, the law clearly forbids any foreigners without a valid Vietnamese license from driving a motorbike (international licenses do not apply in Vietnam). Indeed, traffic is really dense and the risk of accidents is real. Besides, most travel insurance policies do not cover travelers for motorbike accidents. However, if you really want to move around and drive as the Vietnamese do, you won’t have any problem finding an agency or a hotel that rents motorbikes (automatic or semi-automatic) with helmets to foreigners.

BIKES
If you want a means of transport more peaceful you can also rent a bicycle. However, be aware that as for motorbikes, biking in the dense traffic of city centers may be a bit scary and potentially dangerous. This is why we recommend you to wear a helmet and limit your bike riding to the countryside and suburbs, and outside of rush hours. One thing is for sure, riding a bike in the countryside and through villages will definitely be appreciated by the local people somewhat bemused to see foreigners making such an effort. Expect lots of smiles and happy hellos, even the occasional invite to stop and share a cup of tea.

TRAIN
The train is a convenient means of transport in Vietnam. Transfers are secure and quite comfortable if you choose the “soft seat” or “soft bunk” classes. However, the railway network still has to be improved and travel times remain quite long (even really long). Thankfully, some Express railway services have been created, like the one between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, called the Reunification Express. We recommend you to preferably choose trains registered as SE rather than those registered TN if you want to save time (a lot of time).

CAR
Renting a car is forbidden for foreigners to drive (apart from expatriates with a Vietnamese license); however it is possible to rent a car with a driver if you want to travel alone or with your family.

PLANE
Flying is the fastest and most convenient way to travel long distances in Vietnam. Moreover, airline tickets purchased in Vietnam are quite cheap, whether you want to take a domestic flight within the country or an international flight to a neighboring country.
Dos & Don'ts
Discover the DOs and DON’Ts for Vietnam.
Greeting & interactions with Vietnamese

For a Vietnamese, it is important to know the age of a person, before their job or even their wealth, as it is what defines their status. Thus, being ‘old’ is a positive attribute in Vietnam and asking a person how old they are is something common and well appreciated.
When out in public
Please ask permission from locals before taking a photo. Particularly in the countryside or in the highlands.
Keep smiling. Being rude to bargain/negotiate prices won’t help you. Traditionally, people in Vietnam (as in other Asian countries) are conditioned to control their emotions and keep calm to save face.
Any affectionate physical contact between men and women is not appropriate in public. It is better to avoid showing your affection in public.
When visiting a temple or a pagoda
Take off your shoes and socks before entering any religious place. Let them both at the entrance and walk barefoot in the temple or the pagoda.
Wear a tee-shirt and shorts hiding at least your shoulders and your knees. Ideally, to avoid any problem wear trousers.
Don’t wear hats or caps in the temples and pagodas.
When invited to someone’s home
Traditionally, when you want to offer something to someone or when you receive a gift/object from someone, you have to use both hands.
Never hammer (tap) your chopsticks into your food (rice). This gesture reminds people of a ritual performed during a funeral.
Health
Vaccinations

Officially, no vaccinations are required to enter Vietnam apart from travelers coming from countries with yellow fever transmission risks. However, if you travel to Vietnam you should do everything possible and take all required precautions to avoid becoming ill during your trip. Make sure that all your vaccinations are current and that you are vaccinated for Tetanus, Polio, and Diphtheria. Other vaccines recommended include Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B (if you are in-country for over 3 months), Typhus and Tuberculosis, vaccinations against rabies and Japanese encephalitis are also advised.

Health Advice

Drink plenty of fluids during the day (2 liters).
Do not drink tap water in Vietnam. Only bottled water is drinkable.
Wash your hands frequently
Avoid eating unpeeled fruit or raw vegetables and ice.
Most important: trust your gut feeling. If you don’t like your food, stop eating and do a double check when eating from street vendors.
Emergency
For emergency assistance involving a U.S. citizen, please call the following numbers:
From the United States: 1-888-407-4747 within the United States or +1 202-501-4444 internationally and review the information here. For Embassy Hanoi: 24/7 hotline at (024) 3850-5000 within Vietnam or +8424-3850-5000 internationally.

For emergency assistance involving a Canadian citizen, please You can email sos@international.gc.ca or call directly at 1-613-996-8885.

Police: 113
Ambulance: 115
Fire department: 114
Before Traveling
Pre-Departure Tasks

Make sure your passport is valid for at least 6 months before the expiry date and that you have the correct visa. Have a look at the visa requirements for more information. Consider medical, baggage, and trip cancellation insurances.

Check with your doctor about the vaccinations and medicines needed.

Clothes

Clothing should be lightweight and of the drip-dry variety. You will be in the sun a lot so long sleeves and a wide hat would be more suitable.
Underwear should be synthetic and easily washable.
Sleepwear.
Shirts should be long-sleeved and lightweight with lots of closed pockets.
T-shirts, short-sleeved and again with pockets.
Cool evenings necessitate the need for pullovers or a lightweight jacket.
A lightweight vest with lots of pockets will be handy for carrying your camera (and film) and binoculars.
Long trousers made from a lightweight, quick-drying fabric should have multi-pockets for day trips. Long trousers that turn into shorts are ideal.
For trekking lightweight long shorts (for modesty purposes) are acceptable.
The bathing suit should be modest so as not to offend the locals.
Hat for protection from the sun. Should have a wide brim and a strap.
A sturdy poncho or parka will help to keep your gear dry in case of rain or waterfall spray.
Footwear: You will need some sturdy comfortable boots for trekking or just walking around. They will need to support your ankles as well as having a nonslip sole.
Waterproof sandals for those short trips and boating.
Some smart casual clothes for the evenings and visiting restaurants.
Pharmacy

Insect repellent with the percentage of DEET recommended by your travel medicine physician. You must bring an ample supply of good quality repellent.
Antiseptic wipes for handwashing and emergency toilet paper.
Personal First Aid Kit (bring in small amounts and in small containers)
Aspirin/ibuprofen, etc.
Cold-symptom relief tablets, antihistamine, cough drops. Adequate quantity of sweat-resistant sunscreen with at least an SPF 15 rating or higher, and lip balm with sunscreen.
Prescription medicines in their original bottles. Acidophilus enzyme (available in capsules in health-food stores). This often helps your digestive system get in shape for “new” flora.
Immodium, Lomotil, or similar anti-diarrhea medicine. Pepto-Bismol.
Vaccinations

Officially, no vaccinations are required to enter Vietnam apart from travelers coming from countries with yellow fever transmission risks. However, if you travel to Vietnam you should do everything possible and take all required precautions to avoid becoming ill during your trip. Make sure that all your vaccinations are current and that you are vaccinated for Tetanus, Polio, and Diphtheria. Other vaccines recommended include Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B (if you are in-country for over 3 months), Typhus and Tuberculosis, vaccinations against rabies and Japanese encephalitis are also advised.

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