The country has started to barely live in peace 40 years ago. From the XIX century, its people had been confronted to the conflict of the south to the south (Nam Tiên) and the supremacy of China, then from the end of the XIX to 1954, the French colonialism, Two Vietnam that end the defeat in 1975 of the south controlled by the USA. (
Two conflict that we could consider minor in regards of the anterior ones, slowed down the economical and material recovering of the country: the red khmer conflict in the end of 1978 and against China at the north borders for a month in February – march 1979 (this last conflict will have a small echo in 1984 at Laoshan mountain for few days).
This painful history leads the population to be patriotic, thankful to their army and their political system that bring them without much military resources to many victories.
It could also bring them to appreciate their peaceful life and any single moment of happiness of their daily life. People would easily smile to you sharing this happiness. We like to joke and sing in Vietnam (but too shy to dance).
The priority of vietnamese tourist is mainly the comfort, the food and resting rather than being active and visiting.
The border has been just opened to tourism 20 years ago. Locals have more theorical background than real experience because this is the only place in the country.
WHEN TO GO
The country is long. If you are looking for a specific area to go,
In the north, The dry season from December to February is cold (around 10 degrees C) and the rainy season happen from June to august included.
In the center, Temperatures are comfortable all year (from 20 to 30 degrees), the rainy season is from October to December
In the south, Temperature is above 25 ° C and the rainy season from June to August / September.
If you are planning a trip that would include the north, the center and the south of the country, the best option would be.
PLUS OF THE DESTINATION
The diversity of the populations (with 54 minorities), and of its landscapes (moutains, highlands, islands, coastal plain,
Historical heritage, the vietnamese food,
Shopping (clothes, Chinese products)
Be patient, smile, ask the price of a service before accepting it.
Never plant shop sticks in a bol, Do not take picture without asking, no topless in public area. Local may ask you about your age, may comment your shape: that is a part of a commun conversation
Knowing few words of Vietnamese will show your respect and your will to exchange: Xin chao, cam on, ban nhieu
About flights, Vietnam airlines is the etatic airlines company and get the priority on the most convenient airport facilities (boarding hall, door). Vietjet, a low cost private company has a lot improved the quality of its services these last years but still have to compose with its ousider position.
About train, we advise you to use the night train with sleeping compartiment bed between Ho Chi Minh – Nha Trang, Nha Trang – Da nang (for Hoi An), Hue or Dong Hoi to Ninh Binh (HAlong Bay on land ) or Hanoi. By Travellling in the night time, you can save some time on transportation in the day time. Sleeping bags might be useful if you are not taking the train from Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh Ville as sheets are not always replaced.
For your confort, avoid if you can night buses.
IDEA OF AVERAGE BUDGETS PER DAY
For backpackers, per person: $ 6 for dormitory bed + $ 14 for food + drinks = $ 20 per day
For family of 4 with 2 kids under 12y old: $ 60 for a standard family room, $ 30 for food and drinks= 90$ per day
For a comfortable trip for a couple, $ 60 for a room, $ 52 for food and drinks= $112 per day
TIP IS NOT MANDATORY IN VIETNAM
For a tour guide: $ 10 for a couple per day
For a local guide, driver: $ 10 for a couple per day
Holders of normal passports issued by the following countries do not require visas for Vietnam:
for 30 days: Cambodia, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan,Laos, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand
for 21 days : Philippines
for 14 days; Brunei, Myanmar
for 15 days,*with a gap off at least 30 days between two stays; Belarus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom
An online application can be done from https://evisa.xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/web/guest/trang-chu-ttdt for a 30 days e-visa if you are from the following country:
Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Brunei, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark
Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg, Mongolia, Myanmar, Norway, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia
Slovakia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Timor Leste, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Venezuela
OVERALL EVALUATION OF THE COUNTRY:
SPORTS ACTIVITIES: 3/5, SUITABLE TO FAMILY: 3/5, CULTURAL / HISTORY RESSOURCES: 5/5, LANDSCAPES: 5/5
ECO PRODUCT OFFER: 1/5, TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES: 3/5