Things to Know and do before going to vietnam!!!

Plan Your Trip Accordingly (based on Climate)

Vietnam’s climate is quite different than ours in the United States. We traveled from April 25th-May 25th, and had a great time. Luckily, we only had a few rainy days, but it was extremely hot and humid in the cities near the coast. Cities//Regions like Sa Pa and Dalat (mountainous), it was perfect weather during the day (some rain), and chilly at night. (Snowfall can occur on the high peaks in the North). 

  • In Hanoi & other Northern cities, May to October is Rainy//Hot//Humid. November to April is what they consider the dry season, and it’s exactly what it sounds like, it’s mostly dry. Northern cities recieve more rain compared to southern cities. 
  • While we were in Central Vietnam (beginning//mid May), it was brutal; Humid and hot. A few days got to 105°F (40°C), which is near highest ever recorded (very rare, usually around 80°F). September-November are the rainiest & May-September are hottest.
  • Southern Vietnam is constantly warm throughout the year, only fluctuating a few degrees between the months. Rainy season starts in May and goes until October. 
  • It’s important to note though, IT’S NEVER A BAD TIME TO VISIT VIETNAM (but smarter to visit from November-May)!!!
    Get Vaccinations

    Most travelers will need a series of Vaccinations. To start the process, begin scheduling vaccinations 4-6 weeks prior to traveling. I got the majority of mine at the Travel Clinic at the Universtiy of Nebraska-Lincoln (Other big universities in your area will most likely have travel clinics as well). I also got one other one at Denver Public Health. Most travel clinics will have vaccinations you need in stock. Here’s a list of possible vaccinations:

    Highly Recommended:

    1. Hepatits A– spreads through food & water
      • Virus that affects the liver
    2. Hepatits B– spreads through blood & bodily fluids
      • Liver infection with potentially severe symptoms that can last a lifetime
    3. Typhoid– spreads through food & water
      • Typhoid fever can be fatal
    4. Japanese Encephalitis (please get this no matter what)- spreads through mosquitos
      • This a 2-dose vaccine that must be taken 28 days apart, exact
      • Neurological disease with no treatment
      • 20-30% die. 30-50% of survivors have mental, neurological, or cognitive problems that last a lifetime
    5. Rabies– spreads through saliva of infected animals (dogs, bats, other mamals)
      • Affects the central nervous system, causing brain disease and death
    6. Malaria– spreads through mosquito bites
      • Can cause severe illness, and death
    7. Routine Vaccinations
      • measles-mumps-rubella (MMR)
      • diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (TDAP)
      • varicella (chickenpox)
      • polio
      • yearly flu shot
    Entry Requirements (VIsa and passport)
      1. You can apply for a 1 or 3 month Visa with single entry or multiple entry options. I did 1 month single entry (wish I stayed for 3 months though). You won’t need a multiple entry, you’ll love it too much to leave.  You can apply for a Visa here: https://vietnamvisa.govt.vn/ 
      2. After getting approved, they’ll send you an email with your visa and paperwork you need to PRINT OUT and bring with you.

    Other entry requirements:

    1. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay
    2. Must have at least one blank visa page
    3. For my friend and I, we were asked to show our onward travels before even leaving America and also entering Vietnam (but can’t find anything saying otherwise)
      • PS- if you’re not sure of your next destination, you can buy a cheap bus ticket going to Phnom Penh, Cambodia (Bus Ticket)
    useful phrases
    • Hello: Seen Chow (Xin chào)
    • Excuse Me, Sorry: Seen Loy (Xin lỗi)
    • What is this/that?: Day La Kai Yee (Đây là cái gì)
    • Thank You: Kam On (Cảm ơn)
    • Very Good: Rat Tot (Rất tốt)
    • Bye: Tam Bee-it (Tạm biệt)
    Mobile apps you should download
      1. CityMap2Go
        • You can download 2 FREE offline maps
        • Works wherever and whenever!!!
      2. Grab
        • Southeast Asian version of Uber//Lyft

     

    Things to pack & other viable information

    Packing:

    1. NOT MUCH! Don’t check a bag, live light!!
      • I packed 1 carry on bag (little bigger than a school backpack) and my camera bag (considered a purse size & doubled as my day bag)
      • 4 pairs of undies, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pair of shorts, 1 pair of pants (jeans), 4 shirts, and a rain jacket
      • Pair of shoes and Chacos, 1 headband, 1 hat
    2. Everything is so cheap over there so if you need something, just buy it there & replace it with what you already have
      • There’s a lot of street vendors in the cities with clothes that’ll cost $3 US.

    Wall Adaptors:

    • In Vietnam, the adaptors for plugins are Type A, C, and F.
      • American iPhone blocks work, and other 2 pronged blocks, such as camera chargers and European plugs
      • The only thing that doesn’t work are the 3 pronged plug-ins with grounding
      • Example HERE
    • Vietnam’s electricity voltage is 220 Volt at 50Hz.
    Tap water

    DON’T DRINK IT!!

    • Don’t do it
    • Either…
      1. Buy water bottles, they’re less than $1
      2. Or, find a water cooler to refill

    HOw To get around Vietnam

    Vietnam is best described as a country of organized chaos. Hardly anything is on time and laws are often ignored. With that being said, don’t do anything a local isn’t doing. Respect their culture and learn about the way they live. To get around Vietnam I recommend 3 different options…

    1. Motobike
    2. Trains
    3. Bus//Van
    Motorbike

    My favorite way of getting around!!!

    From traveling from city to city, I went by either bus or train. Then when I got to each respected city, I would get a motorbike for the duration of my stay, makes it easier to get around. They’re very easy to find (typically waiting for you when you get off of the train/bus) & so cheap (less than $5/day)!!! 

    You DO NOT need a Vietnamese Driver’s License to rent a bike. I have heard of instances where cops may pull you over, but it’s so corrupt that you can just bribe them. 

    With that, I only saw 3-4 cops during my whole month stay, so very rare.

    Trains

    This is my preferred choice of travel between cities, especially if they offer overnight travel so you don’t waste a day.

    • They offer transportation between all the major cities in Vietnam
    • Get the ‘Soft Berth (4)’ seat option
      • It’s the more expensive option but it’s a cabin with beds in it & also your hostel for the night, so rest up 🙂
    • Check out tickets HERE
    Bus//Van

    Sleeper Bus:

    • If you’re over 6ft, this is not the way for you. I learned the hard way, very uncomfy (I’m 6’4).
    • But.. if you’re on a budget, this is actually the way.
    • Learn more & book tickets HERE

    You can book the luxury type vans, or also sleeper busses HERE

     

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