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Vietnam Country Guide

  1. Country Facts
  2. Health
  3. Media
  1. Intro
  2. Geography
  3. People
  4. Travel
  5. Embassies & Visas
  6. Finance
  7. Cities/Regions

Quick Facts

Region: Asia & Oceania
Full Name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Capital City: Hanoi
Language Spoken: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)

Vietnam Travel Insurance

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Geographic data

16 00 N, 106 00 E

Elevation Extremes

lowest point: South China Sea 0 m highest point: Fan Si Pan 3,144 m

Land boundaries

total: 4,639 km border countries: Cambodia 1,228 km, China 1,281 km, Laos 2,130 km

Natural hazards

occasional typhoons (May to January) with extensive flooding, especially in the Mekong River delta

Natural resources

phosphates, coal, manganese, bauxite, chromate, offshore oil and gas deposits, forests, hydropower

Land use

arable land: 20.14% permanent crops: 6.93% other: 72.93% (2005)

Environmental current issues

logging and slash-and-burn agricultural practices contribute to deforestation and soil degradation; water pollution and overfishing threaten marine life populations; groundwater contamination limits potable water supply; growing urban industrialization and population migration are rapidly degrading environment in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City

Climate

Because of its geography, the climate in Vietnam varies greatly from north to south. Tropical monsoons occur from May to October. It is almost totally dry throughout the rest of the year. Required clothing Tropicals and washable cottons are worn all year. Rainwear is essential during the rainy season.

Time difference

time difference: UTC+7

Population

84,402,966 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 27% (male 11,826,457/female 10,983,069) 15-64 years: 67.1% (male 28,055,941/female 28,614,553) 65 years and over: 5.8% (male 1,924,562/female 2,998,384) (2006 est.)

Median age

total: 25.9 years male: 24.8 years female: 27.1 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate

1.02% (2006 est.)

Birth rate

16.86 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate

6.22 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.07 male(s)/female under 15 years: 1.08 male(s)/female 15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female 65 years and over: 0.64 male(s)/female total population: 0.98 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.85 years male: 68.05 years female: 73.85 years (2006 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.91 children born/woman (2006 est.)

Business Practices

Casual clothing is usually worn to business meetings, however, some formal meetings may require more formal attire such as a suit and tie. All officials do not speak English and knowledge of French is useful. A Handshake and vocal greeting are normal. Business cards should have a Vietnamese translation on the back. Most businesses, government offices and shops are open from 7:30AM to 4:30PM, Monday through Friday and half days on Saturday. Many offices close for an hour or two at lunch. Security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Therefore, care should be taken when carrying sensitive company proprietary information into Vietnam.

Crime

Crime is a serious problem in Ho Chi Minh City and to a lesser extent, throughout Vietnam. Generally, pickpocketing or snatch-and-grab incidents, and the theft of unattended bags, briefcases and other items characterize crimes against foreigners. There have been several incidents in which foreigners have been injured or even killed when resisting robbers. It is recommended that travelers not resist such theft attempts, but report them to both local authorities and the visitor's embassy. Motorcyclists, mostly carrying passengers, frequently grab bags, cameras, and other valuables from pedestrians, or passengers riding in pedicabs or at the back of rented motorcycles. When bags are stolen, passports, identity documents, and airline tickets are frequently lost. Thieves also congregate in large numbers around hotels frequented by foreign tourists and businessmen. Assaults have been reported in outlying areas. Some pedicab drivers have reportedly kidnapped passengers and extorted money; it therefore may be risky to hire pedicabs not associated with reputable hotels or other establishments such as restaurants. There has been an increase in petty theft in Hanoi and some foreign passports are prized items and should be kept in hotel safes or other secure locations. Travelers to Vietnam are should also avoid or use caution when visiting places where drinking is the main activity. A series of recent incidents otherwise healthy visitors have died following an evening of drinking alcoholic beverages, raising concern that such drinks could be adulterated with toxic or other substances.

Hotels

Tourist facilities have vastly improved in the last few years and most towns have small hotels and guesthouses. In the major towns there is a full range of accommodation to suit all budgets.

Communications

Telephone: IDD is available only to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Country code: 84. International calls must be made through the operator. Fax: Available in most major offices. The use of internet and email is very easy and accessible in the travelers cafes in the larger cities including Saigon, Hanoi, Nha Trang, Hue, Hoi An.

Electricity

in Vietnam uses both 110v and 220v. However, the current is uneven some devices don?t always run smoothly. Take a surge protector for your laptop computer. Outlets come in a variety of shapes and sizes (almost all are two-pronged) and the voltage is rarely marked. Electricity 220/110 volts AC, 50Hz; plugs are mostly flat pin.

Plug Types

A,C,G

Food And Dining

Vietnamese cooking is varied and usually very good. It is a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions, with a plethora of regional specialties. As in all countries of the region, rice or noodles usually provide the basis of a meal. Not surprisingly, fish is plentiful.

National specialties:
? Breakfast is generally noodle soup locally known as pho (pronounced ?fur?).
? French-style baguettes are available throughout Vietnam.
? Nem (pork mixed with noodles, eggs and mushrooms wrapped in rice paper, fried and served hot).
? Banh chung (glutinous rice, pork and onions wrapped in large leaves and cooked for up to 48 hours, to be eaten cold at any time).
? Vietnamese dishes are not complete without nuoc mam (a fish sauce) or mam tom (a shrimp sauce). National drinks:
? Green tea is refreshing and available everywhere.
? The French culinary legacy embraces rich, fresh, filter coffee, usually brewed on the table in front of the customer.
? Bia Hoi, a local draught beer available at street stalls in Hanoi. It is not only cheap, but free of additives.
? Rice wine is also a favorite throughout the country. It is generally extremely potent.

Tipping:
Tipping is not customary, but is becoming more usual in tourist areas, especially in the south. Upscale restaurants and hotels may add a 5 to 10 per cent service charge to the bill. Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.

Entry departure requirements

* Please see visa section

Visa immigration information

Passports

Passport valid for at least one month after expiration of visa required by all.

Visas

Required by all except:
(a) nationals of Bulgaria, China (PR) (AB passport), Cuba, Korea (Dem Rep), Mongolia (AB, AC or AO passport), Romania, Russian Federation and Ukraine (AB passport);
(b) nationals of Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand for stays of up to 30 days;
(c) nationals of The Philippines for stays of up to 21 days;
(d) 1. nationals of Denmark, Finland, Japan, Korea (Rep), Norway and Sweden for stays of up to 15 days;
(e) transit passengers continuing their journey within 24 hours, provided holding valid return or onward tickets. At present, visas can be issued for either groups or individuals.

Note

For security reasons, it is advisable to carry copies of documents rather than originals when in Vietnam.

Types of visa and cost

Tourist: US$65 (single-entry); US$94 (express service); US$120 (multiple-entry). Single-entry Business: US$69 Multiple-entry Business: US$120 (one month); US$155 (three months); US$241 (six months or more).

Validity

Tourist visas are valid for one month from proposed date of entry. Visas can usually be extended for another month, at extra cost, in the larger towns.

Note

All regulations, including those concerning which counties require visas, cost of visas and validity of visas, are very complex and subject to frequent change. It is therefore advisable to contact the consular section at the Embassy before any travel to Vietnam.

Application to

Consulate (or consular section at Embassy); see Passport/Visa Information.

Application requirements

(a) Completed application form. (b) One recent passport-size photo. (c) Valid passport. (d) Fee (non-refundable), payable by cash, bank draft or postal order. (e) To have your passport returned by post, please add ?5 and include a stamped self-addressed envelope. Business: (a)-(e), and (f) Approval obtained through a Vietnamese sponsor.

Working days required

Two (tourist visa express application); five (tourist visa). Entry visas can be applied for in person up to six months prior to date of travel.

HIV entry requirements

No Test Required

Departure tax

US$14 (Ho Chi Minh City), US$12 (Hanoi) and US$8 (Da Nang), payable in US Dollars or new D?ng.

Embassies

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the UK

12 Victoria Road, London W8 5RD, UK
Tel: (020) 7937 1912.
Website: www.vietnamembassy.org.uk
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 0900-1700; 0930-1230 (visa section).

Embassy of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam in the USA

1233 20th Street, NW, Suite 400, Washington, DC 20036, USA
Tel: (202) 861 0737 or 2293 (consular section).
Website: www.vietnamembassy-usa.org

There have been renewed outbreaks of avian influenza (bird flu) amongst poultry throughout Vietnam. There have been a number of human fatalities in this latest outbreak. The World Health Organization is still investigating the possibility of human-to-human transmission. Travelers should avoid visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where they may come into close contact with wild or caged birds; and ensure poultry dishes are thoroughly cooked.
Most visits to Vietnam are trouble-free but you should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate international terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by foreigners.
Serious or violent crimes against foreigners in Vietnam are rare, but travelers should remain vigilant for petty or opportunistic theft.
This advice is based on information provided by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office in the UK. It is correct at time of publishing. As the situation can change rapidly, visitors are advised to contact the following organizations for the latest travel advice:

British Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Website: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam

US Department of State

Website: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/international-travel/International-Travel-Country-Information-Pages/Vietnam.html

Currency

New D?ng (VND). Notes are in denominations of VND500,000, 100,000, 50,000, 20,000, 10,000, 5000, 2000, 1000, 500, 200 and 100. Coins are in denominations of VND5000, 2000, 1000, 500 and 200.

Currency restrictions

Import and export of local currency is prohibited. Import and export of foreign currency over US$3000 is subject to declaration. Proof of all expenses should be kept.

Banking hours

Mon-Fri 0730/0800-1130 and 1300-1600.

Currency exchange

The US Dollar is the most favored foreign currency. Australian, British, Japanese, Singaporean and Thai currency, as well as the Euro, can usually be changed in the larger cities; great difficulty may be encountered in trying to exchange any other currencies. There is a charge for changing money in banks.

Credit cards

An increasing number of outlets accept MasterCard and Visa. However, outside main centers, it is wise to carry cash. Check with your credit or debit card company for details of merchant acceptability and other services which may be available.

Travellers cheques

These are widely accepted in hotels and banks. To avoid additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take traveller's cheques in US Dollars or Euros.

City/RegionCity/Area codeFollowed by
An Giang(0)76+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ba Ria - Vung Tau(0)64+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Bac Giang(0)240+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Bac Kan(0)281+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Bac Lieu(0)781+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Bac Ninh(0)241+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ben Tre(0)75+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Binh Dinh(0)56+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Binh Duong(0)650+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Binh Phuoc(0)651+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Binh Thuan(0)62+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ca Mau(0)780+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Can Tho(0)71+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Cao Bang(0)26+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Da Nang(0)511+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Dak Lak(0)50+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Dong Nai(0)61+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Dong Thap(0)67+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Gia Lai(0)59+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ha Giang(0)19+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ha Nam(0)351+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ha Tay(0)34+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ha Tinh(0)39+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Hai Duong(0)320+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Hai Phong(0)31+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Hanoi(0)4+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Ho Chi Minh City(0)8+ 7 digit subscriber nr
Hoa Binh(0)18+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Home Affairs and Defence Ministry(0)69+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Hung Yen(0)321+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Khanh Hoa(0)58+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Kien giang(0)77+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Kon Tum(0)60+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Lai Chau(0)23+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Lam Dong(0)63+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Lang Son(0)25+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Lao cai(0)20+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Long An(0)72+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Nam Dinh(0)350+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Nghe An(0)38+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ninh Binh(0)30+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Ninh Thuan(0)68+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Phu Tho(0)210+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Phu Yen(0)57+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Quang Binh(0)52+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Quang Nam(0)510+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Quang Ngai(0)55+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Quang Ninh(0)33+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Quang Tri(0)53+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Soc Trang(0)79+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Son La(0)22+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Tay Ninh(0)66+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Thai Binh(0)36+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Thai Nguyen(0)280+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Thanh Hoa(0)37+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Thua Thien Hue(0)54+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Tien Giang(0)73+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Tra Vinh(0)74+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Tuyen Quang(0)27+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Vinh Long(0)70+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Vinh Phuc(0)211+ 6 digit subscriber nr
Yen Bai(0)29+ 6 digit subscriber nr
  1. Health Information
  2. Recent Disease Outbreaks
  3. Hospital Database

Dental care

There is good quality dental care available in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC Family Medical Practice) and Hanoi (Hanoi Dental Practice)

Medication Availability

Medication in short supply and even when available the quality cannot be guaranteed

Blood supplies

Screening is inconsistent in Vietnam, therefore blood supplies should be considered as unsafe

Medical facilities

 

General caution

Recent medical and dental exams should ensure that the traveler is in good health. Carry appropriate health and accident insurance documents and copies of any important medical records. Bring an adequate supply of all prescription and other medications as well as any necessary personal hygiene items, including a spare pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses if necessary. Drink only bottled beverages (including water) or beverages made with boiled water. Do not use ice cubes or eat raw seafood, rare meat or dairy products. Eat well-cooked foods while they are still hot and fruits that can be peeled without contamination. Avoid roadside stands and street vendors. Swim only in well-maintained, chlorinated pools or ocean water known to be free from pollution; avoid freshwater lakes, streams and rivers. Wear clothing which reduces exposed skin and apply repellents containing DEET to remaining areas. Sleep in well-screened accommodations. Carry anti-diarrheal medication. Reduce problems related to sun exposure by using sunglasses, wide-brimmed hats, sunscreen lotions and lip protection.

Specific concerns

AIDS occurs. Blood supply may not be adequately screened and/or single-use, disposable needles and syringes may be unavailable. When possible, travelers should defer medical treatment until reaching a facility where safety can be assured. The blood type of the general Asian populace is Rh positive; Rh negative blood may be difficult to obtain.

Immunization

Cholera: Although limited in effectiveness, vaccination may be appropriate for persons living and/or working in less than sanitary conditions for more than 3 months where medical facilities are unavailable. Vaccination may also be appropriate for travelers with impaired gastric defenses who are planning an extended visit or being exposed to unsanitary conditions. Vaccination is not advised for pregnant women, infants younger than 6 months old, or persons with a history of severe reaction to the vaccine. Hepatitis A: Consider active immunization with hepatitis A vaccine or passive immunization with immune globulin (IG) for all susceptible travelers. Especially consider choosing active immunization for persons planning to reside for a long period or for persons who take frequent short-term trips to risk areas. The importance of protection against hepatitis A increases as length of stay increases. It is particularly important for persons who will be living in or visiting rural areas, eating or drinking in settings of poor or uncertain sanitation, or who will have close contact with local persons (especially young children) in settings with poor sanitary conditions. Hepatitis B: Vaccination is advised for health care workers, persons anticipating direct contact with blood from or sexual contact with inhabitants, and persons planning extended stays of 6 months or greater (especially those who anticipate using local health care facilities, staying in rural areas, or having intimate contact with the local population). Japanese Encephalitis: Consider vaccination if staying a month or more from May to October, especially if travel includes rural areas. Also consider if staying less than 30 days during that period and at high risk (in case of epidemic outbreak or extensive outdoor exposure in rural areas). Highest risk is reported in and around Hanoi. Plague: Vaccination is recommended only for those persons whose occupation or circumstances make avoidance of fleas and rodents difficult when traveling or working in rural or urban areas where plague is known to be active in wild rodents or has been reported to exist in humans and/or commensal rats. Polio: A one-time booster dose is recommended for travelers who have previously completed a standard course of polio immunization. Refer to CDC guidelines for vaccinating unimmunized or incompletely immunized persons. Pregnancy is a relative contraindication to vaccination; however, if protection is needed, either IPV or OPV may be used, depending on preference and time available. Rabies: Preexposure vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 30 days who are expected to be at risk to bites from domestic and/or wild animals (particularly dogs), or for persons engaged in high risk activities such as spelunking or animal handling. Need for vaccination is more important if potential exposure is in rural areas and if adequate postexposure care is not readily available. Typhoid: Vaccination should be considered for persons staying longer than 3 weeks, adventurous eaters, and those who will venture off the usual tourist routes into small cities, villages and rural areas. Importance of vaccination increases as access to reasonable medical care becomes limited. Contraindications depend on vaccine type. Note: All routine vaccines (such as DTP or Td, Hib, MMR, polio, varicella, influenza and pneumococcal) should be kept up-to-date as a matter of good health practice unrelated to travel.

Disease risk summary

Insect-borne illness: considered an important cause of disease in this area. Chikungunya fever - occurs Dengue fever - occurs Dengue hemorrhagic fever - occurs Encephalitis (Japanese type) - occurs (endemic/hyperendemic in all areas with highest rates in and near Hanoi) Filariasis - prevalent in rural areas Malaria - common Plague - occurs Typhus (mite-borne) - occurs in deforested areas Food-borne and water-borne illness: these diseases are common. Cholera - occurs Clonorchiasis (oriental liver fluke) - occurs Dysentery (amoebic and bacillary) - occurs Fasciolopsiasis (giant intestinal fluke) - occurs Hepatitis - occurs Opisthorchiasis (cat liver fluke) - occurs Schistosomiasis - occurs in Mekong Delta Typhoid fever - occurs Other hazards: Diseases such as measles and diphtheria are commonly reported, and cases of polio still occur regularly. Influenza risk extends throughout the year. Rabies - occurs Trachoma - occurs

Entry requirements

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required from travelers over 1 year of age coming from infected areas.

Recent disease outbreaks

No recent disease outbreaks

NameAddress
Columbia Asia Gia Dinh International Hospital01 No Trang Long St Binh Thanh District Ho Chi Minh City
Columbia Asia Saigon International Clinic(Corner of Pasteur Street and Alexandre de Rhodes Street) 08 Alexandre de Rhodes District 1 Ho Chi Mingh City
Da Nang Family Medical Practice50-52 Nguyen Van Linh Str. Nam Duong Ward Hai Chau District Da Nang City
FV (Franco-Vietnamese) Hospital6 Nguyen Luong Bang Saigon South Tan Phu Ward, District 7 Ho Chi Minh City
Hanoi Dental ClinicBuilding A2, Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound Ground Floor, Suite 101-102 Kim Ma Road Hanoi
Hanoi Family Medical PracticeBuilding A1, Van Phuc Diplomatic Compound Ground Floor, Suite 109-112 Kim Ma Road Hanoi
Hanoi French HospitalIPO Box 352 Hanoi No. 1 Phuong Mai Road, Dong Da Hanoi
International SOS ClinicCentral Building 31 Hai Ba Trung Hoan Kiem District Hanoi
International SOS Clinic Hanoi31 Hai Ba Trung Hoan Kiem District Hanoi 0000
International SOS Clinic Ho Chi Minh CityHannam Building 65 Nguyen Du District 1 Ho Chi Minh City
International SOS Clinic Vung Tau1 Le Ngoc Han St Vung Tau

Media

The media is controlled by the Communist Party. Newspapers straying beyond restrictive Government reporting guidelines are shut down. Internet access is tightly controlled. Web content is subject to Government approval and sites deemed unacceptable are blocked.
Press: Daily and weekly newspapers in Vietnam include Lao Dong, Nhan Dan (The People) and Quan Doi Nhan Dan. The Vietnam Economic Times, Vietnam Investment Review, Saigon Times and Vietnam News are published in English. Le Courrier du Vietnam is published in French.
TV: VTV is the national television service. Regional stations also exist and some foreign cable channels are broadcast.
Radio: Voice of Vietnam (VoV) is state operated. VoV 5 broadcasts programs in English, French and Russian.

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