If you’re traveling to Vietnam for the first time, it’s important that you come prepared. While Vietnam is a totally safe country to visit, it can be a bit tricky to explore. These traveling tips can help anyone to achieve a safe and worry-free travel experience to the county.
Entry Requirements for Vietnam
Vietnam’s visa situation has greatly changed over the past few years and although there are plenty of information available online, they can be a bit confusing. For instance, if you’re from the UK, you can enter the country without a visa up to 15 days. However, if you’re staying longer than 15 days, then you need to have a visa. In this case, applying for a visa before your arrival is highly recommended.
Thankfully, the process of applying for your visa is a very straightforward process especially if you book it through evisa-Vietnam.com. You can simply fill out the form at their website and wait for the email. Once you have your visa, print and carry it with you on your trip. I’ve used the website a couple of times already and got my visa very quickly.
Be Smart With Your Itinerary
One of the most common mistakes that first timers often make when traveling to Vietnam is forcing everything in the itinerary. Vietnam is a huge country and you won’t be able to see everything in only a few days. Therefore, you need to plan your itinerary well. If you want to explore the entire country by going from south to north or vice versa, then you should spend at least 3 weeks in the country. Any less would make you rushing things and you’re going to miss out a lot in your trip. The country is divided to three main regions, South, North, and Central. So do your research well and be smart with your itinerary.
Consider Booking a Tour
So you’re traveling to Vietnam on a budget and you want to avoid booking tours as much as possible. There’s nothing wrong with that, however, there are instances when booking for a tour might be more convenient. For instance, if you’re in Ho Chi Minh and you want to explore Mekong Delta, but you don’t have any plans of staying there overnight, consider booking a day tour. These tours should not cost you a lot of money since you’ll be joining other travelers as well. You will not have to worry about which bus to take and you get to meet and interact with other travelers, too!
Prepare yourself for the Traffic
Many travelers thought that Vietnam is not really as busy as Bangkok and other major cities in Asia. But never underestimate the city of Saigon and Hanoi. You might be overwhelmed by the amount of motorbikes that travels across the street of these big cities. Crossing the street can be a struggle for most Westerners who are not used to the crazy amount of motorbikes and pedestrians. It will take some time before you get used to the chaos, but it’s important not to panic. The best method when crossing a street in Vietnam is to maintain a slow pace and be mindful of the cars and motorbikes in your surrounding.
Everything is Cheap
If you plan on traveling on a budget, then Vietnam would be the best place to visit. Everything in the country is cheap, from accommodation to food. It’s pretty common to find hostels and backpacker accommodations that cost as low as $30 per day! As for the food, you’ll find plenty of restaurants serving meals as low as $5. Bargain shopping is also common in Vietnam and haggling is the way of life in most of the night markets. So exercise your negotiating skills because you will need a lot of these in Vietnam.
Take Care of your Belongings
Contrary to what a lot of people thought, Vietnam is a totally safe country to visit. There’s hardly any crime happening because locals are extremely patient and kind. Perhaps, the only crime that you’re likely to encounter is theft. Unfortunately, pickpocketing is common in big cities like Hanoi and Saigon, especially in some touristy sites. Therefore, you should always keep an eye on your belongings anywhere you go. Avoid showing off any of your expensive items and if possible, avoid using your expensive mobile phones on busy streets.
Learn Some Basic Vietnamese Words
The Vietnamese language is a highly tonal language and this means that the words often have intricate sounds that are difficult for foreigners to replicate. Nevertheless, it’s a good idea to learn some basic words because only a few locals speak fluent English.
Vietnam is a truly wonderful place to visit. When done right, traveling to Vietnam can become one of the most rewarding travel experiences of your life!