Sumptuous street food, friendly locals, cool beaches and breathtaking scenery are some of the reasons Vietnam has become a top rated travel destination in 2016. The rice terraces in Sapa, picturesque Tam Coc and the clear waters of Ha Long Bay serve as a tranquil getaway for visitors. Culture in Vietnam is highly influenced by Indian and Chinese culture, which emphasizes family and community values. Most cities are fast paced and a newcomer may find this a bit strange.
How are the Americans Treated in Vietnam?
The Vietnamese are very friendly and hospitable. You’ll find them welcoming and you’ll soon feel right at home when you interact with them. There is a fear that the locals may be hostile because of the legacy of the war. However, you will be surprised to find out that the locals are warm and courteous especially towards Americans.
Traveling to Vietnam from USA
As a tourist from the United States, you need a valid U.S. passport which has a 6 months validity remaining on the date of your arrival. You’ll also need a visa exemption document, Vietnamese visa or a written approval letter for a visa upon arrival.
A visa exemption document or a visa can be obtained from a Vietnamese embassy. You can also opt to get it at the consulate before traveling to Vietnam. It’s advisable to contact a reliable travel agency when booking Vietnam tours. An agent will help you obtain a written approval letter.
Beware of unscrupulous agents who charge extremely hefty fee when you land. Failure to arrive without an exemption document, written approval for a visa or the appropriate Vietnamese visa will lead to you being denied entry and deported back to your country of origin.
Vietnamese Visas are mostly single entry, although in special circumstances, one can request for a multiple entry visa at an additional fee. The multiple entry visa could come in handy if you plan to leave the country and re-enter from a different country. It is also important to note that Vietnam has both the visa fee and the visa processing fee. The fee are posted on the Vietnamese Embassy’s website, although this sometimes varies from one applicant to another.
In some cases even though your visa may be valid, you may be refused entry to Vietnam especially if you’re planning to undertake other activities that are not listed on your visa. For those planning to do charitable activities, you must get the right visa classification. The same applies to those who intend to work in Vietnam.
In case your passport is lost, you can get a replacement passport in a day t from the U.S. embassy or the Consulate general. A replacement visa can be obtained from the Government and may take up to 5 working days.
To obtain cheapest Vietnam visa for the US citizens, please visit vietnamvisaprovider.com.
Flights to Vietnam from US
Vietnam has 3 main international airports, mainly Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang. You can also access cheaper flights through Hong Kong, Singapore or through Bangkok. Airlines that fly in and out of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi sell you tickets that allow you to fly into one city and out of the other. Airfares depend on the season, with the peak season being from July-August, the Vietnamese New Year and during Christmas. You can find cheaper flights from September-mid December. Best prices are obtainable from January to June.
What’s more, you can talk to an agent on Vietnam tours who can get you a discounted flight ticket as they buy blocks of tickets and sell them at a much lower price. A travel agent can also help expedite other services such as car rentals, tours, travel insurances and more. United airlines are the only ones that offer direct flights to Vietnam from San Francisco, with a daily service to Ho Chhi Minh City via Hong Kong.
Organized tours in Vietnam
If this is your first time to Vietnam and you would like to cover a lot of ground in a short period of time, an agent can help you plan organized Vietnam tours. Different tour operators provide packages that include accommodation, flights, day trips and internal travel either by road or train. This may be costly if you’re planning to do it yourself. Furthermore, organized tours can be difficult to set up on your own. What’s more, you can choose to combine a tour with Cambodia and Laos.
You can also opt to make prior arrangements before you arrive to save time. The tour operators have access to different spots and are able to get you discounted rates. Do your research to find a credible tour operator Check for reviews online and get references when you can.
Transportation around Vietnam
Road conditions in Vietnam differ significantly from those in the U.S. Traffic is chaotic and it’s advisable to take caution while walking on the streets. You’ll find that some drivers ignore traffic signals and bicycle riders may even drive on sidewalks. Be cautious when crossing, check to see if the roads are completely clear before crossing. When booking a cab, check to first see if the operators are certified as there are some cons who may take advantage.
The best time to visit Vietnam
The best time to visit Vietnam is during autumn and spring, which falls in between February-April and August-October. These seasons have minimal rainfall and the temperatures are pleasant.
Activities to participate in Vietnam
If you’re looking to have a more exciting time in Vietnam, you can participate in different events and festivals. Vietnam has different festivals throughout the year. Some of the festivals include, Giong festival, Lim festival, Tran Temple festival, Perfume Pagoda Festival and the mid-autumn festival, etc. Most festivals are associated with historical events like recognizing those who participated during wars against foreign invaders.
Vietnam is a beautiful country to visit. If you are traveling to Vietnam from the U.S., you can contact a local travel company like Vivutravel who can plan Vietnam tours based on your budget.