Vietnam is a country blessed with beaches, sense punching cities, gorgeous backdrop, home of delicious foods, and everything to excite a typical backpacker. Direct flights from New Zealand to Ho Chi Minh also makes Vietnam one among the must-see places in the world for travelers in New Zealand. Regardless of your holiday planning, travel from New Zealand to Vietnam do require some meticulous planning to beat the unnecessary hassles in the host country with the help of experienced tour operators. Further, get familiarized the with following tips, which can make your Vietnam travel an enjoyable experience.
Visa proceduresto travel from New Zealand to Vietnam
The citizens of New Zealand enjoy the freedom of traveling to many countries without having the requirement of a pre-approved visa. However, going to Vietnam requires a valid passport and visa. If you are planning to visit Vietnam via the land border, and you are not sure about the exact date of stay, you must buy a tourist visa at any Vietnamese embassy.
But it would be more convenient if you can opt for a visa on arrival facility if you are planning to travel by flight, which will allow you to enter any of the 3 international airports in Vietnam. You can apply for a 1- or 3-month tourist visa on arrival or either you can apply for the multiple entry visa that allows you to stay in the country for 3 monthscontinuously and accordingly you can select the right Vietnam packages.
Vietnam visa fee and cost for New Zealand citizens
The fee for the one-time entry visa is $25, and the multiple entry visa cost is$50. If you are opting for a visa on arrival, you must pay $25 at the time of stamping the visa at the airport entry point. While you can apply for a Vietnam visa from any nearest Vietnam embassy, it is recommended to opt for visa on arrival, and it is convenient as you can skip the lengthy procedures and collect the via directly from the airport once you board Vietnam.
Visit the official e-visa web portal of Vietnamese governor, fill the form and submit online. Once you fill the form, make the payment by card or any other payment method to commence processing. As long as there are no errors in the visa application or any other technical glitches, you can have the visa processed within 3 business days. Instead of applying from the government portal, you can also apply through your travel agent and select a suitable Vietnam package. Read: Easy Guide To Obtain Cheap Visa To Vietnam In 2019
How to reach Vietnam- Flight routes and Schedules
From New Zealand, there are flight services to Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City regularly however the majority of travelers take the cheaper alternative of indirect flights via Hong Kong, Singapore or Bangkok. You can get a direct flight from Auckland to Ho Chi Minh City and to travel from one city to another, you can take domestic flights as well. A direct flight trip from Zealand to Vietnam takes about 10 and a half hours. If you want to reduce the flight cost, opt for a stopover flight.
You may well save even more by booking the flights earlier or picking low-cost carriers like Air Asia or Jet Star to avoid the surge price. Airlines that fly in and out of both Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, usually offer an open-jaw air ticket that allows you to fly into one city and make your return journey from another town.
Airfares vary depending on the season with the highest fares between July-August, around Tet, the Vietnamese New year, and Christmas time. Ticket prices are generally high during the September- mid-December, and the best prices are available during the low season like January to June.
Travel Tips for Travelers from New Zealand
Know the climate
Climate is a significant factor that cannot just influence but make or break your trip. Before planning to travel from New Zealand to Vietnam, check the climate. The monsoon season in Vietnam varies in the Central, the South and the Northern parts of the country. Therefore, make sure you carry a raincoat and umbrella. Generally, Vietnam has a tropical monsoon; therefore, it is normal humid all the time. The advice for you is to carry light clothing always, even in winter as Vietnam's climate is not cold for Westerners who get used with the minus degree temperature.
Whenever you are on an international trip, traveling with local money is necessary as it offers a lot of conveniences. While most of the popular tourist centers in Vietnam have the facility forforeign currency exchange or transactions, there would be some restaurants or tourist attractions that accept the local currency. In Vietnam, Dong is the currency, and one NZ dollar is roughly 15,500-16,000 approximately. The extra zeros in the Dong can confuse you as the denomination is enormous, so make sure to double check before handing over your notes.
Culture behaviors in Vietnam
When you are in a foreign country, it is essential to show your respect to local people and their unique culture through small things like wearing right clothes when in pagodas and other sacred places, interacting with elders and asking permission to take photos of a stranger, etc. Vietnamese people are quite friendly and are the most welcoming, too.
Learn the art of bargaining
Try learning the art of negotiation, especially when you are in Vietnam. Price bargaining is an inevitable part of Vietnamese culture so make sure that whenever you want to buy anything, and you feel the price is not fair, try your bargaining skills. Be wise in choosing the right time to shop during your travel from New Zealand to Vietnam. Vietnamese vendors consider the first sale very important, and they take it as bad luck if they lose the very first sale.
Etiquette in temples
Temples, pagodas and sacred places are one among the main attractions in Vietnam and backpackers come here to visit the beautiful structures and intricate designs dating back to centuries. Though Vietnam is predominately a Buddhist country, it has the influence of other religionstoo. To end up being offensive when visiting religious sites, take particular care to maintain the right dress code and follow the temple etiquette. You must wear long bottom wear that reaches below the knee and the shirts with at least half or full sleeves. During travel from New Zealand to Vietnam, it is customary for women to cover their shoulders with a shawl if required. Also, make sure that you don't touch people on the head especially when you address monks.
Internet access and Wi-Fi availability are moderatein the country, and hence it is quite easy to access the internet in major tourist destinations and cities. There are some exceptions like Halong bay where night hours are spent onboard sailing offshore, and Wi-Fi would be very slow if not disconnected. Free Wi-Fi is generally available at restaurants, hotels, coffee shops,and shopping malls in both towns and cities. But internet connectivity is inferior in remote areas and rural villages. You need to make sure the hotels have Wi-Fi facilities while confirming your tour program under any of theVietnam packages.
Traveling during Tet
The most significant and widely celebrated public event in Vietnam is the New lunar new year – the popular Tet. It happens in January end or mid-February and is an official holiday for 3 days. It is recommended not to travel during the Tet period usually a week before or after the event. Though Vietnam is colorful and vibrant during new year celebrations, flights, business and trains, and restaurant are often expensive. Most of the restaurants, shops and popular tourist sites may be closed even a week after the New Year. If you plan to travel from New Zealand to Vietnam or any other location during this period, make sure that you have uninterrupted service options.
Must See Locations in Vietnam
The incredible natural beauty and unique charm are the most attractive features that drive backpackers to Vietnam. The green rice fields in Sapa and fascinating bustle of Mekong data are just a small part of the surprises that awaits the visitors to the country with a rich history andtraditions. So, let's explore some of the most amazing locations in Vietnam that can include in your Vietnam itinerary.
Located in the banks of the Red River, Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam with well-preserved ancient buildings, pagodas, unique museums, etc. It is a great place to explore the French colonial architecture and also famous for its vibrant nightlife, handicrafts, silk, and delectable cuisine.
How to reach there
Hanoi has the largest airport in Vietnam, the Noi Bai international airport located just around 35 km away from the city and can easily access by shuttle buses and taxi services. Many direct flight services are available from Auckland to Hanoi, with 1 or 2 stop overs at Bangkok or Brisbane and Taoyuan. During your travel from New Zealand to Vietnam you can also take a direct flight to Ho Chi Minh city from Auckland and then get to Hanoi by train which is a 3-day journey. Bus services are also available from different cities in Vietnam to Hanoi that is more cost-effective.
Designated a world heritage site, Halong Bay is a scatter of island with its towering limestone karsts and natural wonder. With more than 1,600 archipelagoes in the bay, the limestone structures formed over 500 million years and covered by thick jungle growth. At the center of the Halong Bay, there are over 700 formations, and this is a fantastic destination one should not miss while traveling to Vietnam.
How to reach there
Halong Bay is about 150 km from Hanoi, and you can reach the destination via a taxi or a minibus. If you are running short of time, then it would be better to depend on flight service from Ho Chi Minh City to Halong Bay, and you can find economic flight services if booked in advance.
Sapa is a small mountain town in Lao Cai, home to Hoang Lien Son Mountain range which is the highest peak in Vietnam. The quiet town is not only blessed with awe-inspiring natural beauty but also home to many different ethnic tribal groups. Enjoying nature and hiking are the real experience you can have in Sapa. Though the distance is short, the trekking at Sapa as part of Vietnam packagesis one of the challenging entertainments; you can cherish throughout life.
How to reach
Though there are multiple ways to reach Sapa, still it is one of the challenging destinations in Vietnam, due to its remoteness. Sapa located in a remote region and the routes includes a mix of easy and tough terrains. The easiest and preferred way of getting to Sapa is road (5 hours). If you want to take the overnight train, it is just 8 hours away by train to Lao Cai railway station. From there, you must take a shuttle bus service to reach the final destination. The train fare varies according to the season, but the standard rates are $39 to $150 depending on the class. The shuttle bus would cost around $2 to $3 but, make sure you negotiate.
Hoi an is a fishing village turned tourist location situated on the coast of the East Sea. Though development has transformed the city, the heart of Hoi An is still the old town with ancient Chinese styles shops and is often called the‘Venice of Vietnam.’ Hoi An has no airport and no train station either, the only way to reach Hoi An is by road. From Da Nang, you can reach Hoi Ancovering 40 kilometers. Da Nang has an airport and a train station and plenty of bus services.
How to reach
For reaching to HoiAn from any other country or other parts of Vietnam, book a flight to Da Nang airport and book a bus service or a taxi from Da Nang to Hoi An. Tax fair from Da Nang to Hoi An would cost around $25.
Phu Quoc is the largest island in Vietnam featuring pristine tropical forests, excellent and undamaged coral reefs. Phu Quoc constitutes 28 islands, and it is where most of Vietnam tourism takes place. It is home to some of the beautiful remote islands like Huon Xuong, renowned for its picturesque beach and protected waters.
How to reach there
The quick way to reach Phu Quoc is via Phu Quoc international airport located about 9 km away from Duong Dong. You can take a flight journey from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Phu Quoc airport and from there catch a taxi to the hotel or the tourist spot. If the weather permits, you can find ferries doing service from Ha Tien to Phu Quoc.
With over 4,000 years of history and echoes of other cultures from French to Chinese, Vietnam is a compelling destination for travelers from New Zealand. Hope, our travel tips would help you with the preparations you need to make for your visit to Vietnam. Vietnam is one of Southeast Asia's most exciting tourist destinations for the right reasons.
The country is a perfect destination for beach lovers, adventure seekers, history buffs and foodies alike. The country has managed to retain its old style feel despite the development and tourism going on. Obviously, all most all tour operators offer several UNESCO protected towns and world heritage sites in their Vietnam packages and because of this very reason Vietnam remains as one of the popular travel destinations for tourist from New Zealand and rest of the world.