Vietnam Tips and Hacks: 20 Key Things to Know About Vietnam

09, September, 2019

Vietnam Tips and Hacks: 20 Key Things to Know About Vietnam

Here’s a list of 20 tips and hacks of Vietnam for intending visitors, which would help you travel safely and settle down without stress.

●    Sort out your visa.
●    Vietnam’s quite a big country.
●    Organize your itinerary.
●    The weather is quite tricky.
●    Vietnamese people are lovely.
●    Wear simple outfits.
●    Vietnamese food is mouth-watering!
●    Ho Chi Minh City is dazzling.
●    Traffic is terrible!
●    Wi-Fi is amazing!
●    Avoid tap water!
●    Basic words in Vietnam.
●    Means of transportation.
●    Have your hotels address handy.
●    Be good at bargaining.
●    Splurging On Halong Bay is totally worth it.
●    Safety Precautions on a motorbike
●    Most Payment are made in cash.
●    Keep your belongings safe.
●    Currency notes can be confusing.
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●    Sort out your visa
This is undoubtedly one of the most important steps in traveling to Vietnam, and it might be quite confusing and stressful doing all that paper, but trust me, it's totally worth it.

The good news is, there are a lot of agencies online that help sort out your visa processing for a small fee.

On arriving at the airport, I would advise you double check your visa-on-arrival pre-approval documents.

Below i would be highlighting steps for your Vietnamese visa application online

●    Fill out your visa preference and contact information correctly.
●    Pay via credit card or paypal
●    Your approval letter arrives within 1-2 working days.
●    Travel with your approval letter, passport photographs and most importantly cash.
●    Submit to the visa officials on landing at the airport.

And Viola! Welcome to Vietnam


●    Vietnam is quite a big country
Vietnam might not be one of the most popular countries when it comes to tourism, but it boasts of a large expanse of land. You would be surprised that a train ride from one city to another can take as much as 20 hours.

Traveling from between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is about 1700 km which take about 32 hours to arrive at your destination.

●    Organize your itinerary
Organizing your itinerary makes your travels wonderful and also creates room for an unforgettable  experience.

Traveling to Vietnam with the idea of spending a week or less would let you miss out on the wonderful experience on their food culture and lifestyle.

You should spend at least a minimum of five days in every city you visit, so as to savor its beauty and create memories you will treasure for life.

●    The weather is quite tricky
Yes! The weather here can switch from hot to wet in a blink of an eye, generally Vietnam's weather is between humid and hot.

You would be surprised on how you can have two entirely different conditions in the same country. It could be snowing in Sapa Valley and at the same time terribly hot in Hanoi.

Vietnam is classified into three regions Northern Vietnam, Southern Vietnam, and Central Vietnam. Below is a summary of each of the weather conditions in these regions

●    Northern Vietnam
This region is characterized with wet summers and dry winters. During September till November is observed to be winter.

●    Southern Vietnam
Its can get quite hot in Southern Vietnam, especially during january and august.

●    Central Vietnam
There are only two seasons here in central Vietnam, wet and dry.

●    Vietnamese people are lovely
As opposed to the greedy and dishonest nature of Vietnamese people, I can assure you that they are quite lovely and friendly folks only when you break out from the local tourist stereotype.

You would be surprised how accommodating they can be especially in local paces, it gets better when you try to communicate with them, it is a whole new different perception.

●    Wear simple outfits
Basically, it depends on the weather of the city you are visiting. For warmer climates light clothing like T-shirts, shorts and a pair of flops would suffice. While in a colder climate it would be advisable you pack thicker clothing.

●    Vietnamese food is mouth-watering!
The menu list isn’t quite inexhaustive, from various types of meat garnished with seasoned vegetables and chilli peppers.

If you're a foodie then you are in the right place, there's a lot of unique mouth-watering delicacies to choose from.

Here are a list of delicacies to try out in Vietnam

●    Chom Chay ( Rice Crust)
●    Ninh Binh mountain snail
●    De tai chanh (Raw goat meat with lemon)
●    Kim Son raw fish salad
●    Nem chua Yen mackintosh ( Yen mackintosh soured Pork Roll)
●    Mam tep (Shrimp paste)
●    Bun moc (Rice noodle with “moc” soup)
●    Pho
●    Cha Cha
●    Buh Cha ( Grilled pork and noodles)
●    Nem Ran/Cha Gio  ( Spring roll filled with seasoned pork, crab, sea shells, dried onions and edible mushrooms )

●    Ho Chi Minh City is dazzling
Apart from being the commercial city of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is an electrifying place, boasting of various attractions like malls, art, music and a great deal of dazzling night life.

It houses expensive restaurants, food stalls, rooftop bars, lounges and high end cafes.

●    Traffic is terrible!
Major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh cities are faced with hectic traffic, with motorbike trying to maneuver here and there and loud honking of cars.

It can be quite frustrating, though, as there are less cross roads, cities like Saigon has a large amount of moto bike movement.

Therefore it’s advisable to be very careful when taking walks along Vietnamese  roads.

●    Wi-Fi is amazing!
You would be surprised at how fast the internet connection can be in Vietnam, maybe except we have fiber optic cable eating rats, which is almost nearly impossible.

The network reliable and can be found almost everywhere, even in regular cafes and food stalls, the speed is high as 150Mbps.

To get regular connection anywhere anytime, it would be advisable to get a sim card and a mobile wifi router. Interestingly, there is a wide variety of affordable plans for text, voice and data. You can get cheap plans for as low as 15$ for 20GB of data

You don't have to worry about instant messaging on WhatsApp or voice and video calls on Skype and Facetime.

●    Avoid tap water!
To avoid typhoid or constant tummy pains, stay away from tap water, even if you have to brush your teeth, do not use tap water. Bottled water or a water purifier bottle would do justice to the hazards of tap water.

●    Basic words in Vietnam
The Vietnamese language can be quite tricky, as pronouncing words might prove difficult.

Nevertheless, it would be advisable to understand basic words so as to be able to communicate with the locals as very few of the locals understand and speak English.

Basic Vietnamese words and their translations.

For Conversations
●    Hello – Xin chào (sin chow)
●    Thank you – Cảm ơn (gauhm uhhn)
●    Excuse me/Sorry – Xin loi (seen loy)
●    What’s your name – Ban ten gi (ban thane zee)
●    My name is… – Toi la… (thoy la…)
●    Sorry = Xin Loi (Sin Loy)
●    No Problem = Khong co gi (Khong koh zi)
●    Goodbye = Tam Biet (Tarm Byeet)
●    No, Thank You! = Khong! Cam On (Khom, kahm uhn)
●    Can you speak English? = Ban noi tieng anh duoc khong? (Banh noi thien an durkh khom)
●    How old are you? = Ban bao nhieu tuoi (Ban ban nyew twoi)
●    I am __ years old = Toi ___ tuoi (toy ___ doyy)
●    What is your name? = Ten ban la gi?  (Ten bang la zi)

For Directions
●    Where is the taxi rank? = Taxis o dau? (Taxis urh dauh?)
●    Where is the ATM? =  May rut tien ATM o dau? (May root tien ATM urn dole)
●    Go Straight = Di Thang ( Di Thaang)
●    Go Left = Re Trai (Se chai)
●    Go Right = Re Phai (Se fih)
●    Stop = Dung Lai ( Duhng laai)
●    Go to the airport = Di san bay (Di sun bay)
●    Can I have a map? = cho toi mot cai ban do ( chor toi mot cai ban dor)
●    How far is it = Bao xa (Bao seh)
●    Far = Xa (seh)
●    Close = Gan (Gunh)
●    Downtown = Trung Tam thanh pho (Trumh tam tan fo)
●    District = Quan (Wung)
●    Station = Ga
●    Bus stop = Tram xe bus (Tram seh butt)
●    Where? = O dau (uh dow?)
●    Wait 5 minutes = Cho nam phut (Churhn nam foot)

For Shopping
●    How much? = Bao nhieu? (Baow nyew)
●    Too expensive = Mac Qua (Mac wa)
●    Can you reduce the price? = Giam gia duoc khong? (zam za duoc khom)
●    Do you want to sell? = co ban khong? ( cor ban kohm?)
●    I want to buy = toi muon mua (Toi mu-on mua)
●    One size larger = mot size lon hon ( Mot size lunh hunh)
●    One size smaller = mot size nho hon (Mot size nyunh hunh)
●    What do you do? = Ban lam gi? (Ban lahm zi?)
●    *You are very beautiful = Em dep qua (Em dep wah)
●    *You are very handsome = Anh dep trai qua (Anh dep wah)

For Food and Drinks
●    Excuse me (to waitress) = Chi oi
●    Excuse me (to waiter) = Anh oi
●    I am hungry = Toi doi bung qua (Toi doi bhung wa)
●    What is it? = Cai gi vay? (kai zi vai)
●    The bill please = Tinh Tien (Din ting)
●    May I have the menu = cho toi cai menu duoc khong (cho toy khai menu duuc khom)
●    I am allergic to peanut = To di ung voi dau phong (Doi yi ung voy dau fong)
●    I can not eat pork = toi khong an duoc thit heo (Toi khom an duo tit hehll)
●    I am vegetarian = Toi an chay (Toi an chayh)
●    I would like to have this = cho toi cai nay ( Chor toi kah nai)
●    Chicken = Ga (Gar)
●    Rice = Com (Gurm)
●    Rice Noodle = Bun (Bumg)
●    Egg noodle = Mi (Mee)
●    Pork = Heo (Heyoh)
●    Beer = Bia
●    Beef = Bo (boh)
●    Cold = Lanh (Langh)
●    Hot =  Nong
●    No Ice = Khong da (Khom dar)
●    No sugar = Khong duong (Khom dueng)
●    1 more = 1 cai (tem mop kai)

●    Means of transportation
Movement from one place to another can be done with

●    Motorbike
●    Motorbike taxis
●    Taxis
●    Uber
●    Buses
●    Trains
●    Flight

●    Have your hotels address handy
Incase you ever got lost, this would be a life saver. Just hand your hotel business card to your taxi driver and you would be returned to the hotel you are lodged.

●    Be good at bargaining
This would go a long way to reduce your expenses when buying stuff, whilst you haggle, you don't have to be rude.

With awesome bargaining skills,  you can have a meal for less than 5$, it doesn't just stop at food it extends to clothes, belts, electronics, cell phones, etc.

●    Splurging On Halong Bay is totally worth it
Halong Bay is situated in Northeastern region of Vietnam recognized for its sparkling transparent waters with thousands of karst regions encapsulated with rainforest. It boasts of astonishing boat cruises, kayaking experiences, scuba diving, hiking, rock climbing activities. It is worth every penny you spend.

●    Safety Precautions on a motorbike
In case you find yourself making use of motorbikes as a means of transportation, it would be advisable you adhere you the following

●    Always wear your helmet especially when you are in traffic.
●    Avoid dropping earrings.
●    Avoid outfit with too much details and make sure your bags are tightly zipped.

●    Most Payment are made in cash.
Having your ATM card handy would not suffice when you run out of cash, especially when you are out of major cities.

●    Keep your belongings safe.
It's  important you keep your devices or purses out of sight to prevent losing it or being snatched, Important things like your visa document and passport should be kept in your hotel.

●    Currency notes can be confusing.
The official Vietnamese currency is dong, and 1 USD is about 21,000-22,000 dong in exchange, which means you would have a lot of cash that can amount to millions.

Here's the tricky part there certain currency note that have a striking semblance;

The 10,000 dong note looks a lot like the 100,000 dong note while,

The 50,000 dong note looks a lot like the 500,000 dong note.

Therefore, wherever you find yourself paying for any product or service especially around locals it is important to double-check your currency note before you hand them over, mistakes can be quite costly.

There’s so much to see and do in Vietnam and it’s guaranteed that unforgettable pleasant memories would be created.