Vietnam is an amazing country full of a vast range of different geographical features amazing food dishes and incredible attractions. Many people think Vietnam will be difficult to travel due to some key challenges we all face our first time in the country. Well, we are here to tell you it’s easier then you think and well worth it. From life on the Mekong River and Bai Tu Long Bay to the bustling cities you can really find such a variety here. These simple steps will be more than prepared for your trip to Vietnam.
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When should I not travel to Vietnam?
If you have ever traveled anywhere tropical you know about the rainy season. We have traveled a couple of the countries in Asia during that time of the year but have never seen anything like Vietnam’s rainy season. For Vietnam rainy season is from January to September every year. It can get pretty crazy. We were in Hoian when it all started, to be honest, it didn’t stop raining for almost a month. We had slight breaks in the rain but it had rained so much that the water was over the roof on some of the houses in the old town. We really had never seen anything like it before. But when talking with the locals they said this is something that happens every year! We were in such shock but the locals we giving boat rides through the restaurants and down the streets. If you are traveling somewhere like Ho Chi Minh City its more developed then old town and is nowhere near as bad. Check out the video below to see how bad it really was!
Before you travel to this amazing country make sure you check out these things to know before you go.
Is it safe to drink tap water in Vietnam?
There is one answer to this. No. When in Asia, in general, it’s really not ok to drink tap water you can get very sick but in Vietnam especially is where we had issues with it. When we were staying in our hotel I caught the hotel owner using chlorine tablets in tap water jugs and giving it to the guest. We suggest that when you are traveling to always use unopened bottles of water and to sure they are sealed. If you don’t break the seal yourself you could end up in the same situation I did. It can cause some pretty serious health issues if you encounter the wrong water and it hasn’t been cleaned. You can end up in the hospital and if you are in the hospital overseas the fees can build up pretty quickly so I suggest you also have travelers insurance.
Can a foreigner drive in Vietnam?
Most people know Vietnam for its amazing countryside and mountain views. Just about anyone can rent a motorbike in Vietnam and many do for the long trip from the south to the north or the Ha Giang Loop. It takes months sometimes to ride the whole way and people that have never ridden a motorcycle do it. Do we suggest it? I’m not sure, we haven’t done it but many people say its amazing. What I don’t suggest is you getting a motorbike if you have never ridden one before. Especially if you are spending time in Hanoi, it can be very very hectic and could be potentially life-threatening if you don’t know what you are doing. Even though it’s so easy to rent a motorbike without a license I suggest you get an international driver’s license. They aren’t that expensive and can be obtained pretty easy. If you don’t feel comfortable riding a motorcycle after this your next best option for long-distance travel would be to travel by train. They offer a very affordable way to get around the cities and you don’t have to worry about watching where other people are going or driving.
If you are looking to backpack through Vietnam make sure you check this essential guide
Vietnam visa on arrival
There are 5 main surprises about the visa issue which apply to any cities you go to in Vietnam.
- The stamping fee for a visa at Vietnam airport is only payable in cash.
- You need photos and There is currently no photo boot inside the arrival hall at Vietnam airport so you have to prepare for this.
- You are not guaranteed to get a visa directly at the airport. You have to apply online for an approval letter
- You can’t get a visa on arrival at land or sea borders. Visa on arrival works for air travel only.
- Many people think that the visa will start from the date they enter Vietnam, This is not correct. The visa’s effective date is from the date you provide, not from the date you enter the country.
Now one important thing you need to know is that… it takes me about 2 weeks to receive the visa that I applied online by myself, but if you don’t want to do it by yourself and you are in rush in getting a visa for your next Vietnam trip, we would recommend you to use the service from visa agent. For example with vietnamvisacheap.net, their Normal processing time is way faster. They guarantee is at 2 working days. But you can get also urgent processing which will take only 1 day to get a visa or even super urgent processing that will take only 1 hour to get a visa. They can get you the visa letter which pre-approval by the Vietnam Immigration Department for up to 5 different purposes.
Do they speak English in Vietnam?
I think the most difficult thing about traveling Vietnam as a US citizen that knows only English is that they speak very very little English, Navigating places like Hanoi can be difficult. I highly suggest you download an application such as google translate that you can use offline. This will make your travels a lot easier if you don’t speak Vietnamese. I am not saying everyone doesn’t speak English because if you are in the major cities in the main tourist attractions you will most likely be fine. You really only have a difficult time when it really local places like the countrysides and local markets.
All in all, have a great time on your trip to Vietnam, just keep some of these simple things in mind when traveling. If you want to check our FULL VIDEO GUIDE we have that on our YOUTUBE CHANNEL showing you an in-depth guide to all the best and even some of the most unknown local spots!
When you are traveling Ho Chi Minh City Don’t miss these 7 Day Trips That We Love.
IF you are planning a trip make sure to check out our Must know and travel essential Packing list that is completely free! DOWNLOAD IT HERE