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					                                                                      NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                           For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                   For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam

 We have made every effort to ensure these notes are accurate and up-to-date. We urge you wherever
 possible to check details on the relevant web sites and to check with us if you are not sure.

 Visas & Entry Requirements
    immigration/customs                     You must obtain a visa prior to travel. Arrival visa is acceptable but you must to
    passport validity                       make sure with your sponsor or inviter prior to travel. You should check visa
    information from relevant authorities   validity and conditions carefully. They are usually valid for one month. There
    reference to official websites          are fines and/or imprisonment if you overstay your visa. Entry to Vietnam may
                                             be refused if your passport has less than six months validity. For further
                                             information, check with your nearest Vietnam Embassy.

                                             Single parents or other adults travelling alone with children should be aware that
                                             some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before
                                             allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting
                                             the children to leave the country.

                                             You should retain the yellow customs form on entry to Vietnam, as this is
                                             required for exit. If you lose this form you are likely to be fined on departure.

                                             If you lose your passport or have over-stayed you will need to apply for a new
                                             passport at your Embassy in Vietnam; apply for a new visa from the Immigration
                                             authorities in order to leave the country. This can only be done during working
                                             hours and usually takes five to ten working days.

 Travel Advice
                                                    Outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Vietnam have resulted in a
                                                     small number of human fatalities. As a precaution, you should avoid
                                                     live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may
                                                     come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds; and ensure
                                                     poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked. For further information
                                                     see Health section below and also read the FCO’s Avian and Pandemic
                                                     Influenza Factsheet.

                                                    Around 80,000 British tourists visit Vietnam every year. Most visits are
                                                     trouble-free. The main type of incident for which British nationals
                                                     require consular assistance in Vietnam is for petty crime (mostly theft)
                                                     and deaths, mostly from natural causes. Serious or violent crimes
                                                     against foreigners are rare. The majority of consular cases occur in Ho
                                                     Chi Minh City, Hanoi and in the central Hue/ Danang region.

                                                    We strongly recommend that you obtain comprehensive travel and
                                                     medical insurance before travelling. You should check any exclusions,
                                                     and that your policy covers you for the activities you want to
                                                     undertake. Please see: Travel Insurance.


 Immunisation / Vaccination
  health advice                             For the most part, Hanoi is generally a healthy place, but respiratory and skin
  immunisation/vaccination requirement      problems are prevalent in the hot and humid conditions associated with living in
  other requirement/advice, e.g.            tropical climates. However, just about every tropical disease, except Yellow
   medical & travel insurance, where         Fever, is endemic in Vietnam so it is vital that you and your family make early
   applicable                                contact with your preferred clinic to arrange the necessary vaccinations. Make
                                             sure your typhoid, tetanus, polio and tuberculosis (BCG) immunisations are up
                                             to date, and that children and babies accompanying you to Post are immunised

Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                         Page 1 of 16
                                                                 NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                         For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                 For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                        according to UK recommendations.

                                        There are two FCO approved health clinics in Hanoi, the SOS International
                                        clinic (on the ground floor of the Embassy building); and the Hanoi Family
                                        Medical Practice. Both are staffed and run by expatriates, offer a high standard
                                        of medical care, have “stabilisation” facilities and both offer quick and effective
                                        medical evacuation services. However, for more serious or urgent medical
                                        attention, staff should expect to be medivaced. The Hanoi French Hospital
                                        offers an adequate overall standard of hospital care but does not cover every
                                        situation. Medical facilities outside Hanoi, other than maybe urban centres, are
                                        rudimentary at best.

                                        Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) are free from malaria. However, malaria
                                        has been prevalent in the border regions with Cambodia and Laos and in the
                                        Mekong delta and anyone planning to travel outside the main cities, particularly
                                        those planning to overnight in rural areas, should check Post’s latest advice.
                                        Japanese Encephalitis and dengue fever are serious threats; so officers should
                                        avoid mosquito bites.
                                         .
                                        Hepatitis is also a risk, so officers and their families should carefully wash fresh
                                        food and choose restaurants carefully, especially in the summer months.
                                        Bottled water for drinking and cooking is provided by the Embassy.

                                        Both SOS International and the Hanoi Family Medical Practice clinics have
                                        dental facilities which can deal with dental health to a reasonably high standard.

                                        You do not need to register upon arrival with International SOS but it is
                                        advisable to do so, UKA staff on none harmonised contracts are set up on
                                        SOS’s system and the Council is billed directly for treatment and medicines.

 Climate & Clothing
  average monthly temperatures in 0C
  climate recommendations              Country
  customs/culture
  fashion guides                       The Socialist Republic of Vietnam lies along the eastern coast of the
  national attire                      Indochinese Peninsula. It is a long and narrow country, over 1,600 kms in
  reference to official weather        length covering an area of just under 330,000 square kilometres.
   reports
                                        The northern border is with China; to the west lies Laos and the south west,
                                        Cambodia. The country is wider at its northern and southern ends while the
                                        central part is narrow, as little as 50km at its narrowest point. The eastern side
                                        of the country is a 3,000 km coastline along the South China Sea.

                                        Three quarters of the country is mountains and hills, the highest of which is
                                        Phan Si Pan (3,143m). The Truong Son mountains run almost the entire length
                                        of the country. The main cultivated areas are in the north, around the Red River
                                        Delta and in the south around the Mekong Delta.

                                        In addition to the mainland, Vietnam comprises various offshore islands
                                        including Phu Quoc off the coast of Cambodia, and lays claim to the Paracel
                                        Islands east of Danang and the Spratly Islands, the latter being claimed by
                                        several other countries in the region.

                                        Hanoi is the second largest city in Vietnam (after Ho Chi Minh City formerly
                                        called Saigon) with a land area of over 3,000 square kilometres and a
                                        population in excess of 6 million. Hanoi lies in the fertile Red River Delta.
                                        Hanoi’s terrain is relatively flat, though surrounding areas consist of mountains


Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                    Page 2 of 16
                                                           NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                        For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                  and hills up to over 450m high. Most of the city lies at an average of 5m above
                                  sea level, although parts are more than 10m below sea level protected only by
                                  artificial embankments.

                                  There is a small resident British Community, approximately 500 people, mainly
                                  business, NGO’s and teachers. It is increasing as economic reform produces
                                  increased growth and opportunities for trade and investment.

                                  Some useful websites:-
                                  Http://www.newhanoian.xemzi.com
                                  Http://www.ukinveitnam.gov.uk
                                  http://english.vietnamnet.vn/

                                  Geography

                                  Covering an area of 329,600 square kilometres, Vietnam extends across two
                                  climatic zones with a moderate climate in the North, comparable to that of
                                  Southern Europe, and a tropical climate in the South. Hanoi is, like Hong Kong,
                                  located at a geographical latitude slightly to the South of Cairo or the Canary
                                  Islands, while Ho Chi Minh City is at a geographical latitude only slightly to the
                                  North of the Nigeria capital Lagos.

                                  Altogether the country stretches for more than 1,650 kilometres from North to
                                  South. The coastline of Vietnam is about 3,000 kilometres long. Mountains and
                                  hills cover four-fifths of Vietnam’s territory with the Truong Son range stretching
                                  over 1,400km. Mount Fansipan (3,142m) is the highest peak in Southeast Asia.

                                  The West of the country is bordered by Laos and Cambodia, the North is
                                  bordered by China, the East and South are bordered by the South China Sea.

                                  Climate
                                  Hanoi has four distinct seasons. During spring (March and April) and autumn
                                  (October and November) the climate is pleasantly warm and dry. Summers
                                  (May to September) are hot with temperatures averaging 78-90°F (25-32°C) and
                                  very humid. During the winter (December to February) there are long periods of
                                  low cloud and drizzle. The air is very damp and temperatures can drop sharply
                                  within a few hours to as low as 42°F (8°C).

                                  HCMC has a tropical climate, specifically a tropical wet and dry climate, with an
                                  average humidity of 75%. A year is divided into two distinct seasons. The rainy
                                  season, usually begins in May and ends in late November. The dry season lasts
                                  from December to April. The average temperature is 28 °C (82 °F), the highest
                                  temperature sometimes reaches 39 °C (102 °F) around noon in late April, while
                                  the lowest may fall below 16 °C (61 °F) in the early mornings of late December

                                  Clothing requirements

                                  During the heat and humidity of summer it is best to avoid clothes that contain
                                  synthetic fibres, especially underwear. Clothes and shoes can be adversely
                                  affected by Hanoi’s climate. It is wise to leave draws open and dehumidifiers
                                  on. Cotton underwear and socks, formal shirts and swimming gear are best
                                  brought from the UK. In winter good quality woollen jumpers can usually be
                                  bought and ski jackets and winter coats.

                                  Men’s clothing - in summer business attire is lightweight suits with long or short-
                                  sleeved shirts and ties. Open-neck shirts with lightweight trousers are suitable
                                  for e.g., casual dinners and receptions. Short-sleeved shirts, which should be


Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                             Page 3 of 16
                                                             NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                           For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                   For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                    100% cotton, can be made to measure cheaply.

                                    In winter, ties and jackets during office hours with light to medium weight suits
                                    for all formal occasions and at dinner parties. Occasionally a sweater,
                                    raincoat/overcoat or anorak is necessary.

                                    Occasions when dinner jackets are worn are extremely rare and even then
                                    dinner dress is usually not obligatory.

                                    Women’s clothing - lightweight, natural fibres are best for the hot and humid
                                    summer months and women should bring a range of dresses, blouses, skirts
                                    and trousers. In autumn and winter, London weight clothes are necessary, as
                                    are warm jumpers and tights. Reasonably priced cotton and silk clothes can be
                                    made up locally (although quality varies) which is what most women end up
                                    doing.

                                    Most functions are informal. At National Day celebrations and the more formal
                                    dinner parties, dresses and skirts are usually worn. It is probably true to say that
                                    items purchased in the UK are more likely to stand the test of time than locally
                                    produced goods, especially underwear, nightwear, tights etc. These items are
                                    available locally but are usually only for the smaller Vietnamese figure.

                                    Children’s clothing - there is clothing available at reasonable prices and
                                    synthetics are easily obtainable, but you will not get the range of clothing or
                                    quality available in the UK. Many clothes are made of a polyester cotton mix,
                                    although some shops now stock cotton goods. Consider bringing baby wear,
                                    pure cotton underwear and warm clothes with you. It is near impossible to get
                                    decent children’s shoes.



 Communication & Time Zones
    GMT+ or – (time zones)         Business hours
    international dialling codes
    internet access                One legacy of the French in Vietnam is the long lunch hour often extending to
    mobile coverage                two hours or more. Business hours tend to be 08.00 to 11.30 and 13.30 to
    telephones                     16.30, especially at government offices, although private companies and shops
                                    obviously open for longer hours.

                                    Telecommunications

                                    International phone call charges from Vietnam are among the highest in
                                    the world. It is therefore advisable to set up a skype account on your home
                                    computer.

                                    Faxes and emails can be sent from most hotels and mobile phones are popular
                                    in Vietnam.

                                    Mobile phone Sim cards are readily available and national calls reasonably
                                    priced.

                                    To save costs, you can press 171 or 178 before press 00 for calling out of
                                    Vietnam and for calling between cities in Vietnam.

                                    Example:         171 + 00 + country code + area code + Tel number
                                                     178 + 0 + area code + Tel number




Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                Page 4 of 16
                                                                NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                         For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                 For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam

 British Council Contact Information & Emergency Contact Information
    addresses
    intranet                            British Council Vietnam
    maps (Google and/or Windows maps)
    staff name/s, telephone, fax, email Address: British Council, Hanoi
    web site                                     20 Thuy Khue,
                                                  Tay Ho District
                                                  Hanoi

                                                 British Council, Ho Chi Minh City
                                                 25 Le Duan, District 1
                                                 Ho Chi Minh City

                                      Vietnam country website: http://www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam

                                      Business days and hours: The British Council in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City is
                                      open seven days a week to the public, offering information services, teaching
                                      and exams. Core office working hours at the British Council follow local practice
                                      for office hours: Monday to Friday, 0830–1200 and 1330–1730.

                                      Contact details during business hours
                                        British Council, Hanoi
                                        Telephone: +84 (0)4 38436780
                                        Fax: +84 (0)4 38434962
                                        E-mail: Firstname.Surname@britishcouncil.org.vn
                                        (e.g. ngoc.dao@britishcouncil.org.vn)

                                         British Council, Ho Chi Minh City
                                         Telephone: +84 (0)8 38232862
                                         Fax: +84 (0)8 38232861

                                      Contact details after business hours

                                         British Council, Hanoi
                                         Telephone: +84 (0)4 37281946 (Guards)
                                         Name: Robin Rickard, Director Vietnam
                                         Mobile phone : +84 (0)903425506
                                         Name: Yen Le, HR Manager
                                         Mobile phone : +84 (0)905 644688

                                         British Council, Ho Chi Minh City
                                         Name: Alison Ball, Director Ho Chi Minh City
                                         Mobile phone: +84 (0)903829780
                                         Name: Le Anh Tho, Assistant Director Ho Chi Minh City
                                         Mobile phone: +84 (0)903036930

                                      British Embassy
                                      Central Building
                                       th
                                      4 Floor, 31 Hai Ba Trung
                                      Hanoi
                                      Tel: +84 (0)4 3936 0500
                                      M: +84 (0)90 340 4919 – Duty Officer Mobile
                                      Fax: + 84 (0)4 3936 0562 – Consular

                                      email: behanoi@fpt.vn
                                      website: http://www.uk-vietnam.org/



Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                               Page 5 of 16
                                                                        NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                             For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                     For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                               British Consulate General
                                               25 Le Duan, District 1
                                               Ho Chi Minh City
                                               Tel: + 84 (0)8 3829 8433
                                               Fax: +84 (0)8 3829 5257
                                               email: bcghcmc@vnn.vn

                                               External contact details
                                               Police                                    : Dial 113
                                               Fire Station                              : Dial 114
                                               Ambulance                                 : Dial 115
                                               General Information                       : Dial 1080

 History of British Council in Vietnam
  overview (<250 words)                       The British Council began operating in Vietnam in 1993 and has offices in Hanoi
                                               and Ho Chi Minh City.

                                               We work closely with the British Embassy, British Consulate General and DFID
                                               (Department for International Development) in Vietnam. We build long-term
                                               partnerships and networks between Vietnam and the UK. We develop mutual
                                               beneficial projects with Vietnamese partners and offer development
                                               opportunities for individuals, education institutions, governments and business
                                               organisations. We do this through on-line and face-to-face exchanges between
                                               people

 Money
    accepted denominations                    Currency exchange
    ATM - type and location
    credit card types                         There are moneychangers in the airports, and high-end hotels will also change
    British Council travel rates and          money. For travellers’ cheques you will have to go to a bank. For current
     allowances – PIE, meals, etc.             exchange rates, check this link. For exchange purposes, the US dollar is far
    British Council exchange rate             and away the most useful currency to bring with you. Despite foreign exchange
    travellers cheques                        laws prohibiting the use of dollars in day-to-day transactions, dollars are readily
    type of money                             accepted at most establishments.
    tipping / gratuities - common practices
                                               Most of the Banks in Vietnam offer the full range of banking services. Major
     & amount
                                               credit cards are now accepted in most tourist destinations and many banks can
    VAT or sales taxes added to bills
                                               organise cash advances for Visa and MasterCard, usually at a rate of 3%
    reference to official websites            commission. Some travellers cafes provide this service at higher rates, but they
                                               operate daily -banks usually close weekends. Due to a recent increase in stolen
                                               travellers’ cheques, many banks now require that you present the purchase
                                               voucher along with your passport when cashing the cheques. 24-hr ATM's,
                                               dispensing Dong only, are available at: ANZ Bank, HSBC, Standard Chartered
                                               Bank, Vietcombank, Vietin Bank - Most branches nationwide.

                                                UK staff have opened personal bank accounts with Standard Chartered Bank.
                                               SCB offer a cheque facility which credits your account within 2 weeks, there is a
                                               charge for this of around 15 GBP. You will also need to open an account with
                                               Vietcom bank in order for you to have a Dollar account to process BC claims
                                               (application form in welcome pack) There are a growing number of ATM
                                               machines in Hanoi. A number of ATMs will also accept VISA linked ATM cards
                                               but take a charge of 1%. The Admin team will assist you in opening bank
                                               accounts.

 Accommodation


Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                          Page 6 of 16
                                                                      NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                           For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                   For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
  British Council corporate hotels          Sofitel Hanoi Plaza
  Other recommendations (list a             1 Thanh Nien Road
   few credible sources for more             Tay Ho District, Hanoi
   information)                              T       +84 (0)4 38238888
                                             F       +84 (0)4 38294283
                                             Email: resvn@sofitelplazahn.com.vn
                                             Website: http://www.sofitel.com/gb/hotel-3553-sofitel-plaza-hanoi/index.shtml

                                             Hanoi Horison Hotel
                                             40 Cat Linh, Hanoi
                                             T       +84 (0)4 37330808
                                             F       +84 (0)4 37330888
                                             Email: sales@hanoihorisonhotel.com.vn
                                             Website: www.swiss-bellhotel.com

                                             Duxton Hotel
                                             63 Nguyen Hue Street
                                             District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
                                             T         +84 (0)8 38225666
                                             F         +84 (0)8 38225888
                                             Email: reserv_mgr@saigon.duxton.com.vn
                                             Website: www.duxton.com

                                             Norfolk Hotel
                                             117 Le Thanh Ton Street
                                             District 1, Ho Chi Minh City
                                             T         +84 (0)8 38295368
                                             F         +84 (0)8 38293415
                                             Email : norfolk@bdvn.vnd.net
                                             Website : www.norkolkgroup.com

 Transportation / Getting Around
    airport procedures                      Hanoi
    arrival & departure
    buses                                   Noi Bai Airport
    car rental
    customs & agricultural formalities      Hanoi is served by Noi Bai International Airport, located in the Soc Son District,
    location maps to and from main points   approximately 40 km (25 mi) north of Hanoi. Noi Bai is the only international
    taxis                                   airport for the northern regions of Vietnam.
    trains
                                             There are two main highways linking the airport and city. The route to the city
    underground
                                             via Thang Long Bridge is more direct than Highway 1, which runs along the
                                             outskirts of the city. The main highways are shared by cars, motor scooters, with
                                             separate lanes by the side for bicycles. Taxis are plentiful and usually have trip
                                             meters, although it is also common to agree on the trip price before taking a taxi
                                             from airport to the city centre.

                                             Hanoi is about 45-minute ride from the Airport. Vietnam Airlines’ Airport Taxi
                                             charges US$16 – US$18 between Noi Bai and Hanoi. The Airport minibus
                                             costs VND35,000 per person in either direction and drops passengers
                                             downtown on Quang Trung Street.

                                             Getting around town

                                             In Hanoi fleets of cyclos (bicycle rickshaw) cruise the streets looking for custom.
                                             A cyclo ride can be a pleasant way to see the city. It is unwise to take a cyclo
                                             late at night.


Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                       Page 7 of 16
                                                           NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                        For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam


                                  Taxis in Hanoi are abundant. They are usually booked by phone although they
                                  can sometimes be hailed on the street.

                                  Hanoi Taxi’s Tel: 04 38535353
                                  Mai Linh Taxi’s: 04 38222666

                                  Some of the smaller taxi’s have been known to be running meter scams, in
                                  order to over charge you, this usually happens when hailed on the street. You
                                  may want to use the bigger firms as listed above in order to avoid this.

                                  Normally, taxis in Hanoi are metered to start between around VND10,000 to
                                  VND12,000 for the first 1.5km.

                                  Bicycles and motorbikes can be hired. Bicycles cost around $1 per day and
                                  motorbikes about $5 to $10. For running motorbikes, the local driving licence is
                                  required.

                                  Under Vietnamese law, safety helmets must be worn at all times when driving a
                                  motorbike.

                                  Ho Chi Minh City

                                  Tan Son Nhat Airport
                                  Tan Son Nhat International Airport (IATA: SGN, ICAO: VVTS), is the largest
                                  airport in Vietnam. It is located 6km (4 mi) north of the centre (District 1) of Ho
                                  Chi Minh City (previously known as Saigon).

                                  Tan Son Nhat International Airport operates from two terminal buildings -
                                  Domestic Terminal 1 and International Terminal 2. The new international
                                  terminal opened in September 2007 with the capacity of 8 to 10 million
                                  passengers per year, giving the airport a total capacity of 15-17 million
                                  passengers per annum.

                                  Travelling from Tan Son Nhat Airport to the city centre by taxi spends about 20
                                  to 30 minutes, but sometimes it takes a bit more than that during peak hours
                                  (07.00 - 08.30 & 17.00 – 18.30). A plenty of metered taxi companies are running
                                  their services 24 hours a day from the airport. However,
                                  It costs approximately VND 100,000 – VND120,000 (USD6 – USD8) to take
                                  passenger to downtown.

                                  Getting around the city
                                  Taxies and cyclos (bicycle rickshaw) are the most reliable mean of transports to
                                  travel around the city and its centre. However, the cyclos are restricted in a
                                  certain number of main streets. Any taxis also costs about VND10,000 to
                                  VND12,000 for the first 1.5km. The leading prestigious taxies companies are
                                  currently running their 24-hour services in the city as follows:

                                  Mai Linh Taxi: 08 38383838
                                  Vina Sun Taxi: 08 38272727
                                  Vina Taxi: 08 38111111
                                  Saigon Tourist Taxi: 38464646

                                  For experiencing a cyclo, a clear route and total cost would need to be agreed
                                  earlier with local drivers to avoid unnecessary arguments. Any advice on
                                  catching a cyclo before the trip should be taken from Concierge or Reception
                                  staff of your staying hotel costs.



Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                            Page 8 of 16
                                                           NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                        For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                  The public transport system is not diversified and efficient in Ho Chi Minh City
                                  as regarded the largest city of Vietnam – only air-conditioned buses are
                                  operating in this city, neither tram or tube. Travelling by bus is cheap but
                                  adventurous for foreign passengers in terms of its operation, running routes,
                                  and safety.

 Safety & Security
  common sense rules & observations
  firearms                          Safety and security

                                  The latest security advice on Vietnam can be found at the FCO website.

                                  Terrorism

                                  You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which
                                  could be deliberately aimed against civilian targets, including places frequented
                                  by foreigners. There have been serious attacks in other parts of South East
                                  Asia. Elsewhere in the region, Westerners were killed and injured following
                                  terrorist attacks in Indonesia; in Bali (October 2002 and October 2005) and
                                  Jakarta (August 2003, September 2004, July 2009).

                                  Please read: Security and General Tips and Risk of Terrorism when Travelling
                                  Overseas pages of the FCO website for further information and advice.

                                  Crime

                                  Crime levels are low, petty street crime is increasing in the larger cities (such as
                                  Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi) and tourist resorts. Several violent assaults
                                  against tourists were reported on Cat Ba Island (close to Ha Long Bay) and in
                                  Nha Trang (Central Vietnam). You should take sensible precautions. Do not
                                  walk in secluded locations alone, or with people you do not know. Petty crime is
                                  not confined to the backpacker district but also occurs in the main tourist
                                  shopping areas. Bag snatchers on motorbikes can also be a problem. You
                                  should avoid carrying handbags or wearing highly visible jewellery, especially
                                  necklaces, and expensive looking watches. When possible, leave passports
                                  and valuables in a hotel safe and only carry a photocopy of the data page of
                                  your passport. You should use taxis after dark to minimise the risk of robbery
                                  by cyclo or motorbike drivers.

                                  When travelling by bus or train, remain vigilant against petty theft. Always use
                                  licensed taxis or pre-arranged hotel pick-up when transferring from airports. Do
                                  not accept offers of free transfers to hotels, as these are likely to be bogus.

                                  You should be aware of spiked drinks, particularly late at night in the bars. You
                                  are advised not to leave food or drink unattended or to accept food or drink from
                                  strangers.

                                  Illegal drugs are increasingly available in major cities. You should be aware that
                                  drugs are likely to have been ‘tampered with’ or spiked.

                                  Political situation

                                  Vietnam operates a single party political system, which does not welcome
                                  dissent. Internal conflict is rare, although there have been some violent clashes
                                  between protestors and police in the Central Highlands region of Vietnam, which
                                  resulted in a number of deaths.



Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                             Page 9 of 16
                                                           NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                        For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam


                                  Road Safety

                                  Some parts of Vietnam are fairly inaccessible. In others, widespread road
                                  construction makes driving hazardous.

                                  The standard of driving and vehicle maintenance is poor, including for public
                                  transport, and is the cause of many accidents and injuries. Before driving any
                                  vehicle you must obtain a Vietnamese driving licence from the Vietnamese
                                  Road Administration in Hanoi, (fax: +84 4 3857 1440) or, in Ho Chi Minh City,
                                  from the Department of Public Works and Transportation (tel: +84 8 3829 0451
                                  or 0452, fax: +84 8 3829 0458). Vietnamese law requires the use of crash
                                  helmets for motorbike riders on major highways. You are advised to wear a
                                  crash helmet at all times when travelling by motorbike.

                                  Pedestrians should take particular care crossing roads in major cities. Driving is
                                  erratic and sometimes dangerous. Taxis are a common mode of transport, but
                                  you should be vigilant avoid using smaller unlicensed taxis. Always agree with
                                  the taxi driver the cost of your journey before embarking.

                                  Driving Licence

                                  Vietnamese driving licences are mandatory for all drivers of motor vehicles as
                                  well as for riders of motorcycles with a capacity of over 50cc. Non-Vietnamese
                                  citizens are only permitted to drive in Vietnam if they hold a temporary
                                  Vietnamese driver's licence.

                                  To convert a UK driving licence or an International Driving Permit into a
                                  temporary Vietnamese driver's licence, the applicant must first hold a valid
                                  Vietnamese residence permit of at least three month's validity and a current UK
                                  driving licence or a valid International Driving Permit. In Hanoi, applications for
                                  temporary driver's licences should be directed to the Office of Traffic & Public
                                  Works, 16 Cao Ba Quat Street . In Ho Chi Minh City, applications should be
                                  directed to the Office of Transportation, 63 Ly Tu Trong Street, District 1 -
                                  Telephone 38223760.

                                  To apply for a Vietnamese driving licence (either to drive a motor vehicle or a
                                  motorbike) (Admin team will assist with this process) in Hanoi , the applicant
                                  should contact the Centre for Automotive Training and Mechanism, 83A Ly
                                  Thuong Kiet Street – Telephone 39422715. . In Ho Chi Minh City , applications
                                  should be lodged with the Office of Transportation, 63 Ly Tu Trong Street,
                                  District 1 – Telephone 38223760.

                                  The penalties for driving offences should be clearly understood. For example,
                                  driving without a proper licence may involve severe penalties. Experience has
                                  shown that such penalties might be as much as a three year jail sentence for
                                  driving unlicensed, up to ten years imprisonment for driving unlicensed and
                                  causing an accident, and up to twenty years imprisonment for driving unlicensed
                                  and causing an accident resulting in death. Actual penalties are, of course,
                                  determined by the police and the courts.

                                  Local Travel

                                  Unexploded mines and ordnance are a continuing hazard in former battlefields,
                                  particularly in central Vietnam and along the Laos Boarder. You should not
                                  stray off main routes in rural areas and you should check with your tour operator
                                  before travelling to affected regions.



Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                            Page 10 of 16
                                                                        NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                           For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                   For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                               Sea Safety

                                               There have been attacks against ships in the waters off Vietnam. Mariners are
                                               advised to be vigilant; reduce opportunities for attacks; establish secure areas
                                               onboard; and report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities.

                                               Rail Safety

                                               Rail travel in Vietnam is generally safe (there was one serious accident in
                                               2004). There are sometimes incidents of crime on trains and therefore you
                                               should remain vigilant.

 Drinking Water
  availability
  safety                                      Water should not be consumed from the tap.

 Electricity
  plug type
  supply                                      The power supply is 220 volts and AC. Two-pin plugs are the norm, but as some
  type                                        are flat pin and others round, visitors are advised to bring an adapter.

 Doing Business
    building relationships                     Vietnamese prefer doing business with people they respect.
    business cards                            . Relationships develop slowly and do not flourish after one meeting; it may take
    business protocols                        several meetings.
    do’s & don’ts                             . Always be respectful and courteous when dealing with others as this leads to
    introductions                             the harmonious relationships necessary within business.
                                               . Rank is always respected. The oldest person in the group is revered.
                                               . It is difficult for many Vietnamese to say no, so you must be cognizant of their
                                               non- verbal communication.
                                               . Watch your body language and facial expressions, as these will be believed
                                               over your words.

 Language
  common language characters                  Vietnamese is the official language in Vietnam. Other languages spoken in
  common phrases & signs, e.g. airport,       Vietnam are French, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and Russian while English use
   toilet, taxi, bus, hello, thank you, etc.   is becoming more prevalent in government and commerce. English and French
  spoken languages                            are also being taught as a second language in secondary school and
  reference to auto-translation sites         universities.



 Business & Leisure Time
  work week begins on/ends on?                Business Hours: Most businesses are open from 0830 to 1730 hours, Monday
  working hours/definition of work            to Friday. Government offices are usually open from 0800-1630 hours.
   week


 Calendar
  if using non-British calendars -            Please check with a colleague in our office for a public holiday calendar of the
   public holidays, e.g. Islamic               month you plan to visit.
  public holidays



Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                        Page 11 of 16
                                                                   NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                         For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                 For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam

 Country Key Facts
  country flag
  location                              Country
  membership of international
   groups & organisations                The Socialist Republic of Vietnam lies along the eastern coast of the
  name of capital city                  Indochinese Peninsula. It is a long and narrow country, over 1,600 kms in
  official languages& use of English    length covering an area of just under 330,000 square kilometres.
  political system, head of state
  people (ethnicity)                    The northern border is with China; to the west lies Laos and the south west,
                                         Cambodia. The country is wider at its northern and southern ends while the
  population
                                         central part is narrow, as little as 50km at its narrowest point. The eastern side
  religion
                                         of the country is a 3,000 km coastline along the South China Sea.
  reference to principal websites run
   by country tourist organisations
                                         Three quarters of the country is mountains and hills, the highest of which is
                                         Phan Si Pan (3,143m). The Truong Son mountains run almost the entire length
                                         of the country. The main cultivated areas are in the north, around the Red River
                                         Delta and in the south around the Mekong Delta.

                                         In addition to the mainland, Vietnam comprises various offshore islands
                                         including Phu Quoc off the coast of Cambodia, and lays claim to the Paracel
                                         Islands east of Danang and the Spratly Islands, the latter being claimed by
                                         several other countries in the region.

                                         Hanoi is the second largest city in Vietnam (after Ho Chi Minh City) with a land
                                         area of over 900 square kilometres and a population in excess of 3 million.
                                         Hanoi lies in the fertile Red River Delta. Hanoi’s terrain is relatively flat, though
                                         surrounding areas consist of mountains and hills up to over 450m high. Most of
                                         the city lies at an average of 5m above sea level, although parts are more than
                                         10m below sea level protected only by artificial embankments.

                                         There is a small resident British Community, approximately 500 people, mainly
                                         business, NGO’s and teachers. It is increasing as economic reform produces
                                         increased growth and opportunities for trade and investment.

                                         Some useful websites:-
                                         Http://www.newhanoian.xemzi.com
                                         Http://www.ukinveitnam.gov.uk
                                         http://english.vietnamnet.vn/

                                         Population

                                         The population of Vietnam is approximately 84 million. Ethnically, Vietnam is
                                         the most homogenous country of Southeast Asia. About 90% of the population
                                         are Vietnamese and there are more than 50 ethnic minorities. The largest
                                         groups are Thai and Hmong tribes. There is about 1 million ethnic Chinese
                                         living in urban centres in the South of the country

                                         Living Conditions

                                         Overview
                                          Vietnam is going through a rapid period of change and development. There is
                                         an improving range of shops, hotels and other facilities. The pace of life is
                                         relaxed and the atmosphere friendly.

                                         Despite the constraints of living in a developing country, Hanoi is an easy city to
                                         live in.



Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                     Page 12 of 16
                                                                 NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                           For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                   For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam
                                       There is a range of small supermarkets and delicatessens which stock many
                                       imported foods (albeit some at a price). There are a number of European
                                       standard bakeries and a wide variety of good restaurants.

                                       Hanoi is reasonable for young families. It is easy to get good house staff and
                                       there are good kindergarten and school facilities but a lack of outdoor space and
                                       playgrounds can pose a problem. Most activities are based in homes.

                                       Driving conditions in Vietnam are demanding and hazardous (see Transport
                                       section below). 95% of vehicles are motorbikes and crossing the road can be
                                       daunting at first!

                                       In terms of crime, Hanoi is safer than most cities, but it is becoming less safe.
                                       There are reported cases of pick pocketing and bag snatching, but this is rare.
                                       A full security briefing is given to staff on arrival at post, with periodic updates as
                                       necessary. Overall, expect to take the precautions as you would in the UK or
                                       many other countries in the world.

 Human Rights / Freedom of Expression
  info from Foreign Office - HMG
   position related to country
  how this may affect how people
   need to behave
 Known Natural Disasters
    advice on what to do
    earthquake zones                  Tropical storm Durian hit Vietnam on 5 December 2006, claiming a number of
    tsunami advice                    lives and injuring hundreds in Ria Vung Tau province. Recent typhoons have
    volcanic activity                 caused considerable damage in coastal areas, particularly in Ha Long Bay and
    reference to principal websites   the Hue/ Hoi An region. The typhoon season in Vietnam normally runs from
     run by local authorities          June to December, Central and North Vietnam are most affected by seasonal
                                       storms and typhoons. You should monitor local and international weather
                                       updates from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). You can also
                                       access http://www.nhc.noaa.gov for updates. Please also see Hurricanes for
                                       more detailed information about what to do if your are caught up in a typhoon.

                                       Provincial areas are often affected by flooding, which may result in disruption to
                                       infrastructure and possible loss of life. You should check with your travel agent
                                       before travelling to affected areas. On 30 September 2006, Typhoon Xangsane
                                       made landfall in central Vietnam affecting Da Nang, Thua Thien Hue, Quang
                                       Nam and Quang Ngai provinces leaving 15 people dead.

                                       Vietnam, particularly the Central Region and Mekong Delta, is subject to
                                       sporadic serious flooding in the monsoon season. (The timing of this varies
                                       across the country but is usually from June to October). This can cause
                                       considerable damage to the infrastructure and on occasions has left whole
                                       areas isolated, including border-crossing points into Laos. You should check
                                       the situation carefully through the media, weather reports, transport services
                                       and tour operators before embarking on journeys into the interior of the country.

                                       Tragic accidents have occurred during mountain climbing excursions in the
                                       north of the country, and you should ensure such activity is undertaken under
                                       the supervision of reputable guides.




Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                    Page 13 of 16
                                                                 NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                         For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                 For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam

 Culture & Social Customs
  special features to be aware of or   Role of Women
   to observe, e.g. status of women
   in society, social acceptance of     Vietnamese society is traditionally patriarchal. The role of women has changed
   gays & transgender people            to one of greater equality under the Socialist system. While women have
                                        equality in the public sphere, the home is still regarded as ‘run’ by women.

                                        Gay and Lesbian visitors

                                        Whilst there is no legislation against homosexuality, society in general does not
                                        approve and is not welcoming.

                                        Social Customs

                                           Unlike, say Thailand, Vietnam is not noted for its highly developed social
                                            customs. You are unlikely to go wrong if you remain polite, good humoured
                                            and follow common sense. The following are some basic points:

                                           The Vietnamese usually present their name cards (with two hands) on first
                                            introduction and will expect one in return. Staff normally have cards printed
                                            with English on one side and Vietnamese on the other. These should be
                                            printed locally and Management Section can arrange this in advance of your
                                            arrival.

                                           The Vietnamese usually shake hands Western style on meeting and parting
                                            though this is less common between the sexes. The two handed shake is
                                            often used to add an extra degree of warmth.

                                           High level official meetings tend to follow a set pattern of seating and
                                            opening small talk which is easy to pick up. It is impolite to dive straight into
                                            business; initiate small talk when first meeting someone.

                                           Table manners are usually rough and ready. The Vietnamese use
                                            chopsticks but are not offended by requests for a knife and fork. Many men
                                            smoke and it is generally acceptable to light up during courses or as soon
                                            as you have finished.

                                            At official meals, the host will usually open with a few formal words of
                                            welcome and a toast. The guest is expected to reply in kind at the end of
                                            the meal, usually when tea has been served. The gathering then breaks up
                                            quickly. During the formal pleasantries it is considered impolite to smoke or
                                            to touch your glass.

                                            Westerners still attract interest, especially outside of the main cities. Don’t
                                            let this annoy you. It is not meant to be rude and there is nothing you can do
                                            about it anyway.

                                           The Vietnamese have a keen sense of time and are often superstitious.
                                            For example, it is important to pick the right date, according to the lunar
                                                                                                       st
                                            calendar, for a marriage or major business event. The 1 (new moon) and
                                                  th
                                            the 15 (full moon) of every lunar month are sacred days when many
                                            Vietnamese go to the pagodas with offerings or burn incense joss sticks at
                                            home while praying.




Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                   Page 14 of 16
                                                                 NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                            For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                    For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam

 Law
  reference to country-specific laws   You should avoid any involvement with drugs. Drug trafficking and possession
   relevant to travellers               carries heavy penalties, including the death penalty, which is enforced in
                                        Vietnam. Other crime, such as sex offences or fraud, can result in very long
                                        prison terms or a death sentence. The Vietnamese legal system is not well
                                        developed and the standard of prisons is very poor.

                                        Foreign visitors to Vietnam are not permitted to invite Vietnamese nationals into
                                        their hotel rooms.

                                        Photography of, or near, military installations is generally prohibited.

 Environmental & Green Policy (if applicable)
  British Council initiatives          NA
  national & local government
   initiatives
 Tourist Limitations
    out-of-bound areas                 As in many countries military installations are sensitive and visitors are advised
    buildings                          against taking photographs in their vicinity.
    military installations
    regions
 Special Needs
  general advice and access for
   disabled travellers                  Vietnamese towns and cities are not very accessible for visitors with disabilities
  where to get help                    although gradually the situation is improving. Modern international hotels are the
  URL to relevant web sites            most accessible venues with the likelihood of ramps and lifts for guests in
                                        wheelchairs. Traffic and the crossing of roads is problematic for all pedestrians
                                        but especially for those with disabilities. The Vietnamese people are very
                                        welcoming and keen to assist and visitors requiring assistance are likely to
                                        receive help if they ask.

 Cuisine
    food & drink
    food hygiene                       The general range of goods available is acceptable. Many shops import
    Halal/vegetarian/vegan options     foodstuffs, particularly from Australia – some items can be expensive. Fruit and
    main types                         vegetables are widely available (with some seasonal fluctuations).
    recommended restaurants and bars
                                        Shopping in Hanoi can be exciting and sometimes frustrating, but certainly
                                        never boring. You can usually track down most things you need, if you know
                                        where to look, and often discover something new in the process. Prices, and
                                        quality, are extremely variable. As a foreigner you will be expected to pay more
                                        than the Vietnamese and the price you pay will often depend on your bargaining
                                        skills! Maids are often used to do the market shopping as they usually obtain
                                        better prices.

                                        There is a wide range of toiletry items, but you may not find the brand you are
                                        looking for. It is therefore advisable to bring favourites. Some shops now stock
                                        a limited range of tampons.

                                        If you have young children, you may also wish to consider bringing sterilising
                                        tablets, electric steriliser, heat rash cream, nappy rash cream, teething gel,
                                        calamine lotion, children’s paracetamol, calpol, head lice shampoo, trainer cups,
                                        bottles, feeding equipment.


Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                    Page 15 of 16
                                                                 NOTES FOR VISITORS TO VIETNAM

                         For general information about Vietnam please visit: www.mofa.gov.vn/en/tt_vietnam
                 For information about British Council Vietnam please visit: www.britishcouncil.org/vietnam


                                         There are very few toys available with safety standards. It is therefore a good
                                         idea to bring toys for babies and young children. There are also few educational
                                         toys available.

                                         You should bring a good supply of UK postage stamps for sending letters home,
                                         although these can now be ordered through the Royal Mail internet site.

 Shopping & Leisure
  URL to more information               Shops in the city are usually open from 8:30 until 21:00 hrs or 22:00 hrs. Most
  what are the must-buys, e.g.          shops are open on Sunday.
   unique country items, gift ideas
  what are the must-knows, e.g.         Credit cards are accepted at most major hotels, some restaurants and a few
   fixed price or bargaining needed      shops. These establishments often charge fees, not approved by credit card
  where are the must-go places,         companies, of four or five per cent. Visa is the most widely accepted card, at
   proximity of malls & shopping areas   some places, you may charge to your MasterCard.

 Photographs
  advice on acceptable practice         NA
  image archives

Latest revision on 12 January 2010
Last saved by Nga Nguyen (Hanoi) and Lam Tuan (Ho Chi Minh City)

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Updated on 17/07/2012 by [name]                                                                                Page 16 of 16

				
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