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									Faculty of Computing, Health & Science

VIETNAM BRIEFING NOTES

The Faculty Office of the Faculty of Computing, Health & Science is pleased to provide you with this information. Comments or changes may be advised to 6304 3453

INFORMATION SOURCES

The following Background, Historical, Political, Economic and General Information has been sourced and combined, from the following Web Sites:

Reference:

Austrade Web Online - www.austrade.gov.au Aust. Dept of Foreign Affairs - www.dfat.gov.au www.worldinformation.com www.business-in-asia.com www.countryreports.org www.asiatravel.com

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BACKGROUND The Socialist Republic of Vietnam is a one-party communist state, extending 1 600 km from latitude 23 degrees north to 9 degrees north along the western rim of the South China Sea. Occupying 331 114 sq km and bordering China to the north, Laos to the west and Cambodia to the south-west. Vietnam is marked by two delta regions at either end of the country (the Songkoi - or Red River - in the north, the Mekong in the south), which are separated by the narrow region of the Central Highlands. The extensive Annamite Mountains dominate the north-west. Around 16% of Vietnam's land mass is under cultivation, with the remaining areas either mountainous or forested. Vietnam has substantial territorial claims in the South China Sea and occupies a number of reefs and islands. Its capital, Hanoi, lies on the Red River. Around 80 per cent of Vietnam's population of 84 million are ethnic Vietnamese. Buddhism is Vietnam's dominant religion, with significant religious minorities including the Cao Dai, the Hoa Hao, Hindu, Baha'i and, notably, Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim religions. Vietnam is a member of the UN, ASEAN, ARF, ASEM, APEC and the Non-Aligned Movement. Vietnam took up a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council in January 2008 for the first time. Vietnam formally acceded to the WTO on 11 January 2007, becoming the body’s 150th member.

HISTORY After a millennium as a Chinese province, the northern region of Vietnam gained independence in 938, following the dissolution of the Tang Empire. Under succeeding local dynasties ruling from Hanoi over the next five centuries, Vietnam fought off several attempts to reintegrate it into China and also expanded its reach southward, gradually annexing the central kingdom of Champa. Dynastic struggles led to civil wars during the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. During this period, Vietnam gained control over the Mekong delta and the first Christian missions arrived. It was not until 1802 that the present Vietnam was united under a single ruler, Nguyen Anh, whose court was located at the central coastal city of Hue. Despite the continuation of the Nguyen dynasty, Vietnam saw increasing French intervention from the 1850s. Spurred by Hue's persecution of French Christian missionaries and their Vietnamese converts and by a desire not to lose eastern markets to the British, France annexed the southern Cochin-China region, their possession of which was recognised by Hue in an 1874 treaty. A treaty of protection over Vietnam followed in 1883. By 1901, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos had fallen collectively under a central French administration, forming the Union Indochinoise. In the decades before the Second World War, a number of groups opposed to colonial rule emerged. Following the suppression in the 1900s of early nationalist movements led by Phan Chau Trinh and Phan Boi Chau and the confinement of constitutionalist movements in the 1910s to the Cochin-China region, Vietnamese nationalism adopted a revolutionary flavour during the 1920s. The Communist Party of Indochina (CPI) was established in 1930. Although suppressed by the French military in 1931, the CPI took advantage of an amnesty

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for political prisoners in 1936 and enjoyed increasing support from Moscow during the late 1930s. The outbreak of war in 1939 led to a ban on left-wing activity and the development of secret CPI networks which were maintained throughout the war. In 1941, the Revolutionary League for the Independence of Vietnam (Viet Minh) was formed under the leadership of Ho Chi Minh. Despite the Japanese advance into Vietnam in 1941, a Vichy French administration maintained authority until early 1945, when it was deposed by the Japanese and a proJapanese government was appointed by Emperor Bao Dai. Following the Japanese surrender, the Viet Minh took effective control of a number of provinces, mostly in the north. After the abdication of Bao Dai, Ho Chi Minh declared independence and the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam on 2 September 1945. But with the division of Vietnam at the 16th parallel between British forces in the south and Chinese forces in the north agreed at the Potsdam Conference, France was able to regain control over the south by the end of 1945 and negotiated the withdrawal of Chinese troops from the north by March 1946. Relations between the French and Viet Minh completely broke down by late 1946, leading to a protracted guerrilla war which ended with the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in May 1954, the Viet Minh aided to a large extent by Chinese communists. A cease-fire agreement at Geneva in the same month provided for a single Vietnam divided at the 17th parallel. Vietnam was to be administered in the north from Hanoi by the government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam and in the south from Saigon by the government of the State of Vietnam, which had been founded by the French under Bao Dai in 1949. The agreement also provided for the possibility in 1956 of national elections which never eventuated. The following decade saw economic and social restructuring in the north under the Vietnam Workers' Party (formerly the CPI) and the dominance of Ngo Dinh Diem in the south. A Roman Catholic, Diem overthrew Bao Dai to become President in 1955. Until his assassination in the 1963 military coup, due in part to increasing Buddhist dissatisfaction with his Catholic-dominated government, Diem took South Vietnam increasingly into the US sphere, his conflict with communists in South Vietnam developing a cold-war dynamic. Accordingly, the Kennedy and Johnson Administrations committed themselves to defending South Vietnam, first with military advisers and then following the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964 with US military force. Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, South Korea and the Philippines also contributed forces. After a series of coups in South Vietnam, the constitutional reforms in 1967 led to the government of General Nguyen Van Thieu, which survived until 1975. Although enjoying military superiority and seriously disrupting economic life in North Vietnam through aerial bombardment from 1965 to 1968, the domestically beleaguered United States entered into informal negotiations with North Vietnam in 1968. With the advent of the Nixon Administration in 1969, the same year as Ho Chi Minh's death, formal negotiations commenced in Paris. Despite Nixon's intention to reduce US involvement and “Vietnamise” the conflict, a campaign to disrupt communist supply lines led to the expansion of the conflict into Cambodia and Laos. The Paris Agreement was concluded in March 1973, which provided for the withdrawal of US but not North Vietnamese troops. Although the agreement notionally provided for South Vietnam's security, this security was not enforced effectively. Following a final swift campaign in early 1975, North Vietnamese forces entered Saigon on 30 April and renamed it Ho Chi Minh City. Formal reunification took place on 2

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July 1976 with the foundation of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and in December with the foundation of the Communist Party of Vietnam. In the late 1970s, relations with China soured over border disputes, the plight of southern Vietnam's Chinese, China's support for the hostile Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, and Vietnam's orientation towards the USSR. Following the Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia in late 1978 and the imposition of a pro-Vietnamese government, tension with China increased leading to full-scale conflict in February and March 1979. Sporadic clashes continued throughout the 1980s. Although the USSR-China rapprochement in the late 1980s and the withdrawal of Vietnamese troops from Cambodia in 1989 helped ease conflict, tensions between Vietnam and China over competing claims in the South China Sea continue to the present. Changing global circumstances and desperate economic conditions within the country during the late 1980s forced Vietnam to make its first tentative steps towards political and economic doi moi (renovation). (See political and economic overviews.) In 1994, the United States lifted its economic embargo against Vietnam, imposed after Vietnam's invasion of Cambodia. In 1995, Vietnam became the seventh member of ASEAN. In the same year, the United States and Vietnam established full diplomatic relations, the two countries signing an agreement to normalise trading relations in July 2000.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICS Constitution Vietnam has adopted, in broad terms, a Marxist-Leninist political ideology. A number of its political systems are derived from those of China and the former USSR. The political structure is dominated throughout by the Dang Cong San Viet Nam (Communist Party of Vietnam) (CPV). Under the 1992 state constitution, the CPV continued to be ultimately responsible for policy, but the government assumed greater administrative and executive responsibility. The Quoc Hoi (National Assembly) was made the highest representative and legislative body of the people of Vietnam and the only institution with the authority to enact the constitution, codes and laws and elect the president and vice president, prime minister, president of the supreme people's court and procurator general, among other high officials. The Political Bureau (Politburo) of the CPV was made the highest policy-making body. Local government is vested in elected provincial, municipal and district councils. The executive Executive power is officially exercised by a Western-style council of ministers under a prime minister. However, in practice there is a three-way balance with the presidency and party. Between sessions of the Quoc Hoi, affairs of state are dealt with by the president and the Quoc Hoi's standing committee, the council of state. In any case, membership of the council of ministers generally coincides with that of the Politburo and Secretariat of the CPV, and executive decisions may, de facto, be taken by the CPV even without the co-operation of the government.

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The CPV's own executive, the Politburo, is formally elected by the party's 166-member Central Committee. The Central Committee meets only once or twice a year but is responsible for selecting the Politburo, which has 17 members. (In 1996, the average age of Politburo members was over 60, down from an average age of 71 in 1990. There have been no female members of the Politburo since 1945.) The Politburo oversees the CPV's daily functions and has the power and authority to issue directives to the government. Political parties Political power lies with the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV), led by General Secretary Nong Duc Manh. The Party's peak organ, the fourteen-member Politburo, holds authority over the implementation of all major areas of policy. The Politburo is elected by the Party's Central Committee. Day-to-day policy guidance comes from the eight-member Secretariat to the Central Committee, which comprises some Politburo and Central Committee members. The Central Committee considers important policy issues several times per year, and five-yearly Party Congresses ratify major policy changes. The Tenth Party Congress, held in April 2006, led to significant changes in the Party leadership, including a new President, Vice-President and Prime Minister, two new Deputy Prime Minister positions, and the appointment of ten new ministers or equivalent heads of agencies. The new leadership includes some relatively young ministers and is considered a significant generational change. Administration and policy implementation is the responsibility of government ministries and equivalent agencies, although these organisations are now also playing a more significant role in policy development. The principal ministries are hardworking and systematic but remain highly bureaucratic and process-driven. Decision-making can be slow and opaque. In recent years, the National Assembly has become increasingly active and influential in setting national priorities, with members prepared to criticise the Government vigorously. The increasing role of the National Assembly in reviewing legislation and policies and a gradually more incisive media have contributed to increasing transparency in Vietnam, but dissent can still be met with heavy-handed punishment. Individuals can incur long prison terms on broadly framed charges, such as espionage or undermining national security and propagandising against the state. Notwithstanding some recent responsiveness on the part of the Vietnamese authorities on questions of religious freedom, a number of high-profile arrests and trials in the first part of 2007 have brought the international spotlight back onto Vietnam’s one-party political system and management of diverse political views.

ECONOMIC OVERVIEW Vietnam is a medium-sized country with a population of approximately 84 million, split between a more Western-oriented, relatively infrastructure-rich south and the more highly populated but relatively impoverished north. Vietnam has been in transition from a centrally-planned to a market-based economy since 1986. In the early-to-mid 1990s, liberalisation measures resulted in high economic growth and declining poverty, with real GDP growth averaging 9 per cent per year. Growth slowed

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in the late 1990s but the momentum has since picked up, with GDP growth averaging about 7.5 per cent per year since 2001. Poverty rates are now less than 20 per cent, down from almost 60 per cent in the early 1990s. GDP growth in 2006 was 8.2 per cent, driven largely by construction, processing industry, retail trade and the tourism, hospitality and transport sectors (Source: GSO). Economic development has been patchy geographically. Ho Chi Minh City (in southern Vietnam with a population of 8.2 million) and the surrounding provinces constitute the power-house of economic development with GDP per capita reaching nearly US$2000, as against a national average of US$723. The Economist Intelligence Unit forecasts that real GDP growth for the period from 2007-11 will be in the range of 7.1 to 7.8 per cent, although the Government of Vietnam has set an ambitious target of 8.5 per cent.

THE BILATERAL RELATIONSHIP 2008 will mark the 35th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Australia and Vietnam, established in February 1973. The opening of the Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City in November 1994 further strengthened Australia's diplomatic representation in Vietnam. Australia has recognised the political, strategic and economic importance of its bilateral relationship with Vietnam. During the 1980s, when Vietnam was internationally isolated, Australia provided aid to Vietnam through multilateral organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme. Australia was also one of the first countries to restore its bilateral aid program following the withdrawal of the Vietnamese presence from Cambodia and the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in October

VISITOR INFORMATION Entry / Visas Business visitors should ensure that the validity of their passports will extend beyond the duration of their visit before making visa applications. Entry and exit visas are required by all and application should be made well in advance of any visit. Visas are issued on arrival only in cases already authorised by the immigration department. Otherwise, the Vietnamese authorities take legal action against visitors arriving without proper visas. A tourist visa is valid for one month from the date of entry into Vietnam. Note that all visas specify a point of exit. Business visitors must have a Vietnamese sponsor. It may be the Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce, any one of the central or provincial government trading corporations, or any other company authorised to do business with foreigners. Two applications and two passport photographs should be submitted at least 20 days prior to the intended date of arrival.

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Business visas are generally valid for a stay of three months. An extension can be obtained from Immigration Departments in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City upon recommendation from the sponsors. Obtaining an extension may be time-consuming. Registration stamps will automatically be made on passports on arrival. If a passport containing a Vietnamese visa is lost, the visa may be re-issued at a Vietnamese immigration office following the issue of a replacement passport. Visa re-issue may take up to 3 or 4 working days and a fee will be charged. The arrival/departure card should be retained with the traveller's passport at all times as this is required when departing the country. If it is lost, it can only be replaced at exit ports and this may involve a replacement fee. Australian citizens also holding Vietnamese citizenship should note that Vietnam does not formally recognise dual nationality. This could limit the ability of Australian officials to provide consular services to Australians who have retained their Vietnamese citizenship, particularly if they are detained or arrested. Visa conditions are subject to change. For up-to-date information, Australians should contact the nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate, well in advance of travel. Travellers to Vietnam should note that, if staying with a family in a private home, the head of the household must register the visitor with the local police. Overseas visitors staying in hotels are registered with the police through the hotel. Australians are strongly advised to register with either the Australian Embassy, Hanoi or Australian Consulate-General, Ho Chi Minh City. (Details under Contacts) Health Mandatory precautions Vaccination certificate required for yellow fever if travelling from an infected area. Advisable precautions Medical facilities are poor. In the event of an accident or illness, the visitor will need to rely on arrangements for medical treatment being made by the sponsor arranging the visit. If in Hanoi contact the Swedish clinic (tel: 252-464). In most cases, the best advice is for the traveller to leave the country at the earliest opportunity due to the shortage of facilities and medicines. It is advisable to be 'in date' for the following immunisations: polio (within 10 years), tetanus (within 10 years), typhoid fever (within three years), rabies - if travelling in rural areas (within three years) - hepatitis 'A' and 'B', diphtheria, tuberculosis, Japanese B encephalitis. Anti-malarial precautions should be taken. Malaria, Dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are common in many parts of Vietnam. Typhoid is a problem in the Mekong Delta. There is no vaccine available against Dengue fever. Care should accordingly be taken to avoid mosquito bites. Visitors should use safe skin repellent against day-biting mosquitoes and consider a mosquito net.

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A small first aid kit is advisable, or at least a few sterilised syringes and needle, as a precaution against becoming infected with HIV, as AIDS is becoming more of a problem. Ask to see syringes unwrapped in front of you. Strict food and water hygiene is advisable: boil or purify all drinking water; use of an iodine resin water purifier is advised. Drinking from carafes supplied in major hotel bedrooms is generally safe. Bottled water is widely available. The climate in the north can aggravate respiratory problems and rheumatism. Airports National airline: Vietnam Airlines (formerly Hang Khong Vietnam and the General Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam) a state-controlled air service provides regular services between, Hanoi, Hue, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City. Flights should be booked well in advance. Main airport: Noi Bai (HAN), 38km - about one hour by taxi - from Hanoi. Tan Son Nhat airport, 8km - 15 minutes by taxi from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam's commercial centre, benefits from a modern air traffic control system. Airport tax: International departures US$10, excluding transit passengers and infants under two years; domestic departures D20,000. Travel by foreign visitors has been restricted in the past, and visitors should check the current position on the scope of movement allowed. The provision of prompt consular assistance is difficult outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City because of poor infrastructure throughout Vietnam. Getting Around in Vietnam Road: There is an 88,000km road network in relatively poor condition, although improved on previous years. Roads are better in the south. The coastal Route 1 between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City can become impassable on flooding. A four-wheel drive vehicle is advisable outside the major centres. Travelling by road from Cambodia is a slow and expensive alternative to flying. It is highly advisable that travellers fly in instead. Rail: There is a 3,200km rail network. Railways need extensive work. Vietnam Railways operate regular services in the national network from northern provinces near the SinoVietnamese border to Ho Chi Minh City. There are two-class rail services between main centres, including Hanoi-Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi-Haiphong, Hanoi-Lao Cai, Loc Ninh-Ho Chi Minh City-My Tho and Hanoi-Long San. The 'express' train journey from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City can take over 24 hours. Long-distance trains are more reliable and comfortable, as well as offering a faster service. Fares for foreigners are comparable to internal airfares. Taxis: In Hanoi cycle-rickshaws (the famous cyclo) are available, but slow and best for sightseeing. Taxi cars and motorbikes are a faster form of hired transport. When travelling by taxi it is advisable to note down the registration number of the driver (displayed on the rear side of the vehicle), for security reasons. Taxis serving the hour-long route between downtown Hanoi and the city's airport will typically be ancient and non-air-conditioned vehicles. In Ho Chi Minh City, taxis are modern. Tipping is discretionary; taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped.

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Buses/trams: Services tend to be poor and overcrowded. Major hotels may be connected by minibus service. Kolkata has an extensive tramway; local bus services are not generally recommended for visitors. Car hire: Self-drive hire cars are available in Mumbai and chauffeur-driven car hire is available in main cities, but are only worth hiring for short journeys. Climate Located in the tropical monsoon zone, Vietnam's climate is hot and humid. There is abundant seasonal rainfall. In the north, climatic changes occur in four seasons: spring (from January to April) brings light rain and constant humidity; summer (from May to July) is very hot, humid and rainy; autumn (from August to October) brings drier weather but sometimes includes storms; winter (from October to early January) is cooler. In the centre and the south it is hot year round and there are only two seasons: a rainy season from May to October, and a dry season from October to April. Average annual temperatures in Hanoi are 29.2 degrees Celcius (C) in the hot season and 17.2 degrees C in the cold season; Hue in central Vietnam: 29.3 degrees C and 20.5 degrees C; Ho Chi Minh City: 29.7 degrees C and 24 degrees C. The average annual rainfall in Hanoi is 1,530cm in the rainy season and 270cm in the dry season; Hue: 2,320cm and 580cm; Ho Chi Minh City: 1,800 and 200cm. The best times to visit are November to January in Ho Chi Minh City and September to December in Hanoi. Clothing In Hanoi in the summer (officially from 15 April to 15 October) no jackets are required even for the most formal occasions. In winter a jacket is more usual but a bush jacket is acceptable even when the weather is warm. In the south informal tropical-weight clothing is all that is needed at any time of the year. A jacket and tie is not necessary. In the highlands, where it is cooler, a bush jacket is acceptable any time. Language Vietnamese is spoken by 88 per cent of the population. The Vietnamese alphabet is an adaptation from the Roman, using tonal marks. French is spoken in official circles and some English is spoken in business circles, especially in the south. Business is usually conducted in Vietnamese or English, although many executives speak French and Russian, and a few speak Chinese. English and French are officially taught in secondary schools. There are also German, Polish and Bulgarian speakers.

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Official language Vietnamese Ethnic make-up The country is predominantly 85-90% Vietnamese, 3% Chinese, ethnic minorities include Muong, Thai, Meo, Khmer, Man, Cham, and other mountain tribes. Religions Although the country is officially atheist, many Vietnamese profess to be Buddhists. Christians are a significant minority (five million, mostly Catholics), followed by Caodaists, Hoa Hao Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus. There is a religious revival in Vietnam. Working hours Banking Mon-Fri: 0800-1630; Sat: 0800-1200. Business Mon-Sat: 0730-1130, 1230-1630 in summer (15 Apr to 15 Oct); 0800-1200, 1230-1630 in winter (16 Oct to 14 Apr). Government Mon-Sat: 0730-1130, 1230-1630 in summer; 0800-1200, 1230-1630 in winter. British Embassy and British Embassy Commercial Office in Hanoi, and the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City open Mon-Fri: 0800-1200, 1400-1700. Shops Many small privately owned shops stay open seven days a week, often until late at night. Tipping Tipping is not customary in Vietnam, but it is enormously appreciated. A 5-10% tip for a meal is a very small amount of money, but to the average Vietnamese, it could easily equal a day's wages. Avoid tipping too much, as it will set a precedent for others. Restaurants: Government-run restaurants catering to tourists add a 10% service charge to the bill. Porters: Porters, if they are available, can be tipped with American coins. Hotel maids: Government-run hotels catering to tourists charge an automatic 10% service fee. Taxis: Generous tips are not necessary. A small gratuity, however, is expected by cab drivers. Time Zones +7:00, Vietnam is 11 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time and 14 hours ahead of Pacific Standard Time. When it is 12 noon in Perth, it is 11am in Vietnam. Currency The Dong (D) is the official currency in Vietnam. Bank notes currently in circulation are in denominations of 100 / 200 / 500 / 1,000 / 2,000 / 5,000 / 10,000 / 20,000 and 50,000 Dong Visitors can bring in an unlimited amount of foreign currency, but amounts over US$7,000 should be declared to customs authorities on arrival, as only the balance or an amount of foreign currency less than that declared on arrival can be expatriated. Vietnamese dong may not be brought in or taken out of Vietnam.

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US dollars can be used freely. Currency can be exchanged at all licensed banks, including foreign banks, and at hotels and airports. The official rate is usually the same or close to the parallel market rate. Do not enter into exchange transactions with individuals. Electricity Electric current is 220V, 50 cycles. Round two-pin plugs are used. There are electricity shortages and frequent surges in current. Sensitive electronic equipment should be shielded with a surge suppressor. Customs and Etiquette The vast majority of the population is Vietnamese with minute percentages of Chinese. The Viet culture originated on the delta of the Red River and the Ma River where the Viet people cultivated paddy fields. They led a simple farming life in small villages, usually living around a communal house. Today the people living in the countryside follow this lifestyle. The Viet people are influenced by Confucianism, in particular the principle of respect for their elders. In spite of the immense suffering of the Vietnamese and the somewhat ruined state of the country, they are generally warm and friendly, and surprisingly, the Vietnamese bear little if any resentment or bitterness toward Americans. Children in the streets will commonly greet visitors with the name Lien Xo, which means Russian, but they will easily be corrected if you respond, "Hello!" or "Good morning" and explain you are an American, European or Australian, etc.           Business is conducted slowly with many familiarisation meetings over cigarettes and copious cups of tea before getting down to the real business. Be punctual but anticipate protracted meetings. Discussion in a patient and understanding manner will be more productive than a heavy-handed approach. Be patient with language difficulties and red tape. The combination of Confucian interaction norms and communist bureaucracy may create large amounts of the latter. Never let the soles of your feet face other people or any sacred monument, such as a statue of Buddha. Do not touch anyone's head, not even that of a child. When handing over or receiving anything, the right hand should generally be used. On formal occasions it is considered polite to use both hands. Etiquette for male visitors is to shake hands with a man but not with a woman, unless she offers her hand. Shoes must be removed before entering any religious building. It is also customary to remove shoes before entering a Vietnamese home, but in modern residences the requirement is no longer observed. Most Vietnamese names consist of a family name, a middle name and a given name, in that order. The given name is used in address but to do so without a title is considered as expressing either great intimacy between friends or arrogance of the sort a superior would use with his or her inferior. The titles, Bac or Ong (Mr) (in increasing seniority), Ba (Mrs), Co or Chi (Miss) precedes a Vietnamese given name (sometimes full name). Wives may retain their own names and children take their father's family name. The middle name may be common to all the male members of a given family. Be firm, yet diplomatic when dealing with officials who will often be very rigid. In the case of misunderstanding, patience is the best policy.

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  

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Small gifts such as cigarette lighters, pens, foreign cigarettes, liquor, perfume and even shampoo are greatly appreciated by anyone you wish to make friends with in Vietnam. Out of politeness, always ask permission before taking photos of people. The same rule of thumb also applies to photos taken in places of worship. Permission will almost always be granted. Be very discrete about giving anything to beggars frequently encountered in Ho Chi Minh City. If anyone is seen giving handouts to a beggar, he or she may end up being pursued by a mob of other beggars. This does not help create a good image for foreigners; it gives them instead the reputation of being easy to hit up for money. Beware of pickpockets. Keep your ID and passport in a safe place and carry only photocopies of those items.

Useful Phrases  Greetings - Chao ong (ba)  How are you? - Ong (ba) co khoe khong?  Fine, thanks - Cam on rat tot  My name is ... - Tên tôi là ...  I don't understand - Tôi không hiêú  Restaurant - nhà hàng  Telephone - diên thoai  Hotel - khách san

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HOTELS A 10% service charge and 5% tax is added to all hotel bills. The following hotels are listed on the National University Travel Consortium web site (www.nutc.com.au). University rates have been negotiated with these hotels and are inclusive of all charges and taxes. Hanoi
Name Guoman Hotel Somerset Grand Hanoi Rating 4 5 $ US US
Min room rate

57.50 70.00

Approx $AU 87.12 106.06

Location CBD area modern Hanoi As above

Ho Chi Minh
Name Norfolk Hotel Rating 3.5 $ US
Min room rate

52.00

Approx $AU 78.98

Location CBD

Ho Chi Minh City
Name Equatorial Hotel Legend Hotel Rating 5 5 $ US US
Min room rate

55.00 70.00

Approx $AU 83.33 106.06

Location 5 mins from everywhere CBD overlooking River

CONTACTS
Australian High Embassy 8 Dao Tan Street Ba Dinh District Hanoi Ph: (84 4) 831 7755 Fax: (84 4) 831 7711 Australian Consulate General 5th Floor The Landmark Building 5B Ton Duc Than Street District 1 Ho Chi Minh City Ph: (84 8) 829 6035 / Fax: (84 8) 829 6031

Reference:

Austrade Web Online - www.austrade.gov.au Aust. Dept of Foreign Affairs - www.dfat.gov.au www.worldinformation.com www.asiatravel.com www.nutc.com.au www.countryreports.org/alphanationtext.htm www.business-in-asia.com

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