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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 pro-
Japanese 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 Sino-
Vietnamese 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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   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                   Rating         $       Min room         Approx                 Location
                                                            rate            $AU
Guoman Hotel                           4        US          57.50           87.12        CBD area modern Hanoi
Somerset Grand Hanoi                   5        US          70.00          106.06        As above


Ho Chi Minh
            Name                   Rating         $       Min room         Approx                 Location
                                                            rate            $AU
Norfolk Hotel                         3.5       US          52.00           78.98        CBD

Ho Chi Minh City
            Name                   Rating         $       Min room         Approx                 Location
                                                            rate            $AU
Equatorial Hotel                       5        US          55.00           83.33        5 mins from everywhere
Legend Hotel                           5        US          70.00          106.06        CBD overlooking River


CONTACTS

Australian High Embassy                                           Australian Consulate General
8 Dao Tan Street                                                  5th Floor
Ba Dinh District                                                  The Landmark Building
Hanoi                                                             5B Ton Duc Than Street
Ph: (84 4) 831 7755                                               District 1
Fax: (84 4) 831 7711                                              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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