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Vietnam

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Expert tip

Ensure that any Vietnamese bank notes you receive are not damaged, as many shops and restaurants will not accept them. Also, Vietnam uses Vietnamese Dong and U.S Dollars, so ensure you confirm which currency an item or service is priced in to avoid confusion.

ATM access

5/5 stars  There are ATMs everywhere.

Tipping

Tips are not expected in Vietnam, although they are accepted and appreciated. Tipping is most common in major cities and the amount is determined by the level of service. If you receive excellent service by a waiter, hotel staff, or tour guide, a small tip is much appreciated, as most workers in Vietnam earn low wages.

Bargaining scale

5/5 stars  Bargaining is welcomed!

Haggling is common and expected in Vietnam, and can be very worthwhile. Bargaining is part of Vietnamese culture, and it is used as a way to communicate with people and to build relationships. It can also be a fun game and a great way to learn to count in Vietnamese!
 

Card access

Visa and MasterCard are accepted throughout Vietnam, especially the larger cities. A 3% surcharge is standard and businesses that accept AMEX will add a further 7% charge. Whenever possible, pay in local currency to avoid hidden conversion fees. Consider using a prepaid currency card to ensure you aren’t wasting your money on hidden fees. Remember to advise your bank of your travel plans and dates in order to ensure your card activity overseas doesn’t raise suspicion and result in having your accounts frozen!

Cost of a coffee

VND50,000 (regular cappuccino).

Transport

Taxis are the most popular mode of transport for tourists as they are known to be very affordable. Just ensure you only ride with reputable companies with visible meters. Buses are also affordable, but can be dangerous on Vietnam’s busy roads. The trains in Vietnam are a bit outdated, but still dependable, and offer a relaxing, air-conditioned ride. The cost depends on the train – faster trains are more expensive. To organise your trip, you can book online and reserve seats for longer trips, 60 to 90 days prior to departure.

Pickpocket security rating

2/5 stars  theft is common.

Pickpockets and bag snatchers onmotorbikes are common, especially in major cities and around crowded tourist attractions. Keep your bag close to your body and out of sight and never keep any valuables in your back pockets.
 

Scammers and ripoffs

Tourists make easy targets for scammers in Vietnam, so it is important to stay vigilant and aware. Switching your purchased goods with cheaper knockoffs is a common scam of shopkeepers, so remember to thoroughly inspect your goods, especially electronics, before you leave the shop. Taxi drivers can often set their meters at a speedy rate to charge you a large amount just for a short journey. Only use reputable taxi companies, such as Mailinh and Vinasun, and keep an eye on the meter.

Departure tax

Any airport or departure taxes are included in the price of your air ticket.

Visa costs

Australians and New Zealanders must have a visa, visa exemption document, or a written approval letter to be issued a visa upon entering Vietnam. If you arrive in Vietnam without your approval letter, you will need cash in USD or VND to pay the fee. Only use official Government of Vietnam services to arrange your visa, as private online visa services have been known to scam travellers when it comes to their visa. Your passport must also have at least six months’ validity upon your arrival in Vietnam. If you need more information regarding visas and other travel document requirements, please ask your travel consultant or contact the nearest Embassy or Consulate of Vietnam.

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