Are you planning a trip to Vietnam? Hey, me too! Vietnam is home to famous floating markets, delicious dishes, bustling cities, picturesque beaches, and so much more. As expected, I’ve spent hours researching how to plan a trip to Vietnam, so I’ve compiled some of the important information you need to know before you go. Since this is an affordable travel and personal finance blog, after all, we’ll cover topics like Vietnam currency, the best months to visit, if you need a visa, and more.
Quick Vietnam Travel Tips
1. Is English spoken widely?
Vietnamese is the nation’s official language, but English is spoken widely, especially in bigger cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi. Still, it’s recommended to prepare for your trip to Vietnam by learning a few Vietnamese words and phrases. Bring a phrasebook, download the Google Translate app, or hire a translator if your budget permits.
Here are some recommendations for Vietnamese phrasebooks for travelers:
I also recommend reading this article to learn basic Vietnamese phrases for travelers.
2. When is the best time to visit Vietnam?
December to April is generally recommended as the best months to visit Vietnam since temperatures are mild and there is less rain. However, it depends on where you want to visit (north region, south, or central) and the types of activities you plan on doing. During winter and spring, you’ll avoid rain and monsoon season.
3. Do I need a tourist visa to visit Vietnam?
Yes, you need a visa to visit Vietnam. U.S. travelers must have a valid passport with at least six months remaining beyond their planned stay. You must also have at least one blank passport page available.
You’ll have to submit a visa application ahead of time by either visiting an embassy (less common) or apply online and wait a few days for approval. Here’s the Vietnam visa application for U.S citizens.
To submit your visa application, you’ll need the following:
- DL tourist visa application and visa letter application fee
- Visa letter application fee varies depending on the type of visa, processing time, and length of stay
- (2) attached passport photos
Once approved, print out the visa approval letter and bring it with you.
In summary, you’ll have to apply in advance for a visa approval letter, and when you arrive in Vietnam, you’ll get the official visa stamp, where you’ll have to pay an additional stamping fee of $25 USD per person. Plan to apply for the visa at least seven days before your trip.
4. What are the recommended vaccinations?
Although there aren’t any vaccination requirements to visit Vietnam, it’s recommended to be up to date with your Tetanus and Hepatitis vaccinations.
5. Do you need to bring an adapter to charge electronics?
Yes! Power in Vietnam is 220V and outlets accommodate Type A (two flat parallel pins) or Type C plugs (two round pins). Pack several adapters so you can charge multiple items at once.
We recommend a universal travel adapter that includes USB ports.
6. How’s Wi-Fi connectivity?
Wi-Fi is abundant and fast in Vietnam, making the country a favorite among digital nomads and location-independent, remote workers.
Read Next: 10 Digital Nomad Podcasts You Must Listen To
7. How many Vietnamese international airports are there?
There are three popular international airports including:
- Hanoi Noi Bai (Noi Bai) International Airport (HAN) – 40 minutes to the city center
- Da Nang International Airport (DAD) – 10 minutes to the city center
- Ho Chi Minh City Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) – 20 minutes to the city center
8. How do you get around?
There are a variety of modes of transportation in Vietnam. The most popular include renting a motorbike, traveling by bus (sleeper buses), train (overnight), boat, and short flights.
9. What apps should I download?
Here’s a list of apps recommended by other travelers:
- Grab: Like Uber, with Grab, you can book a ride, order food or groceries.
- Happy Cow: For vegan and vegetarian restaurants.
- WhatsApp: For calling and texting.
- Google Maps: For GPS navigating.
- Airbnb: For booking unique accommodations.
- Google Translate: Quick and easy language translation.
10. What currency does Vietnam use?
Vietnam’s national currency is the Vietnamese Dong, abbreviation VND.
In September 2021, 22,700 VND equals $1 USD.
Throughout Vietnam, plan to pay with Vietnamese Dong for the best rate.
ATMs only dispense VDN and are probably the best place to exchange currency outside of banking institutions. They do charge a foreign transaction fee plus an ATM fee. A good workaround is bringing a debit card that reimburses your ATM fees. Here’s a list of banks with great perks for travelers.
Helpful Tip: Don’t accept dirty or damaged bills, as it will be hard for you to use them.
11. Can you use debit or credit cards?
Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in Vietnam, but chip-only and contactless are less common.
12. Should you tip in Vietnam?
Although tipping is not customary in Vietnam, it is appreciated. Tourists commonly tip waiters, drivers, tour guides, hotel cleaning staff, and bartenders. Tipping in local currency, VND (Vietnamese Dong), is the most convenient. Rounding up or tipping anywhere from 20,000 VND to 50,000 VND ($1-2 USD) is considered generous and good practice.
Want even more Vietnam travel planning tips? Here are some YouTube videos I enjoyed.
Danielle Desir is a financially savvy traveler, 4x author, and podcaster. She paid off $63,000 of student loan debt in 4 years, bought a house at 27, and has traveled to 27 countries. She refuses to let her financial responsibilities hold her back from living life on her terms. Listen to The Thought Card Podcast here which has over 80,000 podcast downloads.