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Vietnam FlagVIETNAM TRAVEL AND TOURS - VIETNAM TRAVEL INFORMATION

Greetings and thank you for joining us for the trip of a lifetime. First and foremost, despite the challenges you may have heard or read about the region, we are here to ensure your trip goes not only smoothly, but is one of the most remarkable you've ever had. For us, your trip preparation begins well before you depart with careful planning and arrangements. On your part, please relax, we'll let you know what and when we need anything from you and what you should be doing (if anything aside from browsing through a few books about where you will be traveling). Again, let us sweat the details, that's what you've entrusted us to do!

About 60 to 90 days before your depart, you will receive printed materials from us in your pre-tour packet. Please inspect and read thrse documents carefully, some, such as your visa on arrival authorization form, may be required for entry into the country you are traveling to. Most of these documents are posted here if you wish to get an early start. Of course, please don't hesitate to contact us with any questions you may have. We would also be happy to place you in contact with our past travelers for their advice.


Most of Vietnam is made up of mountains. The main parts of Vietnam that you should visit are Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Halong Bay, Haiphong, North-West & North-Est Vietnam, Hue, Hoi An, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet and Dalat. Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are enormous cities that have such attractions as museums, markets, parks and pagodas, many restaurants and bars and an exciting nightlife. Halong Bay has beautiful emerald green waters and thousands of islands and caves that you can explore. North-West & North-Est Vietnam's breathtaking mountain scenery and colourful hill tribe minorities should not be missed. When visiting Hue you absolutely must visit the ancient citadel and take a 'Dragon Boat' trip to the majestic Royal Tombs. Hoi An has a charming atmosphere and while here you must see the extraordinary Cham ruins, located at nearby My Son. Nha Trang & Phan Thiet has crystal clear turquoise waters and offers great island-hopping and scuba diving. Dalat is made up of pine-forested hills, cultivated valleys, lakes and waterfalls. Dalat is quite different from anywhere else you’ll visit in Vietnam. You should almost be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into the French Alps in spring time. Booking Dalat Hotels in advance is highly recommended if you want to visit this amazing place.

Passports
Important: Your passport must be valid for six months beyond the ending date of your trip; please check your passport is indeed valid for this amount of time.

Visas
Myanmar, Vietnam, Bhutan, and China require visa or visa authorization before arrival, which Indochina Travel will assist with securing*. Unless transiting through the airport, these countries also require a re-entry visa if passing through more than once. For all other countries, your visa will be processed after arrival, including Laos and Cambodia. Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, and Singapore do not require a visa.

*Although Luxury Travel may assist with obtaining visas or visa on arrival authorization, each traveler bears the ultimate responsibility to ensure they have the required documentation for entry.

Immunizations and Vaccinations
Health vaccinations are not required. However, health requirements may change and we recommend you check with a medical professional and the Centers for Disease Control Web site for current information on your destinations. Malaria does not occur in most places where you will likely be traveling. For an incidence map, please search on the CDC's Malaria Map Application. Although Malaria data is limted for Myanmar, it does not occur in cities (Yangon and Mandalay) and does not occur in Bagan nor Shan State over 1,000 meters (which includes Inle Lake, Kalaw, and Maymyo).

Emergency Contacts & Insurance
All travelers (except to China) are covered for emergency medical and air evacuation insurance through the Global Traveler Program by International SOS (Membership No: 12148-B). International SOS operates its own medical clinics and offices in-country with locations in Bangkok, Phnom Penh, Yangon, Beijing, Shanghai, Hue, Hanoi, and Saigon and provides our travelers with air evacuation services to Singapore or Bangkok if deemed necessary. Please note: the SOS Global Traveler Program does not cover air evacuation to any location but Singapore or Bangkok nor subsequent medical expenses after evacuation, please supplement this insurance with your own coverage. Luxury Travel is not affiliated with SOS International and does not warrant any claim or responsibility for their services: Travelers are ultimately responsible for contacting with SOS and arranging for services required.


Security

Despite the region's history, Indochina and Myanmar are now amongst the safest places in the world to travel where physical crime against travelers is unheard of and even theft is rare. When traveling with us, please entrust your your possessions and valuables to your vehicle, always carefully watched by your driver. When not with us, please leave your valuables and travel documentation in your hotel safe.

Tipping
Note that with the exception of Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, all tipping in Indochina and Myanmar tipping is preferred in US dollars. Tipping is not expected in restaurants, where like in Europe a service charge is typically included in the bill. For informal, street cafes a small tip is appreciated. An appropriate tip for hotel porters and other service providers is $1-2. Cleaning staff get about $2 a day, left at the end of your stay on the nightstand, where it's easily visible. Masseuse, $5 to $10. For guides, the range for tipping, dependent on your satisfaction of course, is from $20-100 per day for a couple (double this amount for families or small parties). For larger groups, an appropriate range is $100 and up for your entire party/per day. Drivers are tipped about half the guide rate. Two dollar bills are valued souvenirs in Vietnam. In Vietnam, baseball caps and hometown collegiate t-shirts are also prized gifts

Culture
Four great philosophies and religions have shaped the spiritual life of the Vietnamese people: Confucianism, Taoism, Buddhism and Christianity. The Vietnamese language (kinh) belongs to the Mon-Khmer stock, which comprises Mon (spoken in Burma) and Khmer (the language of Cambodia), as well as Khmu, Bahnar, Bru and other languages of the highlands of Vietnam. Mon-Khmer, Tai and Chinese elements with many of its basic words derived from the monotonic Mon-Khmer languages. The most widely spoken foreign languages in Vietnam are Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin), English, French and Russian, more or less in that order. Popular artistic forms include: traditional painting produced on frame-mounted silk; an eclectic array of theatre, puppetry, music and dance; religious sculpture; and lacquerware. Vietnamese cuisine is especially varied - there are said to be nearly 500 different traditional dishes, ranging from exotic meats such as bat, cobra and pangolin to fantastic vegetarian creations.

Local Currency

The currency for Vietnam is Dong. The US dollar virtually acts as a second local currency and all hotels, airlines and travel agencies quote prices in US dollars. However, you should pay in Dong. Vietnamese law requires all transactions in dong, though in practice many people will accept dollars.
Visa and MasterCard credit cards are accepted in the major cities and towns popular with tourists. Getting cash in advance is also possible but you will be charged between 2% and 4% commission plus any charges levied by your bank.
Travellers cheques in US dollars can be exchanged and only at certain banks. Most hotels and airline offices do not accept travellers cheques as payment. Lost or stolen cheques are not replacable in Vietnam.

Transport

Domestic Air Services: All air travel within Vietnam is handled by Vietnam Airlines. All reservations can be made by your agent or the airlines directly.
Buses: Most foreigners do not use local buses. It is advisable to use Taxi's, private buses or hired rentals with a driver.  The Vietnamese drive on the right-hand side of the road. You can hire a motorcycle to drive yourself if you have an International Driver's Permit endorsed for motorcycles. Travelling through Vietnam by bicycle is worth considering, though the traffic is still a hazard on highways without wide shoulders. Trains and buses will carry your bike when you want a break.
Hitching: Though it is practised it is not recommended. You are expected to pay the driver for picking you up and he will negotiate the fee prior to letting you on board.
Boats: are widely used in the Mekong Delta area and Cantho is accessible by this method from Ho Chi Minh City.

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Luxury Travel is a leading destination management company providing premium South East Asia tours. Indulge in the attention, flexibility and pampering on a customised luxury travel crafted exclusively for you, one that goes where you want, when you want. Extraordinary moments are made possible by well-travelled consultants and handpicked guides. With expertise in not only private luxury travel but also culture, history and wildlife, let us redefine your notion. To learn more about our private tours, click on any of the country links as below:

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