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Vietnam Travel Guide



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Full country name: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Area: 331,210 sq km
Population: 88,58 million (July 2010 est.)
Capital City: Hanoi (Ha Noi)
Language: Vietnamese (official), English (increasingly favored as a second language), some French, Chinese, and Khmer; mountain area languages (Mon-Khmer and Malayo-Polynesian)
Religion: Buddhist 9.3%, Catholic 6.7%, Hoa Hao 1.5%, Cao Dai 1.1%, Protestant 0.5%, Muslim 0.1%, none 80.8%
Government: Communist state
Time Zone: UTC+7
Dialing Code: 84
Electricity: 127/220V 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Using the international metric system. In addition, there are two weight measurements: the tael and the catty.

Money & Costs:
Currency: Dong (VND)
Average Yearly Salary: USD2,900

Meals:
Budget: USD1-6
Mid-range: USD6-20
High: USD60+
Accommodation:
Budget: USD15-40
Mid-range: USD40-100
High: USD150+

Geography: Vietnam is a country situated in the southeastern extremity of the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. The country borders the People's Republic of China, Laos, Cambodia, and the South China Sea. Vietnam's terrain consists of hills, mountains, and tropical forests. There are coastal lowlands in the southern part of the country, whereas, the northern part of the country consists mainly of highlands.

Climate: Vietnam has a tropical climate, which is generally characterized as having a lot of sunshine, humidity and high rainfall. However, in Vietnam, the climate tends to vary considerably from one region to another. There are two clearly distinguished seasons: the cold and dry season, which lasts from November to April, and the hot and wet season, which lasts from May to October. The annual average temperature ranges from 22 C to 27 C.

Food & Drink: Since Vietnam has elaborate food preparation techniques, the country's dishes have become popular all around the world. The most popular food and ingredients of the Vietnamese cuisine include: fish sauce, soy sauce, fresh herbs, rice, various fruits, and many vegetables. A diverse range of herbs, including lemongrass, Vietnamese mint, long coriander and Thai basil leaves are widely used in Vietnamese cooking. Traditional cooking is greatly admired for the freshness of the ingredients and for the healthy dishes. The most popular meats used in Vietnamese cuisine are: pork, beef, chicken, fish, and various kinds of seafood. However, the Vietnamese also have a strong vegetarian tradition influenced by Buddhist values. Dishes that have become trademarks of Vietnamese cuisine are phở, gỏi cuốn (spring/summer rolls), bún, and bánh mì (Vietnamese baguette). Other popular Vietnamese dishes include: Bánh hỏi (an extremely thin noodle woven into intricate bundles. Often topped with spring onion and a complementary meat dish), and Bún chả (grilled pork (often ground) and vermicelli noodles served over a bed of greens (salad and sliced cucumber), herbs and bean sprouts). The most popular Vietnamese beverages include: Bia hơi (locally produced draft beer), Rượu đế (a distilled liquor made of rice), and Cà phê sữa đá (strong iced coffee).

Social conventions: Shoes or sandals must be removed before entering Buddhist pagodas, temples and people's home. Don't touch Vietnamese people on the head, since this is a gesture of insult.

Health: No special vaccinations or immunizations (except for yellow fever vaccination certificate, if you are coming from an infected area) are required before entering Vietnam. However, you should consult your doctor before the trip. Since malaria is present in most of the country, precautions, especially if traveling off the beaten track, should be taken. As medical facilities are limited, medical insurance is strongly recommended.

Recommended clothing: Generally, lightweight summer clothes are recommended, except the winter months, and the rainy season, when you may need a sweater or a light jacket. Comfortable and simply removable shoes or sandals are advised for temples' visiting, since shoes have to be taken off before entering. Women should carry a scarf to cover their heads when visiting pagodas and temples. Also note, that short dresses or skirts, revealing your legs, as well as singlets string tops or other revealing clothes should not be worn in religious places.

Public Holidays:
Jan 1 New Year's Day
Jan 27 Vietnam Day
Feb 3 Foundation of the Vietnamese Communist Party
Mar 8 International Women's Day
Mar 26 Youth Day
Apr 30 Liberation Day
May 1 Labour Day
May 19 Ho Chi Minh's Birthday
Jun 1 International Children's Day
Jun 27 Memorial Day for War Martyrs
Aug 19 Revolution of 1945
Sep 2 National Day
Nov 6 Confucius' Birthday
Nov 20 Teachers' Day
Dec 22 Army Day

Disclaimer: The above information is for reference purposes only. The content of this page is not intended to substitute for advice given by the user's own government travel departments or a licensed travel health advisor. The viewer/user of this web page should always contact the user's own government representatives in that area for the most up-to-date information at that time, before making a final decision to travel to that country or destination.

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