1. Sort out your visa
Speaking of traveling to any country, the visa is generally mentioned first. It is rather astonishing that many people who are going to visit Vietnam have no idea what to do with their Vietnam visas. In fact, residents of some specific countries are exempted from a visa to Vietnam for a certain period of time while others may be required to get a visa to enter Vietnam.
In the past, the process of getting a Vietnam visa at Vietnamese embassies is daunting and confusing, but fortunately, now travelers can consider applying for a visa on arrival (VOA) or e-visa which is so convenient and less time-consuming. Of course, a visa on arrival has lots of advantages over other ways to obtain a Vietnam visa, but please notice that it is just applicable for air travel only. There are many companies that can do it for you online for a small fee.
Note: The visa situation for Vietnam differs for each nationality and changes regularly, so you should always check your nationality’s visa conditions prior to departure.
2. Weather varies so much
Vietnam is generally hot and humid. Since the country is long and thin in shape, its natural weather changes significantly depending on geography. There are 3 different weather regions in the country. At a time, it could be snowing in Sapa but blazingly hot in Phu Quoc.
Details about the weather in Vietnam:
- Northern Vietnam: expect hot wet summers and cool dry winters. From September to November, it can be cold here, especially adjacent to the border with China.
- Central Vietnam: expect dry, hot weather from January to August with approximately mid-thirty temperatures.
- Southern Vietnam: expect an entire tropical climate with only 2 seasons – dry and wet.
Due to varied weather conditions throughout the country, the best time to travel in Vietnam so as to fully enjoy your trip is from December to April.
3. People are friendly
Vietnamese culture is so special partly because Vietnamese people are very friendly, lovely, kind, and giving. Some visitors said that, during their travels in Asia, they met and communicated with many friendly people from different places, but Vietnamese take it to a whole new level of kindness. Though people here might not have much, they still willingly share what they have with you.
4. Things are affordable
Vietnam is among the cheapest countries in Asia, so you can expect to have a cheap trip for your first time in Vietnam. Transport, hotels, drinks, meals, souvenirs, etc. are incredibly cheap compared with other Asian countries, namely Thailand. As just a bit of cash can go a long way, it means more travelers can afford to visit Vietnam.
5. Dress appropriately
Vietnam is not a conservative country regarding clothing and you do not need to dress like an Afghan woman. It is totally fine to wear a shirt, shorts, and flip-flops when visiting usual entertaining areas or walking on the streets, but it is advisable to wear something cover-up when visiting religious sites like temples.
If you are not sure about what to wear, simply do as locals do. Don’t forget to bring warm clothes if you are visiting the North during the winter months.
6. It is a food paradise
Recently, Vietnam begins to make headway in the circle of food in the world. Vietnamese food is unique with a perfect blend of sweet, sour, salty, and savory flavors and tastes.
Words are not enough for describing Vietnamese cuisine because it offers valuable insight into the culture of the country. Being the heart of Vietnamese culture, Vietnam food varies by region from the north to the south. Food tends to be less spicy in northern Vietnam, spicier in central Vietnam, and sweeter in southern Vietnam.
Famous dishes that tourists should not miss upon visiting Vietnam include fresh and fried spring rolls (Nem), rice noodles (Phở), steamed rice pancakes (Bánh Cuốn), Cha Ca, etc.
7. Public transportation is easy enough
Speaking of transportation in Vietnam, it can be said that Vietnam is one of the easiest countries in Asia thanks to its affordable, expansive, and reliable network of means. As a traveler, you can get from any corner of Vietnam to any other using public transport.
There are many options travelers can choose from to travel around Vietnam. Not to mention trains and buses that suit long journeys, travelers visiting Vietnam have a wide range of means to move around during their trip. In big cities like Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi, motorbikes (scooters) are literally everywhere so if you are a relatively adventurous traveler, you can rent one to get around. Other less-adventurous but still interesting options are cyclos (three-wheel bicycle taxis) and motorcycle taxis.
No matter what you do or where you go, make sure that you spend some time rolling on the river by boat to not miss any special travel experience in Vietnam.
8. Be aware of road safety
Traffic in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City could be terrifying at first glance and walking across crowded streets during rush hour is like an impossible task in the eye of foreigners. However, it is not as hard as it appears. Just like a school of fish, the traffic will glide around you as long as you move at a steady and slow pace.
How Long To Stay In Vietnam for the First Time for Wildlife?
The length of your first-time journey in Vietnam depends on how many days you want to travel. Some common options for traveling duration offered by travel agents are: