Do you want visit vietnam ? Are you looking for a roadmap to discover Vietnam? Do you know in which city to spend one, two or three nights in Vietnam? Vietnam visa information? In this article I tell you everything you need to know to discover Vietnam easily.
Here is the action plan for this article to save time (use the menu on the right to access the desired section):
- A little history of Vietnam
- General information about Vietnam
- What to visit in Vietnam with GoogleMaps to facilitate your planning, with the roadmap to discover Vietnam in 2 or 3 weeks?
- Where to sleep in Vietnam?
- How to get to the city center from Hanoi or Saigon?
- Vietnam Tourist Visa Information
- Want to take a trip to Halong Bay from Cat Ba or Hanoi? and contact the French team
- Do you want to go on an excursion to Ninh Bình (Halong Bay on land)? and contact the French team
1) History / Geography before visiting Vietnam
The history of Vietnam is very rich and I highly recommend that you watch the videos below to realize it and thus understand a little its culture but also the hell that they have lived during the last 100 years.
Vietnam, or Vietnam, is a Southeast Asian country located east of the Indochina peninsula. It has 93 million inhabitants with an area of 331 km000. Its neighbors are China to the north, Laos to the west, Cambodia to the southwest, and the China Sea to the east and south. The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi (source Wikipedia Vietnam).
Vietnam is a former French colony, it is part of Indochina (Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam).
The Democratic Republic of Vietnam was born during the declaration of independence of Vietnam made by Ho Chi Min. Ho Chi Min (born in 1890 and died in 1969) is a Vietnamese communist activist and statesman very appreciated by the Vietnamese. It's a bit liberating. The great city of Saigon, the economic capital, was renamed Ho Chi Min in 1975, it is to show you how much you have been loved.
Here are some videos that will allow you to know a little better the history of the last two centuries of Vietnam:
Some Vietnamese words:
Xim Chào = hello (we can simply say Chao, it is pronounced: Tchiao)
Tam biet = goodbye
Hen gap lai = Hasta ready
Cam on = Thank you
Update on local currency:
As for the local currency, it is called Dong, and you will feel like a millionaire the coconuts, since:
- 1 € = 24 000 Dong
- 5 € = 120 000 Dong
- 10 € = 240 000 Dong
- 500 € = 12 Dong !!!
Also, the best place to pick up Dong is in the city center and not at the airport.
As a general rule, I found the Vietnamese very smiling, most of the time warm and generous. Of course, there is always an exception to the rule, but it is like everywhere. And the merchants do not represent the population ... Do not think that being French will help you either, do not forget that France colonized Vietnam and that the war ended ...
However, I had the impression that they did not think about it and that since the water has passed under the bridges, the new generation is turned towards the future, and they will see that the Vietnamese are proud (in addition, they rejected the help of the Americans after the Vietnam War).
They know very well that our standard of living is higher, so obviously they try to raise prices and that seems normal to me (we would do the same for them…). Let this not be a cause for dispute. Anyway, take it as a joke and you will see that they will do the same and that they will rethink their prices ...
Here's a photo taken at Cat Ba in Halong Bay, where Bien (the middle one) was our captain during our BoatTrip and invited us to eat at his house with his family.
If you want to do a BoatTrip (2 days and 1 night) in Cat Ba I advise you to contact this French speaking team, they are really good. The departure can be made from Hanoi or from Cat Ba. They have 3 offers (to contact).
2) Information before visiting Vietnam
Here we are, what to visit in Vietnam in 2 or 3 weeks? When to go to Vietnam, in what season?
Well, first of all, know that in France we are 6 hours apart from Vietnam, so when it is 12 o'clock in France, it is 18 o'clock in Vietnam. Count 13 hours of flight between Paris and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) and 12 hours between Paris and Hanoi (the capital). For my part, it is in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon) that I passed, the economic capital of Vietnam.
The most pleasant months for visit vietnam It is from November to April. But keep in mind that at the same time, during the winter it can be cold in the north… Also, as you know, there is the monsoon in Vietnam, so avoid the months of May to September.
In central Vietnam, it is a good idea to wait until February to avoid the rains. More information on the QuandPartirVietnam website.
For my part, I went to discover Vietnam in March, if you are looking for cheap flights in France to Vietnam.
Also note that in northern Vietnam, there are often clouds! Don't necessarily expect a beautiful blue sky. However, the temperature is forgiving.
3) Visit Vietnam - Road Map
I found myself like you, not knowing where to go, and especially how long to stay in this or that city visit vietnam. So I spent a lot of time learning about forums / sites to find out how long it takes to visit a particular city / site, and even doing that, we found so many opinions that it is difficult to get an idea.
So I left visit Vietnam for 3 weeks. Because yes, if you plan to go there, don't go for 2 weeks, it's too short and you will be frustrated that it didn't take more time, you are warned!
First of all, know that you will save time and money if you arrive in Ha Noi and depart through Saigon (Ho Chi Min). Vietnam can be visited from north to south. So I didn't do everything, you can imagine, but these are the must-see cities for your stay in Vietnam!
- Hanoi (3 days including 3 or 4 nights)
Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam, this is where your journey will begin. If you do not start your visit to Vietnam in this city, you will probably have to go through there in order to get to the city of Sa pa, Ninh Binh, or to get to Halong Bay (where the largest island in the bay is located, Cat Ba).
- Sa pa (2 days including 2 or 3 nights)
Sapa, a mountainous and truly beautiful city. On the menu: hiking, trekking, rice fields… You will love it! Allow 4 hours by bus from Hanoi.
- Cat Ba (Halong Bay) (3 days including 3 or 4 nights)
You've probably heard of Ha Long Bay (or Cat ba Island), or at least you've seen pictures. It is a must during your stay in Vietnam!
Allow 2 hours by bus to get to Hai Phong from Hanoi, then 45 minutes by boat (and maybe another 45 minutes by bus if the boat doesn't take you to the central port of Cat Ba). to read my article to visit Cat Ba Halong Bay.
I advise you to do a BoatTrip (2 days and 1 night) in Cat Ba. To plan that, contact this French-speaking team, they are really good. The departure can be made from Hanoi or from Cat Ba. They have 3 offers (to make contact).
- Ninh Binh (2 days including 1 or 2 nights)
A really lovely little town. A hunch!
Allow 1h30 - 2h by bus from Hanoi.
- Hue (1 day including 1 night)
The ancient capital of Vietnam before Hanoi. 1 day is more than enough and while you do it spend the night there. More information in my article "Visit Hue":
- Hoi An (4 days including 4 or 5 nights)
Big in love with this small town that has remained authentic. You will have to go through Da Nang airport, then take the taxi or boat to get to Hoi An (wait 45 min and 400.000 dong if you take the taxi, or about € 20.
- Nha Trang (2 days including 2 or 3 nights)
- Saigon - Ho Chi Min (3 days including 3 or 4 nights)
Economic capital, it is also essential!
- Phu Quoc (3 days including 2 or 3 nights)
The largest island in Vietnam. Located completely in the south of Vietnam.
3) In which city to stay in Vietnam
In each of my articles (in progress ...), I tell you where to sleep in Vietnam to be well located. I also give you good addresses with a very interesting value for money. You have rooms for € 10 to € 100, there is something for everyone, but on average it counts € 30 / night for a room for two and being in a reasonable room.
Here are the links:
- Where to sleep in Hanoi
- Where to sleep in Cat Ba (Halong Bai)
- Where to sleep in Hue
- Where to sleep in Hoi An
- Where to sleep in Saigon (Ho Chi Min)
- Where to sleep in Phu Quoc
- Here's a little view from my bedroom balcony on Cat Ba Island. Room night € 12! Bimmm!
4) How to get your visa to discover Vietnam
To go to visit Vietnam you must have a passport, and this passport is not free. You can go ahead and do it like I did, or you can do it once there. Then you will ask me why do it before.
Well, simply to save time and avoid unpleasant surprises. To you to see!
/! Visa exemption until June 30, 2018 for French, Italian, Spanish, German or British travelers who wish it visit vietnam for stays of less than 15 days maximum (therefore 14 nights).
If you are going there more than 15 days and you want to plan ahead, here are the necessary documents for a Vietnamese tourist visa.
I went through the Action-Visas site to follow these steps. So go to their Action-Visa-Vietnam site.
- Order form: Vietnam Visa
Click Free Estimate / Order Online. Enter the information, then you will be asked to download a form, there are 3 forms:
- Vietnam Form (5 year visa waiver) .pdf
- Vietnam Form (Ethnic Visa) .pdf
- Formulario Vietnam.pdf
You are the third one you need, if like me you are going to visit Vietnam. This is what it looks like. Therefore, you will need to fill out this form and enter an address for your stay in Vietnam, enter your hotel address (even if you are leaving the next day).
I arrived in Vietnam on March 1, but in case I upgraded the day before, February 28, and it lasted 30 days (even though I was there 24 days) it's the same price so long to do ...
As you can see, I marked the "multiple" option, it means that I can enter Vietnam, leave (Cambodia for example) and re-enter. And that at a cost.
- Visa Stock Options
You have the option to "Fill in the official form by Action-Visas", in short, they carry out this official procedure for you, in exchange for a small additional ticket.
- A color identity photo: 4,5 x 3,5 cm format (no photocopy or scan photo)
- You must also send your passport, I know, I know, it is not very reassuring but it is. So don't take this step at the last minute ...
The passport must be valid for at least one month after the end of the planned stay. Send everything to the address Action visas 10/12 rue du moulin des près 75013 Paris (by registered mail!). The order of the check: Servinco.
Count € 150 (multi-entry visa) with the secure service at € 9 in case you lose your passport (they reimburse up to € 3000 in case of loss) + Chronopost at € 25. And € 114 for the Multi-Entry Visa for Vietnam.
- What is multiple entry?
If you want to go to Cambodia during your stay and need to go back to Vietnam, it will cost you € 37 more. Therefore, it is a multiple entry passport. You can do this through the Action-visas.com site.
And you don't need to make 2 copies if you go through a visa action. I'm telling you because some sites say that you have to do it in duplicate.
5) Transportation to visit Vietnam
You will certainly use the taxi quite a bit, and some will not be honest. So if you can, always ask your hotel to give you the approximate price to go to that point. This will allow you not to pay double or triple and above all give you an idea of the price.
Don't think that just asking for the meter to be measured will be enough to make you wrong (even if they are honest most of the time). So give the approximate price to the driver, this will avoid all scams (especially at night…).
The best way to get to a city is by plane, you will find many low cost flights such as VietJetAir or Jetstar. Only through these two companies did I go to link Saigon to Phu Quoc, or Phu Quoc from Hanoi, Hanoi to Da Nang. Whenever you use Vietnamese flights, you will need at least your ID card. The passport is necessary only to enter or leave the territory.
If you're wondering whether to book early, I'll tell you right away NO! Why that? Well, because you don't know what you are going to find during your trip, so if you give yourself deadlines before setting foot in Vietnam, you run the risk of becoming frustrated.
Reserve there. On the other hand, try not to do it the day before, book at least 2-3 days before! The day before prices can really go up.
/! Tip: You can very well book a flight (and even pay for this flight) and cancel it later, as long as you haven't registered online. I did it with JetStar (although I did not test it with other companies). Once you register, you cannot cancel.
/! Another tip: you don't need to print the ticket. Take a simple screenshot of your flight with the reservation number, your first and last name, that will be enough. Besides, I'm telling you, I never needed to show you. You go to the airport (national and not international terminal), to the stand of the company where you have reserved, and you simply hand over your passport!
/! Please note that when booking, you will need to add a supplement for your luggage / suitcase (maximum 15 kg). Don't forget it because once at the airport, you are likely to pay full price.
When averaging my flights, count € 60 per ticket (not counting return). Unless you do it at the last minute!
6) How to get to the city center once you arrive in Vietnam
- Tan Son Nhat International Airport (Saigon) -> Saigon city center
If you arrive from Saigon (Ho Chi Min), we will tell you how to get to the city center:
The best means of transport to get to Saigon (Ho Chi Minh) from the airport is simply the taxi because there is no subway or train and the price is 8 € anyway, that is, 180.000 Dong (price of the race if you go alone, two or three with luggage), it's a gift!
Once you have cleared customs and then collected your luggage, take an X-ray of your luggage again and you will stumble in front of several stalls.
Stands for SIM cards (I also advise you to take one to have internet, it is not expensive), stands to exchange your € (withdraw € 50, it is enough, you will change the rest in the city center although you will not earn much ) and a stop for the taxi, here is the ticket:
Nội Bài International Airport (Hanoi) -> Hanoi City Center
You will arrive at the Nội Bài airport, it is 1h30 by bus from Ha Noi, you will have to take the 17 or 7, ticket price € 0,30 (5000 Dong).
The buses are right outside the airport. If you opt for a taxi € 15 (count 300.000 Dong). Frankly I did it by bus and it's really boring.
To find the buses, you simply leave the airport, cross the 2 roads that are right in front of you, taking care to reject scammers who will offer to take you to Hanoi for € 30 ...
Count 1h30 by bus, on the other hand there are quite a few stops and the buses are like saying ... Let's say they are not very fresh!
If you take bus 7, your last station is Kim Ma bus station, here is the google map:
If you take bus 17, the last station is Long Bien bus station, here is the google map:
As you can see, in both cases you are near the old town of Hanoi, it is in the old town where I advise you to stay in Hanoi, also if you are looking for good directions: Where to sleep in Ha Noi (in progress).
But recently the Hanoi Bus Service has implemented a new line, (bus number 86), they are new, stop much less and have a boot. They depart from terminals T1, T2 of Noi Bai International Airport. They are also faster as they serve 8 locations.
The starting point from Hanoi city is Hanoi Station. The stopping time is also longer (around 1-2 minutes) for luggage. Here's your route, to zoom in on the GoogleMap - Hanoi Airport Bus:
Well there you go, I think you have all the keys in hand to visit Vietnam 2 weeks as it should be
Do not hesitate to leave a comment at the bottom of the page to give me your impressions, share a good address, a hotel, a bar ... Sharing is good;)
- And what do you prefer in Vietnam?
- Do you have an interesting address to share? A roadmap for Vietnam to share?
- Feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of the page!
See you soon!
Other items not to be missed!
- What to see Hanoi
- Where to sleep in Hanoi
- Join Cat Ba from Hanoi
- Where to sleep in Hoi An
- Visit Ho Chi Minh
- Where to stay in Ho Chi Minh
- Where to stay Phu Quoc
- Visit Hoi An
- Visit Tokyo 8 days
- Visit Japan 2 weeks
- Where to sleep Hue
Keywords that allowed Internet users to find this article:
- Visit vietnam
- Visit to vietnam
- Discover Vietnam
- What to see in Vietnam