Vietnam is a beautiful S-shaped country located in SouthEast Asia. For a long time this land has become famous for its wonderful scenery, marvellous cuisine, and friendly hospitality. Vietnam is specially placed in the top 4 of countries that international tourists want to travel to the most. Ha Long Bay - one of the world heritage sites - is a popular travel destination. So, before planning and packing to go on a trip to Vietnam, what should you pay attention to?
1. Perfect time to travel to HaLong Bay
Vietnam’s topography stretches from the North to the South so the weather of different regions is extremely diverse. While you shouldn’t go to the Centre in July and August to avoid storms that negatively affect your trip and the South in the rainy season (from May to October), you can travel to the North at any time of the year. However, the weather of Halong is typical with super hot in summer (July, August) and cold in winter. Therefore, you need to update the weather forecast everyday to check the most suitable schedule. Secretly suggest, October to April would be the best time to travel to Halong bay.
2. Vietnam Currency and Money
The currency of Vietnam is Dong.
The newest update for the exchange rate is: 1 USD ~ 23,000 VND
In Vietnam, you can exchange money at the airport or banks. Please remember that after the payment, the note you received must remain intact, not torn or too dim. The bank will not accept or exchange it with lower rates from the store or the hotel so you cannot make the payment with dollars that have stains or text on it.
In case you do not like using cash, you should still exchange a little because Vietnamese still prefer using it, only restaurants, hotels, and modern convenience stores have the POS for people who pay by card, but you have to pay the bank fee of 3 - 3.5%. Visa, Master Card is the most common type of card in Vietnam. It is better if you can check with the seller before buying or using the service whether they accept credit cards or not.
NOTE & TIPS:
You should ask for the price before buying anything or using any service (for example taxi, street food, drinks, etc.).
One cup of local coffee has a price of 25.000 VND (about $1.2). One local meal (such as Banh Mi, Bun Cha, Banh Cuon, Pho, etc.) has a price of 40000 Dong (about $2). One meal in the restaurant has a price of 250000 per person (about $11).
3. Passport and Vietnam Visa
To enter Vietnam, you will need to bring your passport that is still valid for at least 03 months after the date you enter.
A valid visa is required for citizens from most foreign countries to come to Vietnam for any purpose. Residents of some countries who have a visa exemption agreement with Vietnam do not need to get a visa to Vietnam for a certain period and with specific purposes. And also not all travellers who require a visa to Vietnam are supported with the visa on arrival. Hence, make sure whether you need a visa to Vietnam or not and are supported with the visa on arrival.
Nowadays, there are two available ways to obtain a visa to Vietnam: apply for the visa at a Vietnam Embassy or apply for Visa on arrival. Of course, a visa on arrival is more convenient and less time-consuming, but please notice that it is only applicable for those who travel to Vietnam by air. By applying for a Vietnam visa online, you can receive your Approval Letter before you leave home, which will simplify your arrival and save time.
After such a long time seized by Covid-19 pandemic, Vietnam restored the policies on entry visas for foreigners as before the pandemic outbreak.
From 15th March 2022 to 14th March 2025, Vietnam applies visa exemption for citizens of 13 countries (Germany, French, Italy, Spain, UK and Northern Ireland, Russian, Japan, Republic of Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Belarus) with the maximum length of stay to 15 days.
4. What to bring to Vietnam
Above money, credit card, passport, visa mentioned above, these are some necessary things that you should consider:
– Travel insurance: Buying travel insurance will cover any medical conditions, injuries or accidents that may occur.
– Camera or photo permit, where required.
– Telephone numbers and addresses at destinations – maybe needed for landing cards.
– Printed copies of accommodation you will be staying in. Although almost everywhere accepts an e-copy of a reservation on smartphones, it’s better to prepare a hard copy.
b) Electronic items
– Mobile phone, camera, Ipad/Ipod, charger, laptop (if needed) and a charger adapter. It is necessary to charge all the electronic items before your trip.
c) Essential medical kit
– Mask and sanitizer, Vitamin C Supplement,...
– Pain pills.
– Cold/flu, stomach meds.
– Insect repellent.
Note: In fact there are a lot of pharmacies in Halong Bay for you to buy medical stuff in case something happens. If you join a tour, the tour guide will prepare it for you.
d) Clothes and belongings
Check the weather forecast before travelling in order to prepare suitable luggage. A jacket, an umbrella and a pair of waterproof shoes will be useful items in your travel suitcase. It’s better to leave expensive items at a safe place.
– Proper suitcase. It is much better to choose luggage with wheels.
– Spare clothes.
– Personal hygiene items such as shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes,… You will need to check the liquid rule for hand luggage (i.e: 100 ml travel sized containers or less per item).
Halong Bay has a wide range of fantastic scenery. If you embark on a luxury cruise to explore the bay, it would be more perfect to fully enjoy the atmosphere there. Don’t forget to bring smartphones or cameras to record every moment of the whole exciting trip. Great experience awaits you ahead.