Tours to Vietnam: the magic of the South East will not leave anyone indifferent
Exotic tours to Vietnam are a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the unique world of the southeastern tropical region. Mild subequatorial climate, highland evergreen forests and deciduous monsoon groves, mysterious savannahs, white sand on the seashore, ancient pagodas and dragons – this is just a small part of the charm of an amazing country on the southeast coast of the Indochina peninsula. Tours to Vietnam, offered to lovers of oriental exoticism, are in high demand in the autumn-winter period. At this time of the year, the country is warm and dry. The warm clear sea will meet you with white sand beaches. Tours to Vietnam literally give tourists the charm of Southeast Asia: compared to nearby Thailand, holidays here are inexpensive. International tourism in Vietnam began to develop actively relatively recently, but today the level of service of the best hotels has reached world standards. Being one of the most important sectors of the country’s economy, tourism in Vietnam is developed in the island, southern and central parts of the country.
The most famous hotels in Vietnam in terms of service fully comply with the best world standards:
- Exotic Sofitel Vinpearl – occupying a small island off the coast
- Aristocratic Ana Mandara Beach Resor with its own beach
- Comfortable Furama Beach Resort in Da Nang
- Fashionable Victoria Resort known for the quality and variety of SPA-procedures
We are also pleased to offer you inexpensive comfortable tourist hotels in Vietnam:
- Swiss Village – a bit of prim Switzerland in the heart of Vietnamese exoticism
- Blue Ocean – blue marine fantasy in the heart of Phan Thiet
- Palmira Resort – affordable Vietnamese “Palmira”
GENERAL USEFUL INFORMATION – VIETNAM
capital, Hanoi (Hanoi)
major cities: Ho Chi Minh (Ho Chi Minh City; former name – Saigon), Vung Tau (Vung Tau), Phan Thiet (Phan Thiet), Da Lat (Da Lat), Nha Trang (Nha Trang), Hoi An ( Hoi An, Da Nang, Hong Gai, Haiphong.
Tourist Vietnam is good, first of all, for its diversity. A “tour” around the country may well last for months – there are a great many ancient temples, pagodas and monasteries here. The beaches on the coasts of the central and southern regions of the country are the best in the entire South China Sea, and Halong Bay, Hoi An Resort and Phu Quoc Island delight divers from all over the world – and not only with low prices. Fans of vibrant nightlife and club life will find something to do in Ho Chi Minh City. All this is richly flavored with 100% Asian exoticism, which in Vietnam has retained its authenticity and has not yet had time to turn into scenery to attract tourists.
Why do tourists choose this country?
People go to Vietnam in search of “something new”: often these are people who have already visited many European countries and now want something exotic. Another category of tourists are travelers interested in the history and culture of Vietnam. Do not forget about those who regularly travel to Asian countries for business. And, of course, all guests of the country are attracted by the cleanest sea, clean sandy beaches and excellent service – at prices not much different from Russian ones.
Who is going?
Businessmen with and without families, a huge number of fans of kiting, surfing and diving. Age – 25 and older.
Features of the hotel base:
In large cities, the choice of hotels is the most diverse – from mini-hotels to hotels of the De Luxe category. In beach resorts located along the coastline, hotels with comfortable rooms have recently been built. In remote areas, accommodation in 2-3 * hotels is offered. In coastal resorts, most hotels offer accommodation in bungalows or villas.*. In Vietnam, the world “chains” of Accor, Sheraton, Hilton, Mariott, Best Western and others are represented.
Many high-class hotels have been built in Dalat, owned by Accor Corporation and other well-known chains. There are also numerous “budget” hotels there, where an overnight stay can cost 2-4 USD, but, of course, it’s not necessary to talk about the service.
Features of service and maintenance:
Service is at a good level, in high-level hotels the staff works with emphatic diligence. The Vietnamese are polite, friendly and helpful.
Features of staying in the country: The
Vietnamese are very hospitable. Russian tourists are treated like dear guests (especially since many of our travelers are used to relaxing and spending money in a big way).
Flight: Aeroflot (on Il-96) and Vietnam Airlines (on Boeing 767-300) operate two weekly flights from Moscow to Hanoi. Aeroflot flies from Sheremetyevo-2, the flight time is 9 hours 10 minutes. Vietnam Airlines – from Domodedovo, on Tuesdays and Fridays until the end of October, then – on Wednesdays and Saturdays, flight time – 10 hours 15 minutes. Vietnam Airlines also operates one weekly flight Moscow – Ho Chi Minh City: on Mondays, departure from Domodedovo Airport, flight time is 10 hours 35 minutes.
A number of Asian and some European airlines offer flights with transfers in other countries. Vladivostok Air operates one flight a week from Vladivostok to Hanoi.
If a passenger flies on a Vietnam Airlines flight from Moscow to Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, they will receive a 50% discount on domestic flights (if all flights are issued on one ticket). Passengers from St. Petersburg can take advantage of Vietnam Airlines flights via Frankfurt and Paris, and tourists from Moscow via Paris, Seoul and Beijing.
All passengers are charged an airport tax: for international flights – from 8 USD (when departing from Da Nang) to 14 USD (when departing from Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi airports), for domestic flights – 20,000 VND (from airports in central cities) and 10,000 VND ( from provincial towns).
You can also get to Vietnam through neighboring countries – Thailand or China. Thailand is connected with Vietnam by many flights, and from China, in addition, there are trains to Hanoi.
Visa: An agreement has been concluded between Russia and Vietnam to simplify the regime of entry and exit. To apply for a visa, the following documents are required: a passport (the passport must be valid for at least 6 months from the end of the trip), two color photos 3 × 4 cm, a certificate from the place of work or study, a questionnaire. The term for issuing a visa is 7 days. For children traveling without parents or with one of the parents, it is necessary to have a notarized permission.
You can apply for a visa directly at the airport. To do this, you must have a passport (the validity of the passport must be at least three months from the end of the trip), an invitation (visa support), two color photos 3 × 4 cm. For citizens of the Russian Federation, a visa is stamped at the airport for free, for citizens of other countries it costs from 15 to 25 USD.
When crossing the border, a tourist may be asked to provide round-trip tickets.
Customs: The import of foreign convertible currency is not limited, but amounts over 3000 USD must be declared – the export of currency from the country is allowed only within the amount declared upon entry. The export of the national currency is prohibited.
You can import duty-free 400 cigarettes, 100 cigars or 500 g of tobacco, 1.5 liters of strong alcoholic beverages or 2 liters of alcoholic beverages with a strength of up to 22 °, two 100-gram cans of black or red caviar, 5 kg of tea, 3 kg of coffee, as well as other goods with a total value not exceeding VND 5,000,000.
The import of household and computer equipment is subject to mandatory declaration: all undeclared equipment will be allowed to be exported only if customs duties are paid or there is a receipt for its purchase in the country.
It is strictly forbidden to import drugs and narcotic medicines without a medical prescription for their use (punishment up to the death penalty), explosives, firearms, materials that offend local culture (printed materials, CDs, audio and video recordings), as well as pornography.
It is forbidden to export art and antiques, jewelry and handicrafts without proper documentation.
Embassy of the Republic of Vietnam in Moscow: Bolshaya Pirogovskaya, 13; tel.: (095) 247-0212, 245-0925, 247-0707, 246-1383
Embassy of the Russian Federation in the Republic of Vietnam (Hanoi): 191, La Thanh street, Hanoi; tel.: (4) 833-6991, 833-6992
Consulate General of the Russian Federation in Ho Chi Minh City: 40, Ba Huyen Thanh Quan street, Ho Chi Minh City; Vietnam, Tel: (8) 829-2936
Police – 113
Firemen – 114
Ambulance – 115
Transport: Urban transport is well developed only in large metropolitan cities. In remote areas of the country there is only an underdeveloped network of shuttle buses, whose drivers treat schedules and timetables with true Buddhist indifference. The fare is about 0.1 USD.
The main urban modes of transport: taxis, various motorcycle and cycle rickshaws (“cyclo” or “cyclo”). Taxi drivers do not need to negotiate fares in advance: all cars have a meter that indicates the fare, and taxi drivers usually know a little English. Taxi fare: 0.45-0.6 USD per kilometer plus 1-1.5 USD per landing. Moto and cycle rickshaws will be satisfied with 1 USD for a 15-minute trip, however, the amount of payment should be agreed in advance and bargaining is simply necessary in this case.
A trip from Hanoi Airport to the city center (approximately 45 minutes) by taxi costs no more than 15 USD (shuttle minibuses will charge no more than 4 USD per person for a similar trip). In most cases, you should agree on the price of the trip in advance, before getting into the car, it would also be useful to regularly remind the driver about the conditions of the trip – local drivers of all kinds are very fond of “forgetting” the initial agreement and overpricing upon arrival.
Water transport is well developed in Vietnam: many ships in Halong Bay, motor passenger boats and catamarans on the Fragrant River and Melong. The main ports are Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang, Hong Gai, Nha Trang, Hai Phong and Vung Tau.
On the main railway line of the country Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City (1726 km), the Unity Express runs, spending almost 30 hours on a one-way trip.
Car rental: Foreigners in Vietnam overwhelmingly rent a car “complete” with a local driver – this pleasure costs about VND 400,000 per day. It is categorically not recommended to sit down at the wheel yourself in the country: traffic rules are very peculiar, traffic in cities is absolutely unusual for us (there are at least a hundred motorcycles or mopeds per car, and everyone drives completely chaotically, managing, however, with each other almost collide), and rural roads often leave a lot to be desired.
Everywhere in the country you can rent a motorcycle (VND 60,000-80,000 per day) or a bicycle (VND 6,000-8,000 per day). A deposit will be charged at the time of signing the lease.
The average speed of road transport in cities is 40 km/h (sometimes 30 km/h).
For the same violations, motorcycle and car drivers in Vietnam receive different fines. Fines for “bikers”: 50,000 VND – speeding (the equivalent of 100 USD will be charged from a motorist in the same situation), 20,000 VND – driving outside the city without a helmet.
In recent years, many toll intercity routes have been built in Vietnam: they are not too expensive, and the ride is fast and comfortable.
Security: Vietnam is one of the safest places in Asia (and Hanoi is one of the safest cities in the world). Throughout the country, you can easily travel alone. The only ones to be wary of in Vietnam are petty thieves and pickpockets.
To feel comfortable in a hot and humid climate, advise tourists to take light-colored clothes made from light natural fabrics with them to Vietnam. Warm clothes will come in handy in the northern provinces of the country in December-February.
Tap water should not be drunk, nor should you buy food on the street, even if it looks very appetizing. The first three days of your stay in the country should refrain from abundant consumption of fruits and vegetables.
Drinking water is supplied to the rooms of many high-level hotels. Usually this is indicated by a special sign above the tap in the bathroom.
You can order drinks with ice only in large cities, in hotels. In rural areas, ice can be easily made from raw river water.
When entering most Buddhist temples, shoes must be left outside.
Electricity: Mains voltage 220 V, frequency 50 Hz. Plugs generally have flat connectors. Rooms in many hotels are equipped with universal sockets, which are suitable for plugs of almost any configuration. If the plug still does not fit, the hotel staff will find the right adapter.
Climate: Vietnam stretches far from north to south, so the climate here is very diverse. About a third of it is located at a level above 500 m above the sea, so most of the country has a subtropical, and in areas above 2000 m even a temperate climate. From April-May to October, the southeast monsoons bring warm and humid weather here – except for areas protected by mountains.
In the south of Vietnam (from Ho Chi Minh City to the Phan Thiet resort – 200 km), two seasons can be distinguished – wet and dry. The wet season traditionally runs from May to November, with the wettest months being June-August. During this period, it rains for 1-2 hours in the morning, the rest of the time it is sunny. The dry season usually starts in December and ends in April, and the weather during this time can be compared to the September climate in Sochi. For European tourists, this is the most favorable time. “Velvet” months in the south of Vietnam – January and February: soft sun, refreshing sea water. From late February to May – hot days without rain.
The climate of central Vietnam (from the resort of Nha Trang to the ancient capital of Hue) is similar to the weather in the south of the country, from February to August it is clear, rains are rare, the temperature is +30 -35. From September to February – heavy rains, in October – November in the Da Nang and Hue areas, typhoons are possible, the temperature is + 20-28.
Absolutely unique weather – in the mountain resort of Dalat, located 150 km west of Ho Chi Minh City: here, at an altitude of 1000 m above sea level, the climate is close to subtropical all year round. Cool (+22..+25°C) weather during the day, and in the evening and morning hours it can be quite cold here even for Europeans. In the mountains, you can clearly feel the ozone freshness of the air, which makes this eco-resort especially attractive.
In the north of Vietnam (from Hanoi to the seaside resort of Ha Long), the winter and summer seasons are more clearly marked than in the south. Winter, cool and wet, lasts from November to February, in February and March it constantly drizzles “fun”. At the same time, the temperature drops to +10..+12°C, which is very cold for the tropics. From May, the summer season begins abruptly: high humidity, temperatures up to +40°C.
Monthly average air temperature in Hanoi/Danang/Ho Chi Minh City, in °C: January +30/+25/+32, February +21/+26/+32, March +23/+28/+33, April +28/ +30/+35, May +32/+35/+35, June +33/+36/+33, July +33/+36/+33, August +33/+34/+33, September +33/ +30/+33, October +28/+28/+32, November +27/+28/+32, December +21/+27/+32.
The best time to visit Vietnam when rain is least likely: between April-May and October-November.
Shopping: Vietnam has an incredibly rich and varied selection of shopping options and the lowest prices in the region. In Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, there are many modern shopping centers with European goods. However, the trade in local products is also flourishing: in numerous stores you can buy good products made from natural silk and rare wood, mother-of-pearl and silver, stone, bone and metal. There are specialized boutiques with goods made from natural silk (ties, scarves, clothes, shoes, bags), art galleries, souvenir and gold shops. Shops are open almost every day, seven days a week from 7:30 to 17:30 – officially, and unofficially – until late in the evening.
For any fan (and especially fans) of shopping, a trip to Vietnam will be a real feast of the spirit and a rare opportunity to hone your skills. Bargaining there is not only worth it, but simply necessary – everywhere, with the exception of state-owned stores, where a label with a price hangs on each product. Some private stores and shops also have price tags on goods, but there they serve only as a starting point for further bargaining. The general scheme is as follows: the price named by the seller should be divided by two or three – this is approximately the amount that he will eventually agree to. Then the resulting value is divided by two and the result of the division is reported to the seller, who immediately takes on a puzzled and offended look, but at the same time begins to gradually drop the price. As a last resort,
It is worth bringing things from lacquer, bamboo, mother-of-pearl, mahogany and ebony from Vietnam – including very beautiful cutlery or jewelry boxes. Another category of successful purchases is clothes and accessories made of silk, linen and cotton. Good souvenirs from the category “it’s not a pity to buy, it’s not a shame to give” will be paintings embroidered by hand with colored silk on fabric canvas or painted with a brush on fabric or rice paper: many of them are executed with great skill, and they are sold very cheaply. A little hint: “named” artists usually put a personal stamp on their creations, resembling a small red hieroglyph. In Saigon, you can find very high-quality and beautiful gold items – not that at completely junk, but quite nice prices.
In the north of the country, the price can usually be brought down very much, in the center and in the south, merchants, “spoiled” by the influx of foreigners, are less compliant, especially in the central regions of large cities. But as soon as you go beyond the “tourist” quarters, prices become lower, and sellers become more accommodating.
In Vietnam, branches of Nike and Adidas factories are open, so sportswear and shoes from these brands can be bought extremely profitably.
What to bring: Vietnam is a very cheap country, even for a tourist with a thin wallet. Wonderful exotic souvenirs literally cost a penny here, and beautiful silver items cost almost nothing. Travelers returning from Vietnam usually take out of their suitcases silver jewelry and dishes, products made from natural silk, linen and cotton, mahogany and bamboo souvenirs, lacquerware and ceramics.
Food: There are restaurants in Saigon for every taste and budget: prices range from 2 to 25 USD per person. In city cafes, you can eat for 5-10 USD (depending on your appetite), in “fancy” restaurants specializing in seafood, wild game dishes, and more – for 10-15 USD per person. A glass of freshly squeezed juice costs VND10,000-20,000, popular local beers (Tiger, 333, Saigon and Saigon Special) cost between VND8,000-15,000 for a 0.33-liter bottle. European brands are also sold everywhere, which are somewhat more expensive.
Vietnamese cuisine, in which there are echoes of French cuisine, is quite “light” and, despite its unusualness, very healthy. Dishes here are not subjected to long-term heat treatment. The basis of the cuisine is rice, noodles and spices, a variety of seafood. There are a huge number of rice dishes (“kom”) in Vietnam: rice is served here both in its pure form, simply boiled, and as part of complex dishes. The Vietnamese eat a lot of vegetables, ranging from ordinary cucumbers to plants found only in the country. Dishes from bamboo shoots are popular (after processing they have a rather specific smell, as they say, “for an amateur”), it is also worth trying a salad of young lotus shoots and goi-no-shen nuts. Local fruits are numerous and varied: trai-than-long dragon fruit, tay-qua watermelon, longan, mangosteen, pomelo, water apple and other exotics that do not even have names in Russian. Green tea is traditionally popular in the country, and local coffee is considered to be quite good in quality.
In Vietnamese restaurants, you can try many exotic dishes: soup from turtles or frogs, hundreds of dishes from snakes, crocodiles, woodworms, bats, soup from nests of the yen bird, and even monkey brains.
The country produces more than 100 types of alcoholic beverages, mainly from rice. Rice vodka serves as the basis for a great variety of tinctures on herbs, flowers, roots and even the entrails of some reptiles or snake venom.
Unlike in Europe, it is customary in Vietnamese restaurants to serve cold and hot appetizers first, accompanied by alcoholic drinks or beer. Rice and vegetable broths are served at the end of the meal. At the end of the main part of the dinner, a kettle of green tea and small cups are placed on the table.
Tipping: Government hotels and restaurants usually add a 5% “service fee” to the bill. In private establishments, if you liked the food and service, you can leave a tip of 5-10%.
Excursions: Ho Chi Minh City: Notre Dame de Saigon Cathedral, City Historical Museum, Museum of War Relics, Vinh Nghiem and Jacque Vien Pagodas, Kuchi Tunnels, Municipal Theatre, Zoo and Botanical Garden, Dam Shen Park (“Lotus Lake Park”) ”) – the largest entertainment center of the city, the Reunification Palace, Zyaklam Pagoda, Jade Emperor Pagoda, Vietnam Water World Water Park.
Hanoi: Ko Loa, An Duong Vuong Temple, Van Mieu Quoc Tu Zham (a historical and cultural complex consisting of the Temple of Literature and the first Vietnamese University), Quan Thanh Temple, Tsan Quoc Pagoda, Hanoi Cathedral Cathedral, Hanoi Flag Tower, Hanoi Municipal Theatre, President Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Ba Dinh Square, Vietnam History Museum, Revolution Museum, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum, Vietnam Army Museum. West Lake (the largest in the center of Hanoi), Thong Nyat Park (it is where the famous Spring Flower Festival is held), Le Mat is a snake village, the famous Hanoi pagoda on one pillar of Chua Mot Cat.
Dalat: Summer Palace of Emperor Bao-Dai, Xuan Huong Lake, “Valley of Love” (there you can see “Dalat cowboys” – Vietnamese dressed as bears, ride horses), Kamchi waterfalls.
Halong Bay National Park – more than 3,000 islands with bizarre outlines (“rooster island”, “elephant island”, “monkey island”, “man’s head”, “sail”, “couple of roosters”, “censer”) and countless beaches and grottoes.
Hue: Citadel and Forbidden Purple City, Thien Mu Pagoda, Tombs of the Emperors, Thai Hoa Palace.
In Hanoi, there is the famous Water Puppet Theatre, whose troupe gives their performances on the shore of the Lake of the Returned Sword. Eleven puppeteers participate in each performance. They spend the evening waist-deep in water, hidden from the audience by a green bamboo curtain. The puppets are mounted on long bamboo poles and controlled by ropes – in the dark it looks like the puppets are actually walking on water. The performance is voiced by playing wooden flutes, gongs, cylindrical drums, bamboo xylophones and stringed national danbow instruments. The evening program consists of 17 stories – scenes from the everyday life of Vietnamese peasants.
Notre Dame de Saigon Cathedral (Ho Chi Minh City)
Built in the colonial style on Paris Square in the center of Ho Chi Minh City, this cathedral is distinguished by its distinctive architecture and defiantly “European” look – especially for a building in the heart of an Asian metropolis. It was erected in a very short time – from October 1877 to April 1880. Now wedding ceremonies and Sunday masses are held in the temple.
Temple of Literature (Hanoi)
This temple was founded in 1070 by Emperor Li Thanh Tong, who dedicated it to Confucius to glorify scholars and people perfect in literature. The temple consists of five courtyards separated by walls. The central path and the gate between the courtyards were intended for the king, the paths on one side were used by civil officials, and the other by the military. 82 steles, considered the most valuable exhibits of the temple, are placed on the sides of the third courtyard on stone stands. The names, places of birth, and accomplishments of people who received their doctorate degrees from examinations at Vietnam First University are inscribed on the steles. The Temple of Literature is located 2 km from the Lake of the Returned Sword. Opening hours: Tuesday – Sunday, from 8:30-11:30 and 13:30-16:30, entrance fee – 50 cents.
Crazy House (Dalat)
The creator of this masterpiece of architecture is Ms. Dang Viet Nga. It makes no sense to describe it – it is better to see it once. Many Vietnamese are afraid of this institution, but curious tourists continue to pay 0.2 USD for admission to see this miracle and take pictures of it. The Crazy House, which, among other things, is also an art gallery, is located about one kilometer southwest of Xuan Huong Lake.
Entertainment: Vietnam is ready to please pale-faced visitors from the north with a wide variety of entertainment: from elephant riding, visits to snake restaurants, a crocodile sanctuary and fishing to casinos and nightclubs. A special Vietnamese massage costs only 5 USD per hour.
In the country (in the resort of Hoi An and the island of Phu Quoc) – the cheapest diving in the world.
Diving: You can go diving in three regions of the country – central Vietnam (Danang, Hoi An), Nha Trang and Phu Quoc Island. True, Vietnamese diving will be interesting only for beginners.
No one swims underwater in Halong Bay – the water there is muddy all year round due to the large amount of algae, and there are just no corals.
The resort of Hoi An and Phu Quoc Island has the cheapest diving in the world.
DOCUMENTS FOR VISA APPLICATION – VIETNAM
A visa is issued upon arrival, for this you need to go to the “Visas upon arrival” counter, which is located in front of the passport control of the airport and submit the following documents to the visa officer:
- Permission to obtain a visa on arrival (visa support) is provided by the host country.
- Valid passport, valid for at least 3 months at the time of return from the trip.
- 2 identical color photographs 40 x 60 mm for the last six months for all travelers (including children included).
A completed application form is issued upon arrival at the “Visas upon arrival” counter.