Vietnam Cambodia Tours

Vietnam Cambodia Explorer

Number of days: 18

Price from: 1,878$

Tour type: Private Tour

Departure: Daily

Start from: Siem Reap or reverse

Highlights: Siem Reap, Angkor Wat, Phnom Penh, Chau Doc, Mekong Delta, Ho Chi Minh, Nha Trang, Hoian, Hue, Hanoi, Halong Bay

On this fascinating Vietnam and Cambodia tour you’ll explore several of the world’s greatest treasures, behold spectacular scenery, learn about different cultures, and experience the warmth and hospitality bestowed by the locals. It’s a vacation of a lifetime!

  • Overview
  • Trip Itinerary
  • Accommodations
  • Travel Info
  • Trip Map
  • Request a Quote
  • DESTINATIONS 


    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  
    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex  

    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex   

    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  

    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  
    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex  
    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  
    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex  
    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  
    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex 

    * Mekong Delta - ‘Rice basket of Vietnam’ and home to many living, working and travelling along the river 
    * Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) - Vietnam’s most cosmopolitan and vibrant city 

    * Nha Trang – Home to tranquil beaches and has a thriving fishing industry.

    * Hoi An - Discover this charming UNESCO World Heritage listed site 

    * Hue - The country’s former imperial capital  

    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  
    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex  

    * Hanoi - Exploration of this charming, historical centre and its French provincial influences 

    * Phnom Penh - Capital of Cambodia surrounded by the Mekong River; home to majestic palaces and pagodas  
    * Siem Reap - Gateway to the Angkor Wat temple complex  

    * Halong Bay - Vietnam’s ‘Jewel in the Crown’; the stunning beauty of the 3,000 islets of the Gulf of Tonkin

    ACTIVITIES

    Cultural Tours / History & Archaeology Tours / Museums & Galleries /  Shopping / Walking Tours / Beach Relaxing / Boating & Sailing


    TRIP AT A GLANCE


    Day 01: Arrive in Siem Reap – Welcome to Cambodia

    Day 02: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat Tour (B)

    Day 03: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat Tour (B)

    Day 04: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh, City Tour (B)


    Day 05: Phnom Penh Tour – Chau Doc – Vietnam (B)

    Day 06: Chau Doc – Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)

    Day 07: Discover Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)

    Day 08: Mekong – Saigon (B)

    Day 09: Saigon – Cuchi Tunnels (B)

    Day 10: Saigon – Nhatrang, ½ Day City Tour (B)

    Day 11: Nhatrang – Boat trip to Island (B/L)

    Day 12: Nha Trang – Fly to Danang - Hoian (B)

    Day 13: Hoian – Myson Hue (B)

    Day 14: Visit Hue – Night Train to Hanoi (B)

    Day 15: Hanoi – Halong Bay – Overnight Boat Cruise (B/L/D)

    Day 16: Halong Bay Cruise – Hanoi (B/L)

    Day 17: Hanoi City Tour (B)

    Day 18: Hanoi – Departure (B)

    Include:

    - Accommodation with daily breakfast based on double/twin sharing

    - 2 nights on private boat cruise in Mekong

    - 1 night on boat cruise in Halong Bay (sharing boat)

    - Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner)

    - Transportation by private vehicle with A/C

    - 3 domestic flights: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh, Saigon – Nhatrang, Nhatrang – Danang (Y Class)

    - Night train in soft sleeper A/C cabin from Hue to Hanoi

    - Boat trips as in the program

    - Local English speaking tour guides

    - All entrance fees and permits where applicable

    Exclude:

    - Meals that not mentioned in the program

    - Travel insurance

    - Vietnam visa must be obtained before the tour

    - Cambodia visa (can get at the airport on arrival at 20 USD/Person)

    - International flight and departure tax

    - Tipping, drinks and other personal expenses


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    Returned to England my wife and I write to thank you for preparing our itinerary for the above referenced tour. With the single exception of the train booking the whole journey went like clockwork. Your tour guides, with a single exception, were very good, indeed excellent as they answered so many questions as well as providing all the necessary information on wherever we were.

    The guide who we regard as an exception was on board the Sampan. Firstly, I should say both he and the crew of the sampan were very kind and helpful, and the guide especially so when I was not very well (he even phoned his brother who is a doctor).

    We really enjoyed our journey and have come home with some wonderful memories of your country and its people - and, oh yes, the amazing number of motor bikes and scooters! Both of us hope we might return one day.

    Again, thank you for all your and your colleagues' efforts to ensure we enjoyed the tour.

    Kind regards,  
    Philip Dew from England


  • DETAILED ITINERARY:

    Day 01: Arrive in Siem Reap – Welcome to Cambodia
    On your arrival in Siem Reap, you are met by our guide and driver at the airport for the transfer to the hotel in town center. Free time to rest. Overnight in Siem Reap.


    Day 02: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat Tour (B) 
    In the morning, visit the most famous of all the temples on the plain of Angkor: Angkor Wat. The temple complex covers 81 hectares and is comparable in size to the Imperial Palace in Beijing. Its distinctive five towers are emblazoned on the Cambodian flag and the 12th century masterpiece is considered by art historians to be the prime example of classical Khmer art and architecture. Angkor Wats five towers symbolize Merus five peaks - the enclosed wall represents the mountains at the edge of the world and the surrounding moat, the ocean beyond. 
    Afternoon, Visit the South Gate (with its huge statues depicting the churning of the ocean of milk), the ancient capital of Angkor Thom (12th century), Bayon Temple (unique for its 54 towers decorated with over 200 smiling faces of Avolokitesvara), the Royal EnclosurePhimeanakas, the Elephants Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. Sunset at Angkor Wat. Overnight in Siem Reap.


    Day 03: Siem Reap – Angkor Wat Tour (B)
    Morning, transfer to Banteay Srei temple (10th c), regarded as the jewel in the crown of Classical Khmer Art. Continue to Ta Prohmone of the areas most beautiful temples. Ta Prohm has been relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery.
    In the afternoon, you continue your temple visits to Preah Khan. Built by the King Jayavarman VII, Preah Khan is, like Ta Prohm, a place of towered enclosures and shoulder hugging corridors. Unlike Ta Prohm, however, the temple of Prea Khan is in a reasonable state of preservation and ongoing restoration efforts should maintain and even improve this situation. Neak Pean, a fountain built in the middle of a pool (representing the paradisiacal Himalayan mountain-lake), Ta Som and Banteay Samre, built in the third quarter of the 12th century. It consists of a central temple with four wings preceded by a hall and accompanied by two libraries, the southern example remarkably well preserved. Two concentric walls enclose the ensemble. Overnight in Siem Reap.

    Day 04: Siem Reap – Phnom Penh, City Tour (B)

    Morning, take the 50 minute flight to Phnom Penh. On arrival in Phnom Penh, we will visit this charming city of Phnom Penh: The Tuol Sleng PrisonMuseum and the notorious ‘Killing Fields’ of Choeung Ek are not to be missed. A visit to these sights provides a deep insight into the painful bloody rule of the Khmer Rouge. VisitWat Phnom temple. Before ending the tour of today, we enjoy the Cyclo ride along the Mekong River side to visit Children Khmer Dancing School. Overnight in Phnom Penh.



    Day 05: Phnom Penh Tour – Chau Doc / Vietnam (B)
    Morning, visit the Royal Palace, built by King Norodom in 1866 on the site of the old town, and the Silver Pagoda. Located within the grounds of the Royal Palace, the Silver Pagoda is so named because of its floor, which is made up of 5000 silver tiles. The treasures found inside include a solid gold Buddha encrusted and weighing 90kilograms and a small 17th century emerald and baccarat crystal Buddha. Visit to the National Museum, also called Musee des Beaux-Arts. A French archaeologist and painter, Georges Groslier, designed it in Khmer style in 1917. The museum contains a collection of Khmer art - notably sculptures - from throughout the ages. We continue to one of the city’s lively open markets, Psar Toul Tom Pong, all called the “Russian Market”, where anything and everything is for sales.

    Early afternoon, you will be transfer to the boat station for the express boat trip to Chau Doc, the border town of Vietnam. To enter Vietnam at border with Cambodia, you will need to have Vietnam visa in advance. Arrive Chau Doc in late afternoon, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Overnight at hotel in Chau Doc.

    Day 06: Chau Doc – Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)

    Located on the upper Mekong Delta, Chau Doc town is 280 km (174 miles) south-west of Ho Chi Minh City close to the Cambodian border. With such proximity to Cambodia, the local population is an eclectic mix of Cham, Khmer, Chinese and Vietnamese, sharing different cultures and historical richness. Your cruise journey on the private sampan will start at noon in Chau Doc at 10am. Your crew welcomes you with cold towels and a refreshing drink while your Song Xanh private sampan sets off for its leisurely cruise on the busy waterways cruise down towards Long Xuyen along a narrow canal, passing by several monkey bridges and along peaceful villages. Lunch is served on board, before arriving in Long Xuyen. Visit Tiger Island (Cu Lao Ong Ho), a small island that was once the home of Vietnam’s second president – Ton Duc Thang. Take a stroll around the park surrounding the Museum and cycle around the island. Your last stopover before sunset is at a local people house. The owner will welcome you and acandlelit dinner will be served there. Enjoy your first night on board Song Xanh on the Hau River.




    Day 07: Discover Mekong on Private Sampan (B/L/D)

    Breakfast is served on board around 7h00am while your sampan cruising downstream. Arrive in Sa Dec and take a stroll around the city. Visit the local celebrity: the ancient house of Huynh Thuy Le, real-life character of the novel and film “The Lover by Marguerite Duras. The little town is well worth exploring as it played an important role in the development of the Mekong Delta. Large Chinese and Khmer communities live there, while the French also left their imprint on the local architecture. As a result, all religions are represented side by side: a Cao Dai Temple, a Catholic Church, a Chinese Temple, Vietnamese Pagodas… Lunch and dinner are served on board. Enjoy your second night on board Song Xanh on the Mekong River.



    Day 08: Mekong – Saigon (B)

    The journey starts at 6h00 cruising downstream to Cai Be. Observe from your boat the life on the shore, the people, the stunning landscapes, while your attentive crew serves breakfast onboard. Stop here and there for a glimpse of pottery factor and local handicrafts production: coconut candy and pop-rice (the local equivalent of pop-corn), handicrafts that provide a living for the river people. Your cruise ends up at the Longanier Restaurant in Cai Be where will take our car for the trip to Saigon. Transfer to your own hotel in Saigon. Overnight in Saigon. 


    Day 09: Saigon – Cuchi Tunnels (B)
    Depart this morning for the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels begun in 1948 by the Viet Minh in their struggle against the French. These tunnels were expanded and used by the Viet Cong during the war between Vietnam and America. American called this area the “Iron Triangle” and was a Viet Cong strong hold for almost thirty years. You may walk underground in the tunnels. Return to the city before lunch time.

    Afternoon, you will explore this cosmopolitan city o­n a guided tour. High lights are the famed Notre Dame Cathedral, Central Post Office, Reunification Palace (outside visit), War Remnant Museum, Ben Thanh Market. Overnight at hotel in Saigon.


    Day 10: Saigon – Nhatrang Beach (B)
    Take the morning flight to Nhatrang. You will be met at the airport by your guide for the transfer to your hotel.
    Nha Trang has o­ne of the most popular beaches in all of Vietnam, with clear turquoise water and mountains backdrop. The coconut palms provide shelter along most of the 6 km beachfront. Today, enjoy free time on the beach. Overnight at hotel in Nhatrang.


    Day 11: Nhatrang – Boat trip to Island (B/L)
    You will have one day boat trip. Firstly we will go to Mun Island, the best site for snorkeling where you will see lots of live colorful corals and fish. Relax, sunbath and swim at Tam island. Then visit Tri Nguyen Aquarium on Mieu Island where you will have chance to see the life of the many sea species of Nhatrang Ocean in this aquarium. Return to Nha Trang at about 16.00. Overnight in Nha trang.

    Day 12: Nha Trang – Fly to Danang - Hoian (B)
    You will take a morning flight to Da Nang. On arrival at Da Nang Airport, you are met and transferred to visit to Cham Museum (rich collection of Cham sculptures from in 14-15 century back with Indian influences) before transferring to Hoian town, which was originally one of major trading centers of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. Visit of Hoian Town with mixed the culture of Vietnam/Chinese/Japanese with Chinese tiled houses, Chinese temples, Japanese covered bridge. Overnight in Hoian town.


    Day 13: Hoian – Myson – Hue (B)
    Morning, take a discovery trip to My Son, 40km from Hoi An. Located in a lush valley, My Son was a capital and religious center of Cham people, now remaining with red brick towers and sanctuaries. My Son, considered being in the same league as some of Southeast Asia's greatest archaeological sites, including Angkor in Cambodia, Bagan in Myanmar, Ayutthaya in Thailand and Borobudur in Indonesia. These towers and sanctuaries were built from the 7 to 13 centuries. Admiring great architectural and art works of the Cham lost Kingdom. Having a brief understanding of the history, culture for which My Son was recognized the World Cultural Heritage.
    Afternoon, we drive 4 hours northwards to Hue, the ancient capital of Vietnam. Take some stops on the way to see the spectacular view on the top of “Hai Van Pass”and the legend beach of Lang Co.  
    Late afternoon, enjoy a leisure boat-ride along the scenic Perfume River to visit Thien Mu pagoda. Overnight at hotel in Hue.

    Day 14: Visit Hue – Night Train to Hanoi (B)
    Today, take the sightseeing in Hue to the Ancient Imperial Citadel, a complex of palaces and temples built by the Nguyen from early 19th Century for which Hue was recognized by UNESCO as a World Cultural Heritage. Then you will embark on a drive to Hue’s countryside, through scenic villages and green rice fields to reach the Emperor Ming Mang’s tomb. It is one of the most beautiful of all Emperors tombs, in a complex of pavilions, temple, courtyards and lakes.
    Afternoon, explore more of Vietnam life with the effected of Royal life, garden house in Hue is one of them. "Garden house" is a typical and unique characteristic of Hue city. You will visit the traditional handicraft village: Thuy Xuan Hat - Incense making village, you will see how Hue Hat (non Hue) - a symbolized for the beauty of Hue lady. 
    Late afternoon, visit Dong Ba, the local market in Hue, and experience the amazing sights, sounds and aromas of this busy market. We will have the opportunity to interact with the local seller. Then transfer to the train station for the night train to Hanoi SE4 leaving Hue at 17:06. Overnight on the train in soft berth A/C cabin. 
    Option: We can replace the night train by the one hour flight to Hanoi and stay overnight at hotel instead. 


    Day 15: Hanoi – Halong Bay Cruise (B/L/D)
    The train arrives in Hanoi around 5am, you are met and transferred to a dayuse hotel for few hours resting and having breakfast. 
    8AM: You will leave for Ha Long Bay, one of the most spectacular UNESCO World Heritage Areas and the world’s largest marine limestone ‘karst’ landscape. There you will board your boat, a wooden junk built from the model of the old Vietnamese court vessels with sails, a wide transom and rectangular superstructure, that will take you first to the busy World Heritage area and then to some of the less well-known grottoes and caves. Weather permitting, you will be able to swim, fish, climb a hill for an overview of the Bay’s remarkable seascape, or venture into some of the sea level caves in a small sampan. All your meals will be provided on board, usually based on fresh seafood. Overnight on boat. 


    Day 16: Halong Bay – Hanoi (B/L)
    Participate in Tai Chi o­n the top deck or simply watch the sunrise over the magnificent bay. Enjoy your morning cup of coffee or juice before setting out to the near- by cave by row boat. Watch for monkeys high on the cliff tops. Return back to the junk, where breakfast is served, while sailing around Bay Tu Long bay where the movie “Indochine” was filmed.
    Your cruise will end at noon and you will be met by your driver for the transfer back to your hotel in Hanoi. Arrive in Hanoi around 4pm, check in hotel and leisure time. Overnight in Hanoi. 

    Day 17: Hanoi City Tour (B)
    Today we will take a sightseeing of the most Hanoi's outstanding historical and cultural sites. The visit includes:
    - The complex of Ho Chi Minh historical sites, also called the political center of Vietnam.
    - One-pillar Pagoda and The Temple of Literature for the brief understanding about the two most popular religions in Vietnam (Buddhism and Confucianism).
    - Visit one of the museums in Hanoi (Museum of History, Museum of Ethnology, Museum of Fine Art, or Hoa Lo Prison musuem).
    - You will know our legend/history about Hoan Kiem Lake (the lake of the Restored Sword), our architectural and our way of with small streets and its name (Old quarter) on a cyclo ride. 
    -  Late afternoon, enjoy our welcome show of northern rural of Vietnam – Water Puppet show. Overnight in Hanoi. 


    Day 18: Hanoi – Departure (B)
    Breakfast in hotel and free time until the pick up from the hotel to the airport for your departure flight. End of the trip. 

  • Categories of Accommodation


    Value:

    With basic hotels and simple accommodation, this is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel. We would normally accommodate your in these in remote areas.


    Standard:

    Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant. Sometimes these are a good affordable choice in cities where accommodation is very expensive, but where being centrally located is a prime consideration.


    Superior:

    Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre. This is the 'classic' hotel standard we use on most of our group based tours.


    Deluxe:

    Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care. India and Southeast Asia have a fabulous array of top notch 5-star properties.


    Luxury:

    Luxury accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!


  • Visa and Passport
    Except for a number of ASEAN countries a visa is required to visit Vietnam. If your itinerary requires two
    entries into Vietnam then a double entry visa must be obtained. If your trip is postponed or delayed it may be necessary to obtain another visa if your original visa is not valid for your new dates of travel.

    Tourist Visa
    A Vietnam Tourist Visa is valid for the period of 30-days and for a single entry (unless endorsed for a double entry at additional cost). The cost charged by the Vietnamese embassy is $65 for a single entry visa and $130 for a double entry visa. Your passport must be sent to the embassy along with payment with prepaid shipping arrangements with Priority Mail with Delivery Confirmation, FedEx, etc., two completed visa applications and two passport photos. Allow five-business days for processing.

    Visa-on-Arrival
    A Visa-on-Arrival is available if you are pre-approved for the visa. In lieu of a stamped visa in your passport prior to departure a fax from the Department of Immigration is issued and used as your travel document for boarding your international flight to Vietnam. This system has been working for a number of years now and is extremely reliable. Visa-on-Arrival processing charges are normally $25 and a $45 fee is payable directly to Vietnamese Immigration upon arrival.

    Double Entry Visa
    A Double Entry Visa is a Tourist Visa endorsed for a double entry. If your itinerary requires a double entry be sure and obtain the Double Entry Visa.

    Re-Entry Visa
    Re-entry Visas, prior to departing Vietnam, are possible to obtain in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City through authorized agencies for a fee of approximately $25, however it requires one-to-two days and the deposit of your passport. This is not advisable unless your itinerary allows ample time and you remain in the city where the application was filed until the visa is issued. It is strongly advised to obtain a Double Entry Visa prior entering Vietnam.

    Passport Validity Dates
    Your passport must have a validity date of at least six-months remaining after your visit to Vietnam is completed.

    Travel Document Companies
    Unless you live nearby a Vietnamese embassy or consulate or are experienced in dealing with embassies by mail or telephone, it is advised that you use a travel document company to obtain your visa.
    Notes: You can email us at info@privateasiatours.com for more advice on Vietnam Visa information. The service is free of charge. All the emails will be replied within 24h.

    Entry Procedures
    Arrival and Departure Cards are required to be completed upon entry into Vietnam; they will be provided by the airline or at the border gate. The yellow copy of the card will be returned to you and must be submitted when you depart Vietnam; keep it in a safe place. Making a photocopy of it is a good idea and keeping it with your other photocopies.
    If you have been pre-approved for a Visa-on-Arrival simply process though the Visa-on-Arrival lane at immigration.
    Once your visa formalities have been completed claim your baggage and process through customs.

    Duty Free
    One-carton of cigarettes and one bottle of liquor.

    Exit Procedures
    Complete the customs declaration and process through customs then complete the immigration processing where you will be required to return the yellow copy of your Arrival and Departure Card.

    Airport Departure Taxes
    Domestic Departure Taxes are included in the price of the airline ticket. International Airport Departure taxes are $14 (Hanoi) and $12 (Ho Chi Minh City). First check-in for your flight and then obtain the receipt for the payment of your departure tax to present upon clearing customs.

    Tendering Passports
    Vietnamese law requires that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening. This may appear odd to Western travelers but until the 1960's a number of European countries required that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening.

    Travel Insurance
    Traveler's Insurance is strongly recommended. A number of companies sell competing policies and it is a good idea to read the fine print and ask questions if you are in doubt. Note : some insurance companies cover travel insurance in their existing policies; check, you may already be covered. Policies have differing benefits for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, emergency medical transportation, lost baggage, missed connections, and accidents.
    Of special note is the emergency medical transportation. This is extremely costly; if you any health condition which may require medical evacuation you should check to see if you are currently covered and if not purchase the insurance. Medical treatment, if required, can be costly and the pay is usually in cash.

    Electricity
    220 volt at 50 cycles however 110 volt at 50 cycles in the cities is sometimes encountered, but not often; in the countryside 110 volt via generators is common. For your convenience obtain electrical converters at outlets like Radio Shack prior to your departure. You hotel may have converters but it is always easier to come prepared. Electronic equipment should be protected with a surge protector.

    HEALTH AND SAFETY
    Common Health Problems

    Water
    Hydration is a concern in the tropics; the rates of water loss exceed those which most people are accustomed to in the northern hemispheres. Particular attention should to be paid to hydrating your body through above the average consumption of water. Bottled water is readily available throughout Vietnam and we strongly recommend that you carry a bottle with you . . . and drink it.

    Sunburn
    The sun in the tropics is not the sun in the northern hemispheres. Particular attention needs to be paid protecting your skin: bring and use sunscreen lotions. Even if you are not on the beaches, wear a hat and protect your arms and exposed skin with sunscreen if you are exposed to excessive hours in the sun.

    Diarrhea
    Diarrhea can be caused by simply a change of diet; it can also be caused by intestinal parasites or bacteria which are acquired by drinking non-boiled water or by eating vegetables which have been washed with non-boiled water such as lettuce and tomatoes; it can also be caused by drinking drinks with ice which was produced with non-boiled water.
    You can expect diarrhea as a normal result of changing diet, but if you suspect that the diarrhea is not the result of a change in diet or is ongoing for more than several hours, you should do something about it for dehydration is the major problem associated with diarrhea.
    Either use medications which you bring with you (none of which I have found to be effective) or consider over the counter medications from a Vietnamese pharmacy. Diarrhea is a typical Vietnamese healthcare problem and all pharmacies in Vietnam sell pharmaceuticals which eliminate nearly all cases of it. My personal experience has been that within of hours of taking over the counter medication one is on the upswing and within 12-hours one is nearly restored.

    Heat Exhaustion
    The least common health care problem in Vietnam with visitors to Vietnam is Heat Exhaustion. Proper hydration and not being a fool by walking, hiking or unduly exercising in the afternoon peak heat of the day, is the solution. Siestas in Mexico and the Mediterranean countries are for a reason: to stay out of the heat of the sun. So too in Vietnam.

    Health Concerns

    Avian Flu
    Avian Flu has been and still is a concern of many who are planning holidays to Southeast Asia. A U.S. Department of State Avian Flu Fact Sheet is published below providing excellent information on this topic.
    Influenza, or simply "flu," is a yearly and ongoing problem for North Americans. Each year in the United States thousands of people die from flu, and this is not avian flu, but the annual flu's which appear in the winter months and are transmitted by human-to-human transmissions. The flu is a serious matter: the flu of 1917 killed millions of people worldwide . . . these annual strains of flu have the ability to metamorphosize quickly and into many different forms, and all are potentially deadly.
    With avian flu deaths world-wide, numbering in the few hundreds over a two-year plus period, the threat pallor's in comparison to annual flu deaths in North America, gunshot wounds and highway automobile accidents. What sets avian flu apart from the normal reoccurring annual flu's is that its transmission is believed to be almost entirely from animal-to-human contact, not human-to-human contact. Therefore a number of specific precautions, outlined in the article below, are advised to further diminish the threat.
    Like HIV/Aids, avian flu will probably be with us for a very long time, however one's chances of contacting the avian flu are minute.

    MONEY GUIDE: 
    Banking Hours
    Normal banking hours are from 8:00 to 11:30 am and from 1:00 to 4:00 pm Monday through Friday and 8:00 to 11:30 am on Saturday. A few banks in the major metropolitan areas will remain open during lunch hour and on Saturday afternoons and Sundays. Currency is also readily exchanged at official exchange counters at hotels and other retail establishments; the exchange rates are nearly identical to the bank rates.

    Convertible Currencies
    All major currencies including the sterling, the Yen, the Canadian dollar, the Euro and the U.S. dollar are convertible. The preferred currency is the U.S. dollar. Please note bills which are defaced, torn or simply old are often declined; be sure and bring fresh new bills.

    Re-conversion upon Departure
    It is illegal to take VND out of the country. Small amounts of VND can be redeemed upon departure at airport kiosks; large amounts require the initial transaction documents.

    Credit Cards
    Major credit cards (Visa, Master Charge and to a lesser extent American Express) are finally beginning to find wider usage in Vietnam as more and more establishments accept them; in major cities nearly all major and mid-level hotels, restaurants and major tourist shops now accept credit cards. Except for the higher end hotels most establishments charge a three-percent transaction fee; some establishments charge a five-percent surcharge.

    ATM Machines
    ATM machines have arrived in Vietnam. Vietcombank has an expanding network of ATM machines in the major cities of which many are open for 24-hours. The machines currently accept only Visa and Master Charge. The maximum daily withdrawal is two-million VND per transaction with a Vietnam 20,000 VND service charge which is in addition to your bank's charges. A four-digit PIN number is required. Foreign banks are also entering the ATM market. Larger cash advances require a visit to the teller.

    Traveler's Checks
    Traveler's checks denominated in most major currencies are accepted in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City but USD is the preferred currency. Traveler's checks issued by Visa, MasterCharge and American Express are the most widely accepted. Outside of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City it is often difficult to redeem traveler's checks. The purchase receipt and the traveler's check numbers should be kept separately from the traveler's checks in the event of loss. A redemption fee of up to four-percent is charged. Passport ID is required for redemption.

    TET Travel (Vietnamese New Year) Considerations
    TET (the Vietnamese New Year) is not a good period to visit Vietnam for several reasons: the streets are near empty on the first day of TET and remain so for up to 4-days; Vietnamese want to be with their families, not working; airline tickets to and from Vietnam during the TET period are difficult to obtain and are offered at a premium price.
    While the days leading up to TET are joyous days, at midnight on the commencement of TET, the country goes silent. Only very gradually over the next week does it return to normal.
    Also taking into account the below tips before traveling to Vietnam

    Photocopies
    A photocopy of the information page of your passport along with a photocopy of your visa (or visas if you are traveling to more than one country) should be made and kept at a different place from your passport; it serves no purpose to loose your passport and the photocopies at the same time. In the event of loss these will speed the re-issuance of your passport and visas.

    Clothing
    One rarely needs a coat in Ho Chi Minh City but one nearly always needs a coat in Sapa in the winter. Vietnam reaches nearly from the Tropic of Cancer to the Equator and its climates range from tropical to temperate. Winter gets chilly in Hanoi and even moreso in the mountainous regions in the north and especially in the northern highlands. The Central Highlands in the center, as far down as Dalat, also get cold in the winter and chilly on summer evenings. The best strategy is "layering": a T-shirt, a long sleeved shirt along with a light coat will often suffice for chilly evenings. For colder climates and times of the year appropriate gloves, hats and even scarves are desirable. Hats, umbrellas and sunscreen work well to protect the skin.

    Food
    Three things to avoid: buffets where it is obvious the food has sat for a period of time; anything which has or could have a water residue on it (lettuce, tomatoes, unpeeled fruit); and mayonnaise which has a tendency to rapidly spoil in tropical climates and can cause food poisoning. Other than this Vietnamese food is a culinary delight: light, flavorful, delicate and filling but not "laden" as many Chinese dishes are. In the countryside, as well as in the cities, the many and varied soups of Vietnam are a delight with the ubiquitous "pho" being the national favorite.
    In the major cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City a rainbow of culinary delights from all corners of the world awaits the traveler.

    Bargaining
    Rarely is the first price or the posted price the real price: bargaining is expected, however unrealistic offers to purchase should be avoided as they are considered insulting.

    Tipping
    Tipping, until Vietnam opened its doors to the outside world, was never expected in Vietnam. With the advent of tourism the times have changed but still tipping is not nearly as routine as it is in some Western countries. For services, a 10% tip is gracious. For guides (for one or two people) for extraordinary service, $10 per day (or more depending on the service) tip is good; for adequate service $5; for so-so service: nothing. Driver's do not expect tips but welcome them.

    Laundry
    All good hotels provide laundry services. Laundries in Vietnam offer the quality at bargain prices.

    Maps
    A good map always places time and space in a far more understandable sphere. There are numerous maps available in Vietnam at bookstores and good city maps of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City available at good hotels (sometimes for free), but the best country maps as well as the best city maps are ITMB Maps from Vancouver, Canada. For years Jack Joyce, in conjunction with geographic institutes in Vietnam, has been making the best maps available. These maps can be purchased at most good map stores and online.

    Taxis
    Vietnam has perhaps the best taxi services in the world. Always take metered taxis which are plentiful in the major cities.

     

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