Visa Information


The following nationals enjoy visa-free entry into Vietnam:

  • 45 Days: Germany, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Russia, Japan, Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Belarus
  • 30 Days: ASEAN Countries

Please note the following details for all visa-free entrants:

  • Passport must be valid for minimum 6 months from entry date.
  • Return air ticket must be no later than 45 days (30 days for ASEAN)


Nationals of most countries are eligible for e-visa. To check your eligibility or to submit an application, visit Vietnam’s official E-Visa Portal. E-visas are valid for stays of up to 90 days, single or multiple entry. Please be aware that the application process takes 2-3 days, and the e-visa fee is paid online via credit card. In case the e-visa is not granted, the fee is non-refundable. Visas for longer stays must be obtained from your nearest embassy, prior to departure from your point of origin. Passports of all e-visa entrants must be valid for a minimum of 6 months from entry date. 

Visa on Arrival

A&K is able to provide you a Visa Approval Letter along with Fast Track arrival service if you wish to apply for a Visa on Arrival. Please note that the process takes up to three weeks prior to arrival and the service fee depends on your arrival date. There is also a visa stamping fee of USD 25 for single entry or USD 50 for multiple entry which is paid in cash on arrival. The processing time for Visa Approval Letters may be delayed during national holidays in Vietnam such as Tet (Lunar New Year). Please contact your travel consultant for more details about this service.

If you are arriving in Vietnam by river cruise, you will need to obtain an e-visa prior to departure from your point of origin as it is not possible to obtain a visa on arrival at river or land borders.

While we do our best to provide the most up-to-date information, visa requirements may change at short notice. Obtaining the correct visa is the responsibility of each passenger and the company will not be held accountable for any refusal upon entry. Therefore, we recommend that you check with your consulate or embassy for current visa information before leaving home.



In general, Vietnam has a tropical climate with average annual temperatures ranging from 22ºC (72ºF) to 34ºC (86ºF). Although temperatures are consistent year round, various parts of the country, at certain times of the year, can be affected by unpredictable storms which may cause flooding. From May to November, most of the country is affected by south-western monsoons. The rains, which tend to be concentrated in the late afternoons, provide welcome relief to the heat. The heaviest rainfall tends to occur between July and August in the north; June to October in the south; and October to December in Central Vietnam.

December to March is a pleasant time to visit the southern city of Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta, although temperatures in Hanoi and northern regions tend to be cooler during those months. In the mountainous regions in the far north such as Sapa, the temperature can at times drop below zero (32ºF). The best time to visit the north is between September and December when there's a good chance of clear skies and low humidity, while March to September is an ideal time to enjoy the beaches and sightseeing spots of Central Vietnam. Beach destinations in the south such as Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Phu Quoc and Con Dao Island are warm and sunny most of the year. However, the rainy season varies for each destination: Nha Trang (October to December); Phan Thiet (July to October); Phu Quoc (June to September) and Con Dao (November to January).


What to Pack

  • Light and comfortable cotton or linen clothing is recommended for the summer months, while warmer clothes for the winter months are recommended
  • Avoid sheer clothing and pack long-sleeved shirts and long skirts or trousers for visiting temples, shrines and palaces where it is often a requirement to cover the shoulders and knees
  • Smart-casual wear for dining at more established restaurants
  • A light waterproof jacket for occasional rainy weather or cooler evenings
  • Good walking shoes or sandals; keep in mind that you may be required to remove footwear when visiting religious sites
  • A sunhat or umbrella, water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
  • Universal travel adaptor; Vietnam uses 220V 50Hz with sockets fit for plug types A, C or F


Money Matters

Currency & Exchange

The national currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Although US dollars are accepted in some shops and restaurants, it is recommended to have some local currency at hand.

Notes are issued in denominations of 500, 1000, 2000, 5000, 10,000, 20,000, 50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000.

Credit Cards

Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most major shopping centers, restaurants and hotels, although relatively few establishments accept American Express.

Traveler's Checks

Traveler's checks can be exchanged in most banks, authorized exchange bureaus and hotels although they are not generally accepted as payment for items in shops.

Banks & ATMs

Normal banking hours 08:00 to 11:30 and 13:00 to 16:00. ATMs can be found in most major cities.



Tipping is not compulsory but is appreciated in Vietnam. You are traveling on an independent itinerary and the cost of your program does not include gratuities. Tipping is a very personal matter and should only be considered when the staff have gone above and beyond for you. Should you feel you would like to acknowledge their service, please consider the following as a rough guide, per person per day.

Type of Service / USD ($)

Group Size (Number of People)







Tour Director





















Hotel Porters







The above tipping guidelines are recommendations only and are not compulsory. Please use your own discretion in tipping, based on quality of service.

Restaurants: Some restaurants add a 10% service charge to your bill, however, it is customary to add about 10% to the bill to show appreciation for the service.

Taxis: Taxi drivers do not expect to be tipped but they appreciate the fare being rounded up.



The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. However, Vietnamese is considered the second language for many ethnic minorities living in regional parts of the country. Some Vietnamese words and phrases have been adapted from Chinese, while others are derived from French, a by-product of the period of French colonial rule.





Xin chao


Tam biet

Thank you

Cam on

How are you?

Ban khoe khong?

Excuse me

Xin loi

How much?

Bao nhieu?

I don’t understand

Toi khong hieu




Time Zone





Please consult your doctor for specific advice about your personal medical requirements and note the following advisories:

  • Malaria is present in Vietnam but typically occurs in remote, rural areas. There is little risk to visitors in the major cities and main tourist destinations.

Drinking Water

Do not drink tap water in Vietnam and avoid ice in your drinks unless it is made from mineral water. We also recommend brushing your teeth with bottled water. Exercise caution when eating and drinking outside reputable hotels and restaurants as some local restaurants may not follow typical food hygiene practices.

Special Requirements

If you are on prescribed medication, ensure that you take a copy of your prescriptions in case of loss of supply. Be sure to pack enough medication in your hand luggage for the duration of your trip as it may not be available locally. It is important to keep it in its original packaging. Check with the relevant embassy or consulate that your medication is legal in the countries you plan to visit and find out whether you need to take a doctor's letter with you.

Please inform your travel advisor of any special dietary requirements or allergies at least six weeks prior to departure. Every effort will be made to comply with your request. Travelers with physical disabilities and those who require frequent or on-going medical attention should advise the travel advisor of their situation at the time of booking or at the earliest possible opportunity.


Religion and Etiquette


In Vietnam, less than 30% of the population identifies with one of the world’s major religions. Approximately 12% are Buddhist, while 7% are Catholic. Many Vietnamese people engage in more traditional or folk practices, such as honoring one’s ancestors or worshipping local gods. Over the centuries, the nation has developed its own religious sects which reflect a combination of several influences, including Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism along with other ancient Chinese traditions.


Many Vietnamese customs stem from an understanding of Confucianism, with an emphasis on duty, honor, loyalty and sincerity. It is common to show respect to people of a higher age and social status. For examples, seniors should be greeted and served before younger people.

Cultural Etiquette

The feet are considered the most unclean part of the body and it is offensive to point your feet directly at a person or at an image of the Buddha. The head is considered the most sacred part of the body, so it is considered rude to touch the head of another person.


Bargaining is common practice when shopping at local markets in Vietnam, although it is not practiced in major department stores and shopping malls. Bargaining should be an enjoyable experience for both buyers and sellers. Remember to keep it light-hearted, be reasonable in your offer and meet the seller somewhere in the middle.


Please ask permission before photographing local people, including young children. Photography is not permitted in some locations, such as museums and art galleries. Avoid taking photographs of government buildings and military personnel. If in doubt, ask your guide.

Waste Disposal

Please help to keep the environment clean and dispose of any waste appropriately. Avoid littering and separate recyclables where possible.

Animal Welfare

We do not offer activities that are harmful to animals, such as riding on the backs of elephants. We work hard to ensure that the experiences we offer are positive and enriching for all involved. If you would like to engage in experiences with animals, please consult your guide for our socially responsible recommendations that do not put any animals at risk.

Child Safety Awareness

We are an advocate of the Friends International ChildSafe Movement. We believe that children from any background deserve an opportunity to learn and grow and should be protected from harmful or exploitative situations. We do not encourage giving money to beggars or children selling souvenirs as these activities incentivize the children to stop going to school. We also do not encourage visits to schools or orphanages, unless the activity has been adequately vetted and does not cause disruption to the children’s education or daily life.

If you encounter a situation where you believe a child is at risk, please inform your guide who will be able to contact the relevant authorities or child safe organizations.



Souvenirs can be a great way of keeping memories alive and staying connected with a special place that you visited. However, please think carefully about what you buy and consider the supply chain ethics of your purchases. Here are our tips for responsible travel shopping.

  • Purchase Selectively - Purchasing local crafts is a great way of showing support for local artisans. Some sellers, however, resort to importing mass-produced items from foreign countries. Therefore, we recommend that you inspect your purchases carefully, be selective and ask questions about where the items came from.
  • Purchase Locally - We recommend dining at locally-run establishments rather than at international franchise restaurants when you have the opportunity. Choosing restaurants that use locally grown ingredients instead of imported products helps to reduce your carbon footprint and is also a great way to immerse in the local food culture.
  • Purchase Responsibly - Avoid buying counterfeit items and ensure that the item you are purchasing is not stolen or taken without permission from a historical site. Insist on documentation to support the legitimacy of the item and its history.

Ethical Souvenirs

We do not encourage the trade of culturally sensitive souvenirs that may result in negative impacts to the community, culture or nature. To help you make more informed decisions, here is a guide to souvenirs to look out for in Thailand as well as items you may want to avoid.

What to Buy

  • Vietnamese silks and textiles, such as a tailor-made ao dai (traditional Vietnamese) or other quality fashion
  • Traditional crafts such as lanterns, lacquerware, embroidery, ceramics, conical hats and other handmade items by local artisans
  • Vietnamese wood block prints and oil paintings
  • Tea, coffee or chocolate sourced from the Vietnamese highlands

What Not to Buy

  • Statues of Buddha and other relics from temples or religious monuments
  • Elephant tusks (ivory) and other animal products
  • Items made from coral, shark teeth, turtle shells and seashells
  • Products made from animals, such as bags or purses made from marine turtles, crocodile or snakeskin, tiger skin and bones

Useful Tips:

  • Take your purchases home with you wherever possible to avoid complications with additional shipping fees, customs duties and regulations. Airfreight and shipments can sometimes take several months to arrive.
  • Avoid purchasing expensive items unless you are certain of its quality and value. Some vendors may overstate the value of their goods. While our guides will try to assist wherever possible, they are not authorities on antiques or rare items.
  • Take the time to read credit card slips and calculate the exchange rate before signing.
  • Retain receipts of your purchases as you may be asked to provide proof of purchase to local officials when exiting the country. You may also need to present it to customs on your return home.

If you are looking for a specific item, your guide may help refer you to a vendor that carries the item. However, this should not be taken as an endorsement of the vendor. All purchases are your own responsibility and we do not accept liability for products that are found to be faulty or not as advertised. We do not take responsibility for any loss or damage during shipment.


Local Food

The cuisine of Vietnam varies from region to region; stir-fried dishes are more commonly found in the north due to Chinese influences, central Vietnamese dishes tend to be hot and spicy, while southern Vietnamese cuisine can be characterized by a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and spices. French influence can also be seen throughout Vietnam, particularly in banh mi, which is a Vietnamese version of baguette.

Vietnamese cuisine is known for its use of fish sauce and hoisin sauce as well as generous servings of fresh vegetables, herbs and spices including garlic, shallots, lemongrass and lime. Rice is the traditional staple dish, although noodles are also popular. Traditional dishes include pho, noodle soup often served with fresh slices of beef, and gio lua, a type of pork sausage. Deep-fried spring rolls, known as nem ran or cha gio can be found in almost every eatery in the country and cha ca, or fish balls, are also common.


Responsible Travel

Consider these simple tips to enhance your experience and have a more positive impact when traveling:

  • Find out as much as possible about your destination; learning about the site’s history, culture and environment can enhance the experience when you are there
  • Learn a few words of the local language
  • Pack light and limit excess trash
  • Select accommodations, restaurants and activities that have clear goals and policies in relation to environmental impact, employment practices and sustainability objectives
  • Buy local products and services
  • Minimize your carbon footprint by using alternative transportation options or offsetting your carbon emissions
  • Engage in local culture by eating local food, shopping at local markets and taking part in cultural festivals
  • Connect with locals who can provide unique insights into the destination
  • Leave the places you visit the way you found them; follow designated walking trails and do not remove archaeological or biological treasures from sites
  • Bring your own fabric bag, washable straw, refillable water bottle or coffee mug, cutlery and reusable food container to reduce the consumption of single-use plastics; look for water refill stations at #RefillMyBottle or #RefillNotLandfill
  • Share your responsible travel tips and help spread the word about best practices in sustainable travel
  • Explore more and continue learning about other fascinating places to visit

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