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vietnam cycling infomation

Passports

Passport valid for at least one month after expiration of visa required by all nationals referred to in the chart above.

Passport Note

For security reasons, it is advisable to carry copies of documents rather than originals when in Vietnam.

Visas

Required by all nationals referred to in the chart above except:
(a) 1. nationals of Denmark, Finland and Sweden for stays of up to 15 days;
(b) transit passengers continuing their journey within 24 hours, provided holding valid return or onward tickets. At present, visas can be issued for either groups or individuals.

Note: Nationals not referred to in the chart above are advised to contact the embassy to check visa requirements.

Visa Note

All regulations, including those concerning which countries require visas, cost of visas and validity of visas, are very complex and subject to frequent change. It is therefore advisable to contact the consular section at the embassy before any travel to Vietnam.

Types of Visa and Cost

Costs vary from embassy to embassy. Tourist: from US$43 (single-entry); from US$48 (express service); from US$50 (multiple-entry). Single-entry Business: from US$48. Multiple-entry Business: from US$95 (three months, multiple-entry); from US$150 (six months, multiple-entry).

Validity

Tourist visas are valid for one month from proposed date of entry. Visas can usually be extended for another month, at extra cost, in the larger towns.

Applications to:

Consulate (or consular section at embassy).

Working Days Required

Two (tourist visa express application); five (tourist visa), not including postal delivery. Entry visas can be applied for in person up to six months prior to date of travel.

Getting there

Getting There by Air

The national airline is Vietnam Airlines (VN) (website: www.vietnamairlines.com ).

Approximate Flight Times

From Paris to Hanoi is approximately 12 hours.

Main Airports

Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) is 35km (21 miles) north of Hanoi. To/from the airport: Buses and metered taxis are available to Hanoi with a journey time of approximately 45 to 60 minutes. Facilities: Cafes, shops, duty-free and bureau de change.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) is 7km (4.5 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City. To/from the airport: Metered taxis are available with a journey time of approximately 20 to 30 minutes into the city. Facilities: Snack bar, shops, duty-free and bureau de change.

Departure Tax
At Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh: US$14. At Da Nang: US$8.

Getting There by Water

Main ports: Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Haiphong and Da Nang.

International cruise facilities are available. There is a ferry service from Phnom Penh in Cambodia to Chau Doc in the Mekong Delta and tickets can be booked through local travel agents or at the dock. In additional there is a service from Can Tho to Phnom Penh offered by Tourism & Passenger Ship Company Vinasin (tel: (071) 888 960).

Getting There by Rail

It is possible to cross into China by rail from Lao Cai to Kunming in the Yunnan province of China or through Lang Son to Nanning. There are trains from Beijing-Dong Dang-Hanoi and back. Contact Vietnam Railways (tel: (04) 942 2770; website:www.vr.com.vn ) for details.

Getting There by Road

There are routes to China through Lang Son, Mong Cai and Lao Cai, Cambodia through Moc Bai and also to Laos at Lao Bao and Cau Trieu. The Saigon Passenger Transport Company (tel: (08) 920 3623 or 829 7278; website: www.sotranco.com.vn ) operates daily services from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

There is a bus service from An Cuu bus station in Hué to Savannakhet in Laos. Go in person to buy tickets in advance.

Cycling & Maps

Cost of living
Cost of Living in Vietnam: all prices in Vietnamese Dong (VND)

drinks and snacks food: local markets; restaurants; and stores
water (mineral)
juice
soft drink (can)
soft drink (bottle)
fruit milkshake-sinh to
1 litre
1 litre
300ml
1.25 litre
glass
6,000-10,000
26,000
5,000
7,000
7,000
bread loaf-whole grain
baguette
750g
60cm
42,000
120,000
local market food
cheap local restaurant
pizza-takeaway
cheap breakfast
two minute noodles
one serving
one meal
med
one serving
85g
15-30,000
25-45,000
65,000+
18,000+
3,000
beer-local
wine
330ml
750ml
7,000
170,000
tea
coffee (cafe / bar)
Nescafe instant
coffee-ground
25 bags
per cup
200g
500g
15,000
15,000
72,000
41,000
rice (white)
pasta
eggs
tinned tomatoes
kg
500g
per dozen
250g
10,000
13,000
18,000
12,000
milk
yoghurt / curd
cheese
Magnum icecream
1 litre
200g
kg
each
20,000
9,000
82,000+
8,000
potatoes
onions
tomatoes
asian spinach
kg
kg
kg
bag / bunch
5-8,000
6-8,000
7-9,000
5,000
chips
salted peanuts
dried apricots
200g pack
kg
kg
tba
tba
tba
apples (vietnamese)
oranges (usa)
bananas
kg
kg
kg
25,000
53,000
8,000
cornflakes
chocolate

biscuits-plain
biscuits-oreo

375g pack
100g block

200g pack
140g pack

32,000
10,000

6,700
87,000

pineapple (can)
oil (olive)
500g can
500ml
26,000
peanut paste
jam
500g jar
400g jar
tba
25,000
accommodation personal
budget city hostel
budget city hotel
90-130,000 per dorm bed
260-350,000 double with ensuite
deodorant – roll-on
soap
shampoo
toothbrush
toothpaste
disposable razor
toilet paper
50ml
150g bar
400ml
each
100ml
5 pack
each
35,000
8,800
32,000
tba
16,000
20,000
tba
camping tba
internet 3,000-10,000 per hour
* tba = price to be announced
* January 2009: at time of writing 1.00 USD = 17,480 VDN
all prices have been taken from internet resources such as wikitravel, hostel world, leading supermarket chains, travel blogs, forums and of course our own travel experiences and purchases of everyday products in food markets, bazaars and local shopping facilities. They are only an indication and designed to give you a general impression of the cost of living in Vietnam. Items are geared towards the budget conscious traveller with an occasional craving for a bit of luxoury.

A couple of extra tips:

* Basically everything except meals, is negotiable in Vietnam and bartering plays a big role in the Vietnamese way of life, so get those bargaining skills sharpened up before you arrive.
* Major hotels and restaurants add a 5% service charge to bills, but the price you see on the menu or board in the smaller establishments and market stalls is what you pay.
* Tipping taxi drivers is not commonly done by locals, so unless your chauffeur has pulled a miracle in peak hour traffic, is not really necessary. Rounding up the fare up is ample gratuity.
*
if you tee up with a couple of other travellers you can get great accommodation deals in the larger cities where they offer 4 bedroom rooms with private ensuite for the same price per person as a dorm bed.

Accommodation
When it comes to sleeping, you are in for a nice surprise in Vietnam. The budget lodging is not only clean and cheap, but you are often supplied with towels, soap and dinky little throw-away toothbrushes as well. You’ll also have no problem finding somewhere to stay as these days, even the smallest of towns have adequate facilities for travellers. Usually the price will give an impression of the quality of the room, so the amount of money in your wallet will depict the standard you can go for. Antiquated plumbing systems are most likely to be your only gripe when it comes to accommodation. Note that it is common practice for the hotelier to keep your passport in reception for the length of your stay.

With such an array of guesthouses and hotels at inexpensive prices, there is really no need to camp in Vietnam, but if you do want to spend the night under the stars you can; though unless you are in the tropical forests, finding a patch of vacant land that isn’t a rice paddy might be difficult. After Thailand, Vietnam is the second biggest rice exporter in the world. Mosquitos are another issue and Dengue Fever is endemic to Vietnam.

For specific information about where you can stay in Vietnam’s National Parks take a look at the World Wildlife Adventureswebsite.

Food & drink

You only have to check out the HappyCow site to see that finding vegetarian and even vegan food in Vietnamese cities is not difficult. Outside and at the market stalls you will have to watch out for the infamous fish sauce (nuoc mam) used as freely as soya sauce is in Chinese cooking. Also the level of MSG may be alarming for some, but if you are getting something cooked from scratch then just ask for your meal without it.

The choice on the menu will be varied from soups, spring rolls, rice and noodle dishes with an array of vegetables and tofu fit for any veggie king or queen. The Vietnamese kitchen prides itself on simple, clean fresh sensations and nearly all dishes are accompanied with the aromatic and cleansing flavours of Asian basil, coriander, mint leaves, cut limes, sweet chilli paste and scalded bean sprouts. Watch out, foods can be spicy.

There are three types of cuisine: from the north, the south and the central cooking style. Furthermore, the country has been heavily influenced by the French baguette and roasted coffee beans. So much so that Vietnam has risen to be is the second largest coffee exporter in the world. Brazil is the first.

You can only conclude that they must be doing something right and a after a glass of thick rich cà phê you’ll understand why. A Vietnamese favourite is the cà phê sua da which literally translates as coffee milk ice. The deep roasted brew is mixed with condensed milk and poured over ice for a refreshing kick at any time of day. Who needs red bull?

VEGETARIAN TALK – Vietnamese
Tôi an chay [toy ahn jay – in a high flat tone] =
I’m a vegetarian
Tôi không an… = I don’t eat…
thit gà [teet gah] = chicken
thit bò [teet baw] = beef
thit heo [teet heeo] = pork
[gah] = fish
phó mát [faw maht] =cheese
trung [cheung] = eggs
mi chinh = MSG – north
bot ngot = MSG – south

rau (tuoi) [rao-(theu-uh-ee)] = fresh vegetables
trái cây [chai gai ] = fruit
com chay = vegetarian food
nha hang com chay = vegetarian restaurant

không co… = no…
Xin…
= I want…
Xin môt dia có… = I want a dish with…
làm on [lam uhhn] = please
cam on [gam uhhn] = thank you
không sao dâu [kohng sao doh] =
you’re welcome

If you are thinking of buying some local roasts to take with you, Trung Nguyen coffees are renowned for their quality, but you’ll find plenty more local varieties to help start the day with a boost.

Bottled water is cheap and readily available, so there’s really not much reason to take the risk of drinking local water. Outside of the cities watch out for unpackaged ice.

Why not try these for starters?
Pho Chay
The vegetarian take of Vietnam’s all time favourite meal. This national soup filled with rice noodles and vegetables is served with lots of little side accompaniments which you can add according to your personal taste. Basil, coriander, cut limes, hot chillies, sweet soybean paste and scalded bean sprouts are the usual fresh ingredients to add spice to your hearty soup meal.

Bi Cuon Chay Viet Nam
In the nation where they do everything to the meagre spring roll to turn them into taste sensations, it would be a shame to pass up the opportunity to try one of these little rice paper treats: filled with rice vermicelli, mung beans, carrots, mushrooms and pickles, wrapped in crispy lettuce and mint leaves and then dipped in sweet chilli soya sauce. Refreshing, delicious as either a snack or a meal.

Bánh Khoai and Bánh Xeo
You will need to order both these traditional market stall dishes without the shrimp or meat. And don’t forget to check the dipping sauce for that infamous fish seasoning as well.
Bánh Khoai

Famous in Quang Ngai region this savoury batter pancake is topped with mung beans, slices of tart star fruit, young banana and a handful of asian basil, mint and fennel herb. Served with nuoc leo: a rich peanut sauce or a thick soya bean dressing.
Bánh Xeo
Equally well know in the south, try this larger turmeric spiced crepe with green beans and coconut milk. Wrapped in lettuce leaves and dipped in a seasoned sauce from glutinous rice and soy beans

Com Chay with Xoi Nep
Fried mixed vegetables with fresh ginger, cabbage, mushrooms and soy sauce. Delicious with xoi nep, bamboo-steamed sticky rice.

Sinh To
A fabulously refreshing pick me up for a hot summers day: sliced fresh fruit combined with crushed ice, condensed milk and coconut juice. If you’d rather not eat it then ask to have it blended into a thick creamy fruity milkshake.

Bike shops
Ho Chi Minh City 285 Vo Van Tanh
District, 1 Ho Chi Minh City
“Works from his house and has lots of top quality spares, speaks Englishbikingvietnam.com
(visited by Matthew Blake in February 2009)
biking vietnam shop
Shop 51/1 Sky Garden 2,
Phuong Tan Phuong, Phu My Hung
District 7
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 8 3410 3114
Fax: + 84 8 3410 3115
website

Climate

climate chart Danang Vietnam climate chart Hanoi Viernam
climate chart Ho Chi  Minh City Vietnam