(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.
Types of Visa and Cost
Working Days Required
Getting There by Air
Approximate Flight Times
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.
Getting There by Water
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
Getting There by Road
There is a bus service from An Cuu bus station in Hué to Savannakhet in Laos. Go in person to buy tickets in advance.
Cost of living
|drinks and snacks||food: local markets; restaurants; and stores|
soft drink (can)
soft drink (bottle)
fruit milkshake-sinh to
|bread loaf-whole grain
|local market food
cheap local restaurant
two minute noodles
coffee (cafe / bar)
yoghurt / curd
bag / bunch
|budget city hostel
budget city hotel
|90-130,000 per dorm bed
260-350,000 double with ensuite
|deodorant – roll-on
|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.
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.
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?
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?
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
Bánh Khoai and Bánh Xeo
Com Chay with Xoi Nep
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.
|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 English” bikingvietnam.com
|(visited by Matthew Blake in February 2009)|
|biking vietnam shop
Shop 51/1 Sky Garden 2,
Phuong Tan Phuong, Phu My Hung
Ho Chi Minh City
Tel: +84 8 3410 3114
Fax: + 84 8 3410 3115