Most visitors to Vietnam are overwhelmed by the sublime beauty of the country's natural setting: the Red River Delta in the north, the Mekong Delta in the south and almost the entire coastal strip are covered with brilliant green rice paddies.

 

There are some beautiful beaches along the coast, soaring mountains and some dense tropical forests in inlands.  Vietnam also offers an opportunity to see a country of traditional charm and rare beauty rapidly opening up to the outside world.  Vietnam has two World Natural Heritage sites: Halong Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

 

Vietnam features a warm humid subtropical climate with plentiful precipitation.  It has typical tropical climate where summers are hot and humid, and winters are relatively cool and dry. Summers, lasting from May to September, are hot and humid, receiving the majority of the annual 1,680 millimetres (66.1 in) of rainfall.  The winters are short, relatively dry, and mild, while spring can bring light rains.

 

Hanoi is the capital of Vietnam and the second largest city after Ho Chi Minh city. It has estimated population nearly 6.5 million (2009).  October 2010 officially mark 1000 years of the establishment of Hanoi.  On this occasion, Hanoi has been named by Frommer's travel guide as one of the world's "Top Destinations 2010".  Ho Chi Minh City also known as Saigon is the largest city in Vietnam.  The city center is situated on the banks of the Saigon River, 60 kilometers from the South China Sea.

 

Climate & Weather
Vietnam stretches over 1,800 km from north to south, with an area of 332,000 square km, Vietnam's topography varies from coastal plains to mountain ranges, therefore weather patterns in the principle cities are very different.
North: Winter lasts from November to April, with temperatures averaging 10 - 16C, fog and drizzle in January - March. Summer begins in May and lasts until October, with an average temperature of 30C, heavy rainfall and the occasional violent typhoon.
Center: Central Vietnamexperiences a transitional climate, with heavy rainfalls between November and December and dry, hot summer months. Typhoons are quite common in coastal areas between July and November.
South: Temperatures are fairly constant through the year; 25C - 30C. Seasons are determined by the rains - the dry season runs from November to April and the wet season from May to October. The hottest period is March and April.
Highland areas: In the hill resorts of Dalat (1,500 m), Buon Me Thuot and Sapa, nights are cool throughout the year, and in the winter months, October to March, it can be distinctly chilly with temperatures falling to 0C. Even in the hottest months of March and April the temperature rarely exceeds 26C.
More details on weather, please visit:http://www.wunderground.com


Customs and Formalities
All visitors to Vietnam must fill in declaration forms and show their luggage to customs officials on request.
Visitors can bring with them unlimited amounts of foreign currency, objects made of gold, silver, precious metals and gemstones or plated with silver or gold, all of which must be declared in detail on the customs forms. Commercial Video films and printed materials that are considered offensive are normally confiscated and sent to Ministry of Culture for inspection.
Goods prohibited to import: weapons, ammunition, explosives, military technical equipment, drugs, toxic chemicals, debauched and reactionary products, firecrackers of all kinds, toys with negative impacts on the dignity education, social security and safety, cigarettes beyond the stipulated quantity, etc.
Goods prohibited to export: weapons, ammunition, explosives, military technical equipment, antiques, drugs, toxic chemicals, wild animals, rare and precious animals and plants, documents related to the national security, etc.

 

What to bring
Bring as little as possible. Keep in mind that you can and will buy things in Vietnam, so do not burden yourself. If you do forget to bring any ‘essential’ items, it’s quite likely that they can be bought in Vietnam, at least in the cities.

Currency, Exchange and ATM
The local currency is the Dong (abbreviated "d" or VND). Bank notes are 100d, 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2,000d, 5,000d, 10,000d, 20,000d, 50,000d, 100,000d & 500,000d. Coins are 200d, 500d, 1000d, 2000d and 5000d.
Further details on exchange rate, please visit: http://www.vietcombank.com.vn/en/Exchange%20Rate.asp
Money and travelers cheques, particularly U.S. Dollars, can be exchanged at banks, hotels and authorized money- exchangers. It is advisable to carry U.S. Dollar bills in small denominations.
Credit cards are generally only accepted in major hotels, and in some up-market shops and restaurants in major cities. ATM facilities are readily available now in major cities

 

Heath Requirements
No actual vaccinations are officially required. Visitors are advised to check with their doctor or travel immunization clinic regarding the advisability of inoculation against typhoid, tetanus, hepatitis A & B and Malaria.
Those visitors taking medicine for certain conditions such as diabetes or heart problems should make sure that they carry these medications in their hand luggage at all times in case the main luggage should be delayed.
It is recommended that all travellers take out comprehensive Personal Travel Insurance to cover personal belongings, in case of accident or illness etc.

Domestic Flights
If flights are required in your itinerary they are in coach class, unless specified otherwise. Flight timings quoted are local and are subject to change. Domestic flights require a check-in, 1-hour prior to the flight departure.
Carry on luggage is limited to one piece plus a camera. In economy class air travel baggage allowance is 20kg per person.
We cannot be held responsible for the loss or damage to passenger’s belongings. Domestic flights are prone to last minute schedule changes and cancellation without ANY advance notice.

 

AirportTax
Airport departure tax for international flights currently is: US$ 14 from Hanoi & HoChiMinhCity; US$ 8 from Danang
The departure airport tax may be paid in local currency or in US Dollars. Children under 12 years are entitled to have half fare of adult.
Airport departure tax for domestic flights is included in the airfare.

Internet
Vietnam joined the global computer age and internet-service providers are currently operating in most of the Cities. You can access the internet through hotels, Cyber Cafés & Internet/Computer Service Centers. ADSL technology is widely used in major cities.

Language
Vietnamese is the official language of Vietnam. Learning foreign languages, particularly English, is currently popular among young people in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hue, Danang and other cities. Tourist guides are available for English, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and Russian speakers.

 

Local Time and Working Hour
Local time is GMT + 7 hours.
Governmental agencies work Monday to Friday from 7.30amto 4.30pm(excluding one-hour lunch) and are closed Saturday and Sunday.
Banks are open Monday to Friday from 7.30amor 8am to 11.30amand from 1pmto 4pmand are closed Saturday and Sunday.
Private shops are open from 8 or 8.30amto 9 or 10pm.

Overland Travel
The road system in Vietnamis reasonable in the main urban cities. The drives through the countryside can be a wonderful sightseeing experience. However, it must be noted that the roads are narrow and some may be poorly paved when outside the main cities, and as a consequence the drives can be rough and difficult at times.
The journey timings described in your itinerary are based on the usual amount of time a particular journey will take. However, please appreciate that not all roads can be checked for their condition throughout the year.
Most cars used are manufactured locally by Toyota, Honda and Ford and are for the most part comfortable and ideally suited to local roads. Smoking is not permitted in any vehicle, under any conditions. There is ample opportunity to smoke during photographic, luncheon and sightseeing stops.
If you decide to leave the hotel and go out on your own, there are various means of transport that you may like to take such as taxis or “cyclos”. If taking a taxi or “cyclo”, insist on the meter being switched on before you begin your journey. Due to an effort to stop pollution, most “cyclos” are pedaled as opposed to motor. It is suggested that you carry the name of your destination or hotel written in local language in the event your driver does not understand English. The staff at your hotel can assist you in this regard.

 

Passport and Visa
Travellers to Vietnam are required to hold a passport valid for at least six (06) months beyond the completion of their visit and must contain a valid visa.
Visas are usually issued by the passengers’ home country (against the visa’s approval number), which require the original passport, and 2 photos in order to issue a visa stamp.
Visas can also be obtained upon arrival at Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh Cityand Danang airports (Visa on Arrival), in which case the stamping fee will be quoted separately.
Visas on Arrival can be requested via Vietnam Impressive Travel in connection with the booking of travel arrangements to Vietnam.
Hotels might reserve the right to keep travel documents overnight at the reception for registration purpose.

Food
Vietnam has abundant food supplies and an elaborate cuisine. Cooking is seen as an art and some Vietnamese dishes have achieved international fame, including such traditional dishes as noodle soup (pho), pork sausage (gio lua), spring rolls (nem ran), and fish balls (cha ca). In addition to Vietnamese food, the larger hotels also serve a wide variety of Continental and Chinese cuisine. In the smaller cities, when the hotels only have one restaurant, ordering a-la-carte may involve a slight wait, consequently it is advised that you take advantage of the large and diverse buffets available at these hotels to minimize any delay.
Never drink water from the hotel tap, no matter what category of hotel you are staying in. Bottled mineral water is available at all hotels throughout Vietnam. Do not have any ice in your drinks as this is often made from water that has not been purified.

 

Post and Telecommunications
A regular international post service is available. In addition Express Mail Service (EMS) is available to more than 50 countries worldwide with a delivery time of 2 to 10 days.
Vietnam has high international telephone charges. It is important to check the exact amount with the hotel before making a call, as hotel surcharges are often imposed.
VOIP calls which help reduce call charges (for most of International calls from any destination within Vietnam and for domestic calls between the main cities of the country) are now available as well pre-paid internet & mobile card can be bought in the major cities.
Service providers for mobile phone network are GSM of Vinaphone, MobilePhone and Viettel while CDMA are EVNTelecom and S-Phone. Numbers begin with 091, 090, 098, 095, 096

Electricity
Electricity in Vietnam mostly runs at 220 V (50 Hz), but often you will find 110V (also at 50Hz). In the south, most outlets are US-style flat pins. In the north, most outlets are the Russian-inspired round pins, which usually carry 220V. Electrical sockets are two and three-prong.

 

Shopping
Foreign visitors to Vietnam have the opportunity to buy souvenirs made of rattan, gold, silver and stone. There is a diverse range of products, from woodenwares such as wooden buttons or sindora beds to lacquer paintings, bowls and chopsticks, bamboo screens and stone tea sets. Woven tapestries, “tho cam” handbags and other handicrafts are produced by the traditional skills of the women of ethnic minorities in such rural regions in the north as Sapa, Mai Chau and Dien Bien.

Bargaining & Tipping
Bargaining is advised to do when visit Vietnam. You should ask the taxi driver or motortaxi (xe om) driver for the price of your travel distance made. The same when you go shopping. When you are surrounded by street sellers, it is better to say no and mind your way.
Tipping is widely practiced and expected
Porters : VND 5.000 – 10.000 per bag
Waiters in restaurants: 5-10% of total bill
Taxi drivers : 10% of total bill
Tour guides :
VND 40.000 per person/per day
Drivers : VND 20.000 per person/per day


All of the above information is accurate at the time of publication.

 

Ethnic Villages
(Sapa & its ethnic villages, Vietnam)
Private tour, daily departure
English/French speaking guide
Meals B&B
Trip code: VI-401

 

 

 Day 1: Hanoi – Bat Trang Pottery village - Overnight train to Sapa (no meals)
Pick up at your hotel in the afternoon, drive to Bat Trang. Situated on the left bank of the Red River, about 10km away from the center of Hanoi is the pottery village of Bat Trang. Bat Trang village, the most ancient and famous pottery village of Vietnam, continues to work today and is constantly developing. It is said that, the village took its first name from Bach Thu guild (a guild of Kaolin potters) and then it became Bat Trang guild (a guild of bowls and kilns). Bat Trang pottery has been distributed to every region of Vietnam and even to foreign countries, it is valued as typical pottery of Vietnam and has become well-known nationally and internationally. There are various kinds of pottery, for example jade enamel (under the Ly-Tran Dynasties), brown flower or brown enamel (under the late Tran to early Le Dynasties), cracked enamel (under the late Le Dynasty) and royal blue enameled items (under the late Le to Nguyen Dynasties).
17:00: Return to your hotel.
At 20:30, pick up at hotel, transfer without guide to Hanoi Railways Station for 4 berth compartment train. Overnight in the train.

Day 2: Lao Cai – Sapa – Lao Chai/Ta Van - Sapa (B)
Arrive at Lao Cai Train station at about 05.30. Take a transfer to Sapa.
Having breakfast and relax before explore Sapa Town. At a elevation of 1600 meters, Sapa is a delightful old French hill station situated in the mountainous region of Vietnams' northwest, close to the Chinese border. The region is home to many ethnic minorities groups all wearing their traditional and colourful attire.
Hike down to Lao Chai village to visit the Tay and Day tribes. Continue  along the bottom of the Sapa valley to get to Ta Van village, which is supposed to be the most beautiful one in the area. Today you will spend abt 4 hours hiking. It depends on you if you want to hike more or less. At least you can see one village - it is a must (!), once in this region! Return to Sapa by motorbike or jeep.
Overnight at hotel

Day 3: Sapa – Ta Phin - Lao Cai (B/L)
After breakfast check out and get ready for the trip. Drive to the direction of Ta Phin village (abt 40 minutes)- home to the Red Dao people. Here you have the opportunity to share cultural experiences with the families of  Black Hmong and Red Dao that live in the area. This will be about a 2 hour hiking experience. Picnic lunch.
The trip also offers you the opportunity to visit the local houses as well as visit the local caves. Continue drive to Lao Cai station for night train to Hanoi by 4 berth compartment train. Overnight trip. 
Overnight train.

Day 4: Hanoi  Arrival, take taxi to your hotel!
You will arrive early in the morning then take meter taxi to your hotel in Hanoi or transfer to airport. Kindly tell driver to turn the meter on!
Early check in, breakfast not included. Trip ends here. 

 


 

Valid from 01-Apr-2015 to 30-Sep-2015

All prices are per person

 

Single

Twin

 

Standard (2 star)

$510

$415

 

Superior (3 star)

$540

$430

 

First (4 star) *

$700

$495

 

 

 

Valid from 01-Oct-2014 to 31-Mar-2015

All prices are per person

 

Single

Twin

 

Standard (2 star)

$550

$435

 

Superior (3 star)

$585

$450

 

First (4 star) *

$735

$515

 

 

*Compulsory Xmas, New Year dinner and peak season surcharge may apply


Price inclusive

  • Breakfast and accommodation sharing a double room.
  • Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary above
  • Travel in an appropriate private air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced safe driver.
  • The services of experienced English/French-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary (please note: guides will be on hand from pick-up until guests' return to their hotel or reaching their destination).
  • Where necessary, entry fees for all visits as mentioned in the programme.
  • One picnic lunch while touring to Ta Phin as specified
  • Roundtrip train ticket Hanoi - Lao Cai - Hanoi, first class tourist train
  • Mineral water and wet wipe
  • VAT and other taxes
Price exclusive
  • International flight tickets and airport tax.
  • Visas
  • Dinners, except as specified above.
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses.
  • Camera fees (if any)
  • Tipping fees
  • Insurance.
Hotels used for Standard class
City Hotel & room type Website
Sapa Thai Binh or Eden http://www.thaibinhhotel.com
http://www.sapaedenhotel.com

Hotels used for Superior class
City Hotel & room type Website
Sapa Chapa Garden Boutique hotel and spa or,
Sapa Rooms Boutique hotel
http://www.chapagarden.com
http://www.saparooms.com

Hotels used for First class
City Hotel & room type Website
Sapa Victoria Sapa, superior room www.victoriahotels-asia.com/eng/hotels-in-vietnam/sapa-resort
A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au