In Vietnam

FAQ - On The Road In Vietnam

What are the hotels like in Vietnam?

As Vietnam's economy and tourism develops, new hotels are founded almost weekly.  Many of these hotels are rated as 3-star or above (according to international standards).  Most of the hotels have comfortable and convenient facilities.

Services offered by hotels 3-star (or above) usually include:

  • All rooms are air-conditioned, equipped with a color TV, telephone, refrigerator and a double curtain.
  • All rooms are equipped with a private bathroom, disinfected towels, glasses, soap, bath cream, shampoo, toilet paper, tooth brushes, and sometimes razors.
  • All employees wear uniforms to indicate their respective jobs, and positions.
  • Bedrooms consist of one or two beds, a wardrobe, a dressing table, ceiling and bedside lamps.
  • Additional facilities include restaurants, coffee shops, bars, and swimming pools.

Check out our video Hotels in Vietnam.
Are there English-speaking people working at the hotel?

Yes.  Hotels entertaining foreign guests have English speaking staff.  If you need help, you can ask the receptionists.

Are laundry services available at the hotels?

Generally laundry service is offered in all hotels.  The laundry handed in the morning is returned the next day.  Extra fees are charged if you ask for an express service.  In some cities, service is available outside the hotel at a cheaper price.

Do the hotels offer hair driers?

Yes.  Almost all of the hotels that we stay in while in Vietnam provide hair driers in the bathroom.  If you are on a tour that will be spending a night in Lao Bao or Tay Ninh, then you might be without a hair drier for a day.

What is the unit of money in Vietnam?

Vietnamese Dong (VND) is the official currency of Vietnam.  Bill denominations exist in 1,000; 2,000; 5,000; 10,000; 20,000; 50,000, 100,000; and a newly issued 500,000 bill that is worth approx. 24 American dollars.

Many shops, restaurants, and hotels now accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.  While a credit card is essential to traveling, it is often the case that you get better prices for cash, especially VND.

While it is illegal to import or export VND, you can change back your surplus of VND when leaving the country at the international airports.

What is the Vietnam Currency Exchange Rate?

The exchange rate is roughly 20,800 dong to $1.00 (12.18.12).  This is close enough for most street transactions.

You will probably want to change about $50 - $100 into dong.  You will have ample time to do so.  Keep in mind that over the last couple years, banks have dramatically increased the fees they charge for overseas transactions using credit and debit cards.  While these fees are legal, they're basically another way for credit card companies to wring a few more dollars out of their customers.

For years, Visa and MasterCard have levied a 1 percent fee on international transactions.  Recently, banks that issue those cards are tacking on an additional 1 percent to 2 percent.  These are often called "currency-conversion fees" or "foreign transaction fees." (You'll also be charged a fee for withdrawing cash using your ATM card, so there's no way to get by completely fee-free.)

You should check with your Credit Card Issuer and see which one has the lowest fees.

ATM Machines are available in all the cities.

Click on this link for an up to date exchange rate: Currency Converter Widget

How do I change my currency?

You can exchange U.S. Dollars at any bank.  The hotel desk can also exchange small amounts of money, but if everyone on the tour tries to exchange a hundred dollars on the same day, it isn't going to happen.

ATM machines are everywhere in the cities so you can use your AMT cards here.  Be sure to let your bank know that you are traveling to Vietnam so that your card does not get shut down.

How much money should I bring?

Most folks bring between $400 - $800 --- it all depends on how impressed you are with the goodies there, or how expensive your tastes are.  Some veterans have shipped home fantastic marble statuary worth thousands, but they paid with a credit card.

Some stores have started to take Visa and Mastercard, but just a few.  You may bring back to CONUS, a total of $800 per person in purchases without having to pay duty.

The U.S. dollar is the preferred currency for most items, but for some reason your drinks will be slightly cheaper if you use dong.  As you know, you will have to buy your own drinks.  Water, beer, and soda generally run about $1 - $2 each in the hotels and restaurants.

Is the tap water in Vietnamese hotels drinkable?

It is unwise to risk your health by drinking the tap water, although some luxury hotels claim that their tap water is purified and safe to drink.  Usually all rooms in the hotels are equipped with water heaters or thermos bottles.  Boiled water will be offered by the hotel free of charge.  Some hotels provide bottled water daily free of charge.  Bottled water is also widely available in stores, restaurants, and street kiosks.

Once we head out of town and into the bush, we will be consuming large quantities of bottled drinking water.  We will make sure you have enough water with you.  You may want to bring Gatorade powder mix for your water.  Due to the extreme temperatures in Vietnam, you will lose salt and electrolytes from perspiration, as well as from physical exertion.  Gatorade may help to replace what you lose.  Please check with your doctor if you cannot tolerate Gatorade or an equivalent product.

Is Internet access available in Vietnam?

Today the Internet is widely available throughout most towns and cities in Vietnam.

Almost all of the hotels that we stay at offer free Internet access from at least one or two computers located in the lobby or downstairs area.  Cyber-cafes are also available almost everywhere.

If you are bringing your own laptop, notebook or netbook computer, many of the hotels provide free wireless Internet connections right in your room.

Other hotels provide in room wired instead of wireless Internet access.  They also provide the Cat-5 cable to connect your computer to the network.  You might want to bring along your own Cat-5 cable in case theirs is missing or damaged.

When using the Cyber-cafes, the hotel provided computers or the hotels computer networks, you should assume that all of these networks are unsecured and you should take all necessary precautions to protect your personnel information while using these resources.

Remember that the power supply voltage may vary from that at home, risking damage to your equipment.
See our FAQ question: Is the electricity different in Vietnam?.

Is smoking allowed on the coach?

Smoking is not permitted in aircraft, motor coaches, museums, restaurants, or any place where smoking is prohibited.

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