Useful information
General Information
Location: South East Asia
Area: 329,247 sq km (127,123 sq miles).
Population: 83.6 million (UN estimate 2005).
Population Density : 253.9 per sq km.
Capital: Hanoi
Language: Vietnamese
Religion: Buddhist majority

Introduction
Vietnam, a country of profound natural beauty encompasses the Red River and Mekong Deltas; soaring mountains and jungle-clad forests; terraced rice fields; and a winding coastline of pristine white sand beaches. Settled more than 4,000 years ago, Vietnam reflects the influences of a succession of empires and would-be conquerors in its architecture, religion, and traditions. Throughout its turbulent history, Vietnam has managed to preserve its rich civilization and highly cultured society, offering us an opportunity to see a country of traditional charm and rare beauty.

Travel briefs

Entry Procedures
Arrival and Departure Cards are required to be completed upon entry into Vietnam; they will be provided by the airline or at the border gate. The yellow copy of the card will be returned to you and must be submitted when you depart Vietnam; keep it in a safe place. Making a photocopy of it is a good idea and keeping it with your other photocopies.

If you have been pre-approved for a Visa-on-Arrival simply process though the Visa-on-Arrival lane at immigration.

Once your visa formalities have been completed claim your baggage and process through customs.

Duty Free
One-carton of cigarettes and one bottle of liquor.

Exit Procedures
Complete the customs declaration and process through customs then complete the immigration processing where you will be required to return the yellow copy of your Arrival and Departure Card.

Airport Departure Taxes
Domestic Departure Taxes are included in the price of the airline ticket. International Airport Departure taxes are $14 (Hanoi) and $12 (Ho Chi Minh City). First check-in for your flight and then obtain the receipt for the payment of your departure tax to present upon clearing customs.

Tendering Passports
Vietnamese law requires that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening. This may appear odd to Western travelers but until the 1960's a number of European countries required that passports be tendered to the hotel each evening.

Business hours
Banks, government offices and the like have office hours from 8:00 to 11:30 am and from 1:00 to 4:00 pm and on Saturday morning until noon, however offices often open late (both in the morning and afternoon) and cease operating early. Post Offices are generally open at 6:00 am and close late, often as late as 9:00 pm.

Retail shops generally open at 7:00 to 8:00 am and close by 4:00 to 5:00 pm. Private shops, restaurants and stalls are generally open very early and close late, seven-days-a-week.

Travel Insurance
Traveler's Insurance is strongly recommended. A number of companies sell competing policies and it is a good idea to read the fine print and ask questions if you are in doubt. Note : some insurance companies cover travel insurance in their existing policies; check, you may already be covered. Policies have differing benefits for trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, emergency medical transportation, lost baggage, missed connections, and accidents.

Of special note is the emergency medical transportation. This is extremely costly; if you any health condition which may require medical evacuation you should check to see if you are currently covered and if not purchase the insurance. Medical treatment, if required, can be costly and the pay is usually in cash.

Note to Canadian Citizens
Your provincial health plan may not cover all expenses if you are injured abroad. It may cover nothing or only a portion of the costs. Understand the terms of your supplemental insurance policy. Some credit cards offer their holders health and travel insurance. Do not assume the card alone provides adequate coverage. Carry details of your insurance with you. Get a detailed invoice from the doctor or hospital before you return to Canada. Always submit original receipts for any medical services or prescriptions received abroad.

Electricity
220 volt at 50 cycles however 110 volt at 50 cycles in the cities is sometimes encountered, but not often; in the countryside 110 volt via generators is common. For your convenience obtain electrical converters at outlets like Radio Shack prior to your departure. You hotel may have converters but it is always easier to come prepared. Electronic equipment should be protected with a surge protector.

Weights and Measures
Vietnam is on the metric system; all weights and measures are in the metric system. Inches, miles and size-10 shoes have no currency in Vietnam.

Metric Conversions

Temperature
Celsius to Fahrenheit - divide by 1.8 Fahrenheit to Celsius - add 32
Distance
1 centimeter - .39 of an inch
1 meter - 39 inches, approximately 1 yard
1 kilometer - .62 miles
1 mile - 1.6 kilometers
Weight
1 kilogram - 2.2 pounds
1 gram - .04 ounces
1 ounce - 28 grams
Volume
1 liter - .26 of a U.S. gallon
1 U.S. gallon - 3.8 liters

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