With its modern history scarred by war, it's easy to forget how much more this country and its people have to offer but fear not intrepid traveler we have created the perfectly balanced tour of Vietnam which will take you to the must-see tourist attractions but also off the beaten path to discover the real Vietnam and why we feel it is southeast Asia hidden little gem!
Here are our top ten Vietnam travel tips:
Visitors come with many questions, and we have compiled the most frequently asked about Vietnam to help answer some of your inquiries.
As each country's foreign office perceives Vietnam differently our advice would be to locate and contact your countries own foreign department for the most recent advice. Generally speaking, governments tend to be over-cautious in their recommendations and we find a good dose of common sense and courtesy will take you far on any journey, that said please consult both your government and insurance provider before journeying with Bamboo.
Vietnam, in general, has two kinds of seasons, hot or hot and wet but as we mentioned the rainy season can be a welcome relief and has never stopped a Bamboo tour. March and April are the driest and coolest months but every tour date we carefully choose has been hand-picked by our Thai guide for the best travel experience.
There is no right or wrong answer to how much to bring as it's generally to each their own. Vietnam is an affordable travel option for many and you can enjoy shopping in tourist places or exploring the finer things in life with spa treatments, fancy restaurants, or yoga retreats but your Vietnam travel guide will show you the best spots in the kingdom. The average daily spend in Vietnam is about US$60 which would include everything, you can go way less or way more (usually depends on how much you drink *hiccup*)
Vietnam is a beautiful country with many charming qualities and proud happy people that will mostly go out of their way to encourage you to enjoy their culture and laid-back life. However, in any country in the world, there are those who find ways to take advantage. Your guide is with you 24/7 to help you avoid any complications but on occasion, you will find yourself on a solo adventure please try to avoid the following (editor's note: we live to support local communities and initiatives, the following comments are not to discourage anyone from buying or avoiding any areas specifically, merely prepare yourself for potential issues outside of the Bamboo comfort zones).
Southeast Asia is known for its affordable travel due to the economy of the region against the tourists coming to visit. Your overall purchasing power is higher than the average salary of a Vietnamese person. Which brings many benefits to both you, the traveler, and the local. So, why is Vietnam so cheap and how will this help my experience?
Vietnam is remarkably cheap especially with meals, hotel rooms, product shopping, and transportation. It has been said, the most expensive thing you will need to buy is a ticket to get to Vietnam. After calculations, it costs around US$60 dollars per day to live a great standard of living in Vietnam.
As for every Bamboo tour we strongly recommend consulting your local GP doctor before traveling to any country. That said, Vaccination is recommended and strongly suggested if you stay longer and wish to eat street food and travel to more remote areas.
With our tours, you are guaranteed the full Vietnam experience without having to spend beyond the exclusive tour due to our days being jam-packed with activities such as Hanoi city tours, Pho food experiences, Golden Temple tours, rice fields, and much much more! So is Vietnam expensive? No, not at all.
According to our flight partners and local partners, May is considered the lower season and the cheapest month to fly. That said, the prices vary each month and can change on a daily basis so using something like Skyscanner to track a bargain is highly recommended. Please feel free to ask our team in the bottom right corner if you need help with flights.
Our Vietnam tour has been expertly designed to give the best balance of nature, culture, environment, giving back, adventure activities, and project time so we know, by the science that 13 days is exactly how many days you need in Vietnam, how many days you want to extend is entirely up to you.
Vietnam has a special place in the heart of Bamboo's tours. The rich culture, friendly people, lush nature and wildlife, and pristine beaches embody the soul of what makes our travel tour the first choice for many, time and time again.
Firstly, on behalf of everybody at Bamboo, I would like to offer you our thanks for choosing to experience this incredible part of the world with us. We guarantee you an amazing time and we're all very much looking forward to meeting you in Hanoi soon.
I imagine that right now you're very excited about your upcoming adventure and this little guide has been put together to help you understand more about what will be happening, what to expect, how to plan and more. We guarantee your time with us will be unforgettable from start to end.
Bamboo is growing as our style of 'travel' has proven to be the 'way' to travel. You are now a part of this journey and we welcome you with open arms and hearts. This growing experience is down to people like you, so do get stuck in, become part of our way of life, live every moment and take nothing for granted.
Peace, Love & Bamboo
Mark (& the other Panda, Colin)
Explore the sights of Hanoi including Hoan Kiem Lake and the old French Quarter.
Witness breathtaking views of the Hai Van Pass.
Visit The Elephant Springs or wander the beautiful temples of the Marble Mountains.
Give back alongside one of Vietnam's most famous NGOs, helping communities along the way.
Experience an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay.
Taste authentic and traditional, mouth-watering Vietnamese cuisine.
Cruise the Perfume River in Hue
You must have a valid passport and a visa (or preapproval for a visa on arrival) to enter Vietnam. Your passport must be valid for six months beyond your planned stay and you must have at least one blank page for your visa.
Nationals of certain countries may visit Vietnam without a visa for a period of time, below is a link to a list of countries and regions that have visa exemption arrangements with Vietnam.
If you arrive in Vietnam without an appropriate visa or pre-approval for a visa on arrival, you will be denied entry.
Nestled in the heart of Hanoi's Old Quarter, this hotel occupies the perfect location to explore the city.
Your accommodation here will be twin shared rooms. Rooms have wooden floors and include a flat-screen satellite TV and personal safe.
Your accommodation will be twin shared. All rooms are air-conditioned and include a private bathroom with a shower and toilet.
Towels, linens and slippers are provided, and a restaurant and a bar is available onboard.
Staying at this family run lodge is a fantastic local experience.
Accommodation will be twin share in the airconditioned bungalows with lake views.
Centrally located and only a stone's throw away from the bars and restaurants of Hue, our chosen guesthouse offers elegant and comfortable accommodation with free WiFi access throughout.
Your accommodation here will be twin share.
Each room comes with its own bathroom, TV and AC unit.
Just 5 minutes’ walk from the Ancient Town and the local market the hotel features an outdoor pool and free Wi-Fi throughout the property.
Each room is equipped with air conditioning and an en-suite western bathroom.
Rooms will be either twin or triple share
When it comes to advice on how much money to bring, it’s impossible to say. All our intrepid explorers are very different. Where some go all out, others are on a budget. You can find both high end and budget restaurants, bars and shops across Vietnam. A rough guide for meals and drinks can be found in ‘fast facts’:
ATM's, or cash machines, are prevalentthroughout V ietnam. In Vietnam, you will be issued the local currency called Vietnamese Dong. Typical exchange rates at the time of writing are:
$1USD- 22500 VND
£1GBP - 30000 VND
$IAUD - 18000 VND
We don't recommend bringing traveller's cheques with you. The reason is that banks across Vietnam have odd hours of operating and so it may cause unnecessary hassle finding a bank open when you wish to make a transaction.
Major credit cards are not widely accepted as payment in Vietnam, some restaurants may accept credit cards but in most other places cash is king.
Negotiating a purchase, known as “bartering”, still happens in the tourist areas of Vietnam. Outside of tourist areas, however, bartering is seen as disrespectful and the cost you're told is the cost you pay. If you’re unsure as to whether or not you can barter for a discount please speak to your guide or coordinator to avoid any unnecessary faux-pas.
Packing for a trip to the unknown is always tricky. It's definitely worth doing a little bit of homework on this one and to consider the local culture when deciding what clothes to bring. For example, Vietnam is a predominantly Buddhist country, so dress modestly and respectfully. We live by the rule ‘1 in, 1 out' meaning either shoulders or knees need to be covered at all times. In addition, it’s often customary to remove your shoes before entering a building in Asia, consider this if you plan to only bring lace-up footwear.
Whilst volunteering, it’s highly like that your clothes will get dirty, sweaty and possibly torn so please keep this in mind. It’s very easy to buy cheap clothes from local markets here that will be more than suitable for your work. If at the end of your time on a project you no longer wish to hang on to the clothes please speak to your guide as we may be able to donate those clothes on your behalf.
Being such a religious country, temples and Buddhist monasteries are everywhere. If you plan to visit a few you will need to cover both your shoulder and knees. This also goes for volunteering at any school or entering a government building of any kind.
You should also consider the weather. Vietnam has two prominent weather seasons: "Hot & Dry" and "Hot & Wet". "Hot & Dry" usually runs from November to April, and "Hot and Wet" is then May to October.
The daytime temperature in Vietnam is quite consistent throughout the year with highs around 33-38°. The nighttime does vary with lows ranging from 16° in January and February to 28-30° for the rest of the year.
We recommend a sweater/jumper to keep you warm when it gets chilly.
For up to date information about the best travel vaccinations to have before arriving in Vietnam we urge you to contact your own CP, a travel health clinic or to check the World Health Organisations website. Bamboo are not medical professionals and therefore can’t offer you medical advice.
Thanks to the world wide web we now have access to great flight deals through websites such as Skyscanner, Google Flights and more. If you'd rather use the services of a booking agent, the likes of Trailfinders and Flight Centre are available online.
Please remember that this tour starts in Hanoi, but finished in Hoi An. So you may need to arrange a separate short flight from Da Nang Airport to ongoing destinations yourself. This is very easy and there are many low-cost airlines here that offer several daily flights.
Once you have booked and confirmed your flight to Hanoi, please make sure that you have shared your flight arrival time and flight number with our team.
Without those details, we will be unable to guarantee that one of our team will be at the airport to meet you on arrival.
Hanoi's International Airport is one of the busiest airports in Asia, and can be a confusing place. It is a major international hub that welcomes millions of visitors annually, so the following information is to help you locate our arrivals team quickly and to avoid unnecessary delays.
Once you have passed through Immigration (Passport Control) you'll need to collect your luggage from one of the carousels. Once you have your bags please make your way to the exit, passing through the green ‘Nothing to Declare’ channel, you will then enter the busy main arrivals area.
Directly ahead of you will be a mass of people holding up signs trying to get your attention, At this point please make note of whether you are at Exit Al or A2. If you're at Exit A2, you can wait outside the exit for our team. If you are at Exit Al don't panic, make your way along to Exit A2 and find our team outside the exit, they should be easily recognizable with their Bamboo t-shirts and be holding a sign showing the Bamboo logo.
In the unlikely event that you can't find our team, please don't panic. As long as we have your correct flight details one of our team will be there. Please wait at arrivals area A2, and if you still cannot locate one of our team please call the following number:
+84 (0) 979 940 3829
If you have supplied us with a mobile phone number, please make sure your phone is turned on as we may be trying to contact you.
If your arrival is late at night and we have arranged for a representative to collect you, then you will still be transferred to your accommodation where someone will meet you and ensure you're checked in and settled. Our representatives will still be wearing a Bamboo t-shirt and holding up a Bamboo sign at Exit A2.
This first trip will take us from the centrally located capital city to East Coast travelling by comfortable air-conditioned bus, The journey will take around 4 hours driving over 182km.
Our second trip we will take a private minivan to Ninh Binh. This will take around 5 hours travelling over 218km.
We will be travelling via a comfortable night train for approximately 11 hours. You will all have your own beds with a pillow, blanket and small tray table. It's as glamorous as a night train can get, we promise!
This will be made via our own private minivan with AC. The ride is comfortable and allows us to stop along the way for some epic snaps of the landscape. We will take our time as we pass along the Hai Van Pass stopping for a few treats along the way.
Any tour is only as good as the guide - fact. The input of a tour guide cannot be understated. Their input into your tour, their little insights, the off-the-beaten-track adventures, the knowledge and experiences that they share with you will make or break your time wherever you are in the world.
At Bamboo, we take the selection and training of our guides and coordinators very seriously. Each guide undertakes a structured training program of three months and only once we're convinced that they are genuine representatives of Bamboo are they signed up to the family.
Each of our tours has English-speaking guides to support you, answer your questions, educate you and to ensure that your time is unforgettable. From time to time we may have new guides-in-training on our tours. If you're lucky to have a trainee on your tour, please be patient. They are undergoing training and therefore their knowledge won't be that of the trained and experienced guide who will be accompanying them.
Although not in any way expected or encouraged, anybody who goes over and above the call of duty to ensure that you have the very best time, may deserve a special little thank you.
Did you have extra special service in a restaurant? Did the bus driver make an additional pit-stop just for you? Did your guide go out of the way so that you could experience something unique? At Bamboo we're firm believers in Karma - what goes around most definitely comes around!
Bamboo's ideology with all projects is to work with community leaders and locally operated NGO's because they understand the people, the needs, the benefits and the system far better than we do. Our projects improve villager's lives, health and safety.
Depending on the number of people volunteering and the needs of the community, you might be participating in one of the following: Building sustainable animal pens for families who need our support, toilet building, school improvements and house repairs.
Volunteers who decide to participate must be physically fit and willing to work in the hot sun for long hours. Please remember to take breaks as and when needed.
You've finished in central Vietnam, and what a journey it's been. But do you want to finish in style and explore the south with us?
Not only will we fly you into Ho Chi Minh City and explore the cu-chi tunnels used by the Viet-cong during the war. but we will venture deep into the Mekong Delta, the true south of Vietnam.
The Mekong Delta, also known as The Nine Dragon river delta as it is formed by nine rivers, lies immediately to the west of Ho Chi Minh City (also called Saigon by locals), roughly forming a vast triangle stretching from My Tho in the east to Chau Doc and Ha Tien in the northwest, down to Ca Mau, and including Phu Quoc Island.
It’s a water world where boats, houses, and markets float upon the numerous rivers, canals and streams that crisscross the landscape like arteries.
Contact our bookings team to find out more about the perfect add-on to your Vietnam Experience.