Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions, abbreviated to FAQs, provide some frequently questions that travelers often are interested. We try to update them through the time to provide useful answers for tourists

Please look over the list and see if your question is answered here before sending us an email.
If your question is not fully answered, then by all means please click this link to send us a question by email.

Do I need visa to visit Vietnam?

Yes /No, it depends on your nationality, but most likely you will need a valid visa before heading to Vietnam if you are NOT from ASEAN, Nordic country, we recommend that you check my vietnam visa and Vietnam visa website for more details on visa requirements. also make sure that your passport has at least 6 months of validity remaining before you apply for a visa.
See how can you get a visa here

What are the World Heritages in Vietnam?

1. Monumen Complex in Hue City – UNESCO World Heritage (Dec. 1993)
2. Ha Long Bay – UNESCO World Heritage (Dec. 1994)
3. Hoi An old town – UNESCO World Heritage (Dec. 1999)
4. My Son Sanctuary – UNESCO World Heritage (Dec. 1999)
5. Phong Nha – Ke Bang national park – UNESCO World Heritage (Jul. 2003)
6. Trang An – Vietnam’s first UNESCO-recognized mixed heritage (2014)

Do I need to learn any Vietnamese?

It isn’t necessary as many people speak English but it might be fun for you to learn a bit of the language(s) in advance. Being able to say “hello,” “goodbye,” “thank you” and “excuse me” will go a long way.

Where can I study Vietnamese?

In Hanoi, No. 1, Pham Ngu Lao St., Tel: 8262468
In Saigon: Lassho Vietnamese Language School for Foreigners
No. 8, Mac Dinh Chi St., Dist 1, Tel: 8233816

Is it possible to travel around Vietnam by plane?

Yes, it is possible to travel around main cities in Vietnam by air, see our domestic flights schedule for more information.

Internal flight coverage is pretty good in Vietnam with frequent flights to many cities. The price is reasonable and airfare can be altered without any difficulty.
Flight booking tips: It is recommended to book Vietnam Airlines flights with local travel agents because it is significantly more expensive to book domestic flights outside of Vietnam.
Vietnam Airlines is the dominant and exclusive air carrier on domestic Vietnam air routes with regular flights to over 15 destinations. Vietnam Airlines flies a modern fleet of Boeing 777 and 767 aircraft, Airbus 321 and 320 aircraft, ATR 72 aircraft, and Fokker 70 aircraft.
On-time arrival, on-time departure and the safety record of Vietnam Airlines is excellent compared to any international standards. Though cabin service does not quite yet match international standards, reliability, performance and constantly improving service are the hallmarks of Vietnam Airlines.
Vietnam Airlines Ticket Reservations: You can chat or email us: [email protected] for instant airfare updates and promotions.
See more information of Transport in Vietnam

Do you send us information about the destinations we will visit?

You will receive a Travel Guide from ABS TRAVEL which has information on currency exchange, recommended reading, credit card usage, cultural differences, suggested packing list, transportation of the region and more.

How soon after making our booking will we receive confirmation?

Once we have received your booking form and deposit we will send your confirmation documents.

Will I know which hotels I will be staying in before I go?

Yes. These details will be sent with your final documents. However, these may still be subject to last minute

If there are homestays on our tour, are we going to be split up so we stay in different homes?

If you are on a tour that includes a homestay, the group will all be staying at the same home

Do I need to worry about mosquitoes and/or malaria in Vietnam?

Please check with your doctor on advice about malaria prophylaxes. Here’s an excellent article on TravelFish about malaria in SE Asia – it’s a good place to start your research.
See more information about travel health here

Shall I bring a bathing suit?

Some of the hotels will have pools. It will be quite warm in Vietnam but likely cooler in South Vietnam and it can be quite cool in Northern Vietnam.

How should I dress based on the weather for the spring?

You might consider either a fleece and/or light rain jacket for your outer layer. Then a button up shirt underneath and a t-shirt as a bottom layer. It could be quite chilly in the evenings (50 – 65 F) in the North of Vietnam and then very warm in the South

Will the hotels have a laundry service so that I can pack light?

Hotels will definitely have laundry service at a reasonable rate. You’ll want to consider having it done at one of the hotels where the group is staying for more than one night. You might rinse your clothes out in the evening and let them dry out overnight. For this, you’ll need clothes made from quick drying material.

What will we eat on tour?

You will sample a range of local cuisine with the occasional western meals.All meals (excluding drinks) are included in our fully inclusive Group Tours. Breakfast is a combination of local and western food, usually served buffet style. Lunches and dinners consist of traditional local cuisine, with a wide range of dishes to choose from. Meals on our group tours start with lunch on the normal day of arrival and finish with lunch on the normal day of departure. Our Private Tours include several free evenings, offering flexibility for those who wish to explore the local restaurants

Do you cater for special dietary requirements whilst on tour?

We can cater for most dietary requirements. Please let us know at the time of booking.

Can the driver speak English and act as a guide?

No, he cannot. In Vietnam, drivers are just drivers. Tour guides need to be licensed by the National Tourism Authority. Tour guides are the only persons legally entitled to escort tourists. GV specialises in arranging tours with private drivers and qualified professional tour guides.
See the services of car transfer here

Can I rent a bike and ride myself?

Yes, you can buy/rent bike easily and ride it yourself in Vietnam. However, please remember the traffic and roads conditions may be very different to what you are used to. Only young team is recommended for bike riding in Vietnam.
See Bike rental or Motorbike rental here

Is it safe to ride a motorbike in Vietnam?

Driving a motorbike in Vietnam is not as dangerous as it looks. The driving speeds in the city are pretty low and most motorbike drivers are very good at avoiding each other.

Can I use my cell phone in Vietnam?

It depends. First, your cell phone must have GSM technology in order to tap into the local network. If you plan on bringing the phone that you use on a daily basis at home, CHECK WITH YOUR PROVIDER to determine what they will charge for calls and texts – both outgoing and incoming – and for calls within SE Asia and for international calls. These calls can be exorbitantly priced per minute.
Consider carrying an old phone that is “unlocked” – one that you’re currently not using and doesn’t have a call plan attached to it. Remember that it has to have GSM technology in order to tap into the local network. When you arrive in-country, you can purchase a SIM card for that phone and then be able to tap into the local network. Domestic and international calls will likely be far cheaper than using your own phone on your current plan. When you add the new SIM card, this phone will be assigned a phone number that you can then share with your family at home and they can call you directly (sometimes you’re not charged for incoming calls).
Here’s a blog post about cell phone usage abroad.
The above also applies to iPads with 3G. If you are under contract to an internet provider at home you will probably not be able to change out the SIM card in your iPad. The iPad must be “unlocked” in order to use the 3G capabilities without paying huge roaming fees. Please check with your provider before leaving home. You might also consider signing up for Skype and putting money on your account so that you can call home using this technology.

What do you use to write and journal while you’re traveling abroad?

A journal is great because you don’t have to plug it in. But you might consider carrying a small netbook or iPad with a keyboard.

Are travelers checks viable in Vietnam? Are ATM’s available? Do vendors usually take credit cards or do small vendors not have the equipment?

Travelers checks can be used at the airport and in banks and you might be able to find shops that will accept these. However, ATM’s are prevalent and that is a great way to access local currency.
We suggest you change a small amount of cash at the airport upon arrival and then hit an ATM when you get into the first city in which you arrive. Carry enough cash with you in case you can’t access your bank account with a debit or credit card. It depends on your spending habits as to how much money you might bring with you.

How much in US dollars might you recommend bringing? What is the preferred method(s) of getting local currency?

Remember that most everything will be covered during your time in Vietnam but there are some times when you are on your own for meals and definitely for souvenirs and tips. If you want soft drinks or alcohol, those are not included in the tour cost. There are a wide range of souvenirs to purchase throughout both Vietnam and much of these will be low to moderately priced. You might be one to only spend $50 – $100 on souvenirs but you might end up spending a few hundreds.

How much should we be prepared to bring extra for tipping?

We recommend about $5-$10 a day for the guide(s) and $3 – $5/day for the driver for long day tours. Maybe tip more for short day tours with excellent services, caring and good knowledge

Do I need to put down a deposit/prepay to book a tour?

For most of bookings, you do have to put down a deposit to book a tour. Depending on how much for the bookings, we usually require a 10%-20% deposit in order to reserve a booking.

If I bring US dollars, are the Vietnamese fussy about them being perfect?

It’s a good idea to have newer/crisper bills as sometimes the money changers won’t take ones that aren’t in perfect condition.

I have a moneybelt that goes under my pants or skirt in which I carry my passport. Do you recommend getting a case-hardened steel chained passport holder?

That sounds like overkill and a bit uncomfortable! Try a money pouch that you can discreetly tuck underneath your clothes.

Are short skirts (slightly above the knee) acceptable in the temples? How about calf-length skirts? Just pants?

It’s best not to wear above the knee skirts to temples. Calf-length skirts will be fine. Short skirts aren’t appropriate.

Would you recommend taking a rain coat? Something more than one of those flimsy “emergency” ponchos?

Because it will be cooler in the north, it will be helpful to have a rain jacket that is a bit heavier than one of those thin ponchos. Plus, you could always buy one if you really needed one. Remember to dress in layers, too, so that when the sun’s out, it’ll be easy to layer down into lighter clothes.

Should we bring our own toilet paper? Do they have the “squatty potties” of China fame?

No need to bring toilet paper as it will be available at all hotels. All toilets (except for maybe when you’re out walking in small villages) are western style.

Can I bring my laptop?

Of course, you will have power at all of the hotels. Power outages may happen but not frequently. WiFi is available for free at most of hotels and also in cafes.

What sort of power adaptor do I need?

Vietnam uses the same sort of adaptor as other parts of SE Asia

Are there hair dryers at the hotels?

Sometimes but don’t count on it. As mentioned above, there will be power at all hotels. Just remember that no one’s going to be looking their finest, so if you don’t have to have the hair dryer, consider leaving it at home 🙂

Do I need any dressy clothes?

Nope.

What kind of shoes should I hike in?

It depends on how much ankle support you need. Hiking boots may not be necessary but consider light hikers or even something like Keen or Teva sandals that have a grip on the bottom. These will come in handy during the walks in the Northern mountains of Vietnam.

I have been researching new luggage and took to heart your message of going LIGHT. Is it safe to assume we are going to be responsible for moving our luggage around every day, and also that we may be needing to pick it up more than wheel it, due to fairly uneven and unpaved terrain?

You’ll have very little interaction with your luggage other than moving it from the van to your room and usually there’s hotel staff to help with that. Generally there’s a sidewalk and you can roll it but sometimes it might be a dirt track. You might consider a small rolly bag that is carry-on size (under 22″).

What tricks do you use to fit all that stuff into a carry-on? And still have room somewhere for souvenirs?

It’s true that if you pack light, you’ll have to do more laundry. But I’d rather live with rinsing out some clothes every four or five nights than lugging around a big bag

Do you recommend taking a drivers license with you on trips where you aren’t planning on driving? Or just rely on your passport, or get an International Drivers License as another form of ID?

You definitely won’t need your drivers license but if you feel more comfortable carrying it, by all means, do. Your passport is really the most important ID you’ll need.

Will you be sending an updated itinerary with our overnight accommodations so we can leave it with folks at home?

You’ll receive the hotel information one or two weeks before departure along with emergency contact information

Do I need insurance for this tour?

Although we don’t require trip insurance, we definitely think it’s a great idea – not just for unexpected cancellations, but also for health issues and medical evacuation while you’re abroad.We highly recommend evacuation insurance for this and all international Tours.

Will we have internet access?

There are many places where you will have access to email and the internet. Hotels usually have computers in the lobby and there are internet cafes in all the major cities with reasonable connections. Certainly you’ll be able to regularly check in with family but it won’t be like home. Most of hotels and internet cafes also have WiFi. Nowadays, Wifi and 3G internet is everywhere

What’s the emergency contact info that I can give my family?

You will be given a cell phone number for someone in-country from our local tour operator as well as a list of hotels. All of this will be provide shortly before your departure.

How far ahead of time do I need to book a tour?

It depends on the types of tours. If you just choose a day tours or short breaks, please email or call us at +84 916-860-552 (Ms Cindy) to check on availability and hot offers. Although we welcome last minute bookings (subject to availability), we recommend that you book your tour(s) at least 2 weeks ahead of your desired tour date as our tours often fill up quickly.

What payment methods do you accept?

We currently only accept cash payment in either Vietnamese Dong or US Dollars on the day of the tour. If you book a tour at least 24 hours before your tour date, then you are also provided an option to pay for your tour by credit card (via Paypal). Because Paypal often holds payments originating from Vietnam for 24 hours, payments using this method must be received at least 24 hours before the date of your tour.

If you choose to pay in cash, please make sure that your bills are in good condition, without any tears or markings on them. It is very difficult to exchange bills in Vietnam unless they are in near perfect condition.

Currently we use the conversion rate of 1 US Dollar = 21,000 Vietnamese Dong, which is lower than the official rate, and makes it less expensive for our guests to pay in Vietnamese
See more information of online payment method

Do I need to put down a deposit/prepay to book a tour?

For all bookings, mostly we require to make a deposit. But if you choose group tours or day tours of 4 people or less, you do not have to put down a deposit to book a tour. For parties of 5 guests and up / long-day tours or alot of services with big amount of money, we require a 10% – 20% deposit in order to reserve a booking.

Can I book a tour if I don’t have a hotel yet?

For day tours or group tours, we require either a confirmed hotel booking or a 20 % deposit in order to book our tours. If you have not yet booked your hotel, you can request a Paypal invoice from us which you can pay with any major credit card. Once we receive your deposit, your booking will be secured.

What is your cancellation policy?

For group tours or day tours, if you provide us at least 4 days notice, there is no penalty for cancelling your tour. Cancellations made between 1 to 3 days of your tour date will be charged a 20% cancellation fee. If you cancel on the day of your tour, there will be a 50% late cancellation charge
See more information of cancellation policy and term of conditions