Tips for Vietnam: what I learned in 1 month of travel

Travelling to Vietnam on your own: Useful Tips for Vietnam

Any good trip through Southeast Asia has to include Vietnam. That’s why here I leave you some tips for Vietnam that can be useful if you ever decide to travel to this country.

In my case, I spent a month backpacking through Vietnam with a friend. We started in Ho Chi Minh City, went to visit the Mekong Delta and then went north up the coast all the way to Sapa.

It was a trip full of surprises, scares, some disappointments and many good memories. After this month of travel, here I leave you with what I learned from Vietnam and what you need to know before you go:

Vietnam - Delta del Mekong
Vietnam – Mekong Delta

Tips for Vietnam

Currency and visa in Vietnam

  • The currency of Vietnam is called the Dong. Currently, 25,000 dongs is 1 euro.
  • You can change money at airports, in currency shops or take out money directly from cash machines (which is usually the cheapest way).
  • The Vietnamese visa for Spaniards:
    • Update! Since August 15, 2023, for stays of up to 45 days, regardless of the type of passport (provided it has a minimum validity of 6 months) and the reason for the trip, Spanish citizens are exempt from visa by decision. That is, just arriving at the airport, you are given 45 days to stay in Vietnam.
    • For visas of up to three months, you can apply online at agencies such as: vietnam-visa or myvietnamvisa.
    • If you live in Madrid you can apply for any kind of visa from the Vietnamese embassy in Madrid.
    • You must have a passport with a minimum validity of 6 months, an ID photo and fill in a form that they give you when you enter.

What places to visit in Vietnam?

  • If you have little time, my advice is to visit the north better than the south; much more beautiful and spectacular.
  • Don’t miss Ninh Binh, Halong Bay and Sapa for anything in the world, they are the most beautiful places in the country.
  • The capital, Hanoi, full of historical places and tourist looking for some party.
  • A boat trip through the Mekong Delta and another one through Halong Bay are among those mandatory tours that are worthwhile.
  • Go to Mui Ne and Nha Trang to enjoy the beaches of Vietnam.
Vietnam Tips - Halong Bay
Vietnam Tips – Halong Bay

Tips for Vietnam

Prices and expenses in Vietnam

  • Get used to the fact that you will always pay twice as much as the Vietnamese, at least.
  • Eating usually costs between 30,000 and 60,000 dongs if it’s Vietnamese food and 100,000 dongs if it’s Western.
  • The price of a double room in a normal hotel is around 250,000 dongs (10 euros).

Vietnamese customs to keep in mind

  • In big cities you will see hundreds and hundreds of motorcycles circulating without any order, cross little by little so that they can avoid you.
  • Be prepared to be harassed to buy things, their favorite phrase is: “Buy for me, sir.”
  • Bargain whenever you can, except to buy food.
  • The Vietnamese are nice, but don’t expect people to be as open and smiling as they are in Thailand.
Vietnam - Ninh Binh - Mirador Tam Coc
Vietnam – Ninh Binh – Mirador Tam Coc

Tips for Vietnam

Things to keep in mind during a trip to Vietnam

  • Whenever you can, sit in the back of the bus to avoid not being able to sleep because of the horn. They use it every minute a couple of times.
  • Take advantage of it to learn about the culture and history of this country, which leaves no one indifferent.
  • If it starts to spark and you see people running, you run too, in a second it will be pouring.
  • Be very patient and try not to get upset if the bus leaves you in the middle of nowhere or in the middle of the city instead of at the bus station, here it is normal.
  • It is not easy to find a party in Vietnam, it is not well seen by many Vietnamese. The only places we found with a bit of atmosphere, apart from Hanoi, were in the cities of Mui Ne and Nha Trang and the party ended at 2 or 3 at the latest.
  • If you see a rat as big as a cat, don’t worry, it’s normal, you are in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam - Amanecer Bahía de Halong
Vietnam – Halong Bay

Tips for Vietnam

Learn some Useful Vocabulary

  1. We like to learn some vocabulary to mix with people and have a few laughs with them. Here are a few essential words (written as they are pronounced, more or less):
    • Sin Chao: Hello
    • Chao buen san: Good morning.
    • Gou noong: Good night.
    • Noong: Good/Delicious (for food).
    • Noong lamb: Very good.
    • Dep: nice/beautiful.
    • Oi cho oi: oh my god!
    • Ma wak: very expensive!
    • Com: no.
    • Cam on: thank you.
    • Com cam on dibo: no thanks we go on foot.
    • Lem on: please.
    • Tin tien: the bill.
    • Van tan yi: what’s your name.
    • Ar yu em: I love you!

Conclusion for a good trip

I hope you found these tips for Vietnam interesting and helpful during a backpacking trip in Vietnam. My last piece of advice for traveling to Vietnam is to be patient. A lot of things don’t work out the way you expect, but sometimes you find yourself on the road to better things. Vietnam has good things and bad things, try to live both at 100%.

If this post has been useful for you, don’t forget to comment, evaluate and/or share. You can also subscribe to receive travel updates. If you’re planning a trip to Vietnam, you may also be interested in the 4 possible routes through Southeast Asia.

Costa Central de Vietnam - Playa de Mui Ne
Vietnam – Mui Ne

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