To prepare a trip to any country, some compulsory things have to be pre-arranged before you start the journey namely visa, hotels, transportation, etc. If you travel in a group and wish everything is set up readily, you should contact a travel agency or tour operator for their help. The followings are my advice for your trip to Viet Nam – the timeless charm.
You have 2 options to apply the Vietnam visa. First go to Vietnam embassy in your country or the better way, second apply online to save your time and cost. Some suggested websites are http://www.vietnamvisa.org.vn; http://vietnamvisaembassy.org; http://www.myvietnamvisa.com/; http://www.getvisavietnam.com
The service visa on arrival fee is from US$16/person to US$20/person for 1 month single entry visa plus US$45 stamp fee per person paid directly upon the arrival airport.
2. Air tickets
Nowadays, booking air tickets cannot be easier. There are many choices, you can consider between low-cost and full-service airlines. You can book online by yourself or book through travel agencies in your country. In case you fix your travel plan, you should book the round-trip air ticket to save money.
3. What to do and where to visit
Viet Nam is a long country with 3 parts: North, Central and South Viet Nam. Each part has its attractions:
– In the north: Ha Noi, Ha Long, Sapa, Ninh Binh
– In the center: Beautiful beaches in Quang Binh, Hue, Da Nang, Nha Trang, Phan Thiet, Marble Moutain
– In the south: Ho Chi Minh, Mekong Delta, Cu Chi tunnel
Based on your interest and when you go to decide what to do and where to visit.
In case you organize the tour by yourself, before you book the hotel, you should identify where you will visit in Viet Nam: North, central or south of Viet Nam and in which city. Then you can go to the largest travel form http://www.tripadvisor.com to see which hotels/resorts in these places get positive evaluation of customers. Then you can book and pay online through 2 websites online booking agoda.com and booking.com
A specialty of Viet Nam is traffic jam, especially in rush hours. Additionally, it is difficult to hire a private transportation (car, motorbike) to move by yourself. Therefore, you should contact a travel agency to arrange the transportation for your journey in Viet Nam. Or you can use taxi for travel. The taxi fare is around 10.000-14.000VND/km for 4-seat car and 13.000-17.000VND/km for 7-seat car. One disadvantage is that almost drivers in Viet Nam cannot speak English. Therefore, you should arrange with the travel agency the detail itinerary or write in a paper to show the drivers.
Up to now, after many times travelling to Viet Nam, I am familiar with my second country and can book all the services by myself. However, when I visited Viet Nam the first time 5 years ago, my trip was well-arranged by my Vietnamese university classmate’s company – EVIVA TOUR VIETNAM http://www.evivatour.com. I did believe that it was a wise decision since it was a strange place and everything different from my country. Hope you will have a wonderful trip to this beautiful country like I have always done.
(From Dino Vitulli – Switzerland)