With coastline stretching out over 2000 miles, there are plenty of secluded coves, sandy-white beaches and clear waters ideal for snorkelling, making Vietnam ideal for beach bunnies and snorkelers alike. It’s also known for its bustling cities, Buddhist pagodas, and the mighty Mekong, and is a popular destination for river cruises. Vietnam’s fascinating history is showcased from the huge marble mausoleum for the Communist-era leader, Ho Chi Minh, in Hanoi, and the French colonial landmarks in Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon), to the Vietnamese War history museums and the famous Cù Chi tunnels, used by Viet Cong soldiers, making this captivating country a must for history buffs too. For foodies, Vietnam is heaven, with its stunning cuisine, characterised by hot chili, coconut milk, limes, lemon grass, tamarind, cane sugar, and noodles, as well as French and (in the north) Chinese influences.
KEY FACTS BEFORE YOU GO:
- Capital: Hanoi
- Currency: Vietnamese dong
- Time Difference: Vietnam follows Indochina Time throughout the year, which is 6 hours AHEAD of BST, and 7 hours AHEAD of GMT
- Flight time: Direct flights to Hanoi (from 11 hours and 20 minutes) and Ho Chi Minh City (from 12 hours and 20 minutes)
- Official language: Vietnamese
- Entry requirements: With effect from 12 March 2020, the Vietnamese government has announced that a suspension to the visa waiver programme for UK citizens. It is advised that anyone travelling ahead of that time should check with their airline in advance as a precaution. Anyone travelling to Vietnam with a valid visa is advised to check in advance. British citizens arriving in Vietnam will be required to fill in a health questionnaire and undertake basic health tests on arrival. False declarations regarding health history could lead to prosecution. For visits of up to 30 days, you can get an e-visa online before you travel. Use of the e-visa is limited to certain entry/exit points which you must select at the time of application. E-visa is only applicable to ‘British Citizen’ passport holders. If you don’t have fixed travel plans, consider applying for a regular single entry visa from the nearest Vietnamese Embassy, which allows more flexibility. For visits of longer than 30 days you must get a visa from the nearest Vietnamese embassy before travelling to Vietnam. If you’re planning to make multiple visits in a short period to Vietnam, consider applying for a multiple entry visa. You can’t get another 15-day visa waiver within 30 days of your last visit - you’ll need to get a visa or an e-visa to re-enter the country.
Updated 10 March 2020.
- Vaccinations and Health: You should always ensure that you travel with adequate travel health insurance. For up-to-date information, please check this website (as recommended by the Foreign Office): https://travelhealthpro.org.uk/country/240/vietnam#Vaccine_recommendations. If vaccinations are required, it is generally advisable to arrange an appointment with a health professional four to six weeks before departure.
- General information on travel vaccinations can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/travel-vaccinations/
To find out more, and for the most up-to-date advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/vietnam
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