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Vietnam

Vietnam conjures up images of conical-hatted street vendors, water buffalo plodding across rice paddies, mopeds frantically buzzing through cities and floating markets on the Mekong River. From the temples of Hanoi and the islands in Halong Bay to the beaches of Nha Trang and the palaces of Hue, Vietnam is a country firmly etched in the travel psyche.

Street life has an intoxicating energy here and can launch an assault on the senses. From chattering bia hoi’s and back-alleys with steaming pho’s to the ancient pagodas and colonial houses that jostle for space with newly build skyscrapers: nature lovers, history buffs, beach bums and foodies, all are catered for.

The countryside displays magnificent nature scenes and a rich cultural web of ethnic groups. The US wartime legacy can still be explored in the Cu Chi tunnels. From Hanoi in the north to Ho Chi Minh in the South, this S-shaped country which borders China to the north and Cambodia and Laos to the west is a country to enjoy for its atmosphere and the hospitality of its inhabitants. Vietnam will not cease to amaze you.

Hotels & Meals

In Laos, sticky rice (khao niao) is very popular. Laotians have traditionally eat with their (right) hand (s). If there is cutlery on the table, it is usually only a spoon and a fork. With the fork, slide your food unto the spoon. Then put the spoon in your mouth (never the fork). Chop sticks are used for eating feu or any other noodle soup. There is no fixed order in serving dishes.

Bia hoi
: pavement pubs where fresh beer is produced daily and served cold in small, local bars. Not particularly alcoholic but very refreshing.
Banh mi: baguette style sandwich with meat, veggies and herbs (sometimes sambal), a remnant of French colonial times.
Banh Xeo: filled pancakes
Chà Cá: White fish noodles
Com hen: rice served with clams. Popular in Hue.
Goi Cuon : translucent spring rolls
Nuoc Mam: fermented fish sauce, widely used
Nom Hua Chuoi: Banana flower salad
Pho: an omnipresent noodle soup usually with beef
Saigon Beer & rice wine

Insurances

Have a safe and carefree trip: travel fully insured with our Protections travel insurance! Our Protections insurance policies offer various formulas in order to offer you the widest possible cover (with even a fly-on-time, natural catastrophes and epidemics) for both single journeys or for the entire year.  We guarantee you the best protection at the best price. 

Tailored travel

The tours in our brochures are just a few examples of travel itineraries possible. Our trips can be tailored to suit your specific needs. If you want to book a specific destination or combine it with a mini-tour then we will gladly make you a tailor-made offer. For a personalised day-by-day program please contact our destination experts.

Would you like to travel in a group; with your entire family, friends or colleagues (min. 10 people required)? Put our know-how to the test and send us your details and wishes.  We will gladly turn the blueprints of your trip into a detailed quote and a lasting memory for you to cherish. Contact our Connections Group Service by e-mail at groups@connections.be or by telephone on +32 (0)2 550 01 65. We would love to hear from you. 

Travel Documents

  • All Belgian nationals travelling on a Belgian passport (children and babies included) must be in possession of an international e-passport (electronic) containing min. 2 blank pages, valid for at least 1 month at the date of your arrival. Vietnam requires a visa. To visit Vietnam you will receive an official invitation letter to the country at the time of your booking at Connections. This letter entitles you to obtain and pay for your visa upon arrival (25USD update 22/10/2018). 
  • Travelers with a non-Belgian nationality and/or travelers travelling on a foreign passport are invited to spontaneously reported this matter to the Connections travel consultant and shall contact their respective embassy (s) or Consulate (ate) to obtain the latest updates concerning all current travel requirements and documents.

Health

No mandatory vaccinations required. To verify the latest updates on health requirements, please surf to http://www.itg.be

 

Time Zones

+5 h (summer); +6 h (winter)

Currency

Currency 

Vietnamese Dong (VND) 100.000 VND = 3.72 EUR & 1 EUR = 26894 VND (22/10/2018)

Payment method

There are no coins in circulation. Credit cards are mainly accepted in top hotels and restaurants in Vientiane and Luang Prabang. In these cities you can also pin. The north and the Laos' countryside have hardly any,if any, ATMS. It is good to carry cash euros, and even better US dollars or Thai baht. Dollar bills must be new and non-creased. The latest series (old dollar bills, or folded / crooked bills cannot be exchanged). You get a better exchange rates for 50 and 100 dollar bills. Smaller dollar bills are useful for souvenirs.

Tipping:

In modest restaurants a tip is uncommon. You do give a tip to the bell man and room personnel at hotels. Local guides and drivers appreciate a tip too.

Climate

The Laos rainy season lasts from May to October with occasional heavy showers. The countryside is very green then and the rice paddies look fabulous. The dry season falls between November and the end of April. March and April are the warmest months of the year with temperatures well above 30 ° C. At high altitudes, however, it may still freeze at night.

Average Temperature (°C):

Destination J F M A M J J A S O N D
Phnom Penh
28 29 30 31 31 30 30 30 29 29 28 27
Vientiane
23 26 28 31 31 30 29 29 29 28 26 23

 

Highlights

  • Hanoi
Wander the streets of Hanoi: hyper-active, sense-spinning whirl of a city, especially in and around the Old Quarter.
  • Halong Bay
Sail Halong Bay: sure it’s touristy but the natural wonders of the bay and its over 3,000 limestone formations remain n impressive site despite the dozens of old converted junks.
  • Hoi An
Eat street food in Hoi An: here tiny shop-houses sit cheek by jowl with riverside bars.
  • Hue
Taste history in Hue: the former imperial city is crammed with wonderful sights, which are being painstakingly renovated. The mausoleum of the Emperors and The Thien Mu pagoda and its novice monks .
  • Motorbike from Hue to Hoi An

Last stand of the Khmer rouge. You will also see some 'attractions' referring to the Khmer Rouge, including Pol Pot's cremation site.

  • Ho Chi Minh City
Visit the war museum in HCMC: the horrendous Vietnam war / American war finished over 40 years ago but its legacy remains tangible.
  • The Mekong Delta
Take a river cruise in the Mekong delta. Here tributaries of the Mekong crisscross the land past shimmering emerald paddies and sugar cane plantation. Riverine town, floating markets and a waterside homestay.
  • Beaches
  • Unwind on the beach: Cat Ba Island (Halong Bay), Hoi An, Nha Trang, Phu Quoc and numerous other pristine, sometimes deserted beaches.
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