What's the time difference?
The time in Vietnam is GMT+7, which makes it 12 hours ahead of Eastern Standard Time. If it’s 9 am in Toronto, it’s 9 pm in Vietnam.
What kind of hotels are on Lemongrass tours?
Our hotels – first class and boutique properties – are chosen for their prime locations to maximize the pleasure of your trip. They are safe, clean and comfortable. Wi-fi and air-conditioning are available. Hairdryers and irons and ironing boards are either located in your hotel room or can be requested.
Vietnam mainly uses 220V. There are both flat and round 2-pin outlets. If your electrical devices don’t meet these standards, you will need to bring the appropriate converters and adapters.
What’s included in the price of my tour?
Almost all of your trip expenses are covered, including 35 of the 39 meals, internal flights, admission fees, and the services of a local English-speaking guide.
What travel documents are required?
You will need a passport valid for at least 6 months after your departure date and a visa to enter the country.
Tourist visas (good for one entry only and for 30 days from arrival) can be obtained in advance from the Vietnamese Embassy in Ottawa or Washington, D.C. There is also a Visa-on-Arrival service at the international airport in Hanoi, but it must be arranged beforehand by a travel agency in Vietnam. Lemongrass Tours will be glad to assist you in getting your visa - just ask!
What languages are spoken in Vietnam?
Vietnamese (Kinh) is the official language spoken throughout the country. Although the Kinh people are the majority, there are 54 ethnic minorities, each of which has its own dialect. Because there are six different tones, Vietnamese is a difficult language to speak.
In the big cities, many people speak basic English. Since the Roman alphabet is used in modern Vietnamese script, you can read street signs and hotel or shop names easily.
How’s the weather in Vietnam?
Vietnam's weather varies greatly from north to south with each area marked by slightly different seasons and climates. Hanoi and Halong Bay can be cool to hot in February and March with spring temperatures of 18 – 25 C; it is unlikely to be humid, although it could be damp and grey. We can expect pleasant daytime temperatures and cool nights (13 -15 C) in Mai Chau, which is in the mountains. Central Vietnam, which includes Hue and Hoi An should be hot (25 C). It may or may not be humid in Hoi An, but Hue is the rain capital so expect humidity.
What clothing should I bring?
Dress for comfort and convenience, in lightweight, casual clothing. Pack a sweater, fleece and/or waterproof jacket for cool nights. Avoid skimpy clothing; a large scarf or sarong is useful for covering up at religious sites. Sturdy yet comfortable walking shoes and/or sandals that are already broken-in are essential. Since life in Vietnam is informal, women don’t need fancy dresses or suits and men don’t need jackets unless they wish to bring them.
How much money do I need to bring?
Depends on how much shopping you want to do! It’s a good idea to bring some ready cash, preferably US dollars are they are the most widely accepted. However, most cities have ATM machines that take North American bank cards. Credit cards are widely accepted in stores, but there is usually a merchant’s fee (around 3%) that is passed on to the buyer.
FYI, the currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese dong which comes in 200, 1000; 2000; 5000; 10,000; 20,000; 50,000; 100,000 and occasionally 500,000 denominations.
Is Vietnam safe?
Vietnam is a relatively safe country for travellers, including women travelling alone. However, petty crime is on the rise, so use common sense. Leave your passport, extra money, laptop and other valuables in the hotel safe. Don’t wear expensive jewellery or watches. Keep a firm grip on your handbag or backpack, as well as your camera. Don’t flash wads of cash when paying for something. That said, usually, the biggest hassles you will run into are persistent street vendors and taxi drivers who will try to inflate prices. Violent crimes against tourists are still extremely rare.
Some common words:
- Hello: Xin chao, pronounced sin chow
- Thank you: cam on, pronounced caam ern
- Yes: Vang, pronounced vuhng
- No: Khong, pronounced cong
- Excuse me/Sorry: Xin loi, pronounced sin loy