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VIETNAM TRAVEL INFORMATION FROM ACCESS TRIPS

ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE TRAVEL INFORMATION

Arrival Airport
You should arrive at Saigon’s Tan Son Nhat International Airport (airport abbreviation: SGN). Group airport transfers are generally scheduled for late morning and late afternoon on Day 1 of the tour. We will not know the exact times until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than one hour from your flight’s scheduled arrival time. In this case, you may choose to wait for the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.

Departure Airport
You should depart from Hanoi’s Noi Bai International Airport (airport abbreviation: HAN). Group airport transfers are included on Day 9. We will not know the exact times of the transfers until we have received the final flight information from all guests. We will notify you in advance should there be a wait time longer than two hours from your flight’s scheduled departure time. In this case, you may choose to take the included group transfer or we can arrange in advance of your trip a private car and driver for an additional cost.

Pick-up & Drop-off Information
We provide complimentary group airport pick-ups and drop-offs at the specified airports and times on the first and last day of the trip. We will be waiting for you with a sign saying ‘Access Trips’ as you exit customs at Saigon’s airport. If you would like a private transfer, to be picked up or dropped off on a different day, or brought somewhere other than the airport, please contact us.

Note: We are not responsible for last minute adjustments due to changes or delays with arrival and departure flights.

Flights 

  • We do not book international flights to or from Vietnam for our clients. If you would like assistance with purchasing your flights, please let us know and we will forward your contact information and trip details to our travel agent partner.
  • Internal airfare from Saigon to Danang on Day 3 and Hue to Hanoi on Day 7 is included in the trip price.

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

Travel Insurance

Travel medical insurance, including emergency evacuation coverage, is compulsory for all our trips. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes cancellation protection so that you will be covered in the event that you are unable to attend our trip (due to injury, illness or other unforeseen circumstances). Please do not attend any of our trips without purchasing appropriate insurance coverage and providing the details to Access Trips.

We do not provide travel insurance for our clients. Additional details are on our website at: http://www.accesstrips.com/company/insurance/

Passports & Visas
All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum of 6 months validity). Citizens of some countries (including the USA) will also require a visa. To learn more about visa and entry requirements for Vietnam, please check out the State Department’s website at: https://travel.state.gov/content/passports/en/country/vietnam.html .

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documentation.


HEALTH AND SAFETY

Emergency Contact
If your friends or family need to contact Access Trips due to an emergency while you are on the tour, please have them refer to the pre-departure email that is sent out three weeks prior to departure, which will have specific contact information relevant to your trip. If you need to contact Access Trips while traveling, please also refer to the emergency contact information in the pre-departure email.

Health Requirements
Guests with preexisting medical conditions are required to disclose this information prior to traveling with Access Trips, and all guests with preexisting conditions are required to provide a note from a doctor clearing them for travel. The US Department of State recommends that travelers with medical prescriptions consider bringing small additional amounts of prescribed medicines as well as a copy of the prescription and a letter from the prescribing physician explaining the need for prescription.

We strongly recommend that all of our guests visit a travel doctor before embarking on international travel. Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure that you receive any necessary vaccinations before traveling on your trip with us.

Please carefully review the health information section of the following webpage for up-to-date health information, including information on the quality of medical care, the availability of medications and the necessity for vaccinations in the destination country as well as Zika update: http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/traveler/none/vietnam. If there is a chance that you may be pregnant during your trip, please discuss your travel plans with your doctor.

Fitness Requirements
Our trips are open to anyone who wants to explore our exotic destinations through cuisine. We do engage in multiple walking tours, some of which last several hours. This tour also includes an optional activity riding on the back of a Vespa scooter.

Safety & Security
To maximize your safety during our tours you should exercise common sense and caution at all times. We recommend that you always stick to set travel arrangements, and avoid unknown areas. We also recommend that you wear minimal jewelry and that you keep valuable items (including cell phones) safely stored. Always keep a copy of your passport, airline tickets, and credit card numbers separate from where you keep the originals.

For more information on safety and security in Vietnam, please review the safety and security section of the following webpage: http://travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/country/vietnam

Note: As a rule, do not drink tap water or use ice in Vietnam, even in hotels. We strongly recommend buying bottled water. Also, you may consider avoiding uncooked and unpeeled fruits and vegetables.

Age
Children ages 12 and up are welcome on group trips. Children under 12 are welcome on private tours. Please contact us with any questions.


CULTURE

Vietnam is a conservative country. Out of respect for the culture we are visiting, please note:

Dress conservatively – women particularly should wear long skirts or pants, have their shoulders and knees covered.

Remove your shoes when entering temples and do not sit with your feet towards the Buddha – sit either cross-legged, or with your feet tucked behind you.

Women should take care not to touch a monk.

Avoid patting children on the head.

Language
Most people speak Vietnamese or a regional dialect.


CLIMATE

Our culinary tours in Vietnam take us to a wide variety of Vietnamese towns and cities. We begin our adventure in Saigon, which is Southern Vietnam. Here you should expect temperatures year round to be in the 90’s during the day and the 70’s in the evening. Humidity is consistent year round and there is a greater chance of rain from June to September.

As we travel north to the cities of Hoi An and Hue, you can expect daytime temperatures to be in the 90’s and nighttime temperatures to be in the 70’s most of the year, with slightly lower temperatures in the winter months. The most common months for rain in this area of Central Vietnam are October and November.

We end our Vietnam culinary adventure in the northern city of Hanoi. Summer season (May to October) is hot and humid with temperatures in the 90’s during the day and the 70’s in the evening. This is also the time with the greatest chance of rain, generally July to September. In the winter months (November to April), the weather should be a little drier and the temperature could drop to the 60’s during the day and the 50’s at night.

Perhaps you have chosen to continue your adventure in Vietnam on our Halong Bay extension? If so, the best times to visit are late March to early October.  During the spring months, late March to early May, you can expect daytime temperatures in the 70’s and nighttime temperatures in the 60’s.  In the summer, late May to August, you should be prepared for hot and humid weather with daytime temperatures in the high 80’s and 90’s and nighttime temperatures in the high 70’s.  The weather begins to cool down slightly in the fall with September and October usually seeing daytime temperatures in the 80’s and nighttime temperatures in the 70’s.


CURRENCY, BANKING & SPENDING MONEY

The national currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). There are exchange bureaus in airports, certain hotels, and most banks. Counters require your passport for the transaction.

For the latest currency exchange information please go to: http://finance.yahoo.com/currency

ATMs are available in all cities and major towns.

It is recommended to notify your bank or card issuer that you intend to travel abroad so that no block will be put on the usage of your credit or ATM cards.

Spending Money
Meals: All breakfasts, three lunches, and four dinners are included, including the lunches you cook yourself. Please plan to bring at least $5-$10 per lunch and $10-$20 per dinner for those meals that are not included, as well as money for snacks and drinks.

Tipping: Tipping is not compulsory but it is greatly appreciated throughout Southeast Asia, especially in the service industry. For reference, we have provided a general guideline below:

Tour Guide/Drivers
If you are pleased with the services provided by your tour guide and driver, then a tip for their hard work will be very much appreciated. In general, we recommend around US $10 -15 per day, per traveler for guides and US $5-7 per day, per traveler for drivers if less than 4 people in a group. We recommend around US $5-10 per day, per traveler for guides and US $3-5 per day, per traveler for drivers if there are 5 people or more.

Hotel & Restaurant Staff
We recommend 5-10% of the total bill in restaurants. Where you stay a couple of days in the same hotel, a tip to the maid service of $2-3 per day is appreciated. For porters, US $2-3 per use is customary.

Other expenses: there are no required additional expenses for this trip, but you might like to take spending money for such things as souvenir shopping and nightlife.


ELECTRICITY & INTERNET

Vietnam uses 220V, 50Hz and generally uses flat, two prong plugs.

There is complimentary wi-fi access in the common areas of all of hotels.

Most US cell phones will not work in Vietnam, unless you have a specific international plan. Contact your cellular provider to see what options you have in terms of international calling plans.


WHAT TO TAKE

We strongly recommend using TSA approved luggage locks on your bags and to hand carry valuables on the plane.

We recommend that you pack as lightly as possible. There may not always be someone available to help you carry your bags so you should only bring as much as you can carry on your own.

We suggest that you bring the following items:

Clothing & Equipment

  • Warm-weather casual clothes
  • Sandals with straps and sturdy walking shoes
  • A light jacket and a pair of long pants because it can get cool in the winter evenings in Hanoi
  • Toiletries
  • Sunscreen / sunglasses / hat
  • Insect repellent with DEET
  • First-aid kit (should contain lip balm, aspirin, band aids, a cream for sore muscles (e.g. deep heat), Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Travel Documents

  • Passport (with photocopies)
  • Travel insurance (with photocopies)
  • Airline tickets (with photocopies)
  • Entry visa (with photocopies)

RECOMMENDED READING LIST

Click here to check out our recommended reading before your tour!


FINAL NOTE

This is a tool meant to help you decide what you should bring on your upcoming trip. It is by no means comprehensive. While we do our best to be as thorough as possible, we cannot foresee every possible condition. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

The information contained in this document is provided in good faith. Due to the nature of travel, details in this document may change. You should thus use the above information as an indication only and not as a contractual obligation on the part of Access Trips.