VISA AND OTHER PROCEDURES
A visa is required and can be obtained upon arrival in the country. Portuguese citizens wishing to travel to Vietnam must carry a passport whose minimum validity period is, à date of entry into the country, of at least 6 months.
Yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for visitors over one year of age arriving from countries at risk of transmission. The main vaccines recommended are those for hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid fever.
For more information on traveling health, see the Health Portal of the Ministry of Health and Tropical and Traveler Medicine Clinic. In FitForTravel find country-specific health and disease prevention advice (in English).
TRIP TO VIETNAM
A Emirates flies from Lisbon to Ho Chi Minh with a single stopover in Dubai for around €750.
Internal flights are the best solution to avoid long bus journeys, which are not always the safest. There are many flights connecting the two main cities in the country, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, and these and several other major cities, such as Da nang, Nha Trang, Hai Phon, Hue, Can Thon, Dalat, etc.
Travel by train if you are really unhurried. The main line in the country is the Reunification line that joined Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh, with 1.726 km. There are other 7 lines branching from this main one that make a total of 2.632 km. To give you an idea of what to expect, the “fastest” service runs the Reunification line in 30 hours. It is highly recommended to buy tickets several days in advance, especially during the peak seasons of Vietnamese holidays. Tickets can also be purchased from agencies that charge an additional commission for the service, which can range from €4 to €20 depending on the price and class of the ticket and the difficulty of getting it. These agencies include in their commission the delivery of tickets wherever you are staying.
If Vietnamese trains are slow, the truth is that buses don't prove much better, thanks largely to the poor quality of the roads and the intense and multifaceted traffic that runs along them. With one or another exception, you can have more than 2 hours to cover every 100 km of the route. One of the main bus companies is hoang long. Most of the long routes are at night or start very early.
There are several Vietnamese companies that sell style tickets hop on - hop off that allow you to go through several cities – mainly those on the coast – on different days.
For the same reasons indicated for buses, car journeys are slow. The rental of driverless vehicles has only recently begun to normalize. You'll be able to arrange reservations at the most famous sites and pick up at the counters in the biggest cities, mainly from Ho Chi my. Largely due to the lack of competition, prices are substantially higher than in other destinations in the area, such as Thailand. Expect a minimum of €80 to €100 per day.
It is used by visitors to Vietnam to reach islands and archipelagos off the country's long coastline, departing, for example, from Phu Quoc, Nha Trang and Hué. Halong Bay can be explored on traditional boats for several days for prices that vary depending on the type of boat offered. A large hydrofoil regularly links Ho Chi Ming à bathing island of vung Tau for about €5. Keep in mind that the monsoon weather and, above all, the cyclone season conditions the operation of these vessels.
No time is particularly good or bad to visit Vietnam, a country that sprawls across a vast tropical latitude. An area is often subject to monsoons or simply tropical storms, while others have excellent weather. Overall, the climate of North Vietnam follows two monsoons. From October to March, one of them arrives from the northeast and brings a wet and cool winter most likely to the areas north of Nha Trang, guaranteed north of Da Nang.
The South has a climate with two well-demarcated monsoons, one of rains and one of drought. The rains usually arrive in May and stay until November, with short but heavy showers on a daily basis and usually at the end of the day.
De April in October, it is the turn of the southwest monsoon to enter action, when virtually the entire country exposed to winds from the Indian Ocean becomes hot and humid. March to May is the hottest period that gets cooler as the rainy season sets in.
The main season to avoid is that of hurricanes, which extends from July to November, with storms that are often devastating.
Vietnam's currency is the Dong (VND). In recent times, ATMs prepared for international withdrawals have gradually increased. Count on credit card payments only at the most sophisticated establishments in the country.
Vietnam is another one of those destinations where you will find accommodation of all types, from the almost free dorms of guest houses backpackers to some of the good resorts and eco-hotels in Asia.
Expect to pay €7 to €20 for a double room, per night, in the most popular cities, depending on whether they have a private bathroom, air conditioning, TV and other equipment or advantages. From €20 to €60 for a double room in Vietnamese urban hotels with a quality equivalent to 4 stars and for daily rates from €100 to €150 in the best hotels in the country.
The variety of Vietnamese cuisine is impressive and many of the simple restaurants in the most tourist cities have adapted to the preferences of outsiders. Prices increase considerably in restaurants and cafes geared towards foreigners, yet it is perfectly possible to pay for a full meal for two people, a mere €3 to €4.
The Internet has become popular in Vietnam and is literally everywhere, except in the most remote rural towns. Navigation speeds are quite considerable in larger cities and decrease as we move away from them.
Hotels and cafes have their own networks and allow customers to be connected. Otherwise, Internet Cafés are plentiful throughout most of the country and charge around €0,20 to €1 per hour of browsing.
For those who arrive with their own smart phone, tablet or portable, it is now possible to purchase a SIM card and have Internet that reaches 3G in places with better coverage, this with very affordable prices starting at €3 for an unlimited monthly connection at average speed. Some services like Facebook, Skype and others suffer more or less regular and long-lasting blocks. Sometimes they are only implemented in certain areas of the country.