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10 Things You Must Know About 
Vietnam Before Going

This is our personal and experienced list of things that travelers and

tourists need to know before the visit Vietnam

#10 Passport Control - It's customary for hotels to ask for your passport to hold onto, upon arrival. DO NOT comply. Your passport should never leave your control. Tell them you can allow them to take a photocopy or photo of it, instead. They will relent and copy it if you show concern or push back. You will need at least 6 months before your passport expiration date to get a visa and at least a couple of empty pages for them to apply the visa. You will need your Passport to exchange money at the bank, rent a car, get a phone plan, but that's about it. In case of any troubles, or loss of passport, you can contact the US Embassy HERE.

USA Passport Vietnam Visa Information

#9 Visa Information - A visa IS needed for most western visitors. You need to apply for a visa which can take a few days to a week or so. Upon approval, you will receive a certificate that you can present to the customs officials when you land in Vietnam. They will then create a visa on the spot to affix into your passport., The whole process takes 15-45 minutes at the airport, THEN you can get into line to clear customs. You apply directly through the Vietnam government website HERE, or you can use a paid service such as... 

Single entry Visa means you can only enter Vietnam once. For example: If you plan on taking a trip outside of the country such as flying form Vietnam to Siem Reap to see Angkor Wot, then back to Vietnam before you fly back home, you will want to get a 'multiple entry' Visa. 

Here is a list of countries by continent that need a Visa to enter Vietnam, as well as countries that are exempt. 

#8 Inoculation Shots - When it comes to your health, we suggest you do your own research and get the shots you think you might need. Hepatitis A&B as well as Dengue Fever, Malaria, Typhoid, and Tuberculosis shots are discussed online amongst travelers. In my experience, mosquitos are barely noticeable in the large cities.  If you plan on visiting smaller villages or the countryside, you have much more risk of catching a bug. This is a good website for inoculation information - Click HERE

Sour Snail Soup in Hanoi Old Quarter, Vietnam 2022

#7 The Water & Food - I've traveled to Vietnam 4 times over the past 5 years, totaling 19 months in the country.  I eat everything that looks good, regardless of the cleanliness of the restaurant or food. I've been sick just once with a short bout of food poisoning.  I try not to drink the water straight out of the tap, although I do brush my teeth with tap water. I also try to avoid getting ice that has been made with tap water. Bottled water is extremely cheap and easy to find in Vietnam, so as long as you can remember to be careful with your water intake, you should be fine. If you have a weak stomach, you can try to stick to fried and cooked foods. Fried rice and French fries are usually pretty easy to find if you are really worried.

Snail Soup in Hanoi, Vietnam

#6 Traffic Police - It's no secret that historically, Vietnam has corrupt local governments, which include their police force and traffic police. If you rent a bike or car and drive out of the city, there is a small chance that you could get pulled over for a minor traffic violation and then be extorted for money to be let go. This has only happened to me once while in the country, but I've traveled extensively over the past 5 years, covering thousands of miles across Vietnam. If you are simply renting a scooter in the city, you do not have to worry

Vietnam Traffic Police Officials

about being pulled over if you have your helmet on and you aren't doing anything too stupid. International drivers licenses are not recognized in Vietnam, but you could be asked for one as a ploy to extort you. If you do get asked for money, haggle with them until you get a price you are ok with. $20 USD is a lot of money in Vietnam, and will usually get you out of anything. $10 might even work. 

Vietnamese Traffic Police are Very Professional


#5 Travel Insurance & Healthcare - During covid, the government made it mandatory that visitors and tourists purchase travel insurance to cover the costs of a possible hospital visit. I believe it was $10,000 minimum coverage. Normally, travel insurance is not required, or even needed. There are 'western hospitals' in Vietnam that have great doctors and provide great healthcare for a fraction of the cost of American hospitals. If you would feel more comfortable getting insurance, Allianz & Safety Wing are two good options. You must purchase your insurance BEFORE you leave home. And they are both offer plans specific to the duration of your visits. One las tthing... Make sure you just ask for a quote for HEALTH insurance. Otherwise, they will try to quote you for a more comprehensive plan that covers flight cancellations, lost luggage, etc...

Veitjet Airlines flight attendant posing in front of a passenger jet

#4 Getting Around - Traveling inside Vietnam is very easy and inexpensive. Flying inside the country is less than $100 between the major cities. Buses and trains are also options for longer haul trips. Trains are the most comfortable way to travel. You can purchase a bed on a sleeping car that rooms 4 beds. We've done it 20 times at least and have decided that getting a bottom bed is the best option as if you book the top, you are more likely to get a family on the bottom two beds. 

Flights are very cheap in Vietnam

#3 Comfort Check - Most westerners put comfort near the top of their list of things that are important when visiting a new country or continent. There are some things about Vietnam that are 'different', than in the west. This is our short list of tips to avoid being uncomfortable when you travel the country. 

  • Check bed & pillow comfort at hotels / homestays

  • Book rooms at least 3 floors above ground level (noise)

  • Fly if you can / Private Car if you can't (private is cheap)

  • Buy Wet Wipes as soon as you can

  • Request bamboo 'take-out' chopsticks at local restaurants​

Vietnam Hotel Room & Firm Bed

Don't be fooled by this luxurious looking bed

Check out full list about how to travel Vietnam in comfort, HERE.

#2 Safety - Vietnam is extremely safe. As a westerner, we associate poor with crime. Vietnam may be poor, but it is much more safe than the USA as a whole. There aren't any bad neighborhoods in any of the big cities. So you don't have to worry where your hotel is located before you book. In the bigger cities, it has been suggested that Phone theft is a problem, but I haven't ever heard of anyone actually having any problems. Most hotel rooms have a safe in the room where you can keep your passports, computers and valuables. again, we've never had one single issue at any hotel, Air BNB,  or homestay, and we've stayed at hundreds of places over the past 5 years. I still find it funny to see someone trying to be extra cautious by wearing an obvious money belt. 

#1 Scams - They are almost non-existent in Vietnam. You may experience some tour operators and shop owners that try to charge you more than you should pay for a service or item, but other than that, you won't be at risk of any serious scams while you are in the country. In general, the Vietnamese workers and citizens are very honest and appreciative of your support. Be kind, smile and enjoy the experience.. There's no place like it!


From acting as your personal translator, to booking your transportation or accommodations, we're available to help you get the most out of your time in Vietnam. To inquire about additional

hosting & booking services, CLICK HERE.

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