1. Consider Travel Insurance

Although Vietnam is a relatively safe country to visit, it’s important to be prepared for unforeseen circumstances. And that doesn’t just include petty theft. Food poisoning, getting injured during an adventure activity, losing your valuables, or even missing a flight are just some of the things that can really ruin your Vietnam trip.

So my first travel tip for Vietnam is to consider travel insurance for your trip. World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while traveling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

2. Choose the right season to visit

Vietnam is a massive country spanning more than 1600 km from north to south. While the weather in Vietnam might not be at the top of your worry list, choosing the best time to visit Vietnam is an important part of planning the perfect trip.

The country has a tropical monsoon climate with high humidity throughout the year and rather unpredictable weather, including everything from typhoons to frequent downpours to relentless heat. Added to that, the temperature can vary drastically depending on where and when you visit.

With that said, though, if you are planning to see a bit of everything, the best time to visit Vietnam is either in spring (March – April) or autumn (September – December). During these months, expect pleasant temperatures throughout most of the country.

woman walking through rice fields in sapa, Vietnam

3. Don’t forget your visa

Most nationalities need a visa to enter Vietnam, except for several European passport holders, such as citizens from the UK, France, and Germany. If you’re from one of these countries, consider yourself lucky, because you can enter Vietnam 15 days visa-free.

For the rest, chances are high you’ll need to apply for a visa beforehand. While some countries’ citizens can apply for a visa online (read more about it here or use iVisa to sort everything for you), South Africans need to apply in person at the nearest Vietnam embassy. It’s definitely a bit of a mission, but the effort will be worth it – especially since you’ll get to experience one of the most beautiful places in Asia!

4. Know how to get in and out

As already mentioned, Vietnam is a huge country packed with loads of beautiful places to go, ancient landmarks to explore, and amazing things to do. Choosing where to arrive and depart is, therefore, another important Vietnam travel tip to keep in mind.

Three main international airports serve Vietnam: Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City, and Da Nang International Airport. If you’re planning to see a bit of everything, the easiest would be to arrive in the south and depart in the north (or vice versa). Search and compare flights here on Skyscanner.

No matter where you arrive, it’s straightforward to get from any of these airports to the city center. Buses and taxis are readily available and very affordable. Don’t feel like planning a thing? Grab a private transfer here:

5. Know how to get around efficiently

Vietnam is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Asia and getting around is super easy and affordable. As a result, it’s a great destination for budget travelers and backpackers. With everything from trains to buses, Vietnam has a vast and efficient transport network that can literally connect you to all its corners.

Some of the best long-distance travel options include sleeper buses and overnight trains. These are especially ideal for travelers who want to cover large areas of land at dirt cheap prices. 12Go Asia is a great source to find and book tickets for busestrains and transfers. While you’ll undoubtedly be saving money, you should know that traveling by train or bus is not for everyone. Journeys are long, and it’s not exactly the most sanitary way of traveling.

If that’s not for you, flying is your best bet. Vietjet is the country’s top low-cost carrier, and local flights are cheap and plentiful.

halong bay boat cruises. knowing how to get around is probably the most important travel tip for Vietnam.
Vietnam Travel Tips: Before booking a tour to Halong Bay, be sure to do adequate research.

6. Opt to use Grab Taxi

Most cities in Vietnam are surprisingly walkable, but it’s always good to know you have other options when you are too tired to walk. (By the way, looking for cute and comfy travel sneakers? Check out my guide on travel sneakers for women).

Among the many ways to get around in the cities include taxis, local buses, bicycle rickshaws, and even motorbike taxis. Oh and travel tip – the latter might seem like a fun ride, but it’s not for the faint-hearted!

All of the above options are generally quite cheap. But remember to agree on a fixed price with the driver beforehand. Vietnam’s taxi drivers are notorious for ripping off tourists!

The easiest way to avoid this unpleasantry is to use Grab Taxi instead. Grab is a popular ride share service, similar to Uber, where you book a ride using their app. The best part? You’ll know exactly how much your ride will cost and how long it will take to reach your destination.

7. Get a local Sim card

Whether you’re planning a 5-day Vietnam itinerary or staying a bit longer, getting a local SIM card or pocket wifi is highly encouraged (especially if you are a first-time visitor to Vietnam).

Even though most hotels and posher eateries are likely to have free (and super fast) wifi, having access to all your favorite travel apps like Google Maps, Google Translate, and Grab Taxi 24/7 can help avoid unnecessary stress.

The easiest way to stay connected on your trip is to grab a SIM card right upon arrival. You can book one online here or head straight to one of the various vendors on site. Alternatively, have one delivered directly to your hotel to save the hassle:

8. Be aware of scams

One of the most important travel tips for Vietnam to know about is scams. Scams are plentiful in Vietnam and even more so in touristy spots like HCMC and Hanoi. I hate being ripped off, as I’m sure you do too. The easiest way to avoid feeling salty is not to let it happen. While that is probably easier said than done, especially when traveling in unfamiliar territory, the good news is that it’s possible!

The first Vietnam tip you need to know about is to try and book your tours or trips through a reputable website beforehand. I personally love Klook and book most of my tours through them. They have tons of options at reasonable prices. Plus, the reviews really help make choosing the perfect tour so much easier.