Hanoi Travel Guide for the First Time Visitors in Hanoi

Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, Hanoi

Hanoi is the capital city of Vietnam, located in the northern part of the country. It’s a fascinating blend of East and West, with French colonial architecture, traditional Vietnamese culture, and modern conveniences.

With its more than 1000 years of history, Hanoi has served as the political and cultural hub of Vietnam. The city’s Old Quarter and French Quarter feature narrow lanes, old temples, pagodas, and government buildings that reflect its long history. At the same time, Hanoi is a modern metropolis with glitzy malls, highrises, international cuisine, and a robust art scene.

If you are a first-time visitor to Hanoi, here is a guide to help you make the most of your trip:

Key facts about Hanoi

  • Population: Over 8,4 million within city limits (2022)
  • Language: Vietnamese. English is spoken at tourist sites.
  • Currency: Vietnamese dong (VND). US dollars are widely accepted.
  • Weather: Spring (Feb-Apr), hot Summers (May-Aug), Fall (Sep-Nov) and cooler Winter (Dec-Feb).
  • Airport code: HAN (Noi Bai International Airport)

Whether you want to experience Vietnamese culture and cuisine, appreciate history and architecture, enjoy nature escapes, or live an urban lifestyle, Hanoi has it all.

How to apply a Vietnam Visa?

To enter Vietnam, international visitors need a visa unless they are from one of the visa exempt countries. There are 3 main ways to obtain a Vietnam visa when visiting Hanoi:

Apply e-Visa

  • Fastest and most convenient way
  • Apply online and get approval letter within 3 working days
  • Print e-visa and present at immigration on arrival
  • Valid for 90 days single entry or multiple entry
  • Cost about $25 USD for single entry and $50 USD multiple entry
  • Can select entry date and airport

Vietnam E-visa is recommended for travelers who have a valid passport, will fly directly into Hanoi or another Vietnam airport, have flexible travel dates, and stay less than 90 days.

Apply Visa on Arrival (VOA)

  • Get visa stamped in passport on arrival at airport
  • Pre-approval letter not needed
  • Cost around $25 USD, payable in cash (USD or VND) on arrival
  • Valid for 30 days single entry
  • Only available at certain ports of entry like Hanoi’s Noi Bai airport

Apply Visa at Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate

  • Apply by submitting passport, application form, photos, and fees to Vietnamese diplomatic mission
  • Valid for 30 days or 90 days, single or multiple entry
  • Issued within 4-10 business days

Getting visa from embassy is recommended for long visits, business travel, or travelers who need multiple entries. Allows customized visa validity and duration of stay.

No matter which method you use, be sure to check current visa requirements for your nationality. The process can vary.

Where to Exchange Currency?

The official currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND).

While credit cards are accepted at some hotels and large shops in Hanoi, cash is still the most widely used form of payment. There are many ATMs throughout the city where you can withdraw VND using your debit card. Major banks like HSBC, Citibank, Standard Chartered, and ANZ have ATM networks with good coverage.

For exchanging foreign currencies, it’s recommended to use official money exchange counters like Western Union or the money change desks inside banks to get the best rates. Avoid shady exchange kiosks on the street.

Banks, ATMs, and official money changers at the airport or in the city center are convenient places to exchange money upon arrival in Hanoi. It’s helpful to have at least 200,000-500,000 VND on hand for taxis, food, and shopping when you first arrive.

As of November 2023, these are some common exchange rates:

  • 1 USD = 24,000 VND
  • 1 EUR = 24,000 VND
  • 1 GBP = 28,000 VND
  • 1 AUD = 16,000 VND
  • 1 SGD = 17,500 VND

Exchange rates fluctuate, so check for current rates. Many hotels, shops, and restaurants in the tourist areas of Hanoi also accept US dollars.

Mobile Data Plan in Hanoi?

Getting a local SIM card with a data plan is highly recommended when traveling to Hanoi. This gives you Internet access on your phone to navigate, use ride apps, and look up information on the go.

Some top mobile providers in Vietnam are:

  • Viettel – Has widest coverage, fast speeds. Plans from 100,000 VND for 5GB data.
  • Vinaphone – Reliable service, good rates for short term data packages. Plans from 50,000 VND for 2GB.
  • Mobifone – Affordable, good coverage in cities. Plans from 30,000 VND for 1GB.
  • Vietnamobile – Budget brand with low cost data starting 25,000 VND for 1GB.

To get a SIM card as a foreigner, you need to show your passport at the mobile provider store. Make sure your phone is unlocked for international use. For short term visitors, prepaid SIM cards with data packages are the most convenient option.

Coverage and speeds are excellent in central Hanoi. 4G/LTE networks are available from all major providers. For longer trips, you can also get a monthly plan on contract with higher data limits.

How to move from Hanoi airport to Hanoi city center?

Noi Bai International Airport is about 35 km north of downtown Hanoi. Here are some options to get from the airport to your hotel:

Airport Shuttle Bus

  • Shuttle buses wait outside the terminal and run to main tourist districts
  • Fare is about 100,000 – 150,000 VND per person
  • Takes 45-60 mins depending on traffic
  • Buy ticket at counter inside arrival hall
  • Safe, convenient for backpackers and budget travelers

Public Bus

  • Public bus 86 stops just outside the arrivals terminal
  • Runs all the way to the Old Quarter area
  • Fare is 9,000 VND per person
  • Takes 1-1.5 hours depending on traffic
  • Stops many times along the route
  • Cheapest but least comfortable option

Taxi or private car service

  • Official airport taxis wait at designated area outside arrivals
  • Fare is about 400,000 – 500,000 VND
  • Takes 45 mins to 1 hour
  • Avoid unregistered drivers who approach you inside terminal
  • Can also arrange private car transfer from airport to hotel beforehand
  • Costs around 500,000 – 700,000 VND
  • Offers convenience of door-to-door service

For the quickest and most comfortable trip, either take an airport taxi or book a private car service in advance through your hotel. This avoids hassles and scams.

Best Time to Visit Hanoi

Hanoi has a tropical climate with distinct seasons, so the time you visit depends on weather preferences and activities. Here are popular times to visit:

  • Spring (February – April) – Pleasant weather in mid 20s C. Blooming flowers and street food stalls. Busy domestic travel season.
  • Summer (May – August) – Very hot and humid. Temperatures can reach 35C. Frequent rain. Avoid for beach vacations. Low tourism.
  • Fall (September – November) – Lovely weather with low humidity. Mid 20s C. Clear skies. Hotel rates cheaper. Good for outdoor activities, walking tours, and day trips. Peak international tourism season.
  • Winter (December – February) – Cooler weather. Average around 17C. Dry and sunny days. Thick fog possible. Christmas and New Year celebrations. Domestic tourism high.

If you want pleasant weather without intense heat, humidity, or rain, spring and fall are ideal. For cultural events, come during major festivals like Tet (Lunar New Year in January/February) or National Day (September 2).

The cooler months from November to April are generally more comfortable for sightseeing. Prices are highest during the peak tourism months of October through December.

Best location to stay for your first time in Hanoi?

With many hotels and neighborhoods to choose from, here are some top areas to stay on your first Hanoi visit:

Old Quarter

The Old Quarter in Hanoi, Vietnam is a bustling and historic neighborhood known for its narrow streets, traditional architecture, and vibrant nightlife. There are numerous hotels in this area, each offering unique experiences and accommodations to cater to different budgets and preferences. Here’s some general information about hotels in Hanoi Old Quarter:

1. Accommodation Options: There is a wide range of accommodation options available in the Old Quarter, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury boutique hotels. There are also several mid-range and family-friendly hotels. The type of hotel you choose will depend on your budget and preferences.

2. Location: The Old Quarter is located in the heart of Hanoi, near popular attractions such as Hoan Kiem Lake, Dong Xuan Market, and many temples, museums, and restaurants. Staying in this area allows you to immerse yourself in the culture and history of Hanoi.

3. Hotel Features: Hotels in the Old Quarter often feature traditional Vietnamese decor and architecture, with modern amenities. Some hotels may offer facilities like rooftop bars, swimming pools, spas, and fitness centers. It’s essential to check the amenities before booking to ensure they meet your needs.

4. Street Noise: Keep in mind that the Old Quarter is a vibrant and busy area, so it can get quite noisy, especially during the evenings. If you prefer a quieter stay, choose a hotel located in less crowded streets or opt for rooms with soundproofing.

5. Booking: There are plenty of online platforms and travel agencies that offer hotel bookings in Hanoi’s Old Quarter. It is recommended to compare prices, read reviews, and book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons.

6. Cultural Immersion: Staying in the Old Quarter allows you to experience the local lifestyle, street food, and markets. It is also an excellent base for exploring other parts of Hanoi or taking day trips to nearby attractions.

Overall, staying in a hotel in Hanoi’s Old Quarter offers a unique and exciting experience. With its rich history, vibrant atmosphere, and convenient location, it is a popular choice for travelers visiting Hanoi.

French Quarter

The French Quarter in Hanoi is known for its charming architecture, vibrant streets, and historical sites. There are plenty of hotels in the French Quarter that cater to different budgets and preferences. Here is some information about hotels in Hanoi’s French Quarter:

1. Sofitel Legend Metropole Hanoi: This 5-star luxury hotel is a historic landmark in Hanoi and offers elegant rooms, excellent service, and multiple dining options. It is located near Hoan Kiem Lake and the Opera House.

2. La Siesta Diamond Hotel & Spa: This boutique hotel offers well-appointed rooms with modern amenities. It is known for its friendly staff and convenient location, close to various attractions such as St. Joseph’s Cathedral.

3. Hotel de l’Opera Hanoi – MGallery Collection: Situated near the Hanoi Opera House, this 5-star hotel features stylish rooms with artistic designs. It offers a rooftop pool, fitness center, and multiple dining options.

4. Le Pavillon Hanoi Hotel: This mid-range hotel provides comfortable rooms and helpful service. It is located near the French Quarter’s main area, with easy access to restaurants, shops, and attractions.

5. Hanoi E Central Hotel: This budget-friendly hotel offers cozy rooms and a central location. It is close to the Night Market and within walking distance to Hoan Kiem Lake.

These are just a few examples of the many hotels available in Hanoi’s French Quarter. Whether you are looking for luxury accommodation or a budget-friendly option, there are plenty of choices to suit your needs.

Hoan Kiem Lake area

Hoan Kiem Lake is a popular tourist destination in Hanoi, Vietnam, known for its scenic beauty and cultural significance. There are several hotels located in this area to cater to the needs of visitors. Here is some general information about hotels in the Hoan Kiem Lake area:

1. Luxury Hotels: There are numerous high-end hotels in the vicinity of Hoan Kiem Lake, offering refined accommodation with excellent amenities. These hotels often boast luxurious rooms, spa facilities, fine dining options, and rooftop bars with stunning lake views. They generally cater to business travelers, as well as those seeking a lavish stay.

2. Mid-range Hotels: Mid-range hotels in the Hoan Kiem Lake area provide comfortable accommodation at more affordable prices. They offer well-furnished rooms, basic amenities like Wi-Fi, and sometimes additional facilities such as a fitness center or swimming pool. These hotels are suitable for both leisure and business travelers.

3. Budget Hotels: Travelers looking for more budget-friendly options can find several guesthouses and budget hotels in the area. These establishments may offer simple rooms with essential amenities. Though they may lack certain luxuries, they provide a convenient and cost-effective choice for travelers on a tight budget.

4. Boutique Hotels: Hoan Kiem Lake also hosts a range of boutique hotels that offer unique accommodations with personalized services. These hotels are often designed with a distinct theme, blending modern comforts with traditional Vietnamese aesthetics.

When choosing a hotel in the Hoan Kiem Lake area, consider factors such as location, room rates, facilities, reviews, and proximity to attractions. It is also advisable to book in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to ensure availability.

West Lake district

The West Lake district in Hanoi is a popular area for both locals and tourists. It is known for its natural beauty, tranquil atmosphere, and a wide range of hotels to cater to different budgets and preferences.

There are several luxury hotels located near the West Lake, offering stunning views and high-end amenities. These hotels often have beautiful gardens, outdoor swimming pools, and spa facilities. They also provide excellent service and are known for their luxurious rooms and suites.

Mid-range hotels can also be found in this district, providing comfortable accommodation with modern facilities at a more affordable price. These hotels often offer basic amenities such as Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and on-site dining options.

For budget-conscious travelers, there are also budget hotels, guesthouses, and hostels available. These establishments offer simple yet clean rooms at a lower price. They are a great option for those who are looking for a place to sleep and explore the area on a limited budget.

The West Lake district is an excellent location if you want to be close to beautiful nature while still being within reach of Hanoi’s city center. It offers a peaceful environment with scenic views and a variety of accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs.

For convenience, stay in the Hoan Kiem Lake or Old Quarter areas. West Lake is better for a romantic luxury stay. The French Quarter offers classic colonial charm.

Must-see attractions for your itinerary

With limited time in Hanoi, be sure to see these top attractions:

1. Hoan Kiem Lake: Located in the heart of Hanoi, this picturesque lake is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can walk around the lake, visit Ngoc Son Temple, and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

2. Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum: This is the final resting place of renowned Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh. Visitors can pay their respects and see his preserved body.

3. Temple of Literature: Built in 1070, this complex is Vietnam’s oldest university and a well-preserved example of traditional Vietnamese architecture. It is also dedicated to Confucius and houses the “Stele of Doctors” honoring academic achievements.

4. Old Quarter: Explore the narrow streets of Hanoi’s Old Quarter to experience its vibrant energy and traditional charm. There are numerous shops, restaurants, and street markets to explore.

5. Hanoi Opera House: Built-in 1911, this magnificent French colonial building is a prime example of neoclassical architecture. Visitors can watch performances of traditional Vietnamese music and dance, as well as international shows.

6. Hoa Lo Prison: Also known as the “Hanoi Hilton,” this former prison-turned-museum provides an insight into Vietnam’s history. It was famously used during the Vietnam War to hold American prisoners of war.

7. Thang Long Water Puppet Theatre: Experience the unique art form of water puppetry, a traditional Vietnamese entertainment dating back to the 11th century. The shows feature live music and storytelling through puppets on water.

8. Vietnam Museum of Ethnology: This museum showcases the country’s diverse cultural heritage with extensive displays of traditional artifacts, costumes, and multimedia presentations.

9. West Lake: This large freshwater lake offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city. Visitors can enjoy boat rides, visit pagodas, and take a leisurely stroll along the promenade.

10. Tran Quoc Pagoda: Situated on a small island in West Lake, this Buddhist temple is renowned for its harmonious blend of pagoda architecture and natural surroundings.

With more time, also visit the Military History Museum, Fine Arts Museum, Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, and French Quarter.

Side trips from Hanoi

Hanoi offers easy access to magnificent day trips and overnight excursions:

1. Ha Long Bay (1 or 2 days): Take a boat tour to the UNESCO World Heritage site known for its stunning scenery, limestone islands, and emerald waters.

2. Sapa (3-4 days): Head to the northwest and visit this mountainous region known for its terraced fields, ethnic minority villages, and beautiful landscapes.

3. Ninh Binh (1 or 2 days): Explore the karst landscapes and caves in this picturesque region, including the famous Bai Dinh Pagoda and Tam Coc – Bich Dong.

4. Mai Chau (2 days): Experience the traditional way of life in this rural area, surrounded by rice paddies and mountains, and visit ethnic minority villages.

5. Perfume Pagoda (1 day): Take a boat ride along the Yen River and visit the Buddhist pilgrimage site, famous for its series of shrines and temples.

6. Ba Vi National Park (1 day): Only about two hours from Hanoi, this national park offers hiking trails, stunning views, and a chance to see diverse flora and fauna.

7. Duong Lam Ancient Village (1 or 2 days): Explore a well-preserved traditional village located near Hanoi, known for its old houses and rich cultural history.

8. Cat Ba Island (2 days): Combine a trip to Ha Long Bay with a visit to Cat Ba Island, known for its beautiful beaches, hiking trails, and opportunities for outdoor activities like kayaking and rock climbing.

9. Tam Dao (2 days): Escape the city and head to this hill station with lush green forests, waterfalls, and hiking trails.

10. Hoa Lu and Trang An (1 or 2 days): Visit the ancient capital of Vietnam and take a boat ride through the scenic Trang An landscape complex, known for its caves, limestone mountains, and temples.

These are just a few examples of the many side trips you can take from Hanoi. The options are diverse and cater to various interests, ranging from nature lovers to culture enthusiasts.

Recommended food & drink to taste in Hanoi

As Vietnam’s culinary capital, Hanoi offers an incredible variety of Vietnamese food and drink. Here are some popular food and drinks to taste when in Hanoi:

1. Pho: A famous Vietnamese noodle soup made with beef or chicken, rice noodles, fresh herbs, and a flavorful broth.

2. Banh mi: A Vietnamese sandwich made with a crispy baguette filled with various meats, pate, pickled vegetables, and herbs.

3. Bun cha: Grilled pork served over vermicelli noodles with fresh herbs and a dipping sauce.

4. Cha ca: Grilled fish marinated in turmeric and served with rice noodles, peanuts, and herbs.

5. Nem ran: Vietnamese fried spring rolls filled with a combination of ground pork, shrimp, and vegetables.

6. Bia hoi: Freshly brewed draft beer that is popular in Hanoi, often enjoyed at outdoor establishments.

7. Egg coffee (Ca phe trung): A unique Vietnamese specialty where coffee is topped with a creamy, whipped egg yolk mixture.

8. Che: A sweet dessert soup made with various ingredients such as beans, fruits, jelly, and coconut milk.

9. Nem lui: Grilled minced meat skewers typically made with pork, marinated with garlic, lemongrass, and spices.

10. Ca phe sua da: Strong Vietnamese iced coffee served with sweetened condensed milk.

These are just a few examples of the delicious food and drinks to try in Hanoi. The Old Quarter is packed with street food stalls, cafes and restaurants. Joining a street food tour is a delicious way to sample diverse flavors.

How to Get Around in Hanoi City?

There are several ways to get around in Hanoi city:

1. Walking: Hanoi’s Old Quarter and other central areas are best explored on foot. It allows you to fully experience the vibrant streets, markets, and historical landmarks.

2. Public buses: Hanoi has an extensive bus network that covers most areas of the city. There are many bus lines available, and fares are affordable. However, bus schedules and routes can be confusing for tourists who are not familiar with the city.

3. Motorbike taxi (xe om): Xe om drivers can be found on almost every corner of the city. They offer motorbike rides to various destinations and are a convenient way to navigate through Hanoi’s traffic. Remember to negotiate the fare before getting on the motorbike.

4. Taxis: Metered taxis are commonly available in Hanoi, with reputable companies like Mai Linh or Grab. Make sure the meter is running, and always ask for a receipt at the end of the ride.

5. Cyclos: Cyclos are three-wheeled bicycles with a passenger seat in the front. They are a unique way to travel short distances and give you the opportunity to enjoy the city’s scenery. Be sure to negotiate the price before getting on the cyclo.

6. Grab/Xanh SM: Ride-hailing services like Grab and Xanh SM are popular and readily available in Hanoi. Simply download the app, set your location, and request a ride. This option provides convenience and typically avoids communication issues with the driver.

7. Electric scooters or bicycles: Electric scooters and bicycles have become increasingly popular in Hanoi. Many rental shops offer them for daily or hourly use, allowing you to explore the city independently.

When choosing a transportation method, consider the time of day, distance, traffic conditions, and weather. It’s also important to be cautious and aware of your surroundings, particularly when crossing the road, as Hanoi’s traffic can be busy and chaotic.

How many days should I stay/Itinerary in Hanoi?

Most first time visitors spend 3-5 days in Hanoi. With this amount of time you can see all the top attractions while also enjoying the local lifestyle, food, and day trips.

Recommended itinerary:

Day 1

  • Check into hotel
  • Walk around Hoan Kiem Lake
  • Enjoy water puppet show
  • Eat at an Old Quarter restaurant

Day 2

  • Visit Temple of Literature
  • French Quarter tour
  • Water puppet show
  • Night market exploring

Day 3

  • Hoa Lo Prison
  • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum Complex
  • Old Quarter street food tour
  • Night out at Ta Hien drinking street

Day 4

  • Day trip to Ha Long Bay or Perfume Pagoda
  • Evening cultural show at Hanoi Opera House

Day 5

  • Morning walk through Botanical Gardens
  • Last minute shopping and eating
  • Fly out in evening

Add more days to include museums, West Lake cycling, Co Loa Citadel, or longer excursions out of the city.

Common scams to avoid when travelling to Hanoi

While Hanoi is very safe, tourists should be aware of some common travel scams:

  • Rigged taxi meters – Only take official Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis with working meters. Agree on price before private car rides.
  • Currency exchange – Avoid shady money changers. Use regulated banks and airport counters. Count your money carefully.
  • Fake hotels – Book lodging through trusted platforms like Booking.com. Avoid “helpful locals” leading you to other accommodation.
  • Spiked drinks – Never leave drinks unattended or accept opened drinks from strangers.
  • Pickpockets and snatch thieves – Secure belongings in front pockets or bags. Don’t use backpacks on crowded streets.
  • Overcharging – Confirm all prices in writing first. Don’t shop at stores with no prices listed.
  • SIM card scams – Buy SIM cards only at official carrier stores, not random shops.
  • Counterfeit goods – Avoid buying brand name goods on street, many are low quality fakes.

Use travel savvy, trust your instincts, and avoid going to unofficial establishments recommended by sketchy touts. Hanoi is very safe when you take basic precautions.

Safety travel Hanoi for the first timers

Hanoi is generally very safe for travelers who take some basic precautions:

  • Avoid leaving drinks unattended or accepting open drinks from strangers to prevent spiked drinks.
  • Only take official taxis with working meters like Mai Linh and Vinasun. Avoid unmarked cabs.
  • Keep valuables in hotel safe and avoid flashy jewelry or electronics when out.
  • Be wary of – Be wary of pickpockets and bag snatchers in crowded areas like markets. Use cross body bags.
  • Look both ways when crossing the street – cars won’t necessarily stop for pedestrians.
  • Be cautious of motorbikes on sidewalks. They may not slow down for you.
  • Only exchange money at regulated exchange counters and banks to avoid rigged rates.
  • Avoid buying counterfeit brand name goods from street sellers. Quality is unreliable.
  • Get a local SIM card so your phone works for ride apps, maps, translations, and emergencies.
  • Only drink bottled water and eat fully cooked food to avoid potential food poisoning.
  • Arrange airport transfers through your hotel to avoid taxi overcharging.
  • Take copies of passport/ID and keep originals in hotel safe in case of loss or theft.
  • Be respectful when taking photos of people, especially at temples and sacred sites. Ask permission.

Hanoi is very safe overall. Use common sense precautions as in any large city. The biggest risks are petty crimes rather than violent crime.

Hanoi Travel Guide

Keep these extra travel tips in mind for your first Hanoi visit:

  • Bring appropriate clothing – light fabrics, hats, umbrellas for sun/rain. Leave fancy jewelry and watches at home.
  • Carry a business card from your hotel for returning in taxis. Learn basic Vietnamese phrases.
  • Get local currency at the airport ATM or exchange counter to pay for transportation.
  • Be patient crossing busy streets. Walk slowly and cars will go around you.
  • Eat adventurously but stick to cooked food and peeled fruit. Carry hand sanitizer and toilet paper/tissue.
  • Visit temples and government sites conservatively dressed – shoulders and knees covered, hats removed.
  • Allow extra time for museum visits which often require bag check and dress code adherence.
  • Bring earplugs for noisy streets. A mask or scarf helps with pollution.
  • Pre-arrange any day trips for better rates. Check for temple and site opening hours.
  • Shop around for souvenirs – same items will be cheaper at local markets than tourist shops.
  • Carry a physical map as a backup to phones. Offline Google Maps works well.

With some preparation and cultural awareness, you’ll have a wonderful time experiencing the sights, sounds, and tastes of Hanoi!


Is Hanoi safe for tourists?
Yes, Hanoi is very safe. Violent crime is extremely rare. Petty crimes like pickpocketing are most common risks. Take normal safety precautions as in any big city.

How do I cross busy streets in Hanoi?
Cross slowly and steadily. Cars and bikes expect you to keep moving predictably and will go around you. Wait for a small gap, don’t make sudden stops or moves.

What’s the best way to pay in Hanoi?
Have some cash in VND for taxis, food, and small purchases. Use an international credit/debit card at hotels, nicer shops/restaurants. Avoid big bills as many shops can’t make change for large notes.

How much Vietnamese should I know?
Learn key phrases like hello (Xin chào), thank you (Cảm ơn), and numbers. Have your hotel address written in Vietnamese. You can get by easily in tourist areas with basic English.

Is the tap water safe to drink?
No, only drink bottled water. Be cautious of ice as well. Brushing teeth with tap water is generally okay.

What should I wear to visit temples?
Wear clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Remove hats and sunglasses when entering sacred sites.

How do I avoid getting scammed?
Avoid unmarked taxis, street money changers, and shops/people offering too good to be true deals. Get official prices in writing for tours/transport.

Can I use US dollars or my credit card?
Major hotels and upscale shops accept US dollars and credit cards but you’ll need local dong for most transactions. Get some VND at an airport ATM upon arrival.

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