English is widely spoken in tourist areas.
Like most of Southeast Asia, cash is king. You’ll always need to carry cash to shop in local markets. ATMs are easy to find in towns and cities. In busier tourist destinations larger businesses will accept cards.
PASSPORTS & VISAS
• Validity of at least six months after your arrival back in the UK
• Visa required – the rules change all the time so check for updates.
What to Wear
Dressing modestly with shorts to the knees and women’s top covering the shoulders will be respectful of local customs. Keeping covered will protect you from sunburn in the day and insect bites at night. When entering religious buildings it’s important to cover up. When entering a temple or someones home you should remove your shoes.
As with many Southeast Asian nations, if there isn’t a marked price it’s appropriate to barter. At first you might feel uncomfortable but soon you’ll enjoy it. You should always look to pay in the local currency and have a maximum price you’re willing to pay in mind – it can be very easy to get carried away! You’re more likely to get a good price if you’re friendly and keep smiling. Rudeness and aggression are not good tactics for negotiation. In Vietnam keeping face is very important. Losing your temper with someone causes ‘loss of face’ and you’re going to get anywhere after that.
FOOD & DRINK
Vietnamese cuisine varies between the north and south with the changing landscape. Like much of Southeast Asia the aim is to balance spicy, salty, sour and sweet flavours.
Northern dishes take influence from China. Vinegar is used to add sourness rather than tamarind used in southern cooking.
The noodle soup that everyone raves about when they visit Vietnam. Flat rice noodles.
Barbecued pork with thin vermicelli rice noodles.
Bun Bo Hue
Spicy soup made with thick round noddles. Central Imperal City
Nuoc Mam (fish sauce)
This is the most common fish sauce used in Vietnamese cooking made from small fish. The little fish are layered up with salt and left to ferment for a year. Phan Thiet and Phu Quoc Island are both famous for their nuoc mam.
Baguette with lots of delicious fillings