Travel guide

General Information
Official name: The Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Capital: Hanoi
Total Area: 331.212 square kilometers
Major religion: Buddhism
Major language: Vietnamese
Monetary unit: Vietnam dong
International dialing code: +84
Time Zone - Standard time zone: UTC/GMT +7 hours

Vietnam is a country with a rich, centuries-deep history, with grand colonial buildings, vibrant markets, temples and pagodas, deserted sandy beaches, glorious mountain sceneries which are home to many ethnic minority people, and vast brilliant green rice fields, delicious cuisine and luxurious hotel and resorts. The Northern capital, Hanoi, is known as the artistic and cultural centre of the country, with Hoan Kiem Lake at heart of the city. In the Old Quarter, at the Temple of Literature and in the museums the past comes alive. Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), in the South, is the commercial powerhouse of the country, with International hotels, shiny new shopping malls, old markets, museums, China Town, and café-life. The city is truly multi-cultural. The country has seven UNESCO World Heritage sites which stand testament to its history. The Lunar New Year festival ‘’Tet’’ is the most important public holiday and falls on the first day of the first month of the Lunar calendar. This event is celebrated by Vietnamese everywhere.
Vietnam is one of the most beautiful countries located in the South East Asia. In the North, Vietnam shares the long borderline with China. In the East, Vietnam is bordered by the Gulf of Tonkin, inn the East and South by the South China Sea, in the South West by the Gulf of Thailand, and in the West by Cambodia and Laos. Owning to stretching the length of the Indochinese Peninsula, Vietnam boasts a unique shape of an elongated S and a long coastline of 3,260km with a lot of wonderful sites.
Currency/ Money
The currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Notes are available in denominations of VND 500,000; 200,000; 100,000; 50,000; 20, 000; 10,000; 5,000; 2,000; 1,000; 500; and 200 (less used now) hundred. Many tourists call Vietnam is a country of many thousand Dong.
The USD is less used in Vietnam's cities. Tourists can exchange USD for VND when travel around Vietnam for personal expenses .
VISA, MasterCard and American Express cards are accepted in major hotels, restaurants, and shops in the urban areas. Travelers Checks are easily changeable at banks and moneychangers all over the country.
Vietnam runs off a 220V/50Hz system.
The international country code to dial into Vietnam is +84. To dial overseas from within Vietnam, dial 00 followed by the relevant country code and phone number.
Emergency numbers in Vietnam are: Ambulance (15); Fire (14); and Police (13).
Public Holidays
01 January
New Year’s Day (Tet Duong Lich)
01 - 03 January (Lunar Calendar)
Tet (Vietnamese New Year - Tet Am Lich)
03 February
Anniversary of the Founding of the Vietnamese Communist Party.
   10 March (Lunar Calendar)
 Hung King Temple Festival
30 April
Liberation Day (Giai Phong Saigon - the day on which Saigon surrendered – 1945)
01 May
International Labour’s Day (Quoc te Lao Dong)
19 May
Ho Chi Minh’s birthday (1890)
Eighth day of the fourth moon
(usually in June)
Buddha’s birthday (Phat Dan)
02 September
Vietnam National Day (1945)
25 December
Christmas Day