Geography of Vietnam
Vietnam stretches over 1,600 km from north to south along the east coast of the Indochinese peninsula. The nature is very varied, as the southern climate is tropical, while it is cooler in the north. Three quarters of the country is covered by mountains or slopes, the last lower quarter is located around the two main rivers Song Hong (Red River) and the lush delta of the Mekong. The two river deltas and almost the entire coast are full of rice fields where women wearing large triangular hats with curved backs take care of the vital rice plants. The high northern mountains are intersected by many rivers and streams. Further south is the Annamplatån, which reaches an altitude of 1,000 meters with many ebony, teak and rose trees. The long coastline along the Gulf of Tonkin and the South China Sea consists of slopes, dunes and fine sandy beaches.
Currency and credit cards
The Vietnamese currency is called dong and is available in 200-, 500-, 1,000-, 2,000-, 5,000-, 10,000-, 20,000-,
50,000, 100,000, 200,000 and 500,000 banknotes. There are also coins, but they are rarely used. 1 dong is 100 ho, which is 100 xu. Keep in mind that many banknotes are similar (for example, the 10,000 and 100,000 dong banknotes). It can be difficult to switch to dong in Sweden, but it works great to bring US dollars, which can then be exchanged for dong in Vietnam.
MasterCard, Visa, Diners and American Express can be used as payment cards at most hotels and in some stores. You can use MasterCard and Visa to withdraw cash in most cities (so-called ATMs), which pay out dong.
The price of dong often changes and it can be difficult to get hold of dong in Sweden. Therefore, it is best to bring USD to Vietnam. In Vietnam you can change (from USD to Dong) at the airport, in banks, at exchange offices and most hotels. Remember to count the money carefully. It is a good idea to bring a suitable amount of 5,000- to 20,000-dong banknotes to pay for taxis, small shops and meals, as people rarely have change.
It is often difficult to exchange dong back for foreign currency (USD), so remember not to withdraw or exchange too much money.
Customs and traditions
The Vietnamese are generally very open and receive tourists with a smile and “Hello sir / madam”.
It is not in their nature to tell others what is right and wrong, but they assume that they have familiarized themselves with how to behave in the country and that they respect their customs and usages. This also applies to how you dress.
You take off your shoes before entering a temple. The feet are considered unclean and must not be turned against persons, Buddha figures or temples. The soles of the feet should face down into the ground. You are not allowed to touch Buddha statues or historical monuments. It is also not allowed to photograph everywhere. Therefore, it is important that you pay attention to where this is allowed. You should also not touch or pose in front of Buddha figures.
When visiting Ho Chi Minh’s Mausoleum, you must be properly dressed. That is: long trousers, long skirt / dress, blouse or shirt with short / long sleeves. You are not allowed to bring a camera or the like, drink or food, and it is not allowed to talk when you parade past Ho Chi Minh.
As in many of the neighboring countries, Vietnam considers it unworthy not to be able to control one’s emotions. This means that you as a tourist should not show anger or get upset. If you end up in a situation where you feel badly treated, you can turn to the tour guide, who can help you sort out the threads.
You wrinkle your nose a little at body contact in general, although it is not uncommon to see people of the same sex holding each other’s hands. In addition, one should wear suitable clothes that do not show too much skin, in temples both men and women should wear clothes that also cover the shoulders and knees. In the large tourist areas, however, deviations from this are accepted.
One should not touch a Vietnamese head, as the hair is considered sacred. You wrinkle your nose a little at body contact in general, although it is not uncommon to see people of the same sex holding each other’s hands. Visit campingship for Trips to Vietnam.
You can see beggars in some areas and of course you can give old and disabled people some money, but to avoid creating a market for child begging you should not give anything to children or young people. If you want to give the children something, it is better to give them shampoo, soap, pencils and notepads.
Climate and weather Vietnam
Below you can read about the weather and climate in Vietnam – including the cities of Hanoi and Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City).
In northern Vietnam, where Hanoi is located, there is a subtropical climate with relatively cold weather in winter. At least in comparison to South Vietnam, where the Saigon and Mekong Delta are located. Here the climate is tropical with daytime temperatures above 30 ºC. The rainy season is from May to October, and it is also during this period that the southwest monsoon moves over Vietnam.