Know Before You Go:
Vietnam Travel Tips
“But, what’s it really like?” As invigorating, exciting and intoxicating as it is to explore an unknown land, it can be inconvenient and even a little intimidating to go in completely blind. That’s where we come in. In this ongoing series, we pose some essential questions and arm you with the answers of our regional experts to help you get in deep and up close on a tour of Vietnam—without frying your cell phone or bringing the wrong currency!
Vietnam Travel Tips
Vietnam’s been on my list of go-to countries for awhile and I can’t wait to get there. What do I need to do to prepare?
The first order of business is booking a Vietnam visa. It is possible to get one on arrival, but we strongly recommend you apply for one as far in advance as possible, as some can take months to obtain and you must have one in advance of the trip. We strongly suggest checking with a travel site like our partner CIBT, who will process your visa application on your behalf for a fixed fee beyond the cost of the visa itself. (US passport holders can click here; Canadian passport holders click here.) Paying this fee is almost always worth the hassle and time saved over arranging a visa yourself, and your visa application may be processed quicker and more efficiently. In addition, make sure your passport is up to date and will be valid for six months after your scheduled date of departure.
When is Vietnam’s dry season? What’s the best time to go?
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate, so the weather patterns are complicated. In the south and central parts of the country, the dry season is from December to April, and we prefer to go in December, January and February. For Ha Long Bay and the north, dry seasons are in April and October. Of course, with weather there are never any guarantees. We recommend bringing rain gear, like a light weather-proof coat or some warmer layers as a precaution.
What airlines fly to Hanoi?
Most major airlines service flights to Vietnam including Cathay Pacific, Korea’s Asiana, Air Japan, Air France, Thai Air, Luftansa, and Singapore Air. Travellers connect into Hanoi via Singapore, Seoul, Tokyo and Bangkok.What’s Vietnamese food like? (And, I have to ask: will there be North American options?)
More than just steamed rice and noodles, Vietnam boasts a robust local cuisine with plenty of options for palates of all persuasions. Freshness is paramount, and thanks to a bounty of produce, vegetarians are easy to accommodate. Seafood abounds, as do intriguingly subtle flavours that don’t overwhelm the way some spicier Asian cuisine sometimes can.
Vietnam with B&R
I know that B&R offers multiple ways to see Vietnam, but I’m interested in Vietnam Biking. What kind of bikes are available on the trip?
Cannondale Hybrid bikes are available in Vietnam. We do not recommend bringing your own pedals on this trip, as between pedestrians, traffic and unfamiliar conditions, you’ll want the ability to get your feet on the ground if necessary! Road bikes and tandems are not an option here.
I’m a pretty avid cyclist. Are there options to make the biking a little more difficult?
This trip is all about cultural immersion, rather than collecting kilometres on the road. A means to get close to the local towns and people, the bike allows us to experience Vietnam as a local does. As such, there are no longer mileage options available on this trip. We spend half the day biking and the other half participating in cultural activities.
I’ve booked my flight and know when I’ll be landing. Will B&R pick me up at the airport?
For this trip, no. We pick up at the Sofitel Legend Metropole in Hanoi in the early morning, and drop off at the Park Hyatt Hotel in Ho Chi Minh City after breakfast. The hotels can help you arrange getting to and from the airport, and or taxis are available upon arrival. If you would like, our Travel Services professionals would be happy to make the arrangements for you. Feel free to ask your Travel Advisor, or call our Travel Services Department directly at 1-800-232-0021.
This might be a once-in-a-lifetime trip for me and I’d like to make the most of it. Can you recommend what to do before or after my B&R trip?
Hanoi is certainly a city deserving of a proper visit, even if only for a night or two before your trip starts. The history, arts and culinary scene there is fascinating. For those who want to go well off the beaten path, the frontier town of Sa Pa in the country’s northwest is not the easiest place to reach, but well worth the effort! If time allows though there are plenty of exciting destinations within a couple of hours flight from Vietnam. Bangkok is a destination in its own right, and Myanmar is enjoying the limelight for all the right reasons. All of these pre- and post-trips can be arranged through our Travel Services department. Feel free to give them a call at 1-866-232-0021 or email them.