All you need to know about Vietnam All you need to know about Vietnam

All you need to know about Vietnam

Each city and each province offers a wealth of unique attractions and activities: traditional costumes, music, instruments, dances and handicrafts, together with traditional architecture, fine arts and festivities common to all. Our partner travel agency can direct you to local cultural attractions and arrange booking and transportation

Language

Vietnamese is the national language with subtle differences in speech and text in the northern, central and southern parts of the country. Each city has its own patois and some areas speak their own dialect.

The language is a tonal dialect, similar to the Chinese Mandarin and Cantonese, while the alphabet uses a phonetic text. English is widely spoken as a second language around the country amongst younger people and all forms of businesses while French is still the main language for the older generation as it was the colonial language.

Climate

Situated both in tropic and temperate zones, the country experiences a strong monsoon season, largely hot and humid along the coastal plains and delta areas, but also cooler – though still humid - in the mountainous regions. For most of the year, the climate is either hot and humid, or alternatively, a little less hot and wet. Thankfully, air conditioning is the norm nationwide.

Temperatures in the southern plains (Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong Delta) vary between 21 and 38 degrees C (70 – 100 degrees F) throughout the year. March, April and May are the hottest months. The seasons in the mountains, particularly in the north, are more marked; temperatures vary from a low of five degrees Celcius, in December/January to 37.5 degrees Celcius in July/August (41 degrees fahrenheit to 98.6 degrees fahrenheit).

What to wear

Lightweight clothing is adequate for all areas at most times of the year during daylight hours, though warmer wear is recommended in the north and mountainous regions at night and certainly during the cooler months.

Modest dress is recommended in Vietnam, especially at spiritual places.

Where and what to eat

The more popular tourist cities of Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau, Dalat, Nha Trang, Hue, Danang and Hoi An all offer a variety of Asian and Western cuisines. Many good Vietnamese restaurants are small and known only to the local population. Our partner travel agency can assist you to locate them. You should avoid eating at roadside stalls or anywhere that could be considered borderline hygienic.

Here are the names of a few of the favourite local dishes:

English NameVietnamese Name
Spring rolls / egg rolls Nem rán or Chả giò
Vietnamese baguette Bánh Mì Thit
Spicy beef noodle soup Bún Bò Huế
Summer rolls aka spring rolls Gỏi cuốn
Beef noodle soup Phở bò

Religion

All major religions are represented throughout the country; Buddhism being the most popular (a fusion of Taoism and Confucianism), Christianity (both Catholic and Protestant), Islam, Cao Diaism, Hinduism as well as many sects little known outside the East.

Culture

Each city and each province offers a wealth of unique attractions and activities: traditional costumes, music, instruments, dances and handicrafts, together with traditional architecture, fine arts and festivities common to all. Our partner travel agency can direct you to local cultural attractions and arrange for booking and transport.
The main festive period is the Tet Lunar New Year, which occurs at the same time as the Chinese Lunar New Year. Being a celebration based on the lunar cycle, the dates vary from year to year, usually falling between late January and the middle of February. Other festivals and public holidays include:

  • The Solar New Year (January 1)
  • Tet Lunar New Year (Dates differs, usually with start from end of January, mid February and last during four days)
  • King Hung's Commemoration (April 23)
  • Liberation Day (April 30)
  • Labor Day (May 1)
  • National Day (September 2)

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