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Social Conventions
Handshaking and a vocal greeting is normal. Clothing should be kept simple, informal and discreet. Avoid shorts if possible as they are usually only worn by children. Footwear should be removed when entering Buddhist pagodas. Vietnamese people should not be touched on the head. Photography: There are restrictions at ports, airports and harbors, and in similar areas elsewhere. It is courteous to ask permission first before taking photographs of people.

Departure Tax
Now included in the international air ticket.

Main Airports
Noi Bai International Airport (HAN) is 35km (21 miles) north of Hanoi. To/from the airport: Buses and metered taxis are available to Hanoi with a journey time of approximately 45-60 minutes. Facilities: Cafes, shops, duty-free and bureau de change.

Tan Son Nhat International Airport (SGN) is 7km (4.5 miles) from Ho Chi Minh City. To/from the airport: Metered taxis are available with a journey time of approximately 20-30 minutes into the city. Facilities: Snack bar, shops, duty-free and bureau de change.

Getting There by Rail

It is possible to cross into China by rail from Lao Cai to Kunming in the Yunnan province of China or through Lang Son to Nanning. There are trains from Beijing-Dong Dang-Hanoi and back. Contact Vietnam Railways (tel: (04) 942 2770; website: for details.

Getting There by Road
There are routes to China through Lang Son, Mong Cai and Lao Cai, Cambodia through Moc Bai and also to Laos at Lao Bao and Cau Trieu. The Saigon Passenger Transport Company (tel: (08) 920 3623 or 829 7278; website: operates daily services from Ho Chi Minh City to Phnom Penh.

There is a bus service from An Cuu bus station in Hué to Savannakhet in Laos. Go in person to buy tickets in advance.

The following items may be freely imported into Vietnam by foreign visitors without incurring customs duty:
200 cigarettes; 100 cigars or 500g of tobacco; 1.5l of liquor at 22% and above, and 2l of liquor below this amount, and 3l of all other alcoholic beverages; a reasonable quantity of perfume and personal belongings.

Note: Foreign currency has to be declared on arrival.

Prohibited Imports
The importation of non-prescribed drugs, firearms, anti-government literature and pornography is prohibited.

Flights in and out of Vietnam

"This post was updated June 2008"

Internal flights

There are two local airlines in Vietnam at present. They are VIETNAM AIRLINES (state owned company) and JETSTAR PACIFIC AIRLINES (joint stock company). Both airlines issue e-tickets, however it's only possible to make your booking and payment on line with Jetstar Pacific Airlines, while the website of Vietnam Airlines is still under construction and you'll have to book tickets through their agents. Please note that Jetstar Pacific Airlines does not fly on all routes in Vietnam. Their major routes are Hanoi - Sai Gon (or HCMC), Hanoi - Da Nang, and Da Nang - Sai Gon. Jetstar Pacific is a budget airline, i.e. the sooner you book, the cheaper air ticket you can get. AIR SPEED UP AIRLINES (joint stock company), which is now in process of preparing for operation, will be the 3rd local airline in Vietnam.

International flights

There are 3 international airports in Vietnam, one in Hanoi (Noi Bai int'l airport), one in Da Nang (Da Nang int'l airport) and the last one in Sai Gon (Tan Son Nhat int'l airport). Airport tax US$14 has been included in your ticket according to the regulation, but you'd better confirm with your airlines as well.

There are 4 budget airlines that fly between Vietnam and Thailand, Singapore and Malaysia at present. They are Air Asia (Hanoi/Sai Gon - BKK, Hanoi - LCCT in Kuala Lumpur), Nok Air (Hanoi - BKK), Tiger Airways (Hanoi/Sai Gon - Singapore) and Jet Star (Sai Gon - Singapore). Cebu Pacific planned to start their flights between Clark (the Philippines) and Hanoi/Sai Gon this June.

Below are some air routes in SE Asia that I know at present. Please note that the departure place is "Vietnam", but it's also means vice versa.

1. From Vietnam to LAOS

Hanoi - Vientiane: Vietnam Airlines, Lao Airlines (code share)
Hanoi - Luang Prabang: Vietnam Airlines, Lao Airlines
Sai Gon - Vientiane: Vietnam Airlines

2. From Vietnam to THAILAND

Hanoi - Bangkok: Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways, Thai Air Asia, Nok Air, Air France, Lao Airlines (via Vientiane)
Sai Gon - Bangkok: Vietnam Airlines, Thai Airways, Thai Air Asia, Air France, Lufthansa, Bangkok Airways
Da Nang - Bangkok: PB Air

3. From Vietnam to CAMBODIA

Hanoi - Phnom Penh (via Vientiane): Vietnam Airlines, Lao Airlines
Hanoi - Siem Reap: Vietnam Airlines
Sai Gon - Siem Reap: Vietnam Airlines
Da Nang - Siem Reap: Silk Air (no opposite flight Siem Reap - Da Nang)

4. From Vietnam to MYANMAR

No direct flight. You must fly Hanoi - BKK, then connect your flight to Yangon on Thai Airways, Bangkok Airways or Air Asia. Another way is you fly to Chiang Mai, then connect your flight to Mandalay on Air Mandalay (once a week).

5. From Vietnam to MALAYSIA

Hanoi - LCCT in KL: Air Asia
Hanoi - KL int'l airport: Vietnam Airlines, Malaysia Airlines

6. From Vietnam to SINGAPORE

Hanoi - Singapore: Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways
Sai Gon - Singapore: Vietnam Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Tiger Airways, Jet Star
Da Nang - Singapore: Tiger Airways
Singapore - Da Nang: Silk Air (on the way to Siem Reap)

7. From Vietnam to the PHILIPPINES

Hanoi - LCCT in KL - Clark: Air Asia
Sai Gon - Manila: Philippine Airlines

8. From Vietnam to INDONESIA

Hanoi - LCCT in KL - Denpasar: Air Asia
Sai Gon - Singapore - Denpasar/Yogyakarta: Garuda Indonesia

9. From Vietnam to BRUNEI

Hanoi - LCCT in KL - BSB (capital): Air Asia
Sai Gon - BSB (capital): Royal Brunei Airlines




MeKong Delta Tours - Asia Pacific Travel
Hanoi head office: 85-87 Hoang Quoc Viet St., Hanoi, Vietnam
Tel: (84.24) 38 364 212 - 37 568 868
Fax: (84.24) 37 567 862
USA/Canada Toll Free 1-866-208-6418
Australia Toll Free 03 90010198

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MeKong Delta Tours - Asia Pacific Travel in Danang
Add: Floor 5th, 35 Cao Thắng, Hai Chau District, Da Nang, Vietnam
Tel: (84.236) 6 286 088
Fax: (84.24) 37 567 862 /(84 236)3531897
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MeKong Delta Tours - Asia Pacific Travel in Hochiminh city
Add: Suite 403, Floor 4th, 134 Cao Thắng, District 3, Hochiminh city, Vietnam
Tel: (84.28)38333388 / 62729925/ 38337714
Fax: (84.28) 38 334 083
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