Drinking: Bottled water and mineral water are obtainable at any shops in most cities. It is advisable to drink boiled water and not to drink ice and tap water. The most reliable local brand is LA VIE (Don’t confuse them with the imitations such as La Ville or La Vierge). Aquafina of Pepsi and real Evian also available at many shops.
Tea, similar to Chinese green tea, is one of the most common drinks in Vietnam. Coffee was introduced by the French and is usually strong, thick and served complete with drip filter, so you know it’s fresh! If you ask for milk it will usually be sweet condensed milk.
Popular beer are: Local brand: 333, Hanoi beer, Saigon beer and international brand Carlsberg, Heineken, Tiger and Foster
Film and developing: Fresh negative film is widely available. Popular brands are Kodak, Fuji, Agfa and Konica. Memory cards for digital camera could be found easily, but be careful with its quality. Image printing from both negative film or digital file are obtainable in cities and towns. The tourists say that the negative film is cheaper than abroad.
One-hour service photo shops have become ubiquitous in places where tourists abound. Positive film can be developed only in Saigon and Hanoi..
Shopping: The following items are quite unique and have good quality:
* Carved wooden furniture, fine lacquer ware (these can be shipped home upon request).
* Traditional Vietnamese hand-made silk, linen and cotton dresses, kimonos, embroideries, etc.
* Simulated antiques, ceramics, old watches or Zippo lighters, etc.
* Copies of famous paintings.
Taxi: Taxis with meters are available in big cities. The current price is about US$ 0.5 per kilometer. Most metered taxi drivers can speak a little English in Saigon and Hanoi
Business hours: (GMT + 7)
* Offices: 07:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 01:00 p.m. to 04:30 p.m., closed on Saturday and Sundays
* Banks: 08:00 a.m to 03:00 p.m, closed on Friday afternoons, Saturday and Sunday.
Electrical current: 110-220 volts A.C.
Telephone: Long distance calls should be made at post offices, hotels or telephone booths (phone cards are available at post offices).
Internet: Internet cafes with ADSL can be found easily in Vietnam. Cost for an hour is around 0,5US$.
Tip and Gratuities: Tipping is not obligatory in Vietnam, however, if you meet with exceptional services or kindness, a tip is always appreciated. A tip for good service might be about 5% of the bill.
Bargaining: Bargaining is a way of life in much of South East Asia. In Vietnam shops don’t have fixed prices so the shop keeper will start with a high price which you are then expected to bargain down until you reach a fair price. Bargaining should always be relaxed and can be a lot of fun but you should remember that it is considered disrespectful to agree a price but then walk away.
Laundry: Most of the hotels we use in Vietnam provide a laundry service although this can be quite expensive, sometimes as much as US$1 per item. Alternatively the side streets of most towns and cities are teeming with laundries where the average cost per kilo of laundry is US$0.70.
Others : .
When visiting temples or pagodas: Knees and shoulders should be covered
Leave your passport, papers, air tickets and other important things in the hotel safe.
Take a hotel card before going out, so you can easily contact your hotel in case you lose your way.
Call a taxi instead of a Motorbike taxi when going out in the evening.
Take a careful look before crossing streets, especially in Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi.