COUNTRY DESCRIPTION: Vietnam is a developing, mainly agrarian country that is moving from a centrally-planned economy to a market economy. Political control rests with the Communist Party. Tourist facilities can be basic in rural areas but are increasingly well established in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and some beach and mountain resorts.

Climate: Vietnam experiences a fair degree of diversity in climate

In the North:  November to March:  around 17 degrees, it’s the winter time and it can get quite chilly. April, it starts to get warmer.  May to September: summer time, it is humid and hot and the temperature can rise to 35 degrees in June-July. It is also the monsoon season.

In the Center: from April to October, it is dry and hot and from November to March, it gets a bit colder and got the monsoon season. Also, storms and typhoons strike this area more frequently than the northern coasts in summer months from July to November.

In the South: it is typical humid tropical climate with its 25 degrees all year round.

Vietnam has a hot and humid tropical climate, casual and lightweight clothing is best. A jacket might be needed on cool winter evenings or in hotels and restaurants using excessive air-conditioning.

Use an insect repellent against mosquitoes

A hat and high-factor sun cream is advisable as protection against the hot sun when sightseeing outdoors.

Exchange & formalities:  The local currency is the Dong, but USD is accepted in most places. The rate of exchange is approximately 21,000 VND to one U.S. Dollar. Credit Cards and Travelers’ Cheques are accepted at most of hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops but in major cities only. Visitors are recommended to carry US Dollar in small notes. Travelers can change their money for Vietnamese Dong (VND) at banks, hotels throughout the country but it had better to change at banks