Common Questions and Answers about Vietnam
What are the typical costs of your Vietnam private tours?
If booking a private tour with us, costs can range from $250/day/person for staying in nice 3-star quality hotels to over $500/day/person in high-end luxury hotels. Staying in small luxury boutique hotels can cost an average of $300 to $400/day/person. These cost estimates include not just accommodation, but also internal flights, airport transfers, tours and activities, entrance fees, private guides, and private vehicles with driver.
What are the benefits of a private tour?
There are so many that it’s hard to quantify, but here’s a few major benefits: 1) the tour is customized for your interests, which means you get to see and do the things you’re most interested in. 2) you’re not running on a fixed daily schedule, which means you have flexibility to stay as long as you want or move on early from something or even skip it altogether if that’s what you decide on the spot. 3) We’re able to design the activities at popular sights to avoid the crowds!
Is the water safe to drink?
It’s generally best to avoid tap water and ask about the source of water in restaurants, but ice is usually safe. It’s best to use bottled or purified water in hotels to drink…and brush your teeth.
Is it possible to use my mobile phone from North America in Vietnam?
Yes, 4G connectivity is very good in Vietnam. Some providers, like T-Mobile allow for free unlimited data internationally, though it is usually at a 2g speed. However, that’s often good enough for texts and emails, using Google maps, and some browsing. If you’re staying long enough and always want good data access while you’re out and about, buy a local SIM card with a data plan for your phone. They’re quite inexpensive.
What electrical adapters are needed?
Almost all hotels have US-style outlets that are fine for plugging in electronics. However, the voltage is 240 volts, so be sure your devices can handle that. Most can!
What’s the best way to get local currency?
The Vietnamese currency is the “dong”, VND. Notes come in 10,000 to 500,000 denominations. The exchange rate in March 2021 is roughly 23,000 dong per US dollar.
ATMs may be the best way to get local currency and are plentiful and most accept international debit cards. They charge from 25,000 to 50,000 dong, which is roughly $1 to $3 per transaction. Be sure to withdraw local currency in larger cities and mid-sized towns as smaller villages are not as likely to have ATMs.
You can also exchange US dollars cash at banks, currency exchange vendors, hotels, and gold and jewelry shops. Be sure to have notes that are in pristine condition. Worn and torn notes may not be accepted.
Upscale hotels, shops, restaurants, and markets will accept credit cards. However, small shops and restaurants will not.
Do I need to tip?
Tipping is expected by private guides and drivers, however, the amount depends on the quality of service. Generally for private guides, we recommend about $5 to $10 per person per full day in your group and about $3 to $4 for drivers. For example: if you’re a couple and you’re in Saigon for two days and have a full schedule of tours and airport transfers and you’re very happy with everything, tip the guide about $40 and the driver about $15.
Elsewhere such as restaurants, taxi drivers, and hotel staff, tipping is not expected but can be an appreciated surprise. Try to give the money directly to the person you want to tip so that you can be sure they get it.
Taxis in Vietnam
Throughout Vietnam, there are really only two reputable cab companies: Mai Linh and Vinasun. Don’t use other companies as they are more likely going to try to take advantage of you. Make sure the meter is running! A trip should cost roughly 20,000 VND per kilometer.