Language

“Xin Chao: – Hello
“Tam Biet” – Goodbye
“Cam On” – Thank You
“Oi Troi Oi, Dat Qua” – Oh my God, Too Expensive!

Nightlife

Hanoi’s nightlife is on the up and now there is a good selection of bars and restaurants, although the city can still seem a little quiet after 10pm. Elsewhere there are bares and restaurants but the choice is limited.
Government restrictions mean that venues are unable to stayy open very late. Imported drinks are considerably more expensive than local ones and alcohol sold in the more upmarket places to the bars but nightclubs generally charge around US$5. The dress code is very relaxed with no restrictions on jeans or trainers. Gambling is illegal in for the Vietnamese but is allowed by foreign passport holders.

Shopping

Hanoi is bargain hunter’s paradise and the streets are awash with little shops selling all manner of items. Hanoi’s Old Quarter is particularly excellent for visitors with shops selling clothes, gold, embroidered tablecloths and handbags. Markets are always great places to enjoy the local flavour and buy souvernirs. Remember to haggle! Tourists are often charged around four times local price.

Currency

Vietnamese Dong – VND
USD can also be used in most places, however you will get better value when purchasing using the local currency. We recommend however you bring USD with you as well. You can get about 19,000 VND for 1 USD.
Foreign Exchange

The US Dollar is the most favored foreign currency. Australian, British, Japanese, Singaporean anf Thai currency, as well as the Euro, can usually be changed in the larger cities; great difficulty may be encountered in trying to exchange for changing money in banks

Credit/Debit Card and ATMs

Credit and Debit Cards are all easily used in the major cities however foreign cards can be an issue outside the cities. Best to have plenty of cash before heading out to remote areas. In the cities ATM’s are frequently available. Of cuorse all banks have their own charges and fees and international withdrawls can add up quire quickly. Also it is the best to notify your bank that you are heading overseas so they don’t suspect fraud and put a cancel on any of your cards.

Banking Hours

Generally banks are from 8am till 11.30am then again from 1pm till 4pm. The larger intenational banks such as HSBC are open all day. The banks can be pretty tough in terms of the documentation you have to provide so make sure you have your passport when dealing with tellers

Travellers Checques

These are accepter in some hotels and banks, however it is limited on where you can exchange nowadays. To avoide additional exchange rate charges, travelers are advised to take travellers cheques in US Dollars.
Our recommendation is to utilise ATM facilities opposed to travellers cheques for ease

Weather

Because of its geography, the climate in varies greatly from north to south. Tropical monsoons occur from May to October in yhe north and south and from September to January in the centre. It is almost totally dry throughout the rest of the year. Hot and humid in the summer pushing 40 degrees celcius at times.

Food

Vietnamese cooking is varied and usually very good. It is a mixture of Vietnamese, Chinese and French traditions, with a plethora of regional specialties. As in all countries of the region, rice or noodles usually provide the basis of a meal. Not surprisingly, fish is plentiful.

- Breakfast is generally noodle soup locally known as Pho
- French-style baguettes are available throughout
- Nem (spring rolls – pork mixed with noodles, eggs and mushrooms wrapped rice papper, fried and served hot)
- Banh Chung (Glutinous rice, pork and onions wrapped in large leaves and cooked for up to 48 hours, to be eaten cold ar any time)
- Vietnamese dishes are not complete without Nuoc Mam, a fermented fish sauce

Drink

- Green tea is refreshing and available everywhere.
- The French culinary legacy embraces rich, fresh, filter coffer, usually brewed on the table in front of the customer
- Bia hoi, a local draught beer available at street stalls everywhere. It is not only cheap, but free of additives. Other beer worth a go Bia Hanoi and Halida
- Rice wine is also a favorite throughout the country. It is generally extremely potent

Tipping

Tipping is now quite customary, especially in tourist areas. Upscale restaurants and hotels may add a 5 to 10% services charge to the bill. In this case tipping is not required. But generally out and about there is no need to to tip unless you were really impressed with the service.

Health

It’s always a good idea to take out the relevant health insurance for what area you atr travelling to and SE Asia is no exception. Check with your doctor before you come over and make sure you get the right jabs.

© 2011 Hanoi Sans Souci Hotel