On the road?

The Leaping Lemurs

Charities

VIETNAM
Updated: Jan2013
Introduction

Vietnam, in Southeast Asia, stretches 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) north to south, but is only about 40 kilometers (25 miles) wide at its narrowest point near the country's center. The Red River delta lowlands in the north are separated from the huge Mekong Delta in the south by long, narrow coastal plains backed by the forested Annam highlands. Hanoi, the capital, is the main city on the Red River and Ho Chi Minh City, or Saigon, is the main city on the Mekong.

Independent for almost a thousand years, Vietnam fell prey to French colonialism in the mid-19th century. During Japanese occupation in World War II, communist leader Ho Chi Minh formed the Vietminh, an alliance of communist and non-communist nationalist groups. Armed struggle won independence in 1954 and led to the partition of Vietnam.

For two decades noncommunist South Vietnam, aided by the U.S., fought North Vietnam, backed by China and the Soviet Union. American troops withdrew in 1973, and two years later South Vietnam fell. In 1976 the country was reunified under a communist regime.

To replace support lost when the U.S.S.R. dissolved, economic policy encouraged a free-market system as well as trade with the West. Vietnam saw dramatic economic progress throughout most of the 1990s. In 1995 the U.S. resumed diplomatic relations. Economic growth stalled, however, with the Asian financial crisis. A stock exchange was launched in 2000, and Vietnam has seen increasing levels of foreign investment.


Visa

Do I need a visa before departure?

Visas are issued at the airport but you must have a letter of recommendation before you depart.

How do I get a Visa?

You can apply online for a visa and you will be emailed a letter of recommendation. You will need to print this out and take it to with you. You will then be issued with your visa at the airport when you arrive in Vietnam.

What do I need?

At the visa on arrival desk at the airport you will need to provide

Letter of recommendation

Completed arrival form (available online and at the airport

Two passport photographs

Visa fee USD 25 per person

How long does the process take?

Letters of recommendation are normally emailed within 5 working days there is an express service that will send your letter within one day at an extra cost.

How much does it cost?

You pay a processing fee for the letter of recommendation. This is reduced if you make a group application. You then pay a further US$ 25 at the airport. See the table below.

Is it possible to extend my visa once I have arrived?

Yes. You can extend your visa in either Hanoi or Saigon. 

Fast Facts

Currency
Dong

Exchange Rates
$1 = 20,800d
€1 = 27,700d
£1 = 33,400d

Capital City
Hanoi

Main Religion
Tamgiao

Main Language
Vietnamese

Telephone Code
+84

Time zone
GMT +7 hours

Emergency Numbers
Ambulance 115
Fire 114
Police 113

Best Banks
Donga: normally no ATM charge
AGRI:
Smallest charges we could find.


Climate: When to go?
The climate of north and south Vietnam differ greatly, with generally a hot tropical climate in the south and hot summers and col winters in the north. The monsoon season is between May and October which brings rain to most of the country. The central coast can experience typhoons between August and November.

Where to go?

Cities

Hanoi (Hà Nội) - the capital and second largest city

Dalat (Đà Lạt) - the largest city in the highlands

Ho Chi Minh City (Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh) - the largest city and the main economic centre of the country, formerly Saigon (Sài Gòn)

Hoi An (Hội An) - delightfully well-preserved ancient port, near the ruins of Mỹ Sơn.

Da Nang ((Đà Nẵng) - the third largest city

Hue (Huế) - former home of Vietnam's emperors

Nha Trang - burgeoning beach resort

Phan Thiet (Phan Thiết) - "the resort capital" with Mui Ne beach.

Vinh - the major city in northern Vietnam with very nice Cua lo beach.


Other destinations

Con Dao (Côn Đảo) - island off the Mekong Delta

Cu Chi (Củ Chi) - site of the Cu Chi Tunnels

Cuc Phuong National Park - home to some of Asia's rarest wildlife and the Muong hill tribe

The DMZ

Ha Long Bay (Vịnh Hạ Long) - famous for its unearthly scenery

Kontum - relaxed little town providing access to a number of ethnic minority villages

My Son - ancient Hindu ruins which are a a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Tay Ninh (Tây Ninh) - main temple of the Cao Đài

Tam Coc (Tam Cốc) - un Ninh Binh province south of Hanoi with Ha Long Bay-like scenery




The Leaping Lemur Group
Our Chosen Charities.

There are no charges for receiving information on this site, because this is about sharing the latest information and not making money. That said, please take the time to look at some of the charities that we've highlighted beneath, and if you want to "pay" for the information you've downloaded, then look into some of these worthy causes.
Elli xx



Operation Smile

Our Cause: Operation Smile provides free surgery to repair cleft lips, cleft palates and other facial deformities for children around the globe... [more]


Mine Awareness Group

We work with conflict-affected communities to identify their needs, removing land mines and unexploded ordnance, and helping those people in contaminated areas to live more safely. [more]




Animal Asia

Animals Asia Foundation is devoted to the welfare of wild and urban animals in Asia. We also work towards the conservation of endangered species. We have three flagship programmes: End Bear Farming, Cat and Dog Welfare and Action against Cruelty... [more]


Project HOPE

Since 1958, Project HOPE has worked to make health care available for people around the globe. We are committed to long-term sustainable health care. Our work includes educating health professionals and community health workers, strengthening health facilities, fighting diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS and diabetes and providing humanitarian assistance through donated medicines, medical supplies and volunteer medical help... [more]


The Leaping Lemur





Suggested Routes
If you've been to Thailand and have a route that you could suggest then why not let us know? Otherwise, if it is your first time in Thailand, have a look at some of our readers suggestions.

Must See!
Vietnam

Must See!
Cambodia

Must See! 
Thailand

Must See!
Sri Lanka

Must see!
Malaysia