Tips for Travelling to Vietnam

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. As of 2012, the population of Vietnam was estimated at just over 90 million and it is the world’s 13th most populous country. Bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest and the South China Sea to the east, it makes an excellent base to explore Indochina. However, there is plenty to see without leaving Vietnam and over 100,000 British nationals every year decide that Vietnam holidays are the holidays for them.

But before you head off for the airport, a little planning is required to ensure that your Vietnam tour is a success. Firstly, you need to think about vaccinations. The risks to health will vary from individual to individual and many issues need to be taken into account, such as the planned activities, length of stay and the general health of the traveller. It is generally recommended that you plan to visit your GP around 6-8 weeks before your intended date of travel. It is a good opportunity to discuss important travel health issues such as safe food and water, accidents, sun exposure and insect bites. Many of the problems experienced by travellers can be prevented by vaccinations and a little common sense. For Vietnam holidays, the courses or boosters usually recommended are hepatitis A, tetanus and typhoid. Other vaccines to consider are cholera, diphtheria, hepatitis B, encephalitis and rabies. A yellow fever vaccination certification may also be required and it is advisable to take precautions against malaria.

Please be aware that, for Vietnam holidays, a visa is required for UK citizens and you must make sure that you get the correct visa for the purpose and destination of your trip. The safest option is to get a visa from the Vietnamese embassy before you travel. Vietnamese visas are usually valid for single entry only so, if you plan to leave Vietnam and re-enter from another country, make sure you get a multiple visit visa.

It is absolutely essential to be fully covered by travel insurance and most Vietnam tour operators make it a condition of booking. When selecting a travel insurance policy most require, as a minimum, that you are covered for medical expenses (including emergency repatriation) and that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

Since the introduction of the first direct flights from the UK, it has never been quicker or simpler to fly to Vietnam. It is now possible to fly direct from London Gatwick to Hanoi in around 12 hours. If you don’t mind stopovers, then it is possible to fly from several UK regional airports, stopping off at various cities in the Middle or Far East.

Finally, drinking the tap water is not recommended in Vietnam. Buy bottled water or fill a reusable water bottle or canteen with filtered water instead. It is also advisable to avoid ice in drinks and peel fruit and vegetables before eating.

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