Unlike some of its neighbours, Vietnam hasn’t become too Westernised, giving you the chance to experience authentic Asia.

As well as traditional sightseeing, shopping and the local cuisine, you can have wonderful off-the-beaten-track experiences such as staying with a local family in the Northern mountains, watching a spectacular sunrise in Hoi An or sand-surfing with local kids in Mui Ne.

Vietnam is still great for budget travellers, as it’s possible to travel cheaply but well. There are affordable 5-star resorts in Da Nang, while in the 3 and 4 star markets there is a lot of good quality accommodation.

Experience the local culture in Hoi An or for shopping, try the Ben Thanh markets in Ho Chi Minh City. For some quiet time by the sea, check out the world heritage-listed Halong Bay, full of beautiful mountains, water, clouds, caves and grottos.

Vietnam is more than just its war history – there are lots of wonderful nature parks to visit, or you can see the many layers of traditional Vietnamese architecture alongside French Colonial styles in most major cities.

If you visit during the time of Tet, the Vietnamese New Year, you’ll be treated to an ocean of colourful flowers including peach and apricot trees, which are Tet symbols.

Food is a mixture of Asian-style, though lighter than Malaysian or Thai food, and French cuisine from its colonial past. The national dish is pho, but fresh vegetables and seafood, and herbs such as mint and coriander also feature widely. Or try an amazing croissant and café au lait for breakfast – it’s as good as anything this side of Paris!

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5 useful phrases in Vietnamese

Hello Xin chao
My name is… Ten toi la…
Thank you Cam on
Goodbye Tam biet
How much? Bao nhieu?

For more useful words and phrases in Vietnamese, visit the Insight Guides website.

Risks of travelling to Vietnam

Vietnam’s traffic is extremely busy and unruly, and traffic accidents are common. We recommend you avoid driving or riding a motorbike and take great care when negotiating road crossings.


Pick-pocketing, snatch-and-grab assault, and street crime and harassment do occur, especially in crowded areas and tourist spots, though less common than in other parts of Asia.

Beware of drink spiking in bars, and take appropriate precautions. Also beware of gambling scams, especially if you are invited to someone’s home. Gambling is against many local laws, which also apply to tourists.

There have been some reports of scams involving online visa applications. You can get a visa from the consulate on arrival in Vietnam, and this is recommended over purchasing online.


Dengue fever and Japanese encephalitis are prevalent, and there is a risk of malaria, rabies and cholera. It is best to drink bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

The standard of medical care in Vietnam varies and is likely to be much lower than Western standards. Foreign private medical clinics are available in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Vung Tau and Da Nang, but may not meet Australian standards. Medical evacuation can be necessary even for minor procedures.

Doctors and hospitals generally expect cash payment before treating you, even if it’s an emergency. Some hospitals may contact your travel insurance company if you need treatment, but others may expect upfront payment.


Vietnam has two monsoon seasons – winter monsoon from October to March, bringing damp and chilly winters to the north and dry and warm temperatures to the south. From May to October, the summer monsoon brings hot, humid weather to the flatter parts of the country. During these times, beware of heavy rain and associated health risks, and flooding.

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The cost of skipping travel insurance

In 2014, Worldcare helped 23 Australians who travelled to Vietnam, ran into trouble and made a claim on their travel insurance policy.

Most of our total claims cost for Vietnam last year was for medical and hospital expenses (62%). Another common claim type was luggage and personal effects (30%).

If you are injured or get sick while travelling in Vietnam, you can expect to be out of pocket an average of AUD $1,361 without travel insurance.

If your luggage or personal effects are lost or stolen in Vietnam, it could cost you an average of AUD $681 without insurance.

So it’s worth considering travel insurance, which may save you considerable cost and trouble.

Worldcare has a range of travel insurance options and inclusions to suit any Vietnam holiday budget – even if yours is limited.*

*Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. Refer to the Product Disclosure Statement for details.

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Worldcare Travel Insurance: Worldcare and Allianz Global Assistance are trading names of AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 AFSL 245631 which issues and manages travel insurance as agent for the insurer Allianz Australia Insurance Limited ABN 15 000 122 850 AFSL 234708. Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. We do not provide any advice on this insurance based on any consideration of your objectives, financial status or needs. Before making a decision please consider the Product Disclosure Statement. If you purchase a policy we receive a commission which is a percentage of your premium - ask us for more details before we provide you with any services on this product.

Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance: Terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply. See Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance Terms & Conditions for details. Worldcare Emergency Home Assistance is provided by AWP Australia Pty Ltd ABN 52 097 227 177 trading as Allianz Global Assistance.