Vietnam is a kaleidoscope of vivid colours, honking horns, chaotic traffic, friendly faces, intricate history, rich culture and a foodies’ fantasy.
This gem of Asia is intoxicating in every sense. It is a paradox, with a communist government and a capitalist economy that is predicted to be the world’s fastest growing within a decade.
Quick Facts about Vietnam:
Largest city: Ho Chi Minh
Population: 92 million
Area: 331,698 square km
Currency/Exchange rate: 1 AUD= 19462 VND (dong)
Motorbikes: It’s estimated 10 million motorbikes take to the roads in Vietnam every day
Literacy: Vietnam has an enviable literacy rate of 94 per cent
Exports: Vietnam is the largest exporter of cashews and the second largest exporter of rice
Language: The Vietnamese Alphabet has 13 vowels, 22 consonants, 3 diphthongs and 2 semivowels; there are 6 tones that can completely change the meaning of the word
Australian Exports to Vietnam (2011-2012): A $2 037 000
Imports from Vietnam (2011-2012): A $2 842 000
- Cross the road in a busy city like a local. Try not to squeal as you run across the road and motorbikes dart around you.
- Do as the locals do and eat street food. It is cheap, fresh, vibrant and delicious.
- Delve into the bustling markets, the life blood of every community.
- Haggle with a cyclo driver about the price and enjoy a unique view of the chaos.
- Meet the minority groups in the mountains.
- Wander through the emerald-green paddy fields to discover rural Vietnam.
- Before travelling overseas register your travel and contact details online at smarttraveller.gov.au or the local Australian embassy. Also, always check the latest travel advice to ensure that you are fully prepared for your destination.
- Travel insurance is essential. Vietnam is relatively safe however when travelling anywhere, the unexpected can always happen. Ensure it covers you for everywhere you go and everything you intend to do to avoid any surprises.
- Make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home.
- Make sure your passport has at least six months validity from your planned date of return to Australia.
- Check with health professionals for information on recommended vaccinations and other health precautions.
- Obey the laws and don’t give in to the stereotype that some in Asia have of Australians.
To help Australians avoid difficulties overseas, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has important travel advice for most of its destinations at www.smarttraveller.gov.au .