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Traveling to Vietnam from UK (Flights, Visa Requirements, Travel Tips)

INTRODUCTION Why Vietnam is a popular travel destination Attention, travellers from the UK! Prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Vietnam, a Southeast Asian gem with stunning scenery, rich culture, ... Read more

Gin Nguyen

  • April 15, 2023
  • Travel Guide
  • 258

INTRODUCTION

Why Vietnam is a popular travel destination

Attention, travellers from the UK! Prepare for an unforgettable adventure in Vietnam, a Southeast Asian gem with stunning scenery, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. From the bustling cities of Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi to the serene landscape of Halong Bay and the majestic and enigmatic mountains of Ha Giang, Vietnam has something for every traveller. The country is home to stunning beaches, lush forests, and towering mountains, making it an ideal place for nature lovers. Vietnam is also famous for its delicious cuisine, come and indulge in the flavours of pho, banh mi, and fresh seafood that will leave you craving for more. With so much to offer, it’s no wonder that Vietnam has become a popular travel destination for adventurers, culture seekers, and foodies alike.

Flights from the UK to Vietnam

Luckily, there are several airlines that offer direct flights from London Heathrow or London Gatwick to either Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City, such as Vietnam Airlines and Bamboo Airways. These flights can take anywhere from 11 to 14 hours, depending on the airline and route you choose. And if you don’t live near London, don’t worry – there are also connecting flights available from other UK airports such as Manchester, Birmingham, and Edinburgh. These flights are typically operated by British Airways, Emirates, Qatar Airways, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, and Thai Airways. For foodies, we recommend checking out Vietnamese airlines as they offer a delicious sneak peek of the local cuisine that’s sure to tantalise your taste buds for a long journey.

Visa Requirements for UK Citizens

Visa types and fees

British nationals planning a trip to Vietnam will need to obtain an e-Visa. This will allow you to engage in various activities, including tourism, visiting loved ones, exploring business opportunities, working on a temporary basis, and even getting some short-term medical treatment. Once approved, your e-visa is valid for 30 days from the date of entry.

How to apply for a Vietnamese visa

Getting a Vietnamese visa is a breeze and can be done online via the embassy or through a trustworthy travel agency. The process usually takes around 3-5 working days, but during peak travel seasons, it may take a little longer. Just remember to plan ahead and allow enough time to get your visa sorted before your trip.

Visa exemptions for UK citizens

Great news for UK citizens planning a short trip to Vietnam! You can stay up to 15 days without a visa. Just remember to check that your passport is valid for at least six months from your entry date, and you’re all set! But do keep in mind that visa regulations can change over time, so it’s always wise to stay up-to-date before your travels. For more information, visit here.

When is the best time to visit Vietnam

Vietnam’s diverse climate due to its long coastline is something to be savoured, and there’s never a bad time to visit. The northern region has four distinct seasons, making it a great place to visit for those who love cooler temperatures and vibrant autumn colours. In the central region, there’s a tropical monsoon climate with high rainfall and frequent typhoons, so the best time to visit is during the dry season, from February to August. The south has a tropical climate with two seasons – rainy and dry, but it’s a year-round destination with pleasant temperatures and lots of sunshine. To sum up, Vietnam has something for everyone. Get ready for an exciting adventure to a beautiful Vietnam any time of the year! It’s up to you to bring your bathing suits, sunglasses, trekking shoes, and anything else you might need.

Getting around in Vietnam

There are plenty of transportation options for travellers, including domestic flights, trains, buses, and taxis. Domestic flights are ideal for long distances or when time is limited, while trains offer comfortable seating and scenic routes. Buses are the most common and cost-effective mode of transportation, while taxis are convenient for short distances if you use reputable companies.

To make the most of travelling within Vietnam, plan ahead, and be flexible with your itinerary to account for delays and unexpected changes. Another fun way to get around Vietnam is by trying popular app-based transportation services like Be, Grab, and Gojek which offer a variety of vehicles and trusted licensed drivers.

Accommodation 

Vietnam has some amazing destinations that attract many tourists. The most popular ones are Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Halong Bay, and the beach towns of Da Nang and Nha Trang… These places offer a wide variety of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxurious resorts to charming homestays and budget-friendly guesthouses, there’s something for everyone. So, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or both, Vietnam has got you covered with its amazing places to stay.

Food and Drinks

Vietnamese cuisine is a significant part of the country’s identity. Our food is fresh, flavourful, and healthy – a perfect combo that makes it a must-try when you’re in Vietnam. It’s not a joke that Vietnamese people take our food seriously, and so should you!

Traditional Vietnamese Cuisine

One of the great things about Vietnamese cuisine is how diverse it is! This is partly because of the country’s geography, which has allowed different regions to develop their own special dishes and flavours. So it’s impossible to define “traditional Vietnamese cuisine”. However, there are some common features such as rice being a beloved staple in Vietnam – you’ll find it served alongside just about every dish or using herbs and spices to add a significant taste to dishes. 

Popular Dishes to Try

Pho and Banh Mi are the most popular Vietnamese dishes, and they’re everywhere. You’ll find hundreds of different types of rice noodles and Banh Mi with different fillings in different regions of the country. For seafood lovers, Vietnam won’t disappoint you. 

Vietnamese desserts are a treat for your taste buds! Che, a sweet dessert soup made with beans, coconut milk, and fruit, is a must-try. And if you’re feeling adventurous, consider indulging in a sweet treat flavoured with durian- a unique delicacy!

Best Places to Eat in Vietnam

Street food is our go-to when it comes to finding the best places to eat in Vietnam. It is known for its quality, affordability, and diverse flavours. You’ll find vendors serving up delicious dishes from carts and stalls all over the country.

If street food isn’t your thing, don’t worry. Restaurants and cafes are places which offer traditional Vietnamese cuisine in a more formal setting. Just ask the locals or check online reviews to find the best ones.

Safety and Security

Vietnam is generally a safe country to explore and enjoy, but taking some simple precautions can help ensure your safety and security while travelling. Petty theft and pickpocketing can happen in some big cities, so it’s important to keep an eye on your surroundings and belongings and avoid flaunting expensive jewellery or carrying too much cash. When using taxis or motorbikes, it’s a good idea to stick with reputable companies and agree on the fare upfront.

To have a worry-free trip in Vietnam, it’s also a good idea to be mindful of potential scams and avoid risky situations. Take care when using ATMs, as card skimming can be an issue. If offered drinks or food from strangers, it’s best to exercise caution, as drink spiking can happen in some areas. By keeping these simple tips in mind, you can stay safe and enjoy all the incredible experiences Vietnam offers!

Culture and Etiquette in Vietnam

Get ready to immerse yourself in the unique and diverse culture of Vietnam! This lovely country is heavily influenced by Confucianism, which teaches the values of respect, authority, and education. When you’re there, it can be helpful to keep a few local customs in mind to ensure a smooth trip. For example, make sure to dress modestly and remove your shoes before entering temples. Or while Vietnamese are one the friendliest people on earth, we don’t usually greet each other or strangers by hugging or kissing. Lastly, be mindful of the country’s history and sensitive topics like wars. By showing respect for these cultural do’s and don’ts, you’re sure to have an amazing trip to Vietnam!

Popular Destinations

Here’s a quick glance at the top spots to explore:

Hanoi – The capital city of Vietnam, Hanoi is a vibrant and bustling city with a rich history and culture.

Ho Chi Minh City – Formerly known as Saigon, this city is the economic heart of Vietnam. 

Ha Long Bay – One of Vietnam’s most famous natural wonders, Ha Long Bay is a stunning collection of limestone islands and caves.

Hoi An – This ancient town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-visit destination for anyone travelling to Vietnam. 

Sapa – Located in the northern highlands of Vietnam, Sapa is known for its stunning rice terraces and vibrant hill-tribe culture. 

Off the beaten track Destinations

If you have extra time, we’ve listed some offbeat destinations: 

Pu Luong Nature Reserve

Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park

Con Dao Islands

Ha Giang Loop

Activities and Experiences

Here’re some of the top things to do in Vietnam that you won’t want to miss out on:

  • Beaches and watersports: Vietnam boasts beautiful beaches along the coastline, where you can enjoy a range of watersports like kayaking, snorkelling, and scuba diving.
  • Trekking and hiking: For outdoor enthusiasts, you’ve come to the right place. There are countless trails that will lead you through breathtaking natural landscapes, from the rice terraces in the northern mountains to the stunning Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park.
  • Cultural experiences: Take a stroll through ancient temples and pagodas, enjoy a traditional water puppet show, or attend a cooking class, for a cultural immersion…
  • Adventure activities: Adventure seekers won’t be disappointed with plenty of adrenaline-fueled experiences to choose from, such as zip lining, bungee jumping, and rock climbing.
  • Shopping in Vietnam: With its bustling markets and street vendors, Vietnam is truly a shopping paradise where you can find everything from unique handmade crafts by local artists or have customised clothing designed for you at a reasonable price.

Currency and Money Matters

The official currency is the Vietnamese dong (VND). The exchange rate can vary depending on where and when you exchange money. Online money transfer services like TransferWise and Tap Tap Send can be handy for checking the current exchange rates before you hit the road. However, the US dollar and euro are widely accepted, and you can exchange money at airports, banks, or currency exchange centres throughout the country. If you’re in big cities, you’ll find ATMs readily available, but smaller towns may have limited options. To avoid any issues with using cards, it’s best to bring cash with you and exchange it upon arrival. While credit card usage is becoming more common, not all businesses in Vietnam accept credit or debit cards, especially street vendors.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Vietnam is a fascinating travel destination for UK travellers, with its stunning natural scenery, rich culture, and delicious cuisine. Direct and connecting flights to Vietnam are accessible from London and several other UK airports. E-visa application is straightforward, and UK citizens can stay in Vietnam for up to 15 days without a visa. Vietnam has a diverse climate, hence there’s never a bad time to visit. Transportation options include domestic flights, trains, buses, taxis, and app-based transportation services. Accommodation options range from luxurious resorts to charming homestays and budget-friendly guesthouses. Finally, Vietnamese cuisine is diverse and healthy, with different regions offering their own unique flavours.

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