Vietnam – The Essence of Indochina

With a history rich in ancient traditions and a geographical diversity that spans from the lush Mekong Delta to the misty mountains of Sapa, capturing the essence of Vietnam in a few lines is no easy feat. You can explore vibrant, historic, and modern cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Hue, and Hoi An. Not forgetting the stunning natural landscapes from the picturesque Halong Bay to the serene beaches of Da Nang. For many visitors, Vietnam isn't complete without exploring the ancient temples like the Perfume Pagoda or experiencing the vibrant street life and markets.


IMPORTANT – Our Vietnam tour may also combine with Laos and Cambodia. Please ensure you also check the requirements for entry to these countries, as they differ to those for Vietnam.**Requirements due to COVID-19 are constantly changing. Please check your own country's international travel advice as well as the airline requirements before travel.**

UK guests please see the UK Government Foreign Office Travel website for the latest entry and exit advice: 

US guests please see the Travel State website: 


British nationals can stay in Vietnam without a visa for up to 45 days for tourism. If you wish to stay longer than 45 days apply for an e-visa that allows a 90-day stay and multiple entries. 

U.S., and Canadian citizens typically require a visa for stays exceeding 15 days. Visa on Arrival (VOA) or e-Visa options are available; longer stays or other entry points may require a visa.

In advance of travel, you can apply at your relevant Vietnamese embassy or consulate. Online e-visa application prior to travel is also available for a number of countries. Alternatively, you can apply for a visa arrival in Vietnam. All nationalities must check the visa entry requirements before your departure.

Application to your Vietnamese Embassy:
Please check the relevant processing times and requirements with your individual embassy for applications in person, by post or by mail. For the USA, please see further details here:

• Visa-on-arrival at your designated point of entry into Vietnam (for US, Canadian and Mexican citizens)
If wishing to get your visa on arrival at the airport, you will require the following:

  • Valid passport, with a minimum of six months validity at the date of entry plus the length of validity of the visa, and containing at least 1 blank page
  • Completed application form, obtainable in the airport at the ‘Visa-on-Arrival Desk
  • Visa approval letter. This will be sent to you by email by The Big Journey Company. You must print it out and bring it with you to gain entry
  • A passport photographs, taken not more than one year ago
  • Visa fee – varies between USD 25 per person. To be paid in cash in dollars.

Apply online for an e-Visa:

  • Visit the website and follow the application process described. The service currently costs USD 25. It enables you to pass more quickly through the immigration process as queues are often lengthy.
  • Remember to bring a printed copy of the visa certificate with you for entry into Vietnam.
  • E-visas are valid for only within the dates specified on the e-visa for up to 30 days. Entry into Vietnam must be within the validity of the stated dates, but your time in the country cannot exceed them.
  • Please note, processing of the e-visa usually takes 3 working days but can take longer.

• Consular Information
There are a number of major international embassies located in Hanoi, including those for the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and UK. These 5 countries also have consulates in Ho Chi Minh City. However, embassies for other countries are located in other Asian cities, offering coverage to Vietnam. Please check with your relevant government for the relevant contact details.


Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months beyond your planned date of departure from Vietnam. Please ensure you fill out the "Emergency Next of Kin" section in your passport.

N.B. Visa and entry requirements, regulations, and restrictions can vary regularly. Ensure you check well in advance of travel the current requirements applicable to you.


Travel Insurance:

It is company policy that all passengers must have valid travel insurance prior to traveling, including but not limited to health insurance and cancellation insurance. It is vital that ALL members of the traveling party are fully insured for the dates of travel. All pre-existing medical conditions must be declared to the insurer, and the correct cover must be taken regarding the specific type of holiday you are taking.

The details of your insurance must be advised to The Big Journey Company at least six weeks before your departure date. Please make sure to write down important information from your insurance policy, such as the company’s 24hr emergency telephone number (including dial code from abroad) and your policy number, and take these with you on tour.

General Health:

Please talk to your doctor or travel health clinic in person at least eight weeks before you travel, where a health professional can provide you with the necessary health information for your personal needs. Wearing sunscreen, drinking plenty of water, washing your hands properly before eating, and avoiding insect bites should keep you healthy on tour.

We recommend you carry a simple travelers’ first-aid kit containing any basic items that you feel may be required, including remedies for minor stomach complaints. If you need to see a doctor during the tour, please speak to your Big Journey Company tour escort. Vietnam's climate varies, from tropical in the south to more temperate in the north, and it is advised to stay hydrated at all times. Sun hats and sunscreen are advisable.

Passengers with Disabilities or Reduced Mobility:

The Vietnam Tour is an Activity Level 2 tour and will require moderate physical activity and include various forms of transport. Please check our Activity Levels description page to see if this level is suitable for you or contact us if you require further information on the activities involved in the tour.

If you or any member of your party has any medical problem or disability that may affect your holiday, please provide us with full details before we confirm your booking, or as soon as possible at the time they occur, so that we can try to advise on the suitability of your chosen arrangements. Please note, we may require you to produce a doctor’s certificate certifying that you are fit to participate in the tour.

Medical Conditions and Personal Medication:

Please advise us prior to travel if you have any medical conditions requiring special attention during your trip. If you have a specific medical condition, it is wise to carry the relevant doctor’s prescription with you. Important: Pack a sufficient supply of any medications you are taking, copies of the prescriptions, and the telephone/fax numbers of your doctor.

Please note, some countries require that prescription drugs be carried in their original container, with the label clearly visible. In the event of you losing your medication, a qualified pharmacist should be able to source a replacement.


Please consult your doctor before traveling for the latest immunization information as well as advice according to your unique medical needs.

Traveling with CPAP or other Medical Machines:

Please inform The Big Journey Company that you are traveling with such a device as early as possible, and well before you travel. This is especially important in places where there may be issues with power supply. Also, check that you have the correct electrical and voltage adapters for the country and accommodation you are visiting; check with your airline that they allow your device to be carried as additional hand luggage and ensure that your device is easily accessible and properly labeled as medical machinery; always carry a letter from your medical practitioner prescribing its use for you; ensure you have details of your machine separately in case of the need to secure repairs/replacements while you are traveling; check with your medical practitioner about the use of tap or bottled water in the event that distilled water cannot be sourced in the country you are traveling to.

*Please note, if you require distilled or ionized water, you must inform The Big Journey Company of this at least two weeks ahead of travel, so we are able to make preparations with our ground agents. There will be an additional charge for this.

Special Dietary Requirements:

Please let us know in good time prior to travel if you have any special dietary requirements (e.g., vegetarian, vegan, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.). We will make every effort to accommodate your request with the resources available to us.


What to Pack and Wear:

We would recommend comfortable clothes and shoes for this tour. Feel free to include a smart-casual outfit for dinner if you wish; however, there is no pressure to follow a dress code.

Vietnam's climate varies significantly between regions and seasons. Pack lightweight and breathable clothing suitable for warm weather, along with a light jacket or raincoat for occasional showers. Insect repellent, sunglasses, a sun hat, and sun cream are essential items. Don't forget your camera, with charger/spare batteries and memory cards, and pack your swimming costume too if your itinerary includes beach or pool activities.


Laundry services are available in most hotels on the tour.


The official language of Vietnam is Vietnamese.


Vietnam is 7 hours ahead of London (GMT+7).


Vietnam has a diverse climate ranging from tropical in the south to subtropical in the north. There are two main seasons: the rainy season (May to October) and the dry season (November to April).


Vietnam operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz. You will need a power plug travel adapter for sockets type A, C, or F.



The currency of Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). Credit cards are accepted in major cities and tourist areas, but it is advisable to carry cash in smaller denominations for local purchases. ATMs are widely available.

Visa and Mastercard are commonly accepted, while other cards may have limited acceptance. If you intend to use your debit or credit cards while away, please notify your bank beforehand to avoid any issues with transactions.


After feedback from previous guests, we offer a group tipping package for this tour. Look out for more information in your pre-tour emails.


Vietnamese cuisine is known for its fresh flavors, featuring dishes like pho (noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), and fresh spring rolls, often incorporating herbs, seafood, and a variety of spices.


Tap water in Vietnam is generally not considered safe to drink. It is advisable for visitors to drink bottled or filtered water to avoid potential health issues, especially outside urban areas and popular tourist destinations.


Retail shops in Vietnam typically open from 8:00 AM to 10:00 PM, seven days a week. Local markets and street vendors often operate from early morning until late evening.


Vietnam is generally considered safe for travelers, with a growing tourism infrastructure. However, as with any travel destination, it is wise to stay informed about the current situation, follow local advice, and take standard safety precautions.


Smoking is banned in most indoor public places, but there are designated outdoor areas where people can smoke.


Vietnam has a diverse religious landscape, with the majority practicing Buddhism, followed by Catholicism, Protestantism, and other indigenous beliefs. Religious tolerance is generally observed.


Vietnam offers a wealth of photographic opportunities, from ancient temples and bustling markets to scenic landscapes and vibrant street scenes. Remember to pack your camera, along with the charger, spare batteries, and a spare memory card!


Please note, standard hotel check-in is around 2 pm to 3 pm, so should you arrive earlier than this, your room may not be available upon arrival. For those arriving early morning, we will do everything we can to work with the hotel to get you an earlier check-in subject to availability.


Please check your tour paperwork for hotel information relating to your tour departure.


  • Photocopy the personal information pages of your passport; leave one copy at home with a friend or family member, and take a copy with you, but pack it separately from the passport itself.
  • It is advisable to carry all your travel documentation as well as valuables and essential items in your hand luggage, such as a camera, toiletries, reading material, etc.
  • Duty-Free shopping is always tempting, but please check the current Duty-Free limits applicable in the country of your destination.
  • Longer flights can be made a little more enjoyable by wearing loose clothing and good, comfortable shoes. Walking in the aisles regularly, eating sensibly, and drinking plenty of fluids (not alcohol) is also advised.
  • Where possible, try to get some sleep during the flight and upon arrival at your destination. Most people adjust better to the local time if they wait until the evening before sleeping – this should relieve some of the effects of jet lag.

If you have any other questions that we have not covered here, please send us an e-mail to:

Please note, the above information is provided as a guideline only. Although every effort has been made to provide complete and accurate information, The Big Journey Company makes no warranties, express or implied, or representations as to the accuracy of content on this website. The Big Journey Company assumes no liability or responsibility for any error or omissions in the information contained on the website.

Updated June 2024

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Holiday tours are operated by The Big Journey Company Limited. Registered in England. Registered office: Marron Bank, Branthwaite, Cumbria, CA14 4SZ. Registered number: 6532140. The Big Journey Company Limited is a member of The Travel Trust Association member number U5675 and holds an Air Travel Organiser’s License number T7282.

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