The Hotel Stamp is getting more and more important for when you
leave Vietnam/apply for an extension (which is itself becoming
extremely hard to get). Only official hotels have a hotel stamp and
they charge official prices for you to stay there (in part because
they have to give half their foreign revenue to the government over
and above a substantial "foreign licensing" fee). If you want the
stamp but not the overnight then offer one of the desk staff a few
dollars to borrow their stamp.
It is almost impossible to find lodgings during Tet holidays. Book
in advance and sit tight through the holiday or you may be spending
some nights out on the street.
You are generally not charged extra for an extra person in the room.
You will probably be charged extra for a second bed, even if you're
not using it. To avoid confusion (and surcharges) over the various
interpretations of "single", "twin", and "double", go have a look at
the room to be sure you're getting what you want.
Taxis with meters are available in big cities. The current price is
about US$ 0.5 per kilometer. A taxi ride from Tan Son Nhat Airport
(Ho Chi Minh City) to downtown Ho Chi Minh City costs about US$4. A
taxi ride from Noi Bai Airport (Ha Noi) to downtown Ha Noi costs
abouts US$15. Most metered taxi drivers speak little English. In HCM
City, Saigontourist runs a fleet of red-painted cabs.
The traditional means of transport in remote areas is waterways. Ship of all types together
with the river and the wharf, are familiar in the Vietnamese geological and
humanitarian images. So if you want to make trips to such places like Mekong
Delta, be prepared to go by this means. Super trips!
The following items are preferred by foreign travellers:
- Carved wooden furniture, fine lacquerware (these can be shipped
home upon request).
- Traditional Vietnamese hand-made silk dresses, kimonos,
- Simulated antiques, fine ceramics, old watches or Zippo lighters,
- Copies of famous artist paintings
- As with any big city, do not bring items of value as you go
shopping or sightseeing on city streets.
- It is customary to give alms to beggars and to buy souvenirs
from street vendors.
- Foreign currencies should be exchanged at banks, or authorized
exchange facilities. Do not exchange money in the street.
- It is advisable NOT to take pedicabs or "honda-om" on your own.