Vietnam travel guide
Some destinations evoke mental images the moment their names are mentioned, and Vietnam is one of them. A frenetic and fascinating country, it calls to mind conical-hatted street vendors, water buffalo plodding across rice fields, mopeds buzzing through cities and floating markets on the Mekong River.
The days when Vietnam was best known for its conflict with America are long gone. From the temples of Hanoi and the islands of Halong Bay to the beaches of Nha Trang and the palaces of Hue, it is a country now firmly etched in the travel psyche.
At times, Vietnam is an assault on the senses. Life in its feverish cities is conducted largely on the streets, among chattering bia hois (pavement pubs) and steaming pho (noodle soup) stands. The country’s two main cities – Hanoi in the north, Ho Chi Minh in the south – are different in many ways, but they share an intoxicating energy. Ancient pagodas and colonial houses jostle for space with new-build skyscrapers, while labyrinthine back-alleys hum with life. These narrow streets are atmospheric places to spend time, day or night.
The country’s long, thin shape, sometimes compared to two rice baskets at either end of a pole, means these two cities form natural start and end points to an itinerary. The highlights along the way, meanwhile, are as well packed as the spring rolls which adorn market stalls: nature-lovers, history buffs, beach bums and foodies are all catered for in singularly Vietnamese style.
Those heading into the countryside can expect not only glorious scenery, but a rich cultural web of different ethnic groups. The US wartime legacy can still be readily explored – perhaps most notably at the Cu Chi Tunnels near Ho Chi Minh – but this is a country to enjoy for what it is today, whether you’re here for a few days or a month.
331,230 sq km (127,889 sq miles).
94,569,072 (UN estimate 2016).
276 per sq km.
President Nguyen Xuan Phuc since 2021.
Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh since 2021.
Coronavirus travel health
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Vietnam on the TravelHealthPro website
See the TravelHealthPro website for further advice on travel abroad and reducing spread of respiratory viruses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Many domestic flights have been suspended and others reduced in frequency. Please check on the status of your flight with your travel provider before travelling and be aware that flights may be cancelled/suspended at short notice.
From 19 July – 1 August all passengers on domestic flights must have a negative Covid certificate (valid within 72 hours).
Inter-province public transport
Many inter-provincial public transportation has been suspended. Please be aware that other transport services may be cancelled/suspended at short notice.
Commercial flights to and from Vietnam remain very limited. A number of airline websites allow online booking from Vietnam. However, check carefully in advance whether these flights are guaranteed to fly and whether they are passenger flights. Flights and transit arrangements are still prone to changes and cancellation with little notice.
You should be alert to announcements from local authorities.
If you are returning to the UK, a transit stop in the journey may require you to self-quarantine on arrival. See guidance on entering or returning to the UK
There are some restrictions on airside transit at airports you may transit when travelling to and from Vietnam which you should check in advance to ensure you will be able to transit, particularly transit times, visa and transit visa requirements and whether your baggage can be transferred airside at transit points.
Entry and borders
See Entry requirements to find out what you will need to do when you arrive in Vietnam.
Returning to the UK
When you return, you must follow the rules for entering the UK.
You are responsible for organising your own COVID-19 test, in line with UK government requirements. The Vietnamese authorities have issued information on testing facilities and procedures (only available in Vietnamese). The testing facilities can be contacted directly.
Be prepared for your plans to change
No travel is risk-free during COVID. Countries may further restrict travel or bring in new rules at short notice, for example due to a new COVID-19 variant. Check with your travel company or airline for any transport changes which may delay your journey home.
If you test positive for COVID-19, you may need to stay where you are until you test negative. You may also need to seek treatment there.
Plan ahead and make sure you:
- can access money
- understand what your insurance will cover
- can make arrangements to extend your stay and be away for longer than planned
Public spaces and services
The measures to combat COVID-19 vary from province to province and can be expected to increase and change at short notice. You should be alert to local variations, take a precautionary approach and be ready to comply with local authorities. You should also ensure that you have your ID /passport with you. Before travelling to another province you should check with your travel provider and/or accommodation what requirements are in place, both where you are travelling to and on return. Mask wearing is compulsory in public settings. Those not wearing masks may be liable to spot fines.
Ho Chi Minh City will apply social distancing measures under Directive 16 from 24 July until 2 August. Hanoi will apply them from 24 July until 8 August. These periods may be extended.
In accordance with Directive 16, you should ensure you are strictly following the social distancing rules in place. These include but are not limited to:
- staying at home and only going outside for essential needs such as food shopping, obtaining medicine, or urgent medical services
- ban on gatherings of more than two people at public places
- suspension of public transportation including taxis, motorcycle taxis and food delivery services
- ban on travelling to other localities
From 26 July until further notice, Ho Chi Minh City has imposed a curfew from 6pm to 6am. All residents must remain indoors except for emergency medical care. Shops and businesses must also remain closed. Other provinces and cities may impose similar curfews at short notice, so you should monitor local regulations for updates.
All those returning from Ho Chi Minh City to other provinces in Vietnam will be quarantined in state quarantine facilities for 14 days, be tested 3 times and must monitor their health for 14 days afterwards. Other provinces may also apply quarantine, social distancing measures and curfews at short notice and depending on where you are travelling from. You should check current measures in place at your destination before you travel.
To ensure the safety and wellbeing of British nationals and our staff, the British Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City will be closed for in-person appointments until further notice. We will keep you updated when you can reschedule your appointments.
Hanoi authorities have deployed checkpoints at major gateways into Hanoi where officials will check temperatures and collect health declarations for those entering Hanoi. All those arriving in Hanoi from Ho Chi Minh City or areas with Covid outbreaks must provide a negative Covid PCR test taken within 72 hours and self-isolate for 14 days.
If in doubt, check with your local authorities to make sure that you are in compliance and to avoid being fined.
Healthcare in Vietnam
If you think you have COVID-19 symptoms, you should go immediately to a local doctor or hospital.
For contact details for English speaking doctors, visit our lists of healthcare providers for Hanoi and northern provinces of Vietnam or Ho Chi Minh City and southern provinces of Vietnam.
Your emotional and mental wellbeing is important. Read guidance on how to look after your mental wellbeing and mental health
View Health for further details on healthcare in Vietnam
See also the guidance on healthcare if you’re waiting to return to the UK.
COVID-19 vaccines if you live in Vietnam
We will update this page when the Government of Vietnam announces new information on the national vaccination programme. You can sign up to get email notifications when this page is updated.
The Vietnamese vaccination programme started in March 2021. Currently approved by the Vietnamese Government for use in Vietnam are the Oxford-AstraZeneca, Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen (Johnson & Johnson), Sinopharm, and Sputnik V vaccines.
The Vietnamese authorities have confirmed that foreign residents will be offered vaccines as part of the vaccination programme, in line with Vietnam’s priority groups, if they choose to join the programme. You should also check if your employer has their own vaccination programme.
If you are over 18, you can register for vaccination in Vietnam online (website in Vietnamese only) or download the following e-health app (in Vietnamese only), following which you will receive instructions on how to register for vaccination. Vietnam’s Ministry of Health is developing an English version of the online registration site and e-health app. As more information becomes available, this page will be updated. Alternatively, you can register offline through your local residence group (Tổ dân phố). Please talk to your landlord or local ward authorities for details, as these may differ according to your ward.
Find out more, including about vaccines that are authorised in the UK or approved by the World Health Organisation, on the Gov.UK website COVID-19 vaccines if you live abroad.
If you are a British national living in Vietnam, you should seek medical advice from your local healthcare provider.
For information on financial support you can access whilst abroad, visit our financial assistance guidance.
If you need urgent consular assistance, contact your nearest British embassy, high commission or consulate. All telephone numbers are available 24/7.
Most visits to Vietnam are trouble free but you should take sensible precautions to protect yourself and your belongings in big cities and tourist areas.
Don’t hand over your passport to third parties as a guarantee (e.g. to motorcycle rental shops, landlords) as there have been many instances of companies holding on to passports against claimed damage.
You should remain alert and take care of your belongings, particularly in crowded areas and places visited by tourists where pick pockets and bag snatchers operate, including on motorbikes. Consider splitting key items between bags.
British nationals have reported a number of personal attacks, including rape and sexual assault in areas popular with expatriates and tourists. When reporting such attacks in Vietnam, compared to the UK there is a high burden of proof on the victim to demonstrate that the sexual relations were not consensual, especially when the victim had consumed alcohol or where the alleged attacker was known to the victim.
There have also been some reports of foreign women being victims of indecent assault and harassment (including inappropriate touching and groping), particularly while walking alone. You should take sensible precautions.
There have been reports of arguments over hotel, restaurant or taxi bills turning violent or abusive. It is well worth researching places to stay before you arrive. To avoid potential disputes, make sure you are clear about the level of service you can expect to receive and any associated charges.
A number of British and foreign visitors have died or been injured in Vietnam while engaged in adventure tourism in rural and mountainous areas. Some terrain can be hazardous and remote from rescue services of any kind. And the rainy season - see Natural Disasters - can quickly and significantly increase risk, especially for localised flooding, navigating swollen streams and rivers and landslides. Safety standards are generally lower than in the UK and compliance varies. Don’t stray off main routes and, where required, take a reputable guide. Always follow safety guidelines, check local authorities’ websites for adventure tourism companies that are approved and meet safety standards and check local weather forecasts before travelling.
You should avoid illegal tour guides who have been known to offer tours and activities prohibited under local regulations. In some areas local regulations require the use of a guide. Make sure your travel insurance covers your planned activity fully.
Travel is restricted near military installations and some areas of Vietnam are fairly inaccessible. If you wish to visit a village, commune or ward that is close to the border you may need to get permission from the provincial police department. Contact the relevant local authority for more information.
Unexploded mines and ordnance are a continuing hazard in former battlefields, particularly in central Vietnam and along the Laos Border, formerly traversed by the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Mined areas are often unmarked.
Undertake any leisure activities which include firearms at your own risk and make sure you are supervised by a reputable guide. There have been reports of hearing loss from those close to these activities.
Travelling by motorbikes in Vietnam carries significant risk. There are frequent road traffic accidents and fatal crashes. According to World Health Organisation statistics, you are over 8 times more likely to be killed in a road traffic accident in Vietnam than in the UK (an estimated 26.4 deaths per 100,000 people in Vietnam compared to 3.1 per 100,000 people in the UK).
A number of British nationals have died in motorbike accidents in Vietnam, and many more have been involved in accidents, with some injured very seriously. Before choosing to drive a motorbike in Vietnam, it is essential that you’re an experienced motorbike rider, check your motorbike thoroughly and rent from a reputable organisation, have a good quality motorbike helmet, understand the roads on which you plan to travel and that your travel insurance covers your planned activity.
Compliance with local road regulations is poor. You’re advised to keep your speed down and to be prepared for the unexpected. If you’re planning on travelling as a passenger on a motorbike, please wear a good quality helmet and make sure your medical insurance is comprehensive. It’s illegal to be on a motorbike without a helmet.
If you’re involved in a traffic accident, you could face criminal charges and you may need to pay compensation to the injured person even if the injuries are minor. If you’re involved in an accident or subject to an investigation, offer the police your full co-operation and inform the British Embassy in Hanoi or Consulate General in Hoi Chi Minh City.
As of 28 March 2019, if you wish to drive cars or ride motorbikes in Vietnam you will need to present your UK driving licence and a UK-issued International Driving Permit (IDP). If you’re a long term resident in Vietnam, you can qualify for a Vietnamese driving licence with a diplomatic ID, temporary residence card or residence card validity for 3 months or more and also a valid UK driving licence or UK-issued IDP. Applications for a Vietnamese driving licence can be made at the local offices of the Department of Public Works and Transportation.
You should also make sure you have third-party insurance as required by Vietnamese law.
Don’t use your passport as a deposit for hiring vehicles or in place of a fine in the event of a traffic offence.
Metered taxis from larger firms are generally reliable. There are many taxi operators and meters are set at different prices. The meter should start at around 8,000 to 20,000 VND, depending on the size of the taxi and the taxi company. Where possible get hotels or restaurants to book you a reputable taxi. Always make sure the driver identifies themselves before setting off. If you book a taxi online or through an app, make sure the details of the vehicle and driver match those provided by the company.
Overcharging for taxi journeys in and around the tourist hotspots in the Old Quarter of Hanoi and at Hanoi Airport is regularly reported. The same occurs at Ho Chi Minh City’s airport and popular tourist attractions. Check the published fares near the taxi stands or an online app before starting your journey or consider booking a taxi or ordering one via an online app.
Bus and coach crashes are not unusual and increase in regularity at night. Vehicles are often poorly maintained. When travelling by bus be vigilant against petty theft as there have been reported cases of people losing passports and personal belongings while travelling on night buses. Be cautious about offers of free transfers to hotels unless organised in advance, as these may be bogus.
Driving cars or riding motorcycles when your blood alcohol concentration is more than zero is illegal. This is enforced rigorously.
Rail travel in Vietnam is generally reliable. Be aware of the risks of petty theft, particularly while asleep on overnight trains.
Safety regulations and standards vary greatly and are not at the same level as the United Kingdom. Check with your tour guide about the safety record and registration of boats, and the certification of personnel before setting off. Make sure you receive a full safety briefing when joining any boat. Consider safety standards carefully before taking an overnight boat trip on Halong Bay as some boats have sunk quickly and without warning.
Piracy in coastal areas off Vietnam is very rare. Mariners should, however, report all incidents to the coastal and flag state authorities. See Piracy and armed robbery at sea.
Vietnam has a single party political system, which does not welcome dissent. Some protests in recent years have turned violent, or been violently suppressed by the authorities. You should avoid all protests.
Providing prompt consular assistance can be difficult outside Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Vietnam is a large country and some areas don’t have well developed infrastructure or frequent flights.
Although there’s little history of terrorism in Vietnam, attacks can’t be ruled out.
You should be aware of the global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks which could be in public areas, including those visited by foreigners.
There’s a heightened threat of terrorist attack globally against UK interests and British nationals, from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria. You should be vigilant at this time.
The information on this page covers the most common types of travel and reflects the UK government’s understanding of the rules currently in place. Unless otherwise stated, this information is for travellers using a full ‘British Citizen’ passport.
The authorities in the country or territory you’re travelling to are responsible for setting and enforcing the rules for entry. If you’re unclear about any aspect of the entry requirements, or you need further reassurance, you’ll need to contact the embassy, high commission or consulate of the country or territory you’re travelling to.
You should also consider checking with your transport provider or travel company to make sure your passport and other travel documents meet their requirements.
Entry rules in response to coronavirus
Entry to Vietnam
Vietnam has suspended visa waivers, issuing of visas and the entry into Vietnam for all foreign nationals. There are a very small number of exceptions for diplomats on official business and certain high-skilled workers. These will be processed on a case by case basis. Such applications are required to be led by Vietnamese employers who must work directly through individual provincial government offices. The requirements and process may differ from province to province. The costs of quarantine, both in government centres and designated hotels, must be paid by those arriving or their employers.
Borders with China, Cambodia and Laos are currently closed except for the import and export of goods and returning Vietnamese nationals.
Currently transit in Vietnam is not allowed.
Those arriving in Vietnam are required to provide information about recent travel.
Testing on departure
There is no requirement for testing on departure though anyone who has tested positive previously may be asked to show their negative test results and release certificates.
If you want to stay in Vietnam, you should only do so legally and with the right visa and permission to stay. Immigration offices are open and working normally.
The Immigration Department has issued a notice that those who entered Vietnam on visa waivers, e-visas or tourist visas from 1 March 2020 will be entitled to an automatic extension until 31 July 2021. Those who entered Vietnam before 1 March 2020 will be considered for an extension if they have a written document from Vietnamese authorities confirming they were required to undergo mandatory quarantine or treatment for Covid-19. They should present this document on their departure from Vietnam.
Vietnamese visit visas are issued to foreign nationals for a limited duration and on the basis that visitors must leave on or before the date of expiry. Those who come to Vietnam to work are required to apply for a work visa / permit. You should check the visa validity and conditions carefully. Overstaying your Vietnamese visit visa or working illegally is a serious matter and you may be delayed from travel until a fine is paid, deported and may be prevented from visiting Vietnam in the future.
The Embassy and Consulate General will not be able to assist with individual visit visa extensions should you wish to stay in Vietnam, nor sponsor individual applications or sign NA5 forms (which has the same effect) as this involves legal and financial obligations. For those with a valid work visa or resident cards, you can extend these at immigration offices with the assistance and support of your family or employer.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months on the date you enter Vietnam.
A number of British nationals have been refused entry and exit due to their passport being damaged. Make sure your passport is in good condition before arriving in Vietnam. Being refused entry can result in significant cost and a long stay at the airport.
In response to the coronavirus pandemic, the Vietnamese Immigration Department has received assurances from the British Government that any passport held by a British national with an expiry date of 1 January 2020 onwards, or with less than 6 months validity, would be valid until 31 December 2021, when submitted for the purpose of renewing a visa or residence permit. This continues to be valid for all passports held by British nationals. However, because you can renew your passport online, and the visa application centres in Vietnam have now reopened, we still recommend that you renew your passport if required.
Quarantine is mandatory for anyone who may have come in to contact with coronavirus inside Vietnam and for most coming to Vietnam Vietnamese government quarantine centres are basic. Most do not meet Public Health England standards. There are provisions for people who are exceptionally allowed to enter the country for work to be allowed to undertake quarantine in a hotel approved by the Ministry of Health. This is not guaranteed, is time consuming and must be arranged by your employer in Vietnam before you enter Vietnam.
The Vietnamese government has confirmed that anyone entering Vietnam from 1 September 2020 must pay for quarantine costs both in government centres and in designated hotels. You will also be responsible for paying for any coronavirus hospital treatment costs.
Vietnam’s quarantine requirements are mandated by the Vietnamese Ministry of Health. The British Embassy and Consulate General are unable to intervene in having these requirements waived, shortened or changed or assist in the reservation of, or transfer to, hotels used for quarantine. Violations carry strict penalties.
Quarantine lasts a minimum of 14 days and will be longer if you test positive at any point. If you test positive, you will be treated in a Vietnamese hospital. Asymptomatic patients may be discharged from hospital after 10 days and have 2 back to back negative Covid tests. Following discharge you will be expected to undertake a period of self-isolation for 14 days and should follow the instructions issued by the local authorities. You should expect to be tested at least 3 times prior to release, and will be required to produce at least 2 consecutive negative tests during quarantine and may require further negative tests during self-isolation. Quarantine periods and testing requirements may change at short notice and may vary between locations.
Once you have completed quarantine and self-isolation you should receive a document specifying this. You should keep this, as you may need to present it customs/airport officials when you leave Vietnam.
Vietnam uses community testing as a means to provide assurance that COVID-19 is not being transmitted undetected. Should you be asked to undertake testing, you should comply. Failure to comply can be an offence with significant punishments.
Regular entry requirements
When checking into a hotel, you’ll have to hand over your passport so that the hotel can register your presence with the local police. Make sure your passport is returned and keep it in a safe place. Don’t use your passport as a deposit for renting a hotel room. If you are staying in private accommodation, you will still be expected to register. Ask your host to help you with this as soon as you arrive. You may be fined if you don’t register.
Yellow fever certificate requirements
Check whether you need a yellow fever certificate by visiting the National Travel Health Network and Centre’s TravelHealthPro website.
UK Emergency Travel Documents
UK Emergency Travel Documents are accepted for entry, airside transit and exit from Vietnam. Please contact the nearest Vietnamese Embassy to obtain an appropriate visa before travel. If your ETD has been issued in Vietnam, to replace a lost/stolen passport, you will need an exit visa from the Vietnam Immigration Department before you can travel out of Vietnam. This process normally takes 5 working days. Contact the Immigration Department directly for further information.
You should follow the instructions of local authorities. There are penalties for non-compliance.
Penalties for possession, distribution or manufacture of drugs can be severe. Anyone found in possession of even a small amount of drugs can face the death sentence.
Illegal drugs are often tampered with or spiked and can be much stronger than in Europe, there were 7 deaths at a music festival in Hanoi in 2018 connected to illegal drugs. A number of British nationals in Vietnam have suffered severe psychiatric problems because of drug use. Don’t take illegal drugs.
Crimes like sex offences can attract very long prison terms, or a death sentence. The Vietnamese legal system is not well developed and the standard of prisons is very poor.
Reporting a crime to the police can be a long and difficult process. You should consider taking a Vietnamese-speaking person with you to assist with the translation. You will usually be required to sign documents in Vietnamese. You should take care to only sign documents that you are confident have been translated accurately.
Foreign nationals subject to criminal investigations can legally be detained for long periods prior to evidence being presented. There can be long delays before contact is allowed with legal advice, British Consular officials or family. Legal representation is also far below the standard you can expect in the UK.
Foreign nationals involved in traffic accidents have been stopped from leaving Vietnam subject to police investigations being completed. This process can take a long time and foreign nationals have been asked to agree out of court financial settlements. British citizens in such situations are advised to seek professional legal advice and representation.
Vietnamese law requires everyone to carry photographic ID at all times. You should carry a photocopy of the pages from your passport with your personal details and visa for ID, and leave the original document in a safe place.
When entering religious or cultural sites respect local customs and dress in appropriate clothing.
Vietnam is a generally tolerant and progressive place for LGBT travellers. Same-sex relationships are not criminalised by law and changing gender is recognised by Vietnam’s Civil Code. Vietnam abolished a ban on same-sex marriage in 2015, although same-sex couples are neither recognised nor protected by law. In parts of society LGBT rights and issues are still more tolerated than accepted, but Vietnamese society has become significantly more tolerant in recent years. See our information and advice page for the LGBT community before you travel.
It’s illegal to buy, sell, kill or collect protected wild animal or plants. Vietnam is a signatory to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Those caught buying or trafficking these items could be prosecuted and receive lengthy prison sentences or fines.
Never take photographs near military installations.
There are restrictions on internet use, which can affect access to social media websites.
Check the latest information on risk from COVID-19 for Vietnam on the TravelHealthPro website
See the healthcare information in the Coronavirus section for information on what to do if you think you have coronavirus while in Vietnam.
At least 8 weeks before your trip, check the latest country-specific health advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) on the TravelHealthPro website. Each country-specific page has information on vaccine recommendations, any current health risks or outbreaks, and factsheets with information on staying healthy abroad. Guidance is also available from NHS (Scotland) on the FitForTravel website.
General information on travel vaccinations and a travel health checklist is available on the NHS website. You may then wish to contact your health adviser or pharmacy for advice on other preventive measures and managing any pre-existing medical conditions while you’re abroad.
While travel can be enjoyable, it can sometimes be challenging. There are clear links between mental and physical health, so looking after yourself during travel and when abroad is important. Information on travelling with mental health conditions is available in our guidance page. Further information is also available from the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC).
If you’re travelling with prescription or over-the-counter medicine, read this guidance from NaTHNaC on best practice when travelling with medicines.
If you’re taking prescription medication into Vietnam, carry it in your hand-luggage with a copy of the prescription. If it has a total import value greater than US$100, you should declare it at customs. Some specific medicines can be hard to find in Vietnam and many medications on sale are counterfeit.
Vietnam has restrictions on medicines which it classifies as “addictive” or “psychotropic” medicine. These include medicine that can be used for the treatment of addiction, to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia and other conditions. The rules say that you must not have more than the quantity prescribed by a doctor for 7 days (addictive medicine) or 10 days (psychotropic medicine). The prescription should be in English or Vietnamese and include your name and age and list the name, volume and dosage of the medicine(s). It must also include the doctor’s signature or address. If you’re unsure if your medication falls within these categories or if you need to bring in more medication than is usually allowed you should contact the Vietnamese Embassy in advance of travelling.
If you need emergency medical assistance during your trip, dial 115 and ask for an ambulance. You should contact your insurance/medical assistance company promptly if you are referred to a medical facility for treatment.
The healthcare system in Vietnam is resilient and effective for the majority of medical care across the country as a whole. However, there are differences in capacity and capability between medical services in cities and some rural areas. More complicated treatment may require evacuation to a central hospital (in Hanoi or Ho Chi Minh City). The most complex medical cases may require evacuation to another country. Make sure you have adequate travel health insurance and accessible funds to cover the cost of any medical treatment abroad and repatriation. Complete the next of kin details in the back of your passport.
High levels of air pollution, up to and including hazardous levels, occur in Vietnam particularly in the biggest cities and may aggravate heart, lung or respiratory conditions. Children, the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions may be especially affected. You can find advice on air quality and possible mitigation on the World Health Organization (WHO) website. You can check air quality levels for some cities in Vietnam in real time on the World Air Quality Index website.
Some rice wines sold without recognised brand names have been found to have very high and sometimes fatal levels of methanol.
UK health authorities have classified Vietnam as having a risk of Zika virus transmission. For information and advice about the risks associated with Zika virus, visit the National Travel Health Network and Centre website.
Dengue fever is prevalent in the summer/wetter months. The majority of cases are in southern Vietnam, but there were higher than normal infections in Northern Vietnam, in particular Hanoi, in 2017 and sensible precautions taken throughout the country. You should follow the advice of the National Travel Health Network and Centre and take precautions to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.
There have been outbreaks of Avian Influenza (Bird Flu) in Vietnam but the risk to humans is low. Risks can be mitigated by avoiding visiting live animal markets, poultry farms and other places where you may come into close contact with domestic, caged or wild birds, and making sure poultry and egg dishes are thoroughly cooked.
Tropical cyclones affect the eastern coastal regions. In addition to strong winds, the associated rainfall frequently leads to flooding and disruption to transport. The season normally runs from May to November, but tropical cyclones can occur outside this period. Monitor approaching storms on the National Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting website and follow the advice of the local authorities, including any evacuation orders.
Vietnam has a tropical monsoon climate which produces large amounts of rain in short periods of time over and above rainfall associated with cyclones. Localised flooding, flash floods and landslides are common and care should be taken if trekking in rural and mountainous areas.
The local currency is Vietnam Dong (VND).
Only change money at official money exchange counters with a clear sign showing this status. Changing money elsewhere is illegal and while higher rate may be on offer you may risk losing your money.
Credit cards are widely accepted but, in rural areas particularly, you should carry cash as a back-up. It may be difficult to cash travellers’ cheques.
ATMs are widely available in major cities and tourist areas.
You can have funds transferred to Vietnam via international money transfer companies like Western Union or Moneygram.
If you need urgent consular assistance, you can contact the British Embassy in Hanoi on +84 (0) 24 3936 0500 or the British Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City on +84 (0) 28 3825 1380. If you need urgent help because something has happened to a friend or relative abroad, contact the FCDO in London on 020 7008 5000 (24 hours).
Foreign travel checklist
Read our foreign travel checklist to help you plan for your trip abroad and stay safe while you’re there.
The FCDO travel advice helps you make your own decisions about foreign travel. Your safety is our main concern, but we can’t provide tailored advice for individual trips. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s safe for you to travel, you should read the travel advice for the country or territory you’re travelling to, together with information from other sources you’ve identified, before making your own decision on whether to travel. Only you can decide whether it’s safe for you to travel.
When we judge the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place has become unacceptably high, we’ll state on the travel advice page for that country or territory that we advise against all or all but essential travel. Read more about how the FCDO assesses and categorises risk in foreign travel advice.
Our crisis overseas page suggests additional things you can do before and during foreign travel to help you stay safe.
Refunds and cancellations
If you wish to cancel or change a holiday that you’ve booked, you should contact your travel company. The question of refunds and cancellations is a matter for you and your travel company. Travel companies make their own decisions about whether or not to offer customers a refund. Many of them use our travel advice to help them reach these decisions, but we do not instruct travel companies on when they can or can’t offer a refund to their customers.
For more information about your rights if you wish to cancel a holiday, visit the Citizen’s Advice Bureau website. For help resolving problems with a flight booking, visit the website of the Civil Aviation Authority. For questions about travel insurance, contact your insurance provider and if you’re not happy with their response, you can complain to the Financial Ombudsman Service.
Registering your travel details with us
We’re no longer asking people to register with us before travel. Our foreign travel checklist and crisis overseas page suggest things you can do before and during foreign travel to plan your trip and stay safe.
Previous versions of FCDO travel advice
If you’re looking for a previous version of the FCDO travel advice, visit the National Archives website. Versions prior to 2 September 2020 will be archived as FCO travel advice. If you can’t find the page you’re looking for there, send the Travel Advice Team a request.
If you’re a British national and you have a question about travelling abroad that isn’t covered in our foreign travel advice or elsewhere on GOV.UK, you can submit an enquiry. We’re not able to provide tailored advice for specific trips.