THE BEST OF VIETNAM

Vietnam Tour Vacation, VTV , we offer adventures and curiosities around very corner. Be ready for the wild ride in a colorful and chaotic land along the way, you will discover tranquil places and opportunities to connect with local people. below is the best Vietnam has to offer, from find dinning to off-the-track oddities.

Vietnam Tour Vacation, VTV , we are so proud to be the leading team in Vietnam who have been travelling many years with tourists to show them the best experiences in Vietnam

THE BEST VIETNAM EXPERIENCE

Take a wild Ride : Whether through Hanoi’s narrow alleyways and mazelike neighborhoods or on the broad boulevards of busy Saigon city, a traffic in Vietnam is a trip. Darwinian road rules mean that any ride by motor cycle, car or bus is a test of faith, as drivers swerve and angle through some of the world’s craziest traffic. In Vietnam “Getting There” is an adventure in itself.

Getting Around Vietnam :

With many transport options, we will supply the best one for every tourists stops in Vietnam, all ready to book your plane, bus, train, boat tickets or cars…

By Plane: its good idea to flight the longer hops along Vietnam’s length: from Hanoi to Hue and from Da Nang to Nhatrang and from Nhatrang to Saigon (or vice versa). Vietnam Airlines runs the most domestic routes in Vietnam, while budget carrier Jet Star offers healthy competition on the tourists routes (namely to-and-fros btw. Hanoi, Saigon city, Danang and Nhatrang). Domestic departure tax is included in most fares.

We normally arrange the plane trips for the clients who have not much time in Vietnam totally 10 – 12 day trip in Vietnam) and we focus the highlight cities for the clients (Hanoi, Halong Bay in the north, Danang, Hoian, Hue in the central and Saigon with Mekong Delta in South of Vietnam. We have comfortable air conditioning transports for small group journey from a couple of people to a 15 person group size.

By Car / Bus : If you have got a budget for it, traveling by car/ bus is the best and safest way to see Vietnam. Self-driving is unwise. There are rules on the road, but to the uninitiated, driving is chaotic. Your international driver’s license holds up in fact, any piece of paper with English writing will do most the time and right lane driving might look familiar and easy to some, but that’s where the similarity ends.

Vietnam has its length of the coastal line its over thousand miles along the coast. That s a good reason to see the ocean along the High Way 01. Vietnam has over three quarters of the mountain and high-lands and if you drive up to the North-west of Saigon where the mountainous areas is, this trip is one of the popular stop for young lovers because this destination is considered as the Honey noon city that found by the French in early 20 century as its called :” A Little Paris City in Vietnam”.

By Train: The Unification Express Train runs the entire length of Vietnam’s coat from Saigon – Hanoi, with routes out of Hanoi to the likes of Sapa, Lang Son, and Coastal Haiphong. Riding the length of the country takes nearly 40 hours. The most popular hops are from Hanoi to Sapa, where special luxury train with dinning cars cover the route, or from Hanoi down to the coast to the old Capital of Hue, or from Hue to Danang or all the way to Nhatrang or to Saigon. Improved road travel is making the train obsolete in the most parts, except for the mountainous far North. There are numbers of classes, from third class hard seat to Air conditioning cushioned seat to sleeper, but in general the more comfortable seats are affordable.

Eat on the street: “Real” Vietnamese food is best at street side or in small market areas, and thought it might be a little grungy or off-putting yo some, dinning alfresco in old Indochina offers the most authentic and delicious meals. Prepare yourself for some adventurous dinning.

Pho, or Vietnamese noodle soup has become a popular dish in the West but its a traditional obsession in Vietnam, eaten any time of day. The simplicity of this dish is the attraction, beef stock with rice noodles garnished as you like, with meat and herbs, all ingredients left to speak for themselves. you can eat Pho at any street corner and in any market but there are few especially good places in Saigon with English menu and high standard with cleanliness, you guides will show you the best place for the gourmet.

Wrap and Roll VIETNAMESE : Signature dishes come with your choice of steamed meat, or seafood, along with a big plate of assorted shrubbery like basil, mint, and lettuce, and small pile of rice noodles. Roll it up in a rice paper wrapper and dip in the bowl of fish sauce and it’s a perfect sampling of Vietnamese classic.

Cha Gio : Also known as fried Spring rol, is a popular dish in Vietnam cuisine and usually served as an appetizer in Europe and North America, where there are large of Vietnamese diaspora. its ground meat, usually port, noodles, vegetable, beans, mushroom … wrapped in rice paper and deep-fried. you will be served with mints, lettuce, and then you dip these into the home made fish sauce.

Vietnamese Pancake : is known as Banh Xeo, it is crispy, stuffed rice pancake popular in Vietnam. Banh means cake, xeo means sizzle. the name refers to the loud sound the rice batter makes when it is poured into the hot skillet. it is savory fried pancake made of rice flour, water, and turmeric powder. Some common stuffing includes pork, prawn, diced green onion, mung bean and bean sprouts, Vietnamese pancake is also served with lettuce, mint, basil, and dipping into fish sauce.

Celebrate the Tet holiday : This Lunar New Year celebration in early February is the most important event on the calendar. Should you be in Vietnam at this time of the year, the greatest gift could get is an invite to a family’s Tet celebration. Bring a little something to eat as a contribution, and enjoy some of the most unique hospitality in the world.

THE BEST SITES (ACCORDING TO UNESCO)

Halong Bay : Just a couple hour drive from Hanoi, the Bay at Halong, with its craggy limestone towers dotting the wide-open bay all the way to the horizon, has long inspired Vietnamese poets and philosophers. A ride on the bay these days is a rather busy, crowded affair, but as a leading team we can take you to the back of beyond, exploring little-known caves by boat and kayak.

The total of the bay is 1,553 sq. km (606 sq. miles), but only 434 sq.km (169 sq. miles) are part of UNESCO World Heritage Site (designated as such in 1994). Of the more than 700 islands and islets in this area, only a few are habitable. Some islands were originally named by local fisherman, usually based on their shape. you will find the likes of Tea Pot Island, Mother and Child Island, and stone dog island …

They bay’s topography developed over 250,000 year, from when Earth’s crust was unstable. Originally deep under a prehistoric ocean, the area formed layer of limestone sediments that slowly weathered and receded. Limestone being porous, its created mountains that look a bit like Swiss Cheese, laced with hundreds of caves. more than 20 caves in the bay are open to visitors.

Hoi An: Tourism has exploded on the ancient streets of Hoian . A hub of international craft and commerce since the 14th century, this is where Vietnamese, Chinese, and even Japanese tradesmen made and sold their designer wares. Many shops are still-operational wood, stone, and ceramic workshops, but now among them are fine dinning outlets, funky little hotels (as well as new resorts on the outlying beach area of Cua Dai) and lots bespoke tailors. Shoppers swoon.

Hoian was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, and a visit to this old world gem is a sure cultural highlight of any tour in Vietnam. From the 16th to 18th century, the city was Vietnam’s most important port and trading post, particularly of ceramic with nearby China. Today it is a quaint old town of some 844 structures protected as historical landmarks, and the unique influence of Chinese and Japanese traders who passed through (or settled) can be still felt. Its a picturesque town, small enough to cover on foot, with lots of good nooks and ceramics, shops, and gastronomic delights to discover.

Hue Citadel (Imperial Forbidden City): Hue is culturally and historically significant. it was once Vietnam’s Imperial City and the later the country’s capital under the Nguyen Dynasty (1802 – 1945).

During 18th century and after years of civil war. The first citadel and imperial city was built by Gia Long in 1803 on a former royal site. Emperor Gia Long modeled the Royal Citadel on the Forbidden City in Beijing, China. The ramparts, however, were built in the style of French military architect Sebastian de Vauban. The complex had fallen into the neglect even before it was blown to pieces by the fighting of 1968 (it was particularly destroyed during fighting with Viet Minh in 1947). With much of the structural work made of wood, it fell prey to rain, typhoons, and termites, as well as thieves. The front gateway and several important structures within the Imperial Palace grounds have been restored, beyond these, its mostly ruined in poor shape. The Royal Citadel is composed of three walled enclosures, each within the other a city within a city. The exterior moated enclosure (Kinh Thanh) encompasses six square kilometers sufficient for housing the emperor, his family, administrators, bodyguards, and servants. piercing the outer walls are 10 gates, each reached by a bridge across a moat. Toward the Perfume river is the Yellow Enclosure (Hoang Thanh), with six meter high wall about 2.5 km in length. Within this lies the innermost walled section the former Imperial Palace, or Forbidden Purple City.

My Son Sanctuary : The Cham people, an Indonesian group who arrived by ship from the Malay Peninsula, held sway over most of central Vietnam and built arching hilltop towers. My Son is the finest example.

My Son, some 40 km (25 miles) from Hoian (and 71 km/44 miles from Danang), is an important temple ruin of the Cham people, a once powerful Hinda empire. The temples were constructed as a religious center for citizens of the Cham capital, Danang, from the 7th through 12th centuries during the height of the Cham supremacy. My Son (pronounced Mee Sun) might also have been used as burial site for Cham Kings after cremation. Originally there were over 70 towers and monuments at the site, but bombing during the civic war (the Viet Cong used My Son as a munition warehouse) had sadly reduced many to rubble. Additionally, many small structures and most decorative carving have been removed to the Cham museum in Danang. The complex is very serene and spiritual setting, however, and what does remain is powerful and evocative. its not hard to imagine what a wonder My Son must once have been, the site is deep in the Long Range Cordillera, and the main temples over look 350m (1,148 ft.) Mount Chua, “Mountain of the Gods” My Son is designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

VIETNAM TRAVEL HINTS

HANOI

Welcome to Hanoi,

A city with over 1000 years of history. Vietnam’s capital is an eclectic mix of the old and new from cluttered streets dedicated to various crafts to wide tree lined boulevards. Hanoi is a travellers dream as there is always something to marvel at and plenty to astound you. If you have any concerns or need any assistance on arrival into Hanoi, please contact me on these numbers below

Telephone : +84 933 224439  or +84 903 951401(VIETNAM)

Our experts have compiled a list of information & helpful hints that will help you get the most out of your time in Hanoi.

Things to consider whilst in Vietnam………….

Vietnam is a developing country that also happens to be one of the last bastions of Communism. Virtually everything in Vietnam is done differently to home & as guests visiting this amazing place, we need to accept the good with the bad, the cultural differences & maybe shelve some of our preconceived notions of what’s right & wrong. It’s time to celebrate the differences! Personal security – crime in Saigon & Vietnam, in general is not violent. It is more likely crime of opportunity – pick-pocketing & bag snatching. Always leave valuables in your hotel safe & get in the habit of never carrying more than you need when out on the streets. Leave your jewellery, passports, flight tickets, extra cash & credit cards in the safe in your room. If carrying a bag, ensure it is attached to you securely. As you should do in any hotel, leave all your valuable items in the safe rather than on display in your hotel room. Begging – Vietnam is still a very poor country & although the places we travel seem reasonably affluent, there are millions of people doing it tough. We ask you to consider this before giving money to anybody. Are you really helping them or are you appeasing your own conscience by doing “a nice thing?”It’s much better to get involved with an organisation that helps people on abroader scale than to give money at street level – organisations such as KOTO, The Christina Noble Foundation, The Loreto Foundation, Wildlife at Risk, Blue Dragon etc. However, sometimes it’s nice to give something to some body right there & then. Noonewantstobeg, they would prefer to be working, so show them respect & spend a moment with them.

· Koto – www.koto.com.au

·The Christina Noble Foundation- www.cncf.org

·The Loreto Foundation- www.loretovietnam.org

·Wildlife at Risk (WAR) – www.wildlifeatrisk.org/new/

·Blue Dragon Foundation – www.bluedragon.org

Children 

the children of Vietnam know nothing of “stranger danger” & usually aren’t backward in coming forward. However, it is worthwhile looking at the bigger picture. Adults will sometimes use children to gain things from travellers. This can cause a multitude of problems. Children aren’t sent to school if they can beg successfully, as people look at tourists as veritable plazas of “free stuff”. Think about it – is what you’re giving really suitable or beneficial? What may seem like a good idea (educational supplies etc) is great if it is given to the head of a school or a village elder but not directly to children. This creates an unbalanced society of “haves & have not’s”. Remember if you give to one you must give to all! A great gift you can give to people is fruit. It’s healthy, it’s plentiful & it doesn’t create waste. But the Number 1 thing you can share with people is happiness by trying to connect with the local people along the way. Leaving the locals smiling makes you a great ambassador & brightens their day.

Crossing the Street

sooner or later you will have to cross the street & for many visitors this can be a daunting experience. So here are some tips! Keep your eye on the traffic, but also look every which way as things can & do come from the most obscure places. Step off the curb &slowly walk into the traffic, keeping your eyes on what’s coming. Move slowly & predictably so the drivers can anticipate your next move. NEVER run or change direction quickly. The motorbikes will part around you. Be aware that bicycles generally don’t have brakes & as far as cars, trucks & buses go, it’s the law of the jungle – the bigger the vehicle the less likely it will give way. Its nerve wracking at first, but when you get the hang of it, it is actually very easy. If walking in a group, become a solid mass & like a rock in a stream the traffic will flow around you. Cling together like “sticky rice”!

Bargaining

Most prices in Vietnam aren’t fixed (unless it has a written price on it) so bargaining is common. Aim for about 30% off the initial quoted price. But treat it as a game. Have fun! Vietnamese are a fun loving people with agreat sense of humour so use that to your advantage. Always remember you will never get “local” prices & if you buy something at a price you are happy with & the seller makes a bit extra then it’s a win/win.

Be happy

 Our number 1 “top tip” is be animated & fun. What you generate will come back to you & by doing this it will make your time in Vietnam unforgettable. No 2 “top tip” is to remember you are not at

Home , so “everything is different” & hopefully that’s what compels you to travel. So don’t sweat the small stuff.

Things to be aware of ………………….

Hanoi is maze of old and new. The capital of Vietnam is far more “Vietnamese” than it’s upstart southern brother, Saigon. As the city develops and expands it is changing very quickly and traffic is the major problem. Driving in Hanoi seems to be completely without rules however it is organized chaos but this can make it hard to be a pedestrian as crossing the road is tricky and footpaths are used for motorbike parking. You do need eyes in the back of your head OR do it the Vietnamese way and ignore anything behind and just concentrate on what’s in front!

1/. HANDY HINTS    

  • WiFi: Throughout the Movenpick Hotel is free for guests.   
    • Always carry a hotel business card with you (showing the hotel name & address) to find your way back to the hotel. You will receive this in your hotel welcome pack.    
    • Don’t drink the tap water. Butdo drink lots of bottled water to keep hydrated.    
    • Carry somes maller Vietnamese Dong(VND) notes for incidental daily purchases like snacks,drinks or to pay for things like taxis, as the drivers often can’t break larger notes.
    • Small purchases are usually made in Vietnamese Dong.
    • If you know where you want to go, get the hotel staff to write it in Vietnamese & mark it on a map.
    • Ask your local guide for suggestions regarding things to do – they are a great source of information.

2/.  MONEY

Money The easiest and most efficient way to change cash for cash i.e: Dollars or GBP to Vietnamese Dong is at the hotel reception. The hotel rate is as good as at the banks and far more convenient.

ATM’S If you leave the hotel main entrance you may ask the door men they will show you where the ATMs are these must stay near to the big hotels. ATM’s in Vietnam dispense Vietnamese Dong only

3/.      PLACES TO VISIT

Hanoi Police Museum

67 Ly Thuong Kiet St. Open: 8.00AM – 5.00PM. Entrance fee: Free. The well kept rooms chronologically detail the police and army’s hictoric challenges and the heros, and a few heroines, who rose to the occasion.

Vietnamese History Museum

-Address: 25 Ton Dan Street (behind the Opera House, 15 minute taxi). Open: 8:00am – 12.00pm & 1:30pm – 4:00pmTel: 04 3825 2853. Entrance fee: 20,000 VND + 15,000 VND Camera fee

Museum of Ethnology

8 kms from the city centre. Address: Nguyen Van Huyen St, Cau Giay District, Hanoi.Open:8.30am – 5.30pmTel: 04 3756 2192.Entrance fee: 40,000 VND + 50,000 VND Camera fee

Military History Museum

Address: 28a Dien Bien Phu St, Hanoi.Open: 8.00am – 4.30pm Tel: 04 4823 4264.Entrance fee:20,000 VND

Hoa Lo Prison (Hanoi Hilton)

Address: 1 Hoa Lo St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi.Open: 8.00am – 5.00pm Tel: 04 3824 6358.Entrance fee: 20,000 VND

4/.      TAXIS

Every taxi should have a meter and the money is quoted in VND (usually the last three zeros are dropped off on the meter. E.G 156,000 VND shows on the meter as 156). Some reliable taxi companies:

  • Mai Linh
  • Vinasun
  • Hanoi tourist

Make sure the meter is set to zero (0) when you get in unless the taxi has been called for you then there is a flag fall of about 12,000 VND. It is always suggested that you ask an hotel/restaurant staffs to arrange taxi for you.

5/.      SHOPPING The Old Quarter

Hanoi’s Old Quarter, made up of a 36 streets that were originally all dedicated to particular crafts is a great place to wander and shop. Within this network of 36 streets interspersed with smaller lane ways is a plethora of shops selling anything and everything: from clothes to souvenirs, antiques, cafes, restaurants, galleries, jewellery etc.

Warm Clothing:

On the ground floor of Hanoi Towers, there is a great place to buy warm clothes at very reasonable prices.

Address: Ground floor of Hanoi Towers, 49 Hai BaTrung St. Situated next to the super market this shop is packed full of useful clothing for the winter months. Camera gear and accessories:

Vu Nhat – camera shop.

Address: 20b Trang Thi St, Hanoi 6.     

6/. BARS & COFFEE

The Rooftop Bar and Restaurant 83B Ly Thuong Kiet St. Great views over Hanoi and the proximity to the hotel is pretty good too!

Cong Caphe 68 Quan Su St.Quirky, isprobably the best way to describe the place.The staffs in military outfits, retro theme and traditional Vietnamese coffee, smoothies and local beers.

City View Café & Legend Beer 7 DinhTien Hoang St, 5th and 6th floors. Overlooks one of Hanoi’s crazier intersections at the top of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Minh Jazz’s Club 1 Trang Tien St, Hanoi Live jazz performances every night between 9pm – 11.30pm. Food and drink available.

Bia Hoi Corner Corner of Ta Hien & Pho Luong Ngoc Quyen Streets, Old Quarter. Plastic stools, local draftbeer (about50 centsaglass), hustle and bustle.If you like afun rowdy street atmosphere, this is a great place to be.

7/.      TAILORS

Tan My Design – 61 Hang Gai St, Hanoi

8/.      RESTAURANTS

Vietnamese Restaurants La Verticale 19 Ngo Van So St, Hoan Kiem, Hanoi. La Verticale is a fine dining restaurant housed in a colonial style mansion. Duck terrine ratatouille, veal tamarind and Mekong fruits sorbet are popular dishes and there is also a set menu with optional wine pairings.

Phở Lam

Address: 7 Nam Ngu St. Tel 04 3826 3508 – Traditional Vietnamese noodle soup. If you haven’t tried Pho (pronounced fur?) you haven’t tried Vietnam’s most ubiquitous dish. (5 min walk from hotel)

Quan An Ngon

Address: 18 Phan Boi Chau St – Tel 04 3942 8162 – Popular with Hanoians, Quan An Ngon is a great place to sample local dishes. (5 min walk from hotel)

Highland Coffee

Address: 83B Ly Thuong Kiet St – Tel 04 3946 0109, for good Vietnamese coffee and baguettes.

1496

Address: 3 Ngo Yen Thanh St off 61 Cua Bac District. Tel: 04 6296 1946. This is one of those kindsofplacesthatsomeone who livesin Hanoi will take you tofor an authentic Hanoi style dinner. A little harder to find but that keeps the tourist away.

Highway 4

Address: 5 Hang Tre St, Tel: 04 3926 4200. A unique fusion of traditional North Vietnamese cuisine with regional and international influences. Also has a wide range of traditional Vietnamese rice wines.

Other Restaurants

Moose and Roo

Burgers, steak, beer and cocktails Address: 42b MaMay St, Tel: 04 3200 1289.Need a break from rice and noodles? Then this is your place. Great burgers and a wide variety of whiskeys too.

GreenTangerine French/Asian Fusion

Address: 48 HangBe St,Hoan Kiem,Tel:04 3825 1286. Avery stylish little restaurant where you can dine in or out. Has a lovely French feel set in the Old Quarter.

Green Mango

Pizza, Pasta, Asian FusionAddress: 18 Hang Quat St, Tel: 04 3928 9916. Set on the ground floor of the Green Mango Hotel this is a cross between a lounge bar and a funky restaurant. The dining room is complete with rich silk hangings and evokes the feel of an opium den but in a very stylish manner.

9/.        BASIC VIETNAMESE SENTENSES  

ENGLISHVIETNAMESEPHONETICNOTES
HELLOXIN CHAOSIN-CHOWAs you see Vietnamese
THANK YOUCAM ONKEIM EARN 
OH MY GODTROI OITROY OIGood sense of humor
GOOD BYETAM BIETTEIM BI:T 

SAIGON /HOCHIMINH

Welcome to Saigon  

Once known as “Pearl of the Orient”. Considered to be the most dynamic of all the cities in Vietnam, Saigon has alot tooffer. We hope thatyou will take the time toexplore the city on your own. Since the Grand Saigon hotel is located right in the centre of Saigon, you are close to everything. Before you leave for any of these sites, just ask the hotel reception/concierge and they will map the location for you. If you have any concerns or need any assistance on arrival into Saigon, please contact me in Saigon

Tel: +84 933 22 44 39 / +84 903 951 401

Personal security – crime in Saigon & Vietnam, in general is not violent. It is more likely crime of opportunity – pick-pocketing & bag snatching. Always leave valuables in your hotel safe & get in the habit of never carrying more than you need when you are out on the streets. Leave your jewellery, passports, flight tickets, extra cash & credit cards in the safe in your room. If carrying a bag, ensure it is attached to you securely. As you should do in any hotel, leave all your valuable items in the safe rather than on display in your hotel room.

Crossing the Street 

Sooner or later you will have to cross the street & for many visitors this can be a daunting experience. So here are some tips! Keep your eye on the traffic, but also look every which way as things can & do come from the most obscure places. Step off the curb & slowly walk into the traffic, keeping your eyes on what’s coming. Move slowly & predictably so the drivers can anticipate your next move. Please NEVER run or change direction quickly. The motorbikes will part around you. Be aware that bicycles generally don’t have brakes & as far as cars, trucks & buses go, it’s the law of the jungle – the bigger the vehicle the less likely it will give way. Its nerve wracking at first, but when you get the hang of it, it is actually very easy. If walking in a group, become a solid mass & like a rock in a stream the traffic will flow around you. Cling together like “sticky rice”!

Children

the children of Vietnam know nothing of “stranger danger” & usually aren’t backward in coming forward. However, it is worth while looking at the bigger picture. Adults will sometimes use children to gain things from travellers. This can cause a multitude of problems. Children aren’t sentto school if they can beg successfully, as people look at tourists as veritable plazas of “free stuff”. Think about it – is what you’re giving really suitable or beneficial? What may seem like a good idea (educational supplies etc) is greatifit is given to the head of aschoolor avillage elder but not directly to children. This creates an unbalanced society of “haves & have not’s”. Remember if you give to one you must give to all! A great gift you can give to people is fruit. It’s healthy, it’s plentiful & it doesn’t create waste. But the Number 1 thing you can share with  people is happiness by trying to connect with the local people along the way. Leaving the locals smiling makes you a great ambassador & brightens their day.

Bargaining

most prices in Vietnam aren’t fixed (unless it has a written price on it) so bargaining is common. Aim for about 30% off the initial quoted price. But treat it as a game. Have fun! Vietnamese are a fun loving people with agreat sense of humour souse that toy our advantage. Always remember you will never get “local” prices & if you buy something at a price you are happy with & the seller makes a bit extra then it’s a win/win.

Be happy  

our number 1 “top tip” is be animated & fun. What you generate will come back to you & by doing this it will make your time in Vietnam unforgettable. No 2 “top tip” is to remember you are not at home, so “everything is different” & hopefully that’s what compels you to travel. So don’t sweat the small stuff.

Things to be aware of ………………….

Cyclos

Unfortunately cyclos in Saigon have a dubious reputation for the unsuspecting. The drivers often agree to a journey & a price but unfortunately when the time comes to pay, they try & extort more than the agreed amount. We would suggest that you avoid using cyclos when travelling individually.

1.      HANDY HINTS

  • Always carry a hotel business card with you (showing the hotel name & address) to find your way back to the hotel. You will receive this in your hotel welcome pack.
  • Don’t drink the tap water. Drink lots of bottled water to keep hydrated.
  • Carry some smaller Vietnamese Dong (VND) notes for incidental daily purchases like snacks, drinks or to pay for things like taxis, as the drivers often can’t break larger notes. Small purchases are usually made in Vietnamese Dong. If you know where you want to go, get the hotel staff to write it in Vietnamese & mark it on a map.
  • Ask your local guide for suggestions regarding things to do – they are a great source of local information

2.      MONEY

Money 

you will need some Vietnamese Dong whilst in Saigon & for shore excursions once you start travelling on the Mekong. We usually suggest starting by changing $30 USD, $35 AUD or £20 GBP per person, which comes to approx 650,000 VND. In Cambodia, the currency you will use is USD & is dispensed from ATM’s. There are money-changers in Phnom Penh & Siem Reap. The reception Hotel can usually change money – cash for cash. There is a money exchange at 135 Dong Khoi St (5 minute walk) ATM’S–ATM’s in Vietnam only dispense Vietnamese Dong. When using an ATM try & find one that is inside rather than one on the street. If you need USD for Cambodia, you will need towith draw money from an ATM which will be in Vietnamese Dong & then change this in to USD at the Money Changer. Or wait to use an ATM in Cambodia.

3.      TAXIS

Only use one of the following taxi companies

  • Mai Linh – Tel: 08 3838 3838
  • Vinasun– Tel: 08 3827 2727
  • Saigon Tourist Taxi

4.      SHOPPING

  • Circle K Convenience Store, Seven 11 store, mini Market …  
  • Supermarket: Diagonally across the road on Dong Khoi St, 3rd floor Lucky Plaza. (4 minute walk)
  • Annam Gourmet Supermarket & Wine: 16-18 Hai Ba Trung St. (10 minute walk)
  • Parkson Shopping Centre: Just a regular style department store. Fixed prices. 35LeThanhTon St (10 minute walk)
  • Saigon Square: Bargain shopping. Knock-off brands. 77-89 Nam Ky Khoi Nghia St (15 minute walk)
  • Vincom Plaza: More upscale shopping plaza with some BIG name brands. Prices similar to back home. 72 Le Thanh Ton St (10 minute walk)
  • BenThanhMarket: Abit of everything. Clothes to flowers to food stands. Intersection of LeLoi, Ham Nghi, Tran Hung Dao & Le Lai Streets (15 – 20 minute walk)

5.      BARS & COFFEE

  • • Majestichotel BreezeSkyBar:          Enjoy drinks with aview of the Saigon river. Corner of DongKhoi st (5 min walk)
  • Rex Hotel Roof Garden:  5th Floor, corner of Le Loi & Nguyen Hue Streets. (15 minute walk)
  • SheratonLEVEL 23: Go to level 23, either for a sunset or evening drink. Great panoramic view of Saigon. 
  • Saigon Saigon: 9th Floor Caravelle Hotel, 19 Lam Son Square (7 minute walk)
  • Wine bar (38 Dong Khoi, 5 minute walk) is a luxurious and sophisticated wine bar with a charming ambience.
  • Wine embassy bar (Opening 4:00 PM till Late, 13 Ngo Duc Ke, District 1, 10 minute walk): Wines by the glass from around the world, trendy.
  • Trung Nguyen Vietnamese Coffee: Exit via the Old Wing entrance of the hotel. (1 min walk)

6.      TAILORS

On Dong Dustreet, opposite the Sheraton hotel’s façade is a tailor shop named “Byfas”–goodquality clothes could be made here overnight. Bring this paper with you and gain 5% discount

7.      RESTAURANTS

Vietnamese Restaurants

  • Lemongrass: 1- 4 Nguyen Thiep St
  • Vietnam House: 93-95 Dong Khoi St
  • Pho 24 (Noodles): 85 Dong Khoi St
  • Ben Thanh Market Food Stalls: NOTE: Stalls are set up after 6pm. Le Loi St

Other Restaurants

  • May(International Fusion): Dong Khoi St (4 minute walk)
  • Al Fresco’s: (Hearty Western Food) 27 Dong Du St (3 minute walk)
  • Refinery (French): The Square 74 Hai Ba Trung St (15 minute walk)
  • Ciao Bella: (Italian) 1 Dong Du St (5 minute walk)
  • Saffron: (Mediterranean) 51 Hai Ba Trung St (10 minute walk)
  • Jaspas: (Western & Asian) 33 Dong Khoi St (8 minute walk)
  • The Racha Room: (Asian Fusion) 12-14 Mac Thi Buoi St (10 minute walk)

8.        BASIC VIETNAMESE SENTENSES  

ENGLISHVIETNAMESEPHONETICNOTES
HELLOXIN CHAOSIN-CHOWAs you see Vietnamese
THANK YOUCAM ONKEIM EARN 
OH MY GODTROI OITROY OIGood sense of humor
GOOD BYETAM BIETTEIM BI:T 

SIEAMREAP / CAMBODIA

Welcome to Seam Reap.

Cambodia is going through rapid change. The days of the Khmer Rouge are not so long ago and the legacy continues in many unfortunate ways. But the people of Cambodia are resilient and they have come through that very dark period and are now trying to make the best of things. The population is very young and to many, the grim years seem like a long time ago but every one as a story to tell. So, always keep in mind that this is a very poor developing country that is propped up by a lot of aid money and support  from Non-Government  Organizations. Your average Khmer person is still living hand to mouth. If you have any concerns or need any assistance on arrival into Seam Reap, please contact our Local Operator internationally…………. on (Cambodia). Our experts have compiled a list of information & helpful hints that will help you get the most out of your time in Seam Reap. WiFi is free throughout the Belmond Hotel. Log on via your “Check In” details.

Things to consider whilst in Cambodia ………….

Personal security

Seam Reap is a very safe place. The government has strived to make this a very family friendly destination and as the world learns more about the incredible history, travellers are coming from far and wide to enjoy the spectacular temples. It is always wise to keep valuables in the hotel safe and never carry your passport, air tickets, excess cash around if you don’t have to. It’s worth while being alert for pick pockets in places like markets where it can be crowded and you may be distracted but overall, Seam Reap is a very safe and friendly destination.

Sellers  

There are so many beautiful souvenirs you can take home from Cambodia, from fabrics, to paintings, carved artworks through to interesting knick knacks so it’s a great place to do some shopping if you have the time. Around the temples the sellers can be quite insistent so you do need to have some patience, as it can be quite tiring. However by buying from the sellers near the temples you’ll be helping a poor family and the prices are great! Always keep in mind if you are happy with the price and the seller makes a bit extra then it’s a win/win situation.

Begging – Everyone is trying to make ends meet any way they can but unfortunately the civil war has taken a heavy toll on the population leaving many Cambodians permanently damaged. Without any kind of government support people have to do whatever they can. Of course, no one wants to beg but sometimes his or her situation is such that there is no other option. It is your choice how you approach this but we do ask you to be respectful and keep in mind that people would rather be gainfully employed than beg so if nothing else, treat humanity with dignity.

However ….

Giving back

Cambodia is a country with a lot of ongoing issues, health and education being two that you can help with. Rather than give to one person why not get involved in some of the brilliant agencies that are working to alleviate these problems? Organizations that are doing great things are :

Cambodian Children’s Fund – www.cambodianchildrensfund.org/make-a-donation.html

Children

Children are everywhere you go and due to the poverty of Cambodia, often children are out begging or selling all kinds of souvenirs. Children only go to school for part of the day and then have to help their parents work but there are lots of children in this country whose parents can’t afford to send them to school so they have to earn their keep by working the streets. They can be very insistent but they are only trying to make their way in a world that has limited opportunities. Take the time to stop for a chat, ask them about their families, if they go to school and try and make a connection and leave them smiling. At the end of the day they are just kids. Bargaining – In many shops in Cambodia prices are marked and fixed but if there is no visible price then it’ so pen for negotiation. Depending on your negotiation skills and techniques you might be able to get up to 20-30% off the first asked price. Keep in mind that all kinds of negotiations in Asia are usually slower and less direct. Enjoy the game. Be happy–Our number 1“toptip”is be animated & fun. What you generate will come back to you & by doing this it will make your time in Vietnam and Cambodia unforgettable. No 2 “top tip” is to remember you are not at home, so “everything is different” & hopefully that’s what compels you to travel. So don’t sweat the small stuff.

Things to be aware of ………………….

Heat stroke

This is a possible eventuality if you don’t look after yourself. The ambient temperature is hot and the temples absorb the heat and radiate it back again so it is imperative that you do what you can to keep cool. If you start to feel lightheaded, dizzy, nauseous and particularly if your find your-self  losing  some coordination you may be suffering from the beginnings of heat stroke. This can be very serious if you don’t manage it properly. Being hydrated, wearing a hat and light loose clothing and and trying to          find shade where possible are ways to avoid  it. If you do feel any of the above symptoms, rest, recover and rehydrate

The heat

Cambodia is always hot and around the months of March, April and May it can be stifling. Always wear a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun and dust. Keep hydrated. This is one of the most important things whilst travelling in this region. From the time you wake up until you go to bed you should always keep drinking water. Going from air-conditioning out in to the heat and back again sucks the moisture from our bodies and to function properly we need to consume a minimum of 2 -3 liters of water per day in this climate. It is always better to sip regularly, rather than guzzle and remember alcohol and coffee are dehydrating.

1/. HANDY HINTS

  Always carry a hotel business card with you (showing the hotel name & address) to find your way back. You will receive this in your hotel welcome pack.

  • Always carry tissues or a small roll of toilet paper with you … just in case!
  • Don’t drink the tap water. Drink lots of bottled water to keep hydrated. Ice at the places we take you to has been purified and is fine to drink.
  • Keep cool where possible. There is no avoiding the heat in Cambodia but it is important to try and manage it. An umbrella can be a useful item to keep the sun and rain at bay.
  • When the rains come (usually around May) the downpours are sudden and heavy. The ambient temperature is still warm but there can be torrential downpours that last from a few minutes to a few hours. It’s a great time for photography as the stonework of the temples glistens. The green of the fields is intense and the reflections off puddles can be sensational. Again, an umbrella is incredibly useful during the dry and the wet.
  • In Cambodia tuk tuks are the standard form of taxi. In Seam Reap alone there are over 1500 tuk tuks. It is important to determine the price for your journey before departing for your destination. On average the cost of a one-way tuk tuk to the Old Market in town is $2 – $3 per tuk tuk, not per person.
  • Ask your local guide for suggestions regarding things to do – they are a great source of local information.

2.      MONEY

Money

Whilst in Cambodia, US dollars are king. There is local currency (Cambodian Riel) in circulation but you’ll only receive this usually when you receive change from $1.

ATM’S

ATM’s in Cambodia dispense US dollars. The nearest ATM is in the Belmond hotel complex. Ask the staff for guidance.

Changing money, avoid changing money at banks or hotels as they take large commissions. Use the Money Exchanges where possible. There are several down by the Old Market area.

3.      PLACES TO VISIT

Angkor National Museumwww.angkornationalmuseum.com

Opening hours: 1 Apr – 30 Sep 08.30 – 18.00,   1 Oct – 31 Mar: 08.30 – 18.30

Admission: $12.00 USD-Headsets $3.00USD.A tuk tuk from hotel $1.00 USD per person for 2people. The museum contains 8 chronological galleries of Angkorian-era artifacts with multi-media presentations of History and Culture. The museum is air conditioned and has a Café.

The Cambodia Landmine Museum

This Can be combined with a journey to the beautiful Banteay Srei temple. Website: – www.cambodialandminemuseum.org. Opening hours: 7.30am – 5.30pm. Admission: US$3.00 and tuk tuk from the hotel takes approx 45 minutes one way. Cost $15.00 USD per tuk tuk for two people.

The museum tells the story of landmines in Cambodia, how they have impacted the country’s past, present and will continue to impact its future.  The story is told through the story of Aki Ra, the founder, who was force din to the Khmer Rouge Army as a child soldier, and spent his youth fighting in the wars that ravaged his country for nearly 35 years. The Museum hosts a Relief Facility for at-risk village children.  The money raised by the museum allows this facility to continue operate.  The Museum supports a community of nearly 75 men, women, and children.

 4/. SHOPPING

Artisans Angkor- Pouk Silk Farm – www.artisansangkor.com

Opening hours: 7.30am -6.00pm – Admission: Free

Opening hours: 8.30am – 5.30pm Admission: Free (Note that $1 USD tip is expected by your silk farm guide)

Artisans Angkor has developed from the ambitious belief that it is possible to revive ancient Khmer Arts & Crafts while improving the lives of thousands of people living in rural areas. Not only has Artisans Angkor become a company dedicated to the preservation of traditional Khmer skills in silk making, stone and wood carving, lacquering and painting, but it is also an organization committed to promote the development of individuals and secure their future by the means of education and welfare. 

Cost $15.00 USD per tuk tuk for two people. A tuk tuk from the hotel takes approx 45 minutes one way.

A tuk tuk from the hotel is approx. $12 USD return per tuk tuk

Today, 1300 employees are proud to show that Cambodian handicraft is still alive and more creative than ever.

Senteurs d’Angkor Workshop – www.senteursdangkor.com

By developing high quality products that express the dynamism of the Khmer culture, Artisans Angkor strives to be a timeless showcase for Cambodian crafts with pieces inspired by Angkor heritage as well as fashionable handmade clothing and decorative items that can suit contemporary lifestyles. Learn about the meticulous process of silk farming, from mulberry trees that provide silk worm nourishment, to spinning the cocoons, to dying the silk and weaving. The silk farm is a great place to buy high quality silk and also has a good size outdoor eating area and a Blue Pumpkin Café.

A tuk tuk from the hotel is approx. $8.00 USD return, if travelling from the Old Market in town, expect to pay $4 USD per tuk tuk.

Senteurs d’Angkor prides itself on sourcing all of its products in Cambodia, from raw ingredients to packaging materials, which is not easy task. In line with our philosophy of ‘home-sourcing’, most of the packaging comes from the sugar palm tree, an abundant, natural and recyclable resource in Cambodia. This philosophy ensures that jobs and incomes stay within Cambodia, helping to address the country’s poverty and reduce dependence on imports. They employ 110 people and provide regular work to another 100 people, mostly women from the rural area, 10% of the workshop staff are handicapped, and all benefit from good work conditions e.g. salary, profit-sharing, insurance, working environment.

Going through the different workshops you will see the manufacture of natural soaps made from coconut oil, of moisturizing creams and the subtle scented balms and candles. Observe the different steps in the treatment of spices and the creation of flavored coffees and teas. You can purchase items from the workshop

Artisans d’Angkor Chantier – Ecoles – www.artisansdangkor.com

Opening hours: 7.30am – 6.30pm – Admission: Free

A tuk tuk from the hotel is $8 USD return or from the Old market in town $4 USD per tuk tuk.

After admiring Angkor Temples, discover Khmer arts and craft techniques at Artisans d’Angkor workshops. During a free guided tour, master artisans will show you the secrets of stone and wood carving, silver plating and silk painting. A showroom displays a wide range of traditional and contemporary products made in the workshop.

Old Market (Phsar Chas)

The Old Market (Phsar Chas), is one of the oldest markets in Seam Reap. This is the most popular market for visitors and over half the market focuses on souvenirs, silks, spices, cotton, sandals, clothing etc

Night Market – www.siemreap-nightmarket.com

Opening hours: 6.30pm – 10.00pm

The market has 240 souvenirs shops which sell traditional Cambodian made handicrafts from clothing, silk, painting and photography, jewellery, wood and stone carvings. Once you’ve finished shopping why not pamper yourself with an original Dr. Fish massage or a relaxing foot and body massage?

5/. TAXIS

Taxis, as such don’t really exist in Cambodia, tuk tuk’s are the main form of public transport. tuk tuks are the carriages towed behind a motor scooter. They can hold four people but two is far more comfortable. Make sure you negotiate the price before setting off on your journey and note that the price quoted is for the journey, not per person. Concierge at the hotel can arrange a tuk tuk for you and also give you an idea how much the journey should cost. Many drivers are keen for your business so often they will often ask you if you’d like to return too. Make sure you determine the price in advance for the return journey and the driver will wait for you and then bring you back.

6/. RESTAURANTS

Khmer Kitchen

-Address:Mondul I, Sangkat Svay Dangkum,

Tel: +855 63 964 154,

 Email: info@khmerkitchens.com,

Web: www.khmerkitchens.com

Enjoy exemplary Khmer staples such as coconut fish soup and baked pumpkin at rock-bottom prices. In the evenings, even with the restaurant’s newly expanded premises, packed tables overflow into the alley parallel to Bar Street.

Kroya at Shinta Mani Club

Address: Corner of Oum Khun & 14th Street.

Tel: +855 6376 1998.

Web: www.shintamani.com/club/food-and-beverage/.

Kroya which means “food” in the Khmer Royal language is the Shinta Mani Club’s unique restaurant inspired by Shinta Mani’s heritage. The menu blends international as well as local product, combining fresh ingredients, native herbs and spices to create innovative, palette pleasing flavors. For those seeking an unforgettable Khmer culinary experience, savor the authentic taste of traditional cuisine with our 7 set Khmer Tasting Menu which follows the seasons and the local harvest. Meals may be enjoyed indoors or outdoors on one of our Khmer swings.

Viroths

Fine Khmer Dining.

Address: 99 Wat Bo Street.

Tel: +855 12 826 346.

Email: viroth@online.com.kh.

Web: www.viroth-restaurant.com.

The perfect  place to enjoy traditional Khmer cuisine in a chic and contemporary setting. The restaurant is owned and operated by Viroth and his family, who are passionate about food and hospitality. It has been open for 10 years, and is widely known throughout Seam Reap for serving some of the best food in town.

Other Restaurants

Viva – Mexican.

Address: Old Market Area,

Tel: +855 922 091 54 –

Seam Reap’s first Mexican restaurant features a full menu of California-style Mexican dishes including tacos and excellent burritos, served with homemade tortilla chips. Offering the largest selection of tequilas in town, and popular (and inexpensive) frozen margaritas.

Red Piano

International/Asian/Belgian.

Address: Pub Street,

Open: 7.00am to late,

Tel: +855 (0) 63964750.

One of the most popular restaurants in town.

Sidewalk, indoor and balcony seating with a view of the street scene. Western fare and Belgian specialties.

Don’t miss the Tomb Raider Cocktail.

Blue Pumpkin – International/Asian.

Address: 2 Thnou Street opposite the end of Pub Street,

Open: 6:00AM – 11:00PM,

Web: www.tbpumpkin.com

This curbside and indoor cafe offers a full menu including tasty salads and sandwiches as well as Asian fare. Upstairs, there’s an air-conditioned lounge with relaxed, comfy seating and free WiFi. Don’t miss their excellent fresh-baked breads and famous ice creams in traditional and tropical flavors.

7/.   SPEAKING KHMER (CAMBODIAN)

ENGLISHKHMERPHONETIC
HelloSusadaiSussa day
Thank YouArkunAh koon
How are you?SoksabaiiSoksa bye