FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q. What Currencies Should I Bring/Are Credit Cards Accepted?
A. Vietnam remains a cash economy, it is thought that some 90% of all financial transactions are made with cash. Our currency is the Vietnamese Dong (VND). There are ATM's in most major centres, they usually dispense just 2,000,000 or 3,000,000 VND (though sometimes more depending on the bank) - you are normally free to make several withdrawals each day. Credit/Debit Cards such as VISA & MASTERCARD are accepted in most major hotels, tailors and up-market shops and restaurants – Diners Card & AMEX can be problematic. Most smaller shops, homestays, eateries and other outlets (i.e. the majority) accept cash only.
The $US is widely accepted.
Major world currencies can be changed in various locations including Da Nang International Airport, banks, hotels & some shops etc. I find most clients bring a mix of payment methods when visiting Vietnam - cash in the form of major currencies i.e. USD, AUD, Euro, GBP, NZD, CAD etc and credit/debit/ATM cards. Some use a pre-loaded credit card, but I understand card & bank fees should be checked-out before using these.
From a practical point of view, ensure currency for exchange is clean, unmarked and unfolded – money exchanges can refuse to change otherwise. Many day-to-day purchases in Vietnam are for relatively small amounts so you should include small denomination VND notes.
Q. How Do I Pay For Your Private Tours & Shore Excursions?
A. Most of my Private Tours are paid at the end of your time with us in cash - $US or local currency equivalent (VND).
All of my Shore Excursions, some higher value and/or complex Private Tour itineraries require a deposit to secure your booking. This is payable on receipt of my PayPal invoice and the amount will be shown in your quotation. The balance is payable in cash - $US or local currency equivalent (VND) at the end of your time with us.
I know some of my clients appreciate making pre-payment before arrival to reduce the amount of cash carried, and I am happy to forward a PayPal invoice for an agreed amount on request. Up to 20% pre-payment is at no extra cost to you. Amounts over 20% and up to full pre-payment will incur an additional 4.4% to offset PayPal bank fees
Q. Will You Be My Tour Guide?
A. As you can understand, with running multiple tours each day I am unable to guide every tour. But my team are trained to my exacting standards and are really enthusiastic English speakers - my tours are generally conducted in English. I have a fluent Mandarin/English/Vietnamese speaking guide if required at extra cost. All my team mates are university educated, government licensed and passionate about their country and our overseas visitors.
Q. Is There a Dress Code When I Visit Vietnam?
A. In general the dress code is casual but conservative, unless you want to 'dress up' for dinner in our top-end hotels and restaurants. Skimpy shorts and T-Shirts are considered offensive even in the larger cities like Hue, and definitely so in Vietnam's rural areas. Be aware that when entering someone's house, local dwellings, or visiting religious sites like temples and pagodas, its a must-do to remove footwear at the front door.
Most importantly, respectful attire when visiting temples and pagodas is essential. This means no shorts above the knee or singlet tops or to show bare midriffs or cleavage. Shoulders, chest & legs should be covered and failure to do this will inevitably mean you are refused entry.
Please check with me if you have any concerns, but remember our SE Asian sun can be fierce and more coverage also means better sun protection!
Q. What Vehicle Do You Use For My Tour?
A. I use modern air-conditioned vehicles depending on your party size. 6/7-seater SUV's are used in the majority, 11 seat, 16 seat and 21 seat vehicles are used for larger groups. Each vehicle is usually less than 2 years old, is maintained to manufacturers specifications and I only use drivers that are professionally trained to my stringent requirements. Each vehicle carries cold bottled mineral water and chilled scented face towels for the duration of your tour. My drivers are an integral part of your time with us and ensure your safety and well being at all times.
Q. Do I Need A Visa To Enter Vietnam?
A. I regret I am not an expert on Vietnamese visa requirements - many change on an annual basis. Neither can I advise on the benefits of VOA over visas granted directly by our embassy situated in your country. However, I am happy to give general advice and to find details of our embassy in your country.
Q. Which Hotel Do You Recommend/Do I Need To Stay In Different Cities
A. All Private Tours shown in my website can be reached within a day from either Da Nang or Hoi An, there is no requirement to change hotels whilst in central Vietnam - my clients invariably tell me it is far more relaxing to pick just one hotel in Da Nang, My Khe Beach or Hoi An and tour from there. Metered taxis are really inexpensive and many hotels offer a free shuttle service. Our imperial city of Hue, Hai Van Pass, Lang Co Bay, Ba Na Hill Resort and My Son Sanctuary are no more than a half day or a day away with an evening return to your hotel.
I am happy to recommend hotels based on your budget and requirements - please ask.
Q. What Will The Weather Be Like When I Visit?
A. There is not really a right or wrong time to visit Vietnam as during most months of the year you will experience both sunshine and rain in varying quantities. Welcome to my country, with 2000 + miles of coastline and three different weather systems! Whilst Vietnam is typically warm and humid, the weather can vary significantly from one region to another due to the country's length. At times there has been snow (yes white snow!) in the mountainous far north whilst the beaches in the south enjoyed 32 °C and sunshine. It pays to imagine the country as three separate destinations when researching weather for your intended visit and the following information will hopefully help you.
Hoi An, Hue & Danang in central Vietnam have hot and mainly dry weather from mid-January to late August, with temperatures often reaching the mid to upper-30's°C - it can rain at any time, often showers which last just a short time and clear quickly. During the winter months the rainfall increases during October and November with December achieving peak levels, very occasionally in the form of typhoons - yet November & December is the peak tourist season in Vietnam! Hue is often cooler than Da Nang & Hoi An, especially early in the year. In addition, with each sitting on opposite sides of a small mountain range the weather can often differ between the two on any given day.
Q. How Do I Transfer From Da Nang International Airport?
A. Because most Da Nang hotels are no more than 25 minutes and Hoi An hotels 45 minutes travel time, the most cost effective transfer is by metered taxi from Da Nang International Airport to your hotel. However, if you prefer a 'meet & greet' service using my comfortable, clean and air conditioned vehicles, I can provide Private Airport Transfers. Yes, a little extra but more convenient with my driver waiting for you in arrivals. And please remember my professional drivers understand your safety requirements such as no-smoking and mobile phone usage!
Q. Which Restaurants Do You Recommend?
A. Out of central Vietnam's long and diverse history comes a fiercely proud people with unique culinary traditions, making Da Nang, Hoi An & Hue amongst the most compelling food destinations in South East Asia. Depending on your requirements I can recommend eateries ranging from street vendors to 'high end' restaurants that would easily grace major cities worldwide. I can also provide Authentic Vietnamese Dinners with family or a Private Cooking Class with my mom!
Q. Are Your Tours Suitable For Our Young Children?
A. Yes, very much so. Babies & young children are revered in Vietnam and will be the centre of attention. Our youngest client so far has been a 12 month old baby. My team are really adept at family groups, even ensuring the teenager is engaged throughout the day!
Q. Are Your Tours Suitable For Our Elders?
A. Yes, very much so. Like young children our elders are revered in Vietnam. Our oldest client so far has been a 97 years old grandmother in a family group. She was wheelchair bound but took part in nearly all the 3 days activities when touring with us. My team are really adept at family groups, and this is where are lovely drivers come into their own by ensuring the safety and well being of our older visitors.
Q. How Long Will My Private Tour Last?
A. With either Da Nang city or Hoi An hotel pickup and return included, each half day tour will last up to 6 hours and your full day will last up to 10 hours. If you request a longer full day tour over 10 hours, I am happy to accommodate your request – even on the day, but do ask that you pay an additional $10 per hour towards my staff costs