So you’re thinking of travel to Vietnam? Or are you already planning to visit Vietnam? Tourism? Business?

Whatever the purpose of your travel to Vietnam, here are some travel basics to make your preparations easier.

RustyCompass: Travel in the Real World An independent online resource for travellers who want to take more than a suntan or a token souvenir away from their holiday. We’re more interested in what’s going on outside the resort walls – food, culture, history as well as the current pulse of places we feature. At the moment, we’re focused on Vietnam and Cambodia. This year, we’ll be adding Laos and Burma. The real joy of travel is the excitement that comes from exploring the new and celebrating the wonders of different people and their stories. It’s nice to come away a little wiser at the end of a holiday.

Click here for a small list of books to read before you go, … or for the armchair traveler. This will give you perspective and context that will make your trip much more enjoyable.

Click here for comprehensive 8-page report on “The Best of Vietnam Now” from the September 2003 issue of Travel and Leisure magazine..

Click here for some travel articles and “virtual” travel to Vietnam: Travel Stories and On-Line Guidebook Information.

Here are links to Holidays in Vietnam to use in your planning. – HCM City Travel Forum

U.S. Passport

To obtain a passport for the first time, you need to go in person to one of 7,000 passport acceptance facilities located throughout the United States with two photographs of yourself, proof of U.S. citizenship, and a valid form of photo identification such as a driver’s license.

For more information on getting a new passport, please click How to get a U.S. passport.

Visa for Vietnam

A visa to Vietnam can be applied for by mail/express courier as early as six months prior to travel. Five busines days are required to process normal visas.

To visit the web-site of the Vietnamese Embassy in Washington DC for travel and visa information, and to download a visa application, please click Vietnamese Embassy Visa Info, Washington DC.

The Vietnamese Consulate General in San Francisco also issues visas for travel to Vietnam and can provide travel and visa information. To download a visa application from their web site, please click Vietnamese Consulate General Visa Info, San Francisco, CA.

Business Visa

Traveling on business?

Then you must provide an approval obtained through your sponsor in Vietnam. The Vietnamese Embassy will issue business visas only upon approval issued by the Immigration Department, Ministry of Public Security in Vietnam.

Airlines, Hotels, and In-Country Travel Reservations

For information and links to on-line reservations systems, please visit the web listings of our airline members, with contact information and links to their web sites.

United Airlines
United Airlines, the first US airline to provide service to Vietnam in over 30 years, began flying to Vietnam on December 11, 2004. United offers daily passenger and cargo service to San Francisco via Hong Kong in Boeing 747 equipment. With this service, United exclusively offers more connections to more cities in the United States than any other airline.

Cathay Pacific Airways
Since July 2004, Cathay Pacific has operated a daily non-stop service from Hong Kong to New York, in addtion to its existing one-stop service through Vancouver. Together with its double daily service from Hong Kong to Los Angeles and Vancouver, daily service to San Francisco and Toronto, Cathay Pacific offers great connections via Hong Kong to North America with its double daily service from both Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

Continental Airlines GSA – Traveland Joint Stock Co.

American Airlines GSA – Huong Giang Travel

Click here for links to web listings of AmCham Member hotels in Ho Chi Minh City with links to each hotel’s web site.

And click here for links to web listings of AmCham Member travel agencies in Ho Chi Minh City, with links to their web sites.

Health Care and Travel/Health Insurance in Vietnam

For in-country health care and prevention, here is a list of AmCham members that provide health care and travel/health insurance.

FV Hospital (Far East Medical Vietnam Ltd)
Healthcare service; In-patient and Out-patient care; 24 hour emergency ambulance service; complete laboratory and imaging diagnostics; 30 medical and surgical specialties; annual membership, health check-up programs, special arrangements for corporate accounts.

Family Medical Practice
Our 3 modern clinics are medically staffed and 100% managed by Western-trained doctors with “state-of-the-art” medical equipment. We offer a wide range of medical services.

International SOS
Our emergency and day-to-day medical, security, personal and travel assistance services are globally recognized for unmatched reliability and quality. Our high standard of service is made possible by our excellent staff, global infrastructure and 20 years of expertise.

Victoria Healthcare Vietnam
Victoria Healthcare Vietnam – delivers the highest standard of healthcare quality and service with compassion at a fair price. Our healthcare system is the best in development and management through vast experience, know-how, and exacting standards.

U.S. Government Representatives in Vietnam and Assistance to American Citizens

Online Travel Registration
The U.S. State Department recently launched a secure online travel registration website which will allow you, as an American citizen, to record foreign trip and residence information that the State Department can use to communicate with you and assist you in case of an emergency.

U.S. citizens can access this site by clicking here

U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan Boulevard, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
T: +84 8 3520 4200
F: +84 8 3520 4244
Attn: American Citizen Services Unit

U.S. Embassy in Hanoi
7 Lang Ha Street, Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam
T: +84 4 771 1500 Hours for telephone inquiries: 2:30pm – 3:30pm, M-F
F: +84 4 772 1510
Attn: American Citizen Services Unit

The American Citizen Services (ACS) units in HCM City and Hanoi assist American citizens in emergencies, and also provides routine services such as processing passport applications, issuing Reports of Birth Abroad to U.S. citizen children born in Vietnam, providing overseas voting assistance, giving information on Social Security and Veterans’ benefits, distributing income tax forms, notarizing documents, and registering Americans living or traveling in Vietnam.

The American Citizen Services unit cannot act as your travel agent, bank, lawyer, investigator or law enforcement agent. Please do not expect the office to find you employment, get you residence or driving permits, act as interpreters, search for missing luggage, or settle disputes with hotel managers. You may not stay at the U.S. Consulate General if you are stranded. However, the office can tell you how to obtain help on these and other matters.

Security and safety information

For security and safety information on Vietnam, especially Ho Chi Minh City, please click on the HCMC OSAC Web site

Recommended Immunizations and Healthy Travel

As part of your travel preparations, please visit the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention web site for information on recommended immunizations and tips for healthy travel to Vietnam.

See your doctor at least 4–6 weeks before your trip to allow time for shots to take effect. If it is less than 4 weeks before you leave, you should still see your doctor. It might not be too late to get your recommended shots or medications as well as other information about how to protect yourself from illness and injury while traveling.

U.S. Department of State Country Specific Travel Information for Vietnam

U.S. Department of State Country Specific Information Travel Information for Vietnam

Travel Guidebooks Online, Some Special Tours, and Photos of Vietnam

OK, now that you’ve got all the paperwork and health considerstions taken care of, here are some travel guidebooks online so that you can enjoy planning your travel to Vietnam.

Click here for a collection of photos from across Vietnam: Bonjour Viet Nam, My Motherland – one day I’ll go there … (in French)

Lonely Planet Guide to VietnamHo Chi Minh CityHanoi

Fodor’s Online MiniGuide to Ho Chi Minh CityFodor’s Online MiniGuide to Hanoi

In Country (Inside Columbia, Mar 2007).
Don is a Vietnam Vet, and now is the President of the Columbia, MO, Chamber of Commerce. He had a chance to return to Vietnam for a two week visit in October 2006. During the visit, he developed a fresh perspective seasoned by a lifetime of experience, growth and maturity. He remains impressed with the progress the country has made, and would return ”in a heartbeat.” “I’d highly recommend others to visit. It’s a long flight, but I’d certainly go back. You’ll find it safe, very inexpensive, friendly, easy to get around, and the climate mostly temperate — we had great weather while there.

New York Times Travel Guides: Ho Chi Minh City.
Articles about travel to Ho Chi Minh City, including where to stay, where to eat, what to do, when to go.

U.S. Geological Service – Vietnam Maps
Click the link for a catalogue of Vietnam Maps from the U.S. Geological Service. These maps are dated (information going back to 1970s and 1980s), but very comprehensive coverage and detail.

AmCham Vietnam Member Travel Companies

AmCham Vietnam Member Travel Companies.

APEC Business Travel Handbook – Vietnam

Click here for additional information from the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) Web Site APEC Business Travel Handbook – Vietnam

We hope this travel information will help you have a pleasant and healthy visit to Vietnam!

Vietnam Online – Travel Information Web Site

Vietnam Visa Extension Service: Hanoi and HCMC Many visitors coming to Vietnam realize that they need more time than expected, for different reasons. An advantage that you enjoy when travelling to Vietnam is the easy visa extension service. Unlike other countries, you can renew your visa while in the country instead of having to fly off to another one, or send your passport overseas.