Some notices foreigners should know before traveling to Vietnam

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Some notices foreigners should know before traveling to Vietnam

 Some medical precautions

Visiting a doctor or specialist travel clinic as early as possible before departure to allow time for the recommended courses of vaccinations is really important. Especially when you are travelling with young children.
         Although, there is  no vaccination are required for Vietnam (with the exception of yellow fever if you are travelling directly from an area where the disease is endemic). However, typhoid and hepatitis, a vaccinations are normally recommended, and it’s worth checking that you are up to date with boosters for tetanus, polio etc. Other injections to consider, depending on the season and risk of exposure, are hepatitis B, Japanese encephalitis, meningitis and rabies. It is best to discuss these with your doctor.
         There is obviously a lot that you can do to protect yourself by taking a few common-sense precautions. In tropical climates it’s easy to get run down, so one of the keys is to keep your resistance high by getting plenty of rest and allowing time to acclimatise to the heat, humidity and unfamiliar diet. It’s important to eat well, especially peeled fresh fruits, and to keep up the intake of liquids – bottled water is readily available and hot tea is offered at the drop of a hat.
        Malaria is present in Vietnam. Both Hanoi and HCMC have very low incidences, while the northern delta and coastal regions of the south and centre are also considered relatively safe but the main danger areas are the highlands and the rural areas, where Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous strain of malaria, is prevalent. Your doctor will advise on which, if any, anti-malaria tablets you should take.
          If you do fall ill, pharmacies in Hanoi and HCMC stock a decent range of imported medicines (check they are not past their “use-by” date). Both these cities also now have good, international-class medical facilities. Elsewhere, local hospitals will be able to treat minor ailments, but for anything more serious head back to Hanoi or HCMC.
         Finally, don’t get paranoid! By coming prepared and taking a few simple precautions, you’re unlikely to come down with anything worse than a cold or a quick dose of travellers’diarrhea.

 Where to change Vietnamese money.

There are some places for you to change money. You can change cash and travellers’ cheques at exchange desks in big hotels and at authorised foreign exchange banks in the main cities. Among the banks, Vietcombank usually offers the best exchange rates and charges the lowest commission (around 1-2%). Note that commission rates are slightly lower if changing travellers’ cheques into dong rather than dollars. Vietcombank does not levy commission when changing dollars cash into dong, though some other banks do. It’s worth bearing in mind that you get a slightly better exchange rate for $100 and $50 notes than for smaller denominations. When cashing travellers’ cheques you may be asked for your passport, though this practice seems to be dying out.
         Outside the main cities and tourist areas, authorised foreign exchange banks are few and far between. So if you’re heading off the beaten path, stock up with enough cash (dollars and dong) to last the trip. Wherever you are, you’ll always find someone willing to change dollars cash into dong, though rates will vary.
           When receiving dong, you’ll be presented with a huge pile of notes. The largest bill is only 50,000d (roughly $4), so bear this in mind when changing $100! Refuse any badly torn notes (you’ll find it hard to get rid of them – the same goes for dollars) and ask for a mix of denominations so that you always have a few low-value notes in hand.

Evisatovietnam.com updated and supplied!

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