Ho Chi Minh City travel tips
There are two ways for Australian passport holders to get a Vietnam visa. You can send your passport and a completed application form to the Vietnamese embassy and have them returned to you by mail. Alternatively, you can apply online to have a visa stamped upon your arrival at the Vietnam airport. This is only a guide, so if you want the most accurate information, please visit the Vietnam Embassy website.
Vietnam's currency is the dong. You'll need to have banknotes on hand during your holiday as most retailers don't accept coins anymore. These you can withdraw from most ATMs; look for the corresponding symbols on your debit or credit card. You can also pay with your credit card, but only at big hotels and restaurants in Ho Chi Minh. To exchange currency before you go, head to your nearest Travel money Oz outlet.
Ho Chi Minh Cityfood
Street food is an important part of Ho Chi Minh's food culture. Vendors offer pho (rice noodles in broth), banh mi (baguette sandwich), and many more specialities. Be sure that the stalls are clean and that a lot of locals are eating there for the safest and tastiest food experience.
Tipping in Ho Chi Minh City
While it's not mandatory, tipping in Ho Chi Minh is much appreciated by your servers. Hotel housekeepers, restaurant wait staff, massage therapists and tour guides all earn low wages. So be sure to show your gratitude with a small token when they provide you with excellent service.
Electrical plugs and voltage
The voltage in Ho Chi Minh is usually 220V, and very rarely 110V. Either way, it's different from Australia's 240V. So you may need to have a converter as well as a universal adapter for your electronics when you visit. Most accommodation will have a two-pin or three-pin plug with flat prongs. However, there are some with plugs for round prongs.
Language in Ho Chi Minh City
When visiting Vietnam, it's best to know some basic phrases such as hello (xin chao) and thank you (xin cam on). If you're staying at District 1 and other areas of Ho Chi Minh that tourists frequent, you'll encounter locals who speak English. If you stray off the beaten path, you might find elders who speak some French.
Ho Chi Minh City Airport
Tan Son Nhat International is the name of Ho Chi Minh's airport, located just 6km north of the city centre. Its Terminal 1 is for domestic flights while its Terminal 2 is for international arrivals and departures. You can get a taxi from the main queue or from pre-paid taxi counters after clearing customs. There are also car rental services available.