Things to do before travelling:

  • Put diarrhea pills in your bags!!!! you may find it hard to get official medicine without paying too much. 
  • Get your vietnam cellphone number BEFORE you even go (you can buy very cheap prepaid card through ebay or others online sellers)
  • Get your internet services too (3G/4G prepaid USB stick)  now you can give your number to your family and friends and stay connected. 
  •  Prepare a schedule of what/where to go 

Things to remember:

  • Do not drink tap water and choose only good mineral water kept away from the sun.
  • Avoid any cyclo ride, unless is booked and paid thru the hotel.
  • Dress modestly and appropriately when visiting local dwellings and religious sites, etc.
  • Leave your valuables behind in the hotel safe box before a night out on the town, or going to the beach.
  • When crossing the road – especially in HCMC – always keep looking to the left and right and walk slowly!
  • Don't offer money directly to minority people – instead donate to a local charity or offer a small gift, such as pens.
  • However frustrated, don't lose your temper (“losing face”), as it won't get you very far!
  • By all means, sample the delicious street food but for hygiene's sake only at venues that are busy with a big turnover.
  • Always ask permission first before taking photographs, especially in minority areas.
  • Arrange for medical insurance (including the provision for emergency evacuation) prior to departure, as there is no free medical treatment available in Vietnam and the standard of local health facilities is below international standards.
  • Mind your change - the 500,000 and 50,000 notes look similar as does the 100,000 and 10,000 notes. While most Vietnamese are honest and used to tourists fumbling for the right currency values, a few will actively try to short-change you. Take your time to count the zeroes or you'll unintentionally make someone very happy.
  • Spring is a great time to travel in Saigon, Mekong Delta, Hoi An and Hanoi, and Halong Bay.
  • If you choose to go to halong Bay, stay 2 nights because of the road trip, poor roads, it is a long way to go for 1 night, and you see a lot more in the 2 days.