When to goDue to Vietnam's varied climate, it's best to visit different regions at different times. Peak season is from November to February; it's a good time for visiting both the northern and southern regions.
Entry requirementsYou'll need a current passport that is valid for six months after your visa expiry date. You don't need a visa if visiting for less than 15 days. Longer stays in Vietnam require a visa.
Vaccinations are not obligatory but Hepatitis A is highly recommended. You may also want to get innoculated against Hepatitis B, Rabies, Typhoid and Japanese Encephalitis. Doctors also advise taking an anti-malaria treatment.
Once there, make sure you use an insect repellent and avoid drinking tap water.
The Vietnamese Emergency Services are on 115.
Airline ticketsVietnam Airlines is the only company offering direct flights from the UK. Most travellers change planes along the way. A direct flight will take about 12hrs 30mins. Return tickets range from £380 to £680.
The Vietnamese language is a tricky one as pronunciation varies between the north and south of Vietnam. However, it's the only South East Asian country to use a Latin-based alphabet! Learning to pronounce words and use different tones is, to put it mildly, a 'learning curve' for Brits hoping to master the language!
Vietnam has 35 ethnic minorities, each with its own dialect.
The Embassy of Vietnam's UK address is: 12-14 Victoria Rd, London W8 5RD Telephone: +44 20 7937 1912, website: http://www.vietnamembassy.org.uk
The British Embassy in Vietnam's address is: British Embassy Hanoi, Central Building, 4th floor, 31 Hai Ba Trung, Hanoi. Telephone +84 4 3936 0500. There's also a Consul in Ho Chi Minh City.
Phone and internet connection
You'll find internet cafes everywhere during your trip to Vietnam. Wi-Fi is widely available.
To call abroad from Vietnam you need to dial 00 followed by the country code - 44 for the UK, after which you leave out the first '0' and dial the remaining numbers.