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Travel Tips for Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos


A passport with minimum 6 months validity is required for entry into Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. While visas for Cambodia and Laos can be issued on arrival, they are best organised prior to your departure from Australia. Please check with your travel agent.


We strongly recommend that travellers protect themselves with adequate travel insurance. Ask your travel agent for details.


Make sure to consult your doctor for medical advice well in advance of your departure date. Discuss your itinerary so your doctor can advise you on any inoculations that are recommended. Also make sure to bring sunscreen protection and to only drink bottled water.


Departure taxes ex Australia and ex Vietnam are prepaid before departure and are shown on your ticket. Cambodian / Laotian departure taxes are not included and have to be paid at the airport on the day of departure from the relevant country. At the time of printing the international departure taxes are as follows:
Cambodia- US$20 per person
Laos - US$10 per person.


Vietnam - The unit of currency is the Dong, although US dollars are also widely accepted. At the time of writing one Australian Dollar converts to 20,000 dong. Money changing can be done at banks and most of the larger hotels. ATMs are common in tourist centres, and credit cards are increasingly accepted, although it is quite common for a surcharge to be imposed. Traveller's cheques are best denominated in US dollars.

Cambodia - The unit of currency is the Riel. At the time of writing 1 Australian Dollar converts to 3,700 Riel. In Phnom Penh and other towns most prices are in US dollars, although some rural areas do still price things in Riel. ATMs are quite prominent, and money can be exchanged at banks, and in most of the larger hotels. Credit card facilities are more limited than in Vietnam, though they are accepted in larger hotels and restaurants. Traveller's cheques are best denominated in US dollars.

Laos - The unit of currency is the Kip. At the time of writing 1 Australian Dollar converts to 7,500 Kip. US dollars and Thai Baht are the most commonly accepted currencies, although only Kip is accepted in some rural areas. ATMs are very rare, though payment via credit card is becoming easier (beware of surcharges / commissions). Traveller's cheques are best denominated in US dollars or UK Pound Stirling.


The weather patterns in Vietnam are roughly split into 3 zones - North, South and Central Vietnam. North Vietnam has a very distinct winter, running from November to April, where temperatures can drop to below 10 degrees in parts. Rainfall is very sparse during this period, in contrast to the summer months of May - October when the monsoon season brings heavier rainfalls and substantially warmer weather. South Vietnam, by contrast, has a much more consistent temperature range, with the high humidity monsoon season lasting from May - October. The rain is usually very heavy, but relatively short-lived, falling mostly in the afternoons.

The Central areas have a much longer dry season, running from January to October, after which there is a short wet season. Temperature fluctuations are not as severe as in the North, nor as static as in the South.

The seasonality in Cambodia mirrors that of South Vietnam, although the wet season in Cambodia can be a better time to travel as the moats in Angkor Wat fill with water, and the countryside becomes very lush.

The northern areas of Laos, like Luang Prabang, feature a distinct winter period stretching from November through February, during which time it can get quite chilly. Between the North and South there can be quite a difference in temperature, as well as rainfall, with the North generally getting lower levels. The rainy season stretches from April / May through to mid-October.


Vietnam - Vietnamese is the national language, though French and English are used and understood in the main cities.

Cambodia - The national language is Khmer, though English is becoming increasingly well spoken amongst the younger generation.

Laos - Laos is the national language but there are many local dialects. French is again spoken by many of the elders and hotel staff, however most government officials and shopkeepers have some command of English.


Vietnam - 220 Volts, although 110 Volts is still found in some areas. Sockets are round two-pin, though some of the higher standard hotels feature the UK-style 3 square-pin sockets.

Cambodia - 220 Volts. Sockets are round two-pin.

Laos - 220 Volts in the main towns and 110 volts in the country. Sockets are most commonly round two-pin.


Tet is the Vietnamese New Year, and is the only holiday that most Vietnamese take in the year. It is celebrated in conjunction with the Lunar New Year, with the festival lasting for up to a fortnight. During this time the roads can be quite crowded, and hotels full. On the 3 days of official holidays (the first 3 days of the New Year) most shops and restaurants are closed.


Vietnam Tours has classified the accommodation contained herein with our own star rating system. These ratings have been classified according to our own inspections, as well as local rating systems, and are provided solely for the guidance of our customers. The ratings apply to the overall standard of the property, and do not take into account the differences between individual room types.

- Comfortable rooms with a reasonable variety of facilities and services.

- Well-appointed rooms and public areas, with a wide range of facilities and excellent service standards.

- The highest international standards of accommodation, service and facilities. Generally considered one of the best properties available.

If a property has that ''something special'' it is assigned an extra half star in its category.

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