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Vietnam

If you’re travelling to Vietnam, our travel advice and updates give you practical tips and useful information. 

Security Status

  • Normal precautions
  • High degree of caution
  • Avoid non-essential travel
  • Do not travel
  • Overview
  • Safety and Security
  • Local Laws and Customs
  • Natural Disasters and Climate
  • Additional Information
  • Embassy Contact

Overview

General COVID-19 Travel Advisory in Operation

Ireland is implementing the new EU ‘traffic lights’ approach to travel, which applies to countries in the EU / EEA. Our current advice for travel to these countries is ‘exercise a high degree of caution’. Our general advice for any other overseas travel remains ‘avoid non-essential travel’ or in some cases, ‘do not travel’.

Our TravelWise app has been suspended while we move to implement the new EU system. We apologise for this inconvenience. Updated information will continue to be provided on this website.

On 13 October, Member States adopted the EU Recommendation on a coordinated approach to travel restrictions in the context of COVID-19. This ‘traffic lights’ approach provides for regions across the European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) to be categorised as green, orange, red or grey, on the basis of the risk levels associated with COVID-19. A combined indicator map will be published each week by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), based on agreed criteria, including the 14-day cumulative incidence rate, testing rate and testing positivity rates.

In line with the EU Recommendation, there will be no entry restrictions on passengers travelling from green regions. Each Member State will decide what entry restrictions it will apply to passengers travelling from red, orange and grey regions.

Information about what to do on entering Ireland from abroad:

All passengers arriving into Ireland from overseas are obliged to complete a COVID-19 Passenger Locator Form before entry. For further details please see the Irish Government Advice Page. Further information about current requirements for entry to Ireland is available on the Irish Government website and the HSE website.

In accordance with Government policy, which is based on official public health advice, the Department of Foreign Affairs continues to advise against non-essential travel overseas, other than to countries that are part of the EU ‘traffic lights’ approach, where the advice is to exercise a high degree of caution. Everyone is asked to comply with restrictions within Ireland, including those under the National Framework for Living with COVID-19. These are listed on the Official website of the Irish Government. The situation in relation to COVID-19 continues to evolve quickly around the world. Citizens who are considering any overseas travel are advised to carefully monitor the official advice and information from the public authorities in their destination.

If you are considering travelling outside of Ireland:

Should you decide that you need to travel, you should inform yourself about any requirements in the destination to which you are travelling. Information about entry restrictions currently applied by other countries is available on the country-specific travel advice pages. Additional restrictions may be imposed, including during the duration of your visit. Flight restrictions and route cancellations continue to occur worldwide and there is no guarantee that air routes will operate as scheduled. It is important to check with your insurance provider on coverage at this time. Any Irish citizen considering any overseas travel should monitor news and information from the public authorities in their country or region of destination. Citizens are advised to follow the public health guidelines of the local health authorities and to continue to practice physical distancing measures, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette etc.

The purpose of the Department’s Travel Advice is to provide information to the general public so that individuals can make informed decisions for themselves. There are significant risks associated with international travel in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this is likely to remain the case for the foreseeable future. Citizens should be aware of the possible limitations to any consular assistance that could be provided. Any citizens who are considering travel abroad, or those already abroad, are advised to monitor our travel advice, and follow us on Twitter. They are also advised to register with their local Irish Embassy or Consulate and regularly check their website and Twitter accounts for details of any local public health measures and travel restrictions.

Where to go for further travel information:

Overview

Security status

Avoid non-essential travel.

Security Status Last Updated: 15 March 2020

Latest Travel Alert

COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus

Emergency responses to the Covid-19 crisis in many countries across the Asia Pacific region have included restrictions of flights from Europe; imposition of new mandatory quarantine arrangements in some countries and new restrictions affecting the admission of Irish people travelling to and within the region.

Flight options are becoming more limited as more countries in Europe and in the Asia Pacific region impose travel restrictions.  In view of the increasing restrictions and uncertainty around travel options to Ireland we strongly recommend that Irish citizens intending to return to Ireland make early arrangements to do so.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade strongly advises against any further non–essential travel to the region until the Covid-19 crisis has been contained.

Latest information on regional response to COVID-19.

Other Health Issues

High levels of air pollution may arise in major cities and may aggravate underlying medical conditions. See the Additional Information tab for more information. 

Emergency assistance

The best help is often close at hand so if you have problems, try talking to your local contacts, tour operator representative or hotel management.

Contact numbers for the emergency services are 112 for search and rescue. 113 for Police. 114 for fire department. 115 Ambulance.

Our tips for safe travels

  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance which covers all your intended activities
  • Add an alert for your destination within the Travelwise App.
  • Register your details with us so that we can contact you quickly in an emergency, such as a natural disaster or a family emergency
  • Follow us on twitter @dfatravelwise for the latest travel updates    
  • Read our Topical ‘Know Before You Go’ guide

Safety and Security

Safety and security

Unrest

It is not advisable to publicly express strong political views or to take part in political demonstrations in Vietnam. Avoid demonstrations and public gatherings, which can sometimes turn confrontational and stay away from military sites – taking photos of, or near, military or security installations, and some public buildings, may be prohibited.

Terrorism

Although the threat from terrorism in Vietnam is low, there is still a global risk of indiscriminate terrorist attacks, which could be against civilian targets, including places frequented by tourists and expatriates. 

Crime

Petty Crime is common in Vietnam, particularly in urban areas, you should take sensible precautions at all times and especially during the summer peak travel period;

  • Don’t carry your passport unless absolutely necessary and leave a copy of your passport and original birth certificate (as well as travel insurance documents and other important documents) with family or friends at home;
  • Don’t carry your credit card, travel tickets and money together, leave spare cash and valuables in a safe place;
  • Be aware that bag snatching occurs frequently and there is a significant increase in theft in the lead up to local festivals;
  • Avoid placing bags in the front basket of bicycles;
  • Bag and mobile phone snatches from persons passing on motorbikes are increasingly common;
  • When travelling by air, bus or train, stay vigilant against petty theft, particularly in busy rail and bus stations and in crowded airports.

Lost or Stolen Passports

1. If your passport is lost or stolen, report this to the Police immediately and obtain a Police Report. Irish Citizens should be aware that if this occurs, it will delay your travel plans considerably, and cost you money. Along with the time taken to arrange a new travel document, you will subsequently need to get a replacement visa and an exit visa from immigration in Vietnam and this can take at least three working days and may delay your onward travel plans. Please be aware that the nearest Irish Embassy is in Hanoi. In the event of a lost or stolen passport you can now renew your passport online via: https://www.dfa.ie/passportonline/

Taxis

You should use licensed taxis after dark to minimise the risk of assault.

Always use licensed taxis or pre-arranged hotel pick-ups when transferring from airports. Don’t accept offers of free transfers to hotels as these may be bogus.

Reporting a crime

If you’re a victim of a crime while in Vietnam, report it to the local police immediately. You can contact us at the Irish Embassy in Hanoi if you need assistance

Driving

If you’re planning to drive in Vietnam, you should be extremely careful. Road safety standards are low, particularly outside towns and cities. Accidents are frequent and are often caused by poor driving, badly maintained vehicles (this includes public transport) and inadequate lighting. Be aware that in the event of an accident, third parties involved are likely to have little or no insurance. Figures issued by the authorities in Vietnam show over 8,000 deaths and over 18,000 injured on the roads in the last year. Contact numbers for the emergency services are 112 for search and rescue. 113 for Police. 114 for fire department. 115 Ambulance.

If you want to drive:

  • You will need to get a Vietnamese driving licence to drive a car or motorcycle from the Hanoi Department of Public Works and Transportation (telephone: 00 84 4 3843 5325) or the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Public Works and Transportation (telephone: 00 84 8 3829 0451 or 0452).
  • Bring your full Irish driving license and make sure you have adequate and appropriate insurance

Hiring a vehicle

If you’re hiring a vehicle, particularly a motorbike, you should not to hand over your passport as a form of security.  As a visitor to Vietnam you are required to be in possession of your passport at all times.  If you’re allowing your passport to be photocopied, keep it in your sight at all times.

Check that you have adequate insurance and read the small print of the vehicle hire contract (particularly any waiver that will come into effect if the vehicle is damaged).

Pedestrians

Pedestrians should take particular care when crossing roads in major cities.  Driving can be erratic and sometimes dangerous. Taxis are common but the standard of driving may be poor.

Motorbikes and scooters

Accidents involving motorbikes or scooters, often causing serious injury or death, are common. If you decide to rent or purchase a motorbike or scooter please take the same precautions as you would at home. These include wearing a helmet, being extra vigilant of your surroundings, observing speed limits and obeying the rules of the road.

Landmines

Unexploded mines and ordnance are still a risk on former battlefields, particularly in central Vietnam and along the border with Laos. Don’t stray from main routes in rural areas and check with your tour operator before travelling to affected regions.

Alcohol

Be aware of spiked drinks, food and cigarettes, particularly late at night in bars. Don’t leave food or drink unattended or accept food, drink or cigarettes from strangers.

Homemade alcohol may be contaminated with bacteria or with toxic chemicals from pesticides and should be avoided. 

Energy drinks

A number of energy drinks that are banned in Europe due to their high levels of stimulants are available in Vietnam. Many but not all carry health warnings. Consuming more than two of these drinks per day, on their own or with alcohol, can pose a serious health risk, particularly to people with pre-existing cardiac or other conditions.

Outdoor adventure sports

Before you take part in any outdoor or water-based sports or activities, such as kayaking, rock climbing, hang-gliding, etc., check that your travel insurance will cover you in the event of injury to yourself or a third party.  

You should also be aware that the health and safety requirements in Vietnam aren’t as stringent as in Ireland and are often neither observed nor enforced. This means the risk of a serious or fatal accident while taking part in these activities is much higher.

Local Laws and Customs

Local laws and customs

Remember, the local laws apply to you as a visitor and it is your responsibility to follow them. Be sensitive to local customs, traditions and practices as your behavior may be seen as improper, hostile or may even be illegal.

Illegal drugs

You should avoid any involvement with drugs. Illegal drug use (no matter what the drug) carries stiff penalties, including the death penalty, which is enforced in Vietnam. Illegal drugs are likely to have been tampered with or spiked.

Crime

Sex offences or fraud can result in long prison terms or a death sentence. Foreign visitors are not allowed to invite Vietnamese nationals into their hotel rooms.

Natural Disasters and Climate

Natural disasters and climate

Climate: In Vietnam, the climate is tropical in the north and subtropical in the center and south, and it's influenced by the monsoons: the south-west monsoon affects the country from May to October, and the northeast monsoon from October to April. The former brings heavy rainfall in both the north and the south, while central Vietnam is protected by the mountains, and experiences relatively little rain. The north-east monsoon is generally drier, but it brings heavy rains in the early months (October-December) along the coast exposed to the east, and light but frequent rains in the north.
In inland areas, there are hills and mountains, which make the climate milder in the summer months, but cold in winter in the north.
The amount of rainfall is normally between 1,500 and 2,500 millimeters (60 and 98 inches) per year, but there's also a relatively small arid zone in the Phan Thiet area (north-east of Ho Chi Minh City), where it's slightly above 1,000 mm (40 in)
.

Natural Disasters: Given the size and location of Vietnam, it experiences all types of natural disasters.  Approx. 1,000 people die each year due to natural disasters in Vietnam.

Typhoons

The typhoon season in Central and Northern Vietnam normally runs from June to December. You should pay close attention to local and international weather reports and follow the advice of local authorities.

Flooding

Storms, especially in the Central Region and Mekong Delta, often lead to heavy and dangerous flooding. The rainy season varies across the country but is usually from June to October. This can damage transport links and has left whole areas isolated, including border crossing points into Laos. Check the media, weather reports, transport services and with your tour operator before travelling into the interior of the country. 

Climbing

Accidents have occurred during mountain-climbing excursions in the north of the country. You’re advised to go with reputable guides.

 

Additional Information

Additional information

Entry requirements (visa/passport)

Irish citizens require a visa to visit Vietnam.

Irish tourists intending to stay less than 30 days in Vietnam can now apply for a single entry e-visa through the Vietnam Immigration Department at https://xuatnhapcanh.gov.vn/ or email contact@immigration.gov.vn. Irish citizens travelling for purposes other than tourism, intending to stay longer than 30 days, or who require a multiple entry visa must apply through their nearest Vietnamese Embassy. Please ensure that you verify with the Vietnamese Embassy the duration for which your passport must be valid as this may vary according to the type of visa you require and the intended duration of stay. Generally, at least six months validity is required and you may be refused entry to Vietnam if your passport is close to expiry.

While it is possible to collect a visa on arrival in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City or Da Nang international airports, you must have applied for, and received, a visa approval letter before travel. If you are unable to prove that you have made the necessary visa arrangements, you may be denied boarding, or be deported at your own expense on arrival in Vietnam.

If you hold a temporary passport, please contact your nearest Vietnamese Embassy for advice before travelling as you may not be able to obtain a visa.

Although travelers may enter the Phu Quoc special zone without a visa for a stay of up to 15 days, please note that if you are intending to travel onwards to other parts of Vietnam, you must obtain a visa before travelling. Travelers arriving in Ho Chi Minh City or other domestic airports from Phu Quoc without the necessary visa may be detained by the immigration authorities.

Health

Health- General

Check with your doctor well in advance of travelling to see if you need any vaccinations for this country. The standard of health care is sufficient for treating minor injuries and performing simple operations in the major cities but if you need more complicated treatment you may need to be evacuated to another country. Please ensure that you have adequate health insurance to cover this eventuality.

We would advise that you drink plenty of bottled water when travelling in Vietnam.

Don’t drink water from the tap and avoid ice in your drinks.

Air Pollution

High levels of air pollution may arise in major cities in Vietnam. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying heart and respiratory issues are particularly vulnerable. Members of the public can monitor air pollution levels at http://aqicn.org/map/vietnam/. During periods of high air pollution, people in affected areas, especially those in the high-risk groups, are advised to:

  • minimise outdoor activity
  • reduce physical exertion
  • keep windows and doors closed
  • use an air purifier
  • consider using a respirator mask

Dengue Fever

Dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness, is endemic across Vietnam including in key tourist destinations. Visitors to Vietnam are advised to take appropriate precautions to avoid mosquito bites, such as using insect repellents, covering up and using mosquito nets, and to seek early medical advice if they experience symptoms of the virus. There are no medications which you can take to prevent dengue fever. Please consult your doctor or http://www.who.int/denguecontrol/faq/en/ for further information.

Avian Flu

Outbreaks of avian flu have occurred from time to time in Vietnam. The risk of transmission to humans can be reduced by avoiding live animal markets, poultry farms, and contact with domestic or wild birds, and ensuring that meals containing poultry and eggs are properly cooked.

Zika Virus

Vietnam is among the locations where there may be a risk of contracting the Zika Virus. Irish Citizens are advised to follow guidance available on the website of the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) at http://www.hpsc.ie/A-Z/Vectorborne/Zika/.

 

In particular, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, and plan to travel to areas affected by Zika Virus, you are advised to discuss your travel plans with your healthcare provider and to consider postponing your travel to affected areas.

Money

You should bring enough money for your stay. Euros and US dollars are usually easily changed into Vietnamese dong (VND). Credit cards are becoming more widely known, but outside the main centres you may find that cash is the only acceptable currency and you may find it difficult to cash travellers’ cheques. ATM distribution is still poor and limited to the major cities and tourist areas. However, you can transfer money to Vietnam by international money transfer companies. Foreign passport holders can exchange up to US$500 worth of Vietnamese dong back into US dollars on departure.

Embassy contact

Embassy Contact

The Embassy’s working hours are 9:00am to 4:30pm Monday to Friday, with a one hour break between 12pm and 1pm. If you require information outside these hours, please refer to the following options:

- If you are an Irish National who requires assistance in the case of a genuine emergency while the Embassy is closed, please contact us on +84 4 39743291 where you will be given details on how to proceed and how to contact a consular officer if needed.

- Alternatively, you can contact the Duty Officer at the Department of Foreign Affairs in Dublin at +353 1 408 2000.

Embassy of Ireland
2nd floor
41A Ly Thai To
Hoan Kiem District
Hanoi
Vietnam

Tel: +84 4 3974 3291
Fax: +84 4 3974 3295

Contact us