Vietnam is located in Southeast Asia and is borded by China in the north, Laos and Cambodia in the west and by the South China Sea in the east. The coast extends over more than 3000 km. the surface area of the country is 330 000 square km and the population is more than 94 million inhabitants (2016). The landscape, very green, is mainly composed of rice fields and mountains in the north, in the “High Region”. The north of the country is crossed by the Red River that passes by Hanoi and the southern tip is crossed by the Mekong.
The currency is the Dông (1 € = 27 208,95 VND – September 2017). Many places also adopt the American dollar and, in smaller quantity, the Euro. However, it is preferable to use the local currency because first, the Vietnamese central bank is flooded by foreign currency and second, the conversion of Dôngs always rounds down.
As a rule, in all the big and medium cities, if this one as an office, the Vietcombank accepts the foreign currencies in cash, traveler’s cheques and payment cards (especially Visa and Mastercard). Always remember to bring your passport with you at all times. You can find cash machines everywhere in Vietnam.
The GDP per capita is about 2 078 €, so 2 321 US$ (in 2015). The minimum budget no to forget is about 40 € per day. A few examples of approximate prices (2014):
- 1 litre of water : 0.40 €
- 1 glas of beer : 0.50 €
- 1 hour in local bus : 1 €
- 1 cheap hostel night : 10 to 15 €
- 1 dish of noodles : 1.50 to 2.50 €
- 10 minutes by taxi : 3.50 €
- One-way flight Brussels – Hanoi with the SVI : 450 €
En tout, 8 sites sont classés au patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO, dont deux sites naturels :
In all, 8 sites are classified as Unesco World Heritage, of whom two natural sites :
- Ha Long Bay (1994)
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (2003)
The major ethnic group of the country is the Kinh’s one (or Viet) that represents about 85% of the local population. These one essentially live in the delta plains of the Red River or on the coasts. Moreover, more than 54 ethnic minorities are spread over the territory and mainly cohabit in the mountains that cover about two thirds of the territory. For example, Mong, Nung, Dao are minorities who live in the “High Region”, in the “Tonkin” mountains.
The official language is Vietnamese. Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin people) is the second most spoken language but further to the French colonization, many Vietnamese of the old generation still speak this language. Except Chinese and French, English is more and more popular and there are also a lot of dialects (khmer, cham, thaï, sedang, miao-yao and others).
In the interior of the country, there is a rural exodus from the isolated and poor regions of the north and center to the major urban centers. The urban population is growing rapidly at an annual rate of about 4.2%. Due to its rapid social and economic development, Vietnam is facing very serious pollution problems. Moreover, Vietnam choose a touristic policy of “big tourism” (or mass tourism). The protection of the environment became a priority for the Vietnamese Government and especially the waste processing, the water processing and the air pollution.
Vaccine and specific advice :
Find out what vaccines are recommended for the country and what are the diseases preventive and/or treatment measures on site.
Vaccine renewal, country-specific vaccinations: 1-3 months before leaving
Visit your doctor or specialist for any health problem, repeat of medical prescriptions, contraception, to have a sufficient initial stock of drugs, adjustment of dosages. Moreover, you will need to send your coordinator a certificate from your doctor certifying that you are well able to participate in an international volunteer project.
Dentist: a dental check-up can be useful before you leave !
We recommend you to visit the mentioned below websites to consult the travel advice :
The Service volontaire international is the only international volunteer organization which is not from a “North” country but from Vietnam. SVI is the independent branch of the “SJ Vietnam” NGO, founded in 2005 with the support of UNDP (United Nations) in Hanoi.
SJ Vietnam is a Franco-Belgian-Vietnamese youth organization founded in 2004 by a former Belgian coopérant (Mr. Pierre De Hanschutter, [email protected]) and a Vietnamese volunteer (Miss Phuc, [email protected]), with the support of the United Nations Vietnam and the Belgian cooperation.
The nonprofit organization is managed by and for young Vietnamese and international volunteers. SJ Vietnam aims to promote local and international volunteering, the fight against exclusions, intercultural exchanges, the development of the concept of active citizenship in young people and solidarity towards the most deprived. At the end of 2017, SJ Vietnam had more than 4000 local members and received an average of 500 international volunteers per year.
With regard to obtaining a visa and entry requirements, we invite you to contact the embassy in question :
Embassy of Vietnam in the UK :
Embassy of Vietnam in the USA :
Embassy of Vietnam in Canada :