Overview: The easiest way to obtain local currency is through ATMs, which are found throughout Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. If you need to change currency, you'll get the best rates at gold stores along Hang Gai Street in Hanoi. Banks and better hotels also offer exchange services (but the rates won't be as favorable). Avoid changing money on the street. Credit cards can be used in most locations, but travelers' checks are only accepted at banks.

Passport/Visa U.S.: Passports and visas are needed by citizens of Canada, Europe, and the U.S. When leaving, expect to pay a US$14 departure tax at the airport and make sure you still have the yellow customs declaration form that was given to you when you arrived in the country. Reconfirm travel document requirements with your carrier before departure.

Population: 83,245,175 / Religion: Buddhist, Christian (Roman Catholic), Taoist. / Voltage Requirements: 220 volts

Telephone Codes: 84, country code; 4, Hanoi city code; 8, Ho Chi Minh City code / Time Zone: 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (+7 GMT). Daylight Saving Time is not observed

Tipping Overview: Tipping is a relatively new thing in Vietnam, and to date, it's more commonly seen in the southern part of the country. Gratuities usually aren't necessary in inexpensive restaurants, but upscale places will often tack on a 5% service charge. Tips for taxi drivers are purely optional (and most appreciated, however small).

Posted in Asia, English.