Frequently Asked Questions
+ What should I pack for my trip?
Depending on the season you travel, packing may vary slightly. From November to April, the weather is cool, but mostly dry, with the coldest months being December - March. From May - October, the weather is more hot and humid and the region has heavy rainfall.
Lightweight and light colored clothing are best in hot and humid temperatures. Layers of all kinds are highly encouraged as the weather can change a couple of times within a day.
Seasons aside, a larger backpack or rolling luggage can be used to pack your belongings. Try to pack minimalistically to avoid too much excess, as we move cities quite often throughout the duration of the trip. Another smaller backpack will be most useful daily when moving around the city. Having a travel pack for day-to-day activities right on your back can help alleviate the stress of worrying where to store belongs such as phones, wallets, umbrellas, coats etc. We want you to feel comfortable and at ease -- unless you’re trying some new and exciting foods!
Some essentials to bring are: (Laundry services are provided at hotel)
- 5-6 Pairs of pants or shorts
- 7-8 Short sleeved tops
- Ample pairs of socks
- 1 Rainwear jacket
- 1 Light cover-up
- 1 Outfit for the farewell dinner
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Light sandals or shower shoes
- Watch or alarm
- Smartphone/ iPad if needed
- Outlet converter for technology
- Sunglasses and/or hat
- Debit or credit card for miscellaneous and souvenirs
- Emergency contact list
- Passport and Vietnam visa
+ What is the weather like in Vietnam?
Vietnam has two general seasons and climate zones: moderate climate in the North and tropical climate in the South. The high northern region along the mountains is the only place where colder weather gear is recommended during the select few months of December - March. The rest of Vietnam appreciates tropical and subtropical climates with rain frequenting the forecast every so often. If planning to travel in May - October, make sure to pack an umbrella and/or rain gear, as those generally are Vietnam’s monsoon season months.
+ What is the eating etiquette in Vietnam?
Many meals consist of family style tables with a couple main dishes in the middle and smaller dishes scattered along the table. You might sit around a table or on a mat on the floor. If the latter, sit cross-legged and do not extend the legs. The feet should not point towards food, as this is unhygienic. Small bowls and chopsticks are placed in front of each place setting. When choosing from the dishes, usually only one or two bites are picked up and placed into the bowl each time before consuming the food. Mixed greens, mints, and herbs are commonly available on the table to be combined with each bite. Along with greens, variety of sauces and broths for dipping are generally on the table.
During the trip, you will experience many fascinating ways to cook chicken, pork and beef. We will be able to try popular authentic and traditional dishes, such as Pho, a common Vietnamese soup or Banh Mi, a common Vietnamese sandwich. Many food dishes do not focus on a large meat dishes, but rather perfectly spiced vegetable dishes with mint. After each meal, it is common to have fruits and green tea to cleanse the palate.
+ What are some of the Traditional Holidays in Vietnam?
- Tet (January or February)
- April 30: Liberation Day/Reunification Day
- May 1: Labour Day
- May 19: Ho Chi Minh's Birthday
- September 2: National Holiday/Independence
+ WHAT IS INCLUDED AND EXCLUDED IN THE TRIP?
See the Tour Inclusions page under the Tours tab.
+ How do I apply for a travel visa to Vietnam?
Please click this link to access specific information from the Vietnamese Embassy about applying for your travel Visa.
+ Where should I purchase travel insurance?
Visit Travel Guard to get a quote on travel insurance.
+ Booking Conditions
You can download and view our booking conditions here.
+ What is reasonable airfare to Vietnam?
As of October 2017 and since the fuel cost is low, airfare has been very competitive and affordable. Here are some examples of what Cuisine Adventure Tours customers have been paying:
- Roundtrip out of Chicago O’Hare $550.
- One-way ticket to Ha Noi $300.
- Roundtrip out of Minneapolis $900.
+ What is the Vietnamese visa application process?
There are many companies that will process your required VISA to Vietnam for you. There is an additional cost to you if you use these companies.
To directly access the Vietnamese Embassy in DC, here is the process:
- This link will take you directly to the Vietnamese Embassy:
- Fill out the application online, print out the application, submit the application.
- Visa fees use the form of Money Order or Cashier’s Check. Call the embassy at (202)861-0737, for the exact Visa cost.
- 2 passport size photos.
- A prepaid return envelope.
- Required five business days processing time.
+ What are the required shots or medications before going to Vietnam?
Consult with your doctor and visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention before your trip to Vietnam.
Below is from the CDC website:
Most travelers get travel vaccines and medicines because there is a risk of these diseases in the country you are visiting.
- Hepatitis A: CDC recommends this vaccine because you can get hepatitis A through contaminated food or water in Vietnam, regardless of where you are eating or staying.
- Typhoid: You can get typhoid through contaminated food or water in Vietnam. CDC recommends this vaccine for most travelers, especially if you are staying with friends or relatives, visiting smaller cities or rural areas, or if you are an adventurous eater.
+ Is it safe to travel to Vietnam?
Yes, Vietnam is safe for travellers. In general, Vietnamese people are very friendly and are willing to help when they can. The Vietnam tourism industry is growing and the government is making travel to Vietnam easy. Precautions when traveling abroad are always recommended.
Precautions such as place your purse or backpack in front of you when walking down the streets, have a good grip on your smartphone or camera when you are taking pictures, avoid walking down dark streets by yourself, etc.
+ What is the Vietnamese currency?
The Vietnamese Currency is “Dong.” As of October 2017, the USD exchange for the Dong is $1UDS = 22,700 Dong. For a quick and easy conversion, round the conversion to $1USD = 25,000 Dong.
Here is a quick conversion estimation:
- $1USD = 25,000 Dong
- $5USD = 100,000 Dong
- $10USD = 200,000 Dong
- $25USD = 500,000 Dong
- $50USD = 1,000,000 Dong
The Vietnamese paper currency is as follows:
- 1,000 Dong
- 2,000 Dong
- 5,000 Dong
- 10,000 Dong
- 20,000 Dong
- 50,000 Dong
- 100,000 Dong
- 200,000 Dong
- 500,000 Dong
+ Should I bargain for purchased items?
In Vietnam, prices for items are rarely fixed; most items are somewhat inflated in price. Therefore, you should make a habit to negotiate for every item! Some vendors are very good at reading your body language and will be able to tell whether or not you will negotiate.
Here are some bargaining tips:
- Check with multiple vendors for pricing of the item you want to buy. This will give you an idea of the starting price.
- Start bargaining by slashing the asking price in half.
- Have a price in mind that you will not go beyond.
- The vendors will let you know when they don’t want to sell. This will give you an idea of the vendor product cost.
+ How do I register and prepare for my Cuisine Adventure Tour?
- Fill out the Cuisine Adventure Tours registration form.
- Send in the deposit (if it’s 90 days before the departure date).
- Purchase your air ticket (also make sure to purchase travel and health insurance).
- Prepare and send in the Vietnamese visa application.
- Send in the tour balance 60 days before the departure date.