The very first days in Vietnam
Mobile Phone Subscription
The first thing you should do when arriving in the cities is to get connected. You can easily purchase a mobile phone sim card in the airport for about 100,000 VND for initial use. Later then, when you are settled down, you can look for a suitable subscription package simply by a syntax message to the switchboard as instructed.
These are some recommended service provider with equivalent charge and quality. You can compare the promotion at the time and decide your choice of subscription or just continue with the one you purchased at the airport.
For the top-up, there is a frequent offer of 20% promotion. So, be aware to make use of the initiatives. At the moment, 4G data is the fastest cellular data network in Vietnam. You should buy a data package to prevent being empty the prepaid account as that data is quite costly. Otherwise, most of the public place in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh city have free wifi access with pretty fast speed. Thus, you can consider to turn off the 4G data when entering into the wireless area.
For your reference, the current rate of telecommunication is as follow:
A prepaid Internet subscription of 15 Gb, valid for 1 month, costs 200,000 VND, including only Internet access and no phone calls.
A SIM card with a phone number: 80,000 VND
Noted that if you consume all your GB (data) before the end of validity, your package will then move to a slow speed instead of the maximum speed.
Be careful with the vendor selling stalls because the price there is varied and the package may not be what you desired. If you there is a large telecom store nearby your place, go for that. Otherwise, check the information precisely before purchasing.
Open Bank Accounts
The currency of Vietnam is VND. It is optimal to exchange a small amount before your travel, but if not, it is not a big deal as you can easily exchange the money in the airport or banks that is available anywhere on your staying area. To get the best exchange rate, remember not to leave your notes with stains or marks.
Exchange rate on 5th March 2019:
1 US$ = 23,150 VND
1 € = 26,099 VND
It is recommended to use cash for daily purchasing at the local stores or vendors as it is preferable. Of course, you can still use your cards, but mostly applicable in restaurants, supermarkets or modern convenient stores.
To prevent the bank fee for using the credit cards of your country, it is suggested to open a local bank account with Visa, Master, Amex or JCB. You can deposit you cash into the bank account and withdraw it little by little for daily use.
Here are some recommended banks with good services and acceptable fees:
The followings are international banks, you may want to check out, but the transaction fees are generally higher than the local ones.
The procedure to open a bank account here is quite easy. You can directly go to the bank office to process the procedure. Some banks offer the online registration. You can submit the online form, then the bank consultant will contact you for further instruction.
Residence registration is proceeded when you arrived at you living address. Normally it will be done by the landlord or the hotel representatives. You need to provide them the passport for procedure. This can be done online on the local immigration portal website or directly at the police station.
Remember to ask the landlord for the registration, otherwise, the police may have sudden check at you home and charge a significant amount for illegal stay.
Pic 1: Hanoi Public Security website
Pic 2: Ho Chi Minh Public Security website
Several insurance companies are offering health package for foreigners, depending on the package of your choice, from a regular to a premium one (from 2,000,000 VND to 22,000,000VND/year package), you will be reimbursed accordingly.
Here are some options of insurance agencies in Vietnam for you consideration, you should contact them for specific consultation. They are available in English, so don’t worry of miscommunication.
Bao Viet Insurance
Vietnam is located in the tropical region with different weather and temperature across the country and seasons. Most of the European students when first travelling to Vietnam may get some health problem undergoing a sudden temperature change. Hanoi is hot and humid during May to October; cold dry for the remaining time, while Ho Chi Minh city is generally hot and very hot.
Therefore, be prepared with the temperature different. If your health is not always good, it is suggested to buy a health insurance to cover your medical check during the time in Vietnam.