The global pandemic and social distancing have put off our travel plan for 2020 as well as 2021 now, and Vietnam tourism is no exception to being one of the hardest-hit sectors due to the virus outbreak. Many tourist facilities and attractions have closed down, and transportation is greatly limited. However, thanks to the government’s major efforts of containing the virus, you can still explore this amazing country with cautious measures. Here we have put together the most recommended safety practices to travel Vietnam during the pandemic.
International travelers looking to fly to Vietnam must get an exemption from the Immigration Office, which is currently granted for diplomats and high-skilled employees only. However, all entries to Vietnam are greatly limited regardless if you’re a Vietnamese native or a foreigner traveling to Vietnam from abroad, so be prepared for flight cancelations.
Transits in Vietnam are not permitted, and land borders of Vietnam are also closed.
Besides the standard requirements around visas and passports, other important changes must be as safety practices to travel Vietnam during the Coronavirus Pandemic:
New visa issuance and visa waivers are putting on hold at the moment, so check with your embassy and the professional visa services. More on Vietnam Visa Latest Updates.
Upon your arrival to Vietnam, you must fill in a health declaration form at the airports or border crossings, or the online health declaration.
Everyone entering Vietnam from another country must commit to a 14-day quarantine, either at a government quarantine facility, at your company's facility, or at a hotel. There will be testings during and after the quarantine period.
As of June 2021, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh have suspended international flights until further notice. Ho Chi Minh has also limited domestic flights.
Land borders with China, Cambodia, and Laos are currently closed, except for importing and exporting goods.
Health declaration is mandatory for everyone coming to Vietnam
Apart from people coming to Vietnam from another country, individuals returning from current virus outbreak centers including Ho Chi Minh City and Bac Giang Province must report to the Health Ministry using the online health declaration form and commit to a 14-to-21-day quarantine period at home, at centralized centers, or at certified hotels with frequent testings for the virus.
On landing at a Vietnam airport, there are buses to take you straight to the quarantine camps, which are mostly military-based facilities with very basic amenities. You have to do your own laundry (so make sure you have enough clothes for 2 weeks), 3 meals are brought to you daily, and you are not allowed to go out during the quarantine for whatever reason.
From September 1st, all individuals quarantined at governmental centers should expect to pay some fees, more details on this new policy to come. Foreign nationals have to pay for the medical expenses (if any) themselves while Vietnamese can have their medical expenses covered by the state budget.
Vietnamese returning from overseas are waiting to board on the bus to quarantine centers
The Vietnamese government has set up quarantine centers across the country near international airports, but the facilities are mostly basic
3 meals are brought to you every day
Some hotels in major cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh (Le Meridien Saigon, Sheraton, and Norfolk, etc.) are recognized facilities for travelers to practice self-quarantine. Most of them are 3-star hotels with rooms ranging from VND 1,500,000 - 5,000,000/night. It is worth noticing though, that it takes a lot of alignment between the government procedure and the hotel for you to be able to get the hotel after landing at a Vietnam airport, it is advisable to have a service or your HR Department arrange this beforehand.
Look for quarantine hotels below:
Self-quarantine at home is mostly applicable for people returning from outbreak cities within the country. People who go under self-isolation either at home or at a hotel are responsible for hospital medical treatment and hotel service costs.
During the quarantine period in Vietnam, you are subjected to at least 5 times of testing: 3 at the quarantine time and 2 more after being discharged. If you self-quarantine, there will be guidance for testing at a nearby health center. You will receive a certificate for completing the quarantine requirements at the end which is crucial for your travel afterward.
Queueing for testing in Hanoi
If tested positive, you will receive treatment at a Vietnamese hospital and then undergo another quarantine period upon discharge from the hospital.
Avoiding mandatory quarantine or leaving the quarantine place without permission can lead to a criminal fine. It is likely that no one is allowed to visit or send you stuff while you’re in quarantine.
Read more on COVID Testing in Vietnam.
Due to the new cases found in Ho Chi Minh City and Bac Giang Province, public transportation (including flights, trains, and buses) are not allowed to enter or leave the said locations until further notice.
Certain places require medical declarations upon your arrival, some destinations are no longer open to visitors because of the outbreak (both famous attractions and off-the-beaten-path places). Check with your fellow travelers and official travel information for the latest updates and other safety practices to travel to Vietnam during the pandemic.
Some hotels may not accept online bookings from third-party booking platforms. You should check with the hotel when the booking is made.
Regarding public transportations (buses, trains, taxis, etc.), you must complete the online health declaration form before the trip. Some buses or trains may reduce their seats to maintain social distancing on the trips, so you may want to book your tickets online beforehand to secure your seats.
Public transportations services are taking careful measures while slowly resuming the normal schedules
Wear a standardized mask in public, minimize direct communication, and avoid unnecessary contacts throughout the trip. Some places won't allow entry if you're not wearing a mask. Install an app called Bluezone to help you with contact tracing.
Make sure your stay in Vietnam is documented. This is necessary for declaring your health and travel status, as well as applying for an automatic extension for tourist visas.
Find a quality travel insurance plan that can provide sufficient information about traveling during the Coronavirus pandemic. Get a quote from World Nomads below:
Even though the first half of 2021 flew by in a blink of an eye, there are plenty of chances to discover and enjoy the majestic scenery and vibrant culture of Vietnam. After all, many unexplored lands of the country await endless possibilities, namely Nha Trang, Hue, Sa Pa, and the Mekong Delta. And remember, the most fun you can have is when you and everyone are safe.
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© Written by Kim Hoang for itourvn.com