Vietnam School Tours

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BEFORE YOU TRAVEL GUIDE

Suggested Packing List

Whilst we are travelling you are responsible for your own luggage at all times. Therefore it is important that your luggage is light enough so that you can comfortably move it around. The following list is a suggested guide as to the items which should make up your luggage.

Clothing

1    Thongs

1    General purpose shoes

6    Underwear/Socks (wash these in the shower as you go)

1    Jeans

1    Swimmers

3    Shorts/skirts

1    Hat

6    Shirts

1    Sweater

1    Rash Shirt

1    Jacket (for groups travelling between November - February to Hanoi)

1    Long pants (for groups travelling between November - February to Hanoi)

Toiletries

- Toothbrush

- Toothpaste

- MouthWash

- Deodorant

- Sanitary items

- Razor and Shaving foam (if applicable)

Due to the heightened security at International airports all of the above should be packed in your main suitcase. If you intend to have any liquids, gels or foams in your carry-on luggage they must be in a container less than 100ml, which must then be placed in a clear plastic bag.

Personal First Aid:

- Imodium or Gastro-Stop (anti-diarrheal)

- Gastrolyte (replaces lost minerals and salt should you get a dose of traveller’s belly!)

- Insect Repellent (Look for a brand that contains DEET)

- Sun block (for body and also a sun block stick for lips)

- Panadol and Throat Lozenges

- Aquim or Dettol hand sanitizer (rinse-free anti-bacterial hand wash)

Equipment:

- Suitcase/duffle bag (max weight of 30kg for Vietnam Airlines). You are also allowed one item of hand luggage and this can weigh no more than 7kg.

Please note: On domestic flights within Vietnam, liquid bottles are not permitted in your carry-on baggage.

- Backpack – for day trips.

Miscellaneous:

- Sunglasses (It is strongly recommended that any student who relies on lenses or glasses for safe clear vision should bring a pair of serviceable glasses in addition to contact lenses).

- Wet Ones (especially useful if you are required to use a public restroom)

- Money belt (optional).  As long as you are careful with your money and are not intending on carrying large amounts of cash around with you a money belt is not really necessary. The cost of living in Vietnam and Cambodia is relatively cheap so each day the bulk of your money should be left in the hotel safe and you should be carrying a minimum amount of cash around with you.

Vaccinations

The recommended vaccinations for Vietnam and Cambodia are Hep A, Hep B and Typhoid. However all students and staff travelling with us should consult their family doctor regarding vaccinations and all health and medical matters relating to travel to Vietnam and Cambodia.

Spending Money

The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnamese Dong.  The current exchange rate is approximately $1 AUD = 16 000 VND. While in Cambodia the currency is the Cambodian Riel. American dollars are also widely accepted in Cambodia. The current exchange rate is approximately $1 AUD = 3100 KHR.

The main expenses whilst you are overseas will be: meals not included in the itinerary, snacks, drinks during meals and any souvenirs which you intend to purchase.

While overseas tipping is a nice gesture, we recommend approximately $6 per day be left aside just to say thank you to your guides, bus drivers etc.

For those who are bringing ATM cards, there are teller machines throughout the city areas and you will be able to withdraw local currency straight from these machines. Just ensure that your banks ATM card is compatible with overseas teller machines.

Contacting Home

It is important that you never leave your personal possessions unattended. 

Passports:

Your passport is the most valuable item which you will have on tour. You must know where it is at all times and when not required you will be instructed to leave it at the hotel in the safety of the provided lock boxes.

Phones:

Within your itinerary we have provided all the hotel names and contact numbers. We suggest that mum and/or dad purchase an international calling card for Vietnam so that they can call you at any time you are in your hotel. An average $10 calling card should provide about 90 minutes of talk time. If you are bringing a mobile phone that is set up for international roam you may SMS your room number once you arrive at each hotel to your parents so that when they call the hotel they can be put straight through to your room. Alternatively, local sim cards are available from $5 AUD, this will avoid any surprises from telephone companies back home.

In addition to the above we encourage all students to set up skype or viber or any other calling app which relies on internet use.  All our hotels have access to computers and wifi which you will all be able to use.

Note:

Vietnam international calling code: +84  (if dialing from a home phone dial 0011 84 . . .)

Cambodian international calling code: +855

Photography

Vietnam and Cambodia will provide many opportunities for unique photography.  However, there are a number of principles we recommend you adhere to:

·       Ask permission before taking photographs and respect a refusal.

·       Follow signs and regulations when taking photos of government buildings or installations.  Vietnam is still run by a communist government.  If a government soldier or security personnel takes your camera you may not get it back.

·       Do not pester men and women in traditional ethnic dress for the ‘perfect shot’.  Be respectful if they say no or shy away.

Food and Drink

Do not drink tap water in Vietnam and Cambodia. Bottled water is readily available for about $A0.50 per bottle. All meals included in the tour are from good, reputable tourist restaurants so have a go and sample the food.  Vietnamese cuisine has been described as a gastronomic delight, most made using fresh local ingredients and traditional cooking techniques. 

Please note: Drinks are not included in meal packages and need to be purchased separately, however Vietnam School Tours does supply bottled water on buses.

Toilets

All hotels we use have bathrooms with Western-style toilets but you may find Asian-style ('squat') toilets in public facilities at some tourist sites and in some restaurants – toilet paper is NOT supplied (we strongly recommend that you carry a box of ‘wet ones’ with you on your day trips). At the main tourist sites toilets charge a small entry fee (usually less than 10 cents AUD). 

Dress Code

It is quite warm and humid in most parts of the country, however Hanoi does have a winter which is during the later part of the year with January being the coldest month.  We recommend that loose comfortable walking clothes be worn most days.  Respect the culture and try to avoid wearing clothes which are too revealing, in certain tourist sites such as some government sites and pagodas shorts worn above the knees and old worn t-shirts will not be permitted.

Shopping Tips

Prices in government and large department stores are usually fixed. When shopping at roadside souvenir stalls and in free markets extensive bargaining is expected. As a guide start at less than half the asked price and work your way up.

A.        Don’t buy everything in the first day or two.

B.        Don’t feel obligated to shop. You’ll often find several shop assistants trying to help you make a purchase at the shop. This doesn’t mean you have to buy; it’s OK to say no, or just to look.

C.        Bargaining is a national pastime in Vietnam and Cambodia so you will find that most retailers except for department stores will be prepared to bargain.

D.        At Ben Thanh Market (Saigon) the outside isles have workers wearing blue uniforms, these are government run market stores so you will not be able to bargain (much). However the prices are fairly accurate.

E.         Keep your belongings safe. Always be conscious of your valuables in crowds and in public places. Do not carry valuables in backpacks or leave your luggage unprotected.

F.         Be aware of what you are spending. If unsure of how much something is, ask them for the price in American dollars and add 30% (approximately).

Electricity

Most of the hotels which our groups stay in will have universal plugs while others will have the typical 2-pin sockets.

2-pin sockets will require an adapter which hotels will generally be able to provide.

Have Fun. Be Safe!

Travelling overseas is an exciting and an enriching experience. The memories formed are priceless and will last a lifetime. Your tour will show you a myriad of amazing places and activities and at times may be fast paced. If at any time you feel unwell or are unsure about any of your travel arrangements let your teacher know immediately.

Vietnam and Cambodia are amazingly vibrant and engaging places to visit. The people are super friendly and many visitors often remark about how happy the people are, especially considering some of their lifestyles. Whilst there, you are encouraged to immerse yourself in the culture and most importantly enjoy yourself!

Allow your travels to “Open your eyes and Change your life”.

Lingo Guide

English

 Vietnamese

 Khmer

Hello!

 Xin chao! (sin chow!)

 SuoSadey

Good Bye

 Tam Biet (tam biet)

 Lear heuy

How are you?

 Ban co khoe khong? (ban co khoe khom?)

 Sok Sabay Te?

Good Morning

 Chao bui sang (chow bui sang)

 Arun SuoSadey

Good Night

 Chao bui toi (chow bui toy)

 Rear Trey SuoSadey

What's your name?

 Ban ten gi? (ban ten zee?)

 Neak Chmors Ey?

My name is . . . 

 Toi ten la . . . (toy ten la . . .)

 Kha'om Chmors…

Thank you

 Cam on (gam urn)

 Or Kun

I'm from Australia

 Toi tu Uc (toy tu ook)

 Kha'om mok pee Australee

You're welcome

 Khong co gi (khom gor zee)

 Men Ey Te

Yes

 Vang (vung)

 Baat (man), Chaas (girl)

No

 Khong (khome)

 Te

Excuse me . . 

 Xin loi 

 Som tous

Toilet

 Nha ve sinh (nhar ve sin)

 Bong Kuan/Bon toup toeuk

Can you help me?

 Ban guip toi duoc khong? (ban zoop toy duc khoom?)

 Neak aach joiy kha'om ban te?

Good

 Tot (tort)

 La'or

Bad

 Khong tot (khom tort)

 Ort La'or

How much?  

 Bao nhieu? (bow niew)

 Poun maan?

Too expensive

 Mac qua (muck qwa)

 Tha lai naass

Hot

 Nong (nom)

 Kdao

Cold

 Lanh (lun)

 Tro cheakk

Delicious

 Ngon lam (ngon lum)

 Cha'ngagnn

Bottled water

 Nuoc suoi (nuc siew)

 Toeuk soutt

Soft drink

 Nuoc ngot (nuc ngot)

 Toeuk phlea cheu

Coffee

 Ca phe (cafe)

 Kafe

Ice cream

 Ca rem

 Ka rem

Food

 Do an (door arn)

 Aha

Go to bed

 Di nghu (di ngoo)

 Joul keng

Go, go quick

 Di, di mau (d, d mole)

 Tuos, tuos loeurn loeurn

Get on the bus

 Di len xe buyt (di len sear bit)

 Choul laan