Before the tour
1. How can I trust the quality of the tours that I buy from Oriental Lotus?
Oriental Lotus Travel develops from Indochina Junk – a well-established cruise operator in Halong. Indochina Junk has been known for its excellent services, with the service-oriented mind we hope to provide better experience to tourists who travel to Vietnam not just in Halong Bay. Our sales team is there to ensure that you book the right tours which are tailored to your needs and the team works with enthusiasm and knowledge to provide you the best experience in Vietnam. All our guides are first aid trained and have plenty of experience and a wealth of information about the country. They are passionate about their job and that’s why our clients are highly satisfied with their holiday and keep coming back for more!
2. How do I book and pay?
When you book a trip with us, there would be a deposit required (30% – 50% in total price) or full payment depending on kind of tour and booking period. You can choose to do deposit via online Onepay (Credit card online payment) or direct bank transfer…with relevant bank fee request. The most popular one is OnePay with detail Guideline and Term, Conditions. The balance of the trip can be paid when you arrive in Vietnam by cash or credit card. You are recommended to visit our sales office in Hanoi for payment and other details
3. Will I be traveling on a private tour or in a group?
The majority of our tours are on a private basis so it’s just you, your family, friends or group, and your local guide. There are no long queues or waiting for people to take photos, you can ask the questions you want and get to know the country. By traveling on a private basis you are less obtrusive when visiting local villages and you can really decide on what you want to see and cut out anything that is not your interest. After all it’s your holiday and valuable time so make sure you get the most out of it!
We offer a selection of group day tours in Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh city for those who are keen on green tourism, we offer homestay services in different regions with local indigenous people. It will be lifelong experience.
4. What is your cancelation policy?
Cancellation by customer
Any cancellation should be referred to Oriental Lotus Travel in writing by email, following these below terms:
Greater than 30 days (1 month) prior to the Departure of all tours and services: No cancellation charge (US$ 30 nonrefundable deposit will be forfeited)
* For the booking of train ticket, hotel room, flight ticket: provided case by case.
* For the services and tours outside Viet Nam:
- 15 -30 days before departure : 25% of the payment is forfeited at least.
- 8 – less than 15 day before departure date: 50% of the payment is forfeited
- 5 – 7 days before departure date : 75% of the payment is forfeited
- Less than 05 days before departure: 100% of the payment is forfeited
* For the services and tours inside Viet Nam:
- 15 – 30 days before departure: 25% of the payment is forfeited
- 08 – less than 15 days before departure : 50% of the payment is forfeited
- Less than 07 days before departure: 100% of the payment is forfeited
Cancellation by us
We reserve the right to cancel your booking under some unavoidable circumstances like: weather conditions, wars, civil strife, industrial disputes, natural disasters, terrorism, or order from the Local Authority. If we cancel your booking, you can either get a full refund for the paid money or accept an alternative from us of equivalent or similar standard and price, if one is available, and we will always refund the difference in price if the alternative is of a lower standard and price.
5. When is the best time to go to Vietnam
The weather in Vietnam is divided by regions in Northern part, Central and Southern Part. In Hanoi & the north, the weather from May to October is hot and humid with high rainfall; the dry season is from November to April. In the far north, December & January can be particularly cold. Central Vietnam experiences hot, dry weather between January & August when temperatures can hit the mid-30°C’s; whilst high levels of rainfall can occur in September, October & November. Southern Vietnam is generally dry and hot from November to April, and warm and wet between May & October, with the highest rainfall in June, July & August.
6. Visa on arrival (VOA)
Vietnam Visa on Arrival (VOA ) is a legal document approved by the Department of Immigration. VOAs are granted by the Vietnam Department of Immigration, which arranges for documents to be picked up upon arrival at one of Vietnam’s international airports.
U.S. CITIZENS– As of 25 Aug 2016, 1 month, 3 month and 6 month VOA is not available any more, only a 1 year visa. Fee to process approval letter: 1 year validity is $35 and up/person (varies by vendor) and stamping fee at VN airport is: $135.
You will need to apply for visa Approval Letter to obtain the VOA. The visa Approval Letter is a letter issued by the Immigration Department of Vietnam allowing you to enter and exit Vietnam for a given period of time. With your Approval Letter, you can pick up your Visa on Arrival at one of three international airports in Vietnam: Hanoi, Da Nang, or Ho Chi Minh City. At the airport, the entry authority will verify the details of the Approval Letter based on your passport and travel documents. As long as you have entered the correct information on your visa application, you should have no problems being granted entry into Vietnam with your Approval Letter.
7. How many days will you take to apply to approval letter?
The Approval Letter is processed and emailed to you within two (2) business days (excluding Saturday, Sunday, and national or international holidays).
In urgent cases, you can receive an Approval Letter within the timeframes below:
Processed within 3 business days: + $10/applicant
For urgent processing on national or international holidays, please call us or contact us via email for details and assistance
Note: the above urgent processing times do not apply for Friday afternoons after 12pm or for Saturdays or Sundays. Also, please consider the time difference between Vietnam and your application location
The visa counters at Vietnam’s international airports are open 24/7. As long as you have your Approval Letter, you will still be able to get your visa on the weekend.
8. What if I have special needs for the tour?
If you have special requirements – for example, if you have a large group or young children, if you are handicapped or have physical limitations, if you have special transportation needs, or if you are vegetarian or have other food allergies – please let us know, and we can work with you to ensure that we can meet your needs or not and give more details.
During and after the tour
1. Do I drive my own motorbikes on the Vespa tour?
No. Our entire tourist rides behind one of our driver or tour guide. It is illegal for foreigners to drive in Vietnam without a driving license approved by Vietnamese Government. International driving licence is NOT valid in Vietnam.
We do not recommend your customers to drive by themselves as it is dangerous to drive in unfamiliar country and the traffic in Vietnam is really chaos. If you catch yourselves in an accident, most travel insurance companies will not cover your accident if you do not have a legal Vietnamese driving license.
2. Is it safe to eat food on the foodie tour?
As the street food in any country, we cannot guarantee that it is hundred percent safe for you, but we believe that the risk is not any greater than the food in a restaurant. At least, you see how street food is prepared in front of you, while you can’t see the back stage of a restaurant and its sanitary condition.
3. Can you cater to my food allergies/diets?
Vietnam has many different restaurants and food to choose from and we are able to create a tour that caters to most food sensitivities and restrictions.
When you book your tour please specify your dietary restrictions and we will design a tour that meets your needs.
4. What about travel issuance?
The insurance for our tour is followed the requirement of Government. The insurance coverage is guaranteed and is in effect the moment you go on one of our tours and ends once the tour is over. You are insured for any bodily injury that is a direct result of an accident that occurs while riding on our motorbikes. Theft or loss of property is NOT covered.
Disclaimer: Property loss or any preexisting health conditions that might be affected by riding on a motorbike is not covered by Oriental Lotus Travel Accident Insurance. Oriental Lotus Travel Accident Insurance WILL NOT reimburses you for any phones, cameras, video equipment, cash, jewelry or any other personal property that it lost or stolen while on one of our tours.
By booking our tours through on the website, by email or by phone you are agreeing to all the terms above.
5. Transportation in Vietnam
Vietnam has been developed significantly for the past 30 years, the transportation is improved considerably as well, which makes travel in Vietnam much easier than it used to be. It is quite comfortable and easy to travel in Vietnam between major cities. Generally, there are three kinds of commonly used public transportation in Vietnam.
By air: At present, there are a number of airlines operating international flights to Vietnam. The primary ports of entry for air travel are Tan Son Nhat International Airport – Ho Chi Minh City, Noi Bai International Airport – Hanoi and Da Nang International Airport. Direct routes from Australia, Europe and North America to Vietnam are still limited.
By train: Slower than air or road, travelling by train is great value for money. Routes operated between Hanoi – Saigon, Hanoi – Lao Cai, and Hanoi – Lang Son with multiple stops.
By bus: Bus is recognized as the cheapest and most convenient means of transportation for overseas travelers in Vietnam. Vietnam’s bus system has been well-developed and covered almost every corner of the country. In Vietnam, every province has its own main terminal, especially big cities such as Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, which provide visitors great convenience to go to every tourist sites. Interprovincial buses usually have high quality and considerate services, as well as large and comfortable seats. Ticket price normally depends on the distance of route and type of seats. Local buses also are available and cheap to bring tourists to some major tourism destinations. Passengers can catch bus at bus stop scattering around the province and buy tickets directly from conductors.
6. How safe is Vietnam
Vietnam is one of the safest countries for visitor included women who travel alone. While traveling to all part of Vietnam you will find that is true. We will advise you all useful information to ensure that no problems could be met due to language/ culture barriers.
Be aware of increasing instances of theft in tourist destinations, especially in HCMC where pickpockets and snatch thieves on motorbikes are the worst menace.
When you travel by trains or public buses, make sure all your luggage is safely locked, preferably stowed out of sight or attached to an immovable object, and don’t leave things near open windows. It’s also wise not to accept food or drink from people you don’t know (there are reports of one or two people being drugged and robbed this way).
7. Is tipping is expecting in Vietnam?
Tipping is not part of the culture in Vietnam, and you are not required to tip anywhere. There will be a service charge for more upscale restaurants. People more accustomed to receiving tips are tour guides and in other tourist service: hotels, restaurants, cruise…
8. Can we travel with small children? 0-4 year old
Vietnam is an ideal destination for travelling with a whole family; the rich in culture in Vietnam and natural beauty with contribute to your children’s experience. Most travel agents and hotels offer extra care for small children. You should be careful with the traffic in Vietnam, especially when crossing a road.
9. Can I use US dollar in Vietnam?
The official currency in Vietnam is Dong. The U S dollar, preferably crisp clean bills, is widely accepted among major shops and restaurants and might be converted to Vietnam Dong follow the updated exchange rate.
10. What happens if it’s rain on the day of my tour?
In Vietnam, the rainy season is from April – Oct.
In case of heavy rain, we will contact you beforehand to discuss your options if the tour has not begun. You may choose to delay the tour for a certain time, or reschedule for another time/date and this is subject to availability.
If during the tour and there is a slight rain, we will continue on the tour and provide you raincoats – it is all part of the “local” experience. If during the tour and there is heavy rain, we will give you the option to wait out the rain or return back to your hotel and find alternative options.
We will always cancel our tours if we deem the weather to be unsafe to drive for our guests and tour guides. In this case, a full refund is granted.
11. How hard cycling will be?
Our cycling tour is mainly around small city/ town such as Hoian, Hue where the road condition is quite nice, therefore, the cycling tour is pretty easy and it is suitable for both children and seniors.
12. We want to do Sapa and Halong Bay. Can we do the tours back to back? Will we be back in Hanoi in time to depart for the other tour on the same day?
Yes you can, many customers have a limited time and need to do exactly this. Whether you do Sapa first or Halong Bay, you’ll depart for the second tour on the same day you return from the first.
13. What kind of vehicles do you use for road trips?
A: We use modern, clean, well maintained, professionally driven coaches. Coaches are usually oversized for the group as the extra room is more comfortable.
– Mini bus (26 seats): 7-16 passengers
– Luxury Van (7 seats): 3-7 passengers
– Car (4 seats): 1 or 2 passengers
14. Can you make any accommodation arrangement for us?
Of course. We arrange hotel reservations. We can also arrange for a car to come and pick you up from the airport and then drive you straight to the hotel of your choice.
15. Can I use credit card to get cash in Vietnam?
Cash advances on credit cards are available at the central Vietnamese banks in Hanoi, HCMC and other major cities. There are also numerous 24hr ATMs where foreign visitors can withdraw cash on MasterCard, Visa and other cards in the Cirrus networks.
16. Where can I change for Vietnamese money?
Exchange desks in big hotels and authorized foreign exchange banks in major cities are all available to change cash and travelers’ cheques. Pay attention to that the commission rates are slightly lower of changing travelers’ cheques into Vietnamese dong than US dollars. Outside main cities, there are authorized foreign exchange banks.