FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) - VIETNAM

What is the difference between Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and other Battlefield Tour Operators?
Why don't the tour prices include airfares?
Do I need a Visa to enter Vietnam?
Do I need travel insurance?
What is my luggage allowance?
What medical precautions do I need to take before the trip?
Health and Safety within Vietnam
Are there good healthcare facilities in Vietnam?
Where can I find current exchange rates for local currency?
What is the easiest way to pay during my vacation?
How can I get in touch with my family and friends while on tour?
In case of an emergency on tour, who should I contact?
Are there any child rates or restrictions for children?
What is the maximum number of guests per room in accommodation?
How long can I expect to be on the coach and will there be breaks to get off the coach?
How much walking is required at the battlefield sites and what should I wear?
Am I able to complete this tour in a wheelchair or if I am mobility impaired?
What is the climate?
What facilities can I expect at the hotels?
Should I leave a tip?
Who should I speak to regarding my dietary requirements?
Can I bring medals or military insignia to wear during the tour?
What should I expect if I have booked an airport transfer?
What happens if I have booked a transfer but cannot find it on arrival at the airport?
How can I transfer payments to you? Do you require a deposit for booking?
How to cancel the booking I have made?
Is there a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Vietnam?
What is the difference between Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours and other Battlefield Tour Operators?

The difference with a Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tour is the quality of the Historians who guide our tours. We don’t just settle for someone who has a passing knowledge of the battlefields. Our Historians don’t just know about the battlefields — it’s part of their lives. Our Historians are hand-picked by Mat McLachlan and are some of the world’s most respected battlefield authors and guides.

Why don't the tour prices include airfares?

Two good reasons: Firstly, Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours attracts customers from all over the North America so for the sake of your flexibility we don’t insist on departure from any particular U.S. airport. Secondly, many of our customers join a battlefield tour as part of a longer vacation. By listing the tour price without airfares, you have the flexibility to simply add a battlefield tour to your itinerary.

Do I need a Visa to enter Vietnam?

Yes. All U.S. citizens traveling to Vietnam as a tourist must have a visa and six months validity on their passport to enter Vietnam. For the most current information on obtaining a visa, visit the Embassy of Vietnam website http://vietnamembassy-usa.org/

It is also possible for U.S. citizens to apply for a single entry E-visa (maximum of 30 days) on the Vietnam Immigration website www.immigration.gov.vn

Do I need travel insurance?

It is a condition of travel with McLachlan Battlefield Tours that each passenger is adequately covered by an appropriate travel insurance policy. We strongly advise taking out travel insurance at the time of making your booking to provide full cover. It is useful to note that trip cancellation coverage is not automatic on all travel insurance policies and often carries an extra premium. Please carefully read over your policy to ensure you understand your coverage.

What is my luggage allowance?

Please check with your airline for applicable baggage allowances. On all tours passengers are limited to 1 suitcase which should weigh no more than 50lbs and 1 piece of hand luggage per person. Porterage is not included and is subject to availability especially at some of the smaller hotels in regional areas. All baggage and personal effects are at all times and in all circumstances at the risk of the tour participant. Baggage insurance is recommended.

What medical precautions do I need to take before the trip?

It is important to visit your travel medical doctor or specialist travel clinic several months before you travel to allow time for the accurate recommended courses of vaccinations (if necessary). You should advise your doctor which countries you will be visiting and at what time of the year. This is particularly important if you suffer from any medical conditions. Travelers to Vietnam are at risk of the following diseases: Tuberculosis, Dengue Fever, Zika and Avian Influenza (H5N1). You can find detailed information on vaccinations and other health precautions on https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinations/list

Health and Safety within Vietnam

The security situation in Vietnam is good although petty theft can still be a problem. Travelers should not leave valuables unattended (including in vehicles) and should only carry a minimum amount of cash on their person. Travelers should also be aware of bag snatching and pickpockets and should leave valuables including large amounts of cash, credit cards and jewellery in the hotel safe.

Please note that unexploded munitions are common in some areas of the Vietnamese battlefields. If you come across a bomb, grenade or ammunition, do not touch it.

Are there good healthcare facilities in Vietnam?

Yes, there are international-standard healthcare facilities in Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City. Medical facilities at public hospitals, especially outside the major cities, are poor. Some doctors and hospitals may expect payment before any medical treatment is issued.

What is the easiest way to pay during my vacation?

Cash: We recommend exchanging a small amount of cash into local currency to pay for incidental expenses such as drinks. On arrival at your destination, you can find current local exchange rates easily at airport exchange counters, hotel reception desks or at most local banks.

Credit Cards: In all major tourist destinations, credit cards are widely accepted at most hotels and established restaurants and shops. Bear in mind that a surcharge may apply for credit card purchases, typically ranging from 3-4%.

ATMs: ATMs are found widely across Vietnam. ATMs accept a wide variety of different card types and issue local currency (Vietnamese Dong). There is usually a maximum daily withdrawal limit, and this varies between different countries and banks. There will be a local fee for the ATM service, plus your own bank’s charges for foreign withdrawals and currency exchange.

Traveler’s Checks: Traveler’s checks are accepted on a limited basis, and at times, not at all. We do not recommend using Traveler’s checks.

Exchange Rate

1 US Dollar (USD) = 23,291.93 VND

All rates were correct as of Thursday, 1 November 2018. These rates have been rounded and should not be used when calculating transactions of large value.

How can I get in touch with my family and friends while on tour?

Telephone: Most hotels now have in-room IDD phones. If you have worldwide coverage, you can bring your own cell phone and use it to make local and international calls. Check with your cell phone provider for international roaming costs.

Internet: The majority of the hotels have wireless broadband access in rooms or public areas available free of charge.

In case of an emergency on tour, who should I contact?

When on tour, your guide is the first point of contact. We also have our own operations staff to support you for emergency assistance 24 hours a day. Please see the contact details listed on your travel documentation.

Are there any child rates or restrictions for children?

We believe that our holidays are not suitable for children under 8 years old. Customers aged 18 and under at the time of travel must be accompanied by an adult, parent or guardian aged over 18 years old.

What is the maximum number of guests per room in accommodation?

Rooms are for a maximum of three guests and can be configured as a triple, double or twin share. Single supplements apply for any passenger who wishes to travel solo and not share a room.

How long can I expect to be on the coach and will there be breaks to get off the coach?

During the tour you could be on the coach for up to a maximum of 7 hours per day on the longest day, although on average it is only 2 – 3 hours per day. We try to plan regular comfort stops. All our coaches are first-class standard, which means they feature air-conditioning and comfortable seats. All of our coaches are non-smoking.

How much walking is required at the battlefield sites and what should I wear?

There can be a considerable amount of walking on a battlefield tour to Vietnam, and battlefield sites are often in rural environments, so dress for outdoor activities; wear a hat, sunglasses and comfortable clothes, shorts and short-sleeved shirts are usually best during the day. Footwear in particular is important. Wear comfortable clothes that you don’t mind getting a bit dirty and footwear that will be supportive and comfortable in the event of uneven terrain, and that can stand up to getting wet and dirty. Comfortable casual clothing is fine during the day, and good casual dress is appropriate for dinner.

It is recommended to bring a small backpack which you can carry your essentials during the day. Consider carrying a light spray jacket in case of rain, insect repellent, a small hand sanitiser or wipes and spare toilet paper may be useful.

Am I able to complete this tour in a wheelchair or if I am mobility impaired?

The person using the wheelchair will need to be able to get on and off the coach if a coach tour is booked. Our coaches are not suitable for someone who is wheelchair reliant as we can only take folding wheelchairs that are stored in the luggage compartment.

We cannot guarantee that assistance will be available for the disabled person / wheelchair user and such bookings will only be accepted if that person is travelling with an able-bodied person who is fully able to attend to the needs of his/her co-traveler.

Excursions on our tours visit places of interest and public buildings. These may not be able to accommodate people with walking difficulties and wheelchair access may not be available. Excursions which include sightseeing tours may involve walking long distances and sometimes over cobbled or uneven surfaces.

The accommodation we use on our tours may not have ground floor rooms and in some instances lifts will not always be available. Occasionally access to your hotel may involve walking distances from the coach park and some hotels have a flight of steps to the Reception.

It is very important that checks are made with regard to the suitability of a tour for you prior to you make any booking with us.

What is the climate?

While Vietnam is typically warm and humid, the weather can vary significantly from one region to another due to the country’s length. In the southern part of the country, the climate will not vary much and will feel hot throughout the year. In the more northern regions however, the temperature can drop considerably in the cooler months (November-April), especially in the mountains.

What facilities can I expect at the hotels?

Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours uses 4-star hotels in Vietnam.

Tea and coffee-making: Asian hotel rooms usually do offer tea and coffee-making facilities.

Laundry: Many hotels offer a laundry service, but please check prices and ensure that items will be returned to you before the tour departs. Washing is often given a rigorous scrubbing by hand, so don’t submit anything delicate.

Electricity: Electrical outlets in Asia usually operate at 110/220 volts and 50 hertz. You will need an adaptor that features an Asian ‘two pin’ plug. You may also need a voltage converter. For more information go to https://www.power-plugs-sockets.com/us/vietnam/

Valuables: Many of the hotels we use offer personal safes in the rooms. Although security is generally very good at the hotels, it is sensible to use personal safes for valuables. It is also a good idea to carry a copy of your passport, and to only carry as much cash as you will need each day.

Drinking water: Tap water in Vietnam is generally NOT safe to drink and it is recommended to drink bottled water only. Remember to brush your teeth with your bottled water also. Bottled drinking water can be purchased at hotels or local super markets.

Should I leave a tip?

Most restaurants in Vietnam include a 5-10% service charge in their bill. Unfortunately, this money does not always end up in the restaurant staff’s hand. If the service charge is added, you could always leave some change for your waiter or waitress.

Tipping your Driver, Guide and Historian: All tips to Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours escorts and drivers are included in your tour price, and they will not expect a tip at the end of the tour.

Who should I speak to regarding my dietary requirements?

If you have any dietary requirements (allergies etc.) you must advise Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours prior to your departure, and ensure you advise your Vietnamese tour manager upon arrival.

Can I bring medals or military insignia to wear during the tour?

Unfortunately medals are not to be worn. We do not wear any medals or military insignia in Vietnam as requested by the Vietnamese government.

What should I expect if I have booked an airport transfer?

After collecting your luggage and completing the immigration and customs procedures, you will walk through the exit gate. Your guide will be holding a welcome sign with the Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours logo and your name.

What happens if I have booked a transfer but cannot find it on arrival at the airport?

If you have a booked a transfer and are unable to locate us, please call the emergency number of the local operations office listed on your itinerary or service voucher. If you don’t have a cell phone, please ask the airport staff where you may access a phone.

How can I transfer payments to you? Do you require a deposit for booking?

We are able to hold an option for 7 days then we require a non-refundable deposit of 30% of the booking total to confirm the services for your tour. Payment can be made by credit card or bank transfer in USD.

How to cancel the booking I have made?

If for any reason you need to cancel and have booked directly with Mat McLachlan Battlefield Tours, please contact us. Our booking terms and conditions, and additional terms and conditions, may apply. If you have booked through a travel agent, please contact your travel agent for any cancellations.

Is there a U.S. Embassy or Consulate in Vietnam?

Yes. Please see below details for U.S. Embassy and Consulate within Vietnam.

U.S. Embassy – Hanoi
170 Ngoc Khanh
Ba Dinh District
Hanoi, Vietnam
Telephone:
From outside Vietnam: +84-24-3850-5000
From the U.S.: 011-84-24-3850-5000
From landline within Hanoi: 3850-5000
From mobile or landline within Vietnam: 024-3850-5000

Emergency:
From outside Vietnam: +84-24-3850-5000 or +84-24-3850-5105
From the U.S.: 011-84-24-3850-5000
From landline within Hanoi: 3850-5000 or 3850-5105
From mobile or landline within Vietnam: 024-3850-5000 or 024-3850-5105
Email: acshanoi@state.gov

U.S. Consulate General – Ho Chi Minh City
4 Le Duan, District 1
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Telephone:
From outside Vietnam: +84-28-3520-4200
From the U.S.: 011-84-28-3520-4200
From landline within Ho Chi Minh City: 3520-4200
From mobile or landline within Vietnam: 028-3520-4200

Emergency:
From outside Vietnam: +84-28-3520-4200
From the U.S.: 011-84-28-3520-4200
From landline within Ho Chi Minh City: 3520-4200
From mobile or landline within Vietnam: 028-3520-4200

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