Accessing the internet in Vietnam has become a great deal easier, though it is still monitored and controlled by a government fearful of this potentially subversive means of communication.
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Internet and email
Accessing the internet in Vietnam has become a great deal easier, though it is still monitored and controlled by a government fearful of this potentially subversive means of communication. Occasionally social networking sites like Facebook have been blocked.
There’s no problem about logging on in the major cities and tourist centres in Vietnam, where you’ll find dozens of internet cafés, while many hotels also offer internet access. Many upmarket and even some budget hotels offer wi-fi broadband access in your room – sometimes free to attract custom. Even remote regions are wired to the web these days, though the service may be slower and more expensive. Rates in the big cities currently stand at around 100đ per minute, with some places charging by the hour (about 6000đ).
Most top- and mid-range hotels provide a laundry service, and many budget hotels too, but rates can vary wildly, so it’s worth checking first. In the bigger cities, especially in tourist areas, you’ll find laundry shops on the street, where the rate is usually around 10,000đ per kilo.
Mail can take anything from four days to four weeks in or out of Vietnam, depending largely where you are. Services are quickest and most reliable from the major towns, where eight to ten days is the norm. Overseas postal rates are reasonable: a postcard costs 7000–8000đ, while the price of a letter is in the region of 12,000đ for the minimum weight. Express Mail Service (EMS) operates to most countries and certain destinations within Vietnam; the service cuts down delivery times substantially and the letter or parcel is automatically registered. For a minimum-weight dispatch by EMS (under 250g), you’ll pay around US$30 to the UK, US$32 to the US, US$35 to Canada and US$27
Poste restante services are available at all main post offices. You’ll need to show your passport to collect mail and will be charged a small amount per item. Mail is held for two months before being returned. To avoid misfiling, your name should be printed clearly, with the surname in capitals and underlined, and it’s still worth checking under all your names, just in case. Have letters addressed to you c/o Poste Restante, GPO, town or city, province.
When sending parcels out of Vietnam, take everything to the post office unwrapped since it will be inspected for any customs liability and wrapped for you, and the whole process, including wrapping and customs inspection, will cost you upwards of 30,000đ. Pirated CDs and DVDs and any other suspect items will be seized. Surface mail is the cheapest option, with parcels taking between one and four months.
Receiving parcels is not such a good idea. Some parcels simply go astray; those that do make it are subject to thorough customs inspections, import duty and even confiscation of suspicious items – particularly printed matter, videos or cassettes. However, if you do need to collect a parcel, remember to take your passport.
See more: Tips for visiting danang Vietnam