Before you go

Airlines:

(These are airlines that members have used in the past for adoption trips. They are listed in no particular order)

Singapore Airlines (http://www.singaporeair.com/SAA-flow.form?execution=e2s1)

Air France (http://www.airfrance.ie/cgi-bin/AF/IE/en/common/home/flights/ticket-plane.do)

Vietnam Airlines (http://www.vietnamairlines.com/wps/portal/vn/welcome)

Ethiad Airlines(http://www.etihad.com/en-ie/)

Hotels:

Hanoi:
Hanoi Horrison – now known as the Pullman Hanoi (http://pullman-hanoi.com/)

Somerset Grand (http://www2.somerset.com/en/vietnam/hanoi/somerset_grand_hanoi.html)

Ho Chi Minh:

Somerset Ho Chi Minh City (http://www2.somerset.com/en/vietnam/ho_chi_minh_city/somerset_ho_chi_minh_city.html)

Somerset Chancellor Court (http://www2.somerset.com/en/vietnam/ho_chi_minh_city/somerset_chancellor_court.html)

Travel Vaccinations:
We recommend that you contact your GP in relation to travel vaccines. You can also find details on what is
required on www.tmb.ie. Either your own GP or a specialised travel clinic can administer vaccines and prices
will vary. Please ensure that you have adequate time before travel for vaccinations and bear in mind that some
vaccines require a booster after a certain length of time.

What you Need to Bring:
For Adults: any medicines you require and prescriptions, hand sanitiser, lightweight clothing(though Nov thru Feb may be cool),
suitable footwear(footpaths in Hanoi and Vietnam in general are uneven and pot-holed)

For babies & Children: Vests that fasten underneath(baby), Thermometer (I found the in ear one the easiest with a wriggly baby), calpol,
neurofen for kids, paralink suppositorys, glycine suppositorys(for constipation), a few plastic syringes (for getting medicine in to a closed  mouth!), a few small toys (bottles, soothers, formula, nappies, clothes etc. are available there as are DVDs for older kids)

FURTHER INFORMATION WILL BE ADDED AS IT AVAILABLE


Communicating with Home:
Landlines – Vietnam is one of the most expensive countries for phone calls so it is advisable to avoid using
the phone in your hotel if at all possible.
Mobiles – check with your service provider to see if you can make and receive phone calls while in Vietnam. The
costs of these will be determined by your provider. In the past it was possible for ‘bill pay’ phones to be used but not
for ‘prepay’. It is possible to send texts(but not receive them) by logging on to your account on your service providers
website and using their free webtext facility.
Skype – this is probably the best way to communicate with home if both you and those you wish to contact have the application
on your computer. For more details see www.skype.com.
Emails – it is possible to use most email addresses while in Vietnam. However in the past some members have experienced difficulties
with the ‘msn.com’ domain. It is always a good idea to set up 2 different email addresses with 2 different providers before you go so that
you are covered for all eventualities.

Books:
Vietnam –

“Vietnam: Dragon Rising” by Bill Hayton – a look at modern Vietnam politics & society
“A History of the Ho Chi Minh Trail: The Road to Freedom” by Virginia Morris – a combination of history & modern reality
Any Guide books e.g. Lonely Planet, Rough Guide, DK Eyewitness, Footprint, Lets Go are just some examples – try to get an up
to date version however as things change quickly.

Parenting

“What to expect the First Year” by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel – useful to see where baby is on milestones though don’t get
bogged down on what books say as every baby is unique. Also “What to expect the Toddler years”.
” Parenting is Childs Play” by David Coleman – a child centered approach to parenting
“Raising your Spirited Child” by Mary Sheedy Kurchinka – for those of us blessed with children with stronger personalities

Adoption

“Finding Katherine” by Ellen Fitzenrider – a story of adopting a child from Lang Son in Vietnam in the early 00’s
“Lucky Girl” by Mei-Ling Hopgood – an adoptees(Taiwan) tale of finding and re-uniting with birth family

“My Adoption Story Book” – create a storybook/lifebook for your child (http://www.myadoptionstorybook.ie/)

DVDS:

Top Gear – Vietnam Special (usually widely available in Ireland)
Rick Steinís Far Eastern Odyssey DVD – Vietnam is featured in 1 of the episodes

Food & Recipes:
Food – there are a number of Asian supermarkets around Ireland(details are found in the BACK IN IRELAND section)

Recipes:
The following websites have recipes for Vietnamese Food(not sure how easy they are?)
http://www.vietnamese-recipes.com/
http://www.vietworldkitchen.com/blog/vietnamese-recipe-index.html
http://www.saigoncooking.com/vietnameserecipes.php

Bringing Money:
Vietnam is still primarily a cash based society. The national currency is the Dong which is a closed currency and as such
not available outside of the country. Major credit cards are acccepted in hotels, restaurants and some shops. Many items
are priced in dollars as well as(or instead of dong). In the past people have taken a combination of credit card, travellers
cheques and cash(dollar or euro). If bringing dollars it is a good idea to have some single dollar bills which is useful for tipping
in hotels etc. There are ATMs in the major cities but there may be a charge for withdrawing cash. All hotels will be able to
exchange money into dong and rates will vary.

 Visas:
Information on obtaining a visa can be found here: http://www.vietnamembassy.org.uk/consular.html
Please allow sufficient time to obtain the visa though the embassy does operate an express Visa service.
Details of costs can be obtained from the embassy as these vary dependent on the length of stay and reason
for visit and change from time to time.