Photo: “Opportunities” by Vu Long




Vietnam - A World of Opportunities



We hope you are as excited as we are that IREC 2018—International Real Estate Conference will be held in Hanoi, Vietnam in September 2018.  As you are getting ready for the IREC 2018, we want to share with you a few tidbits about Vietnam so while you are here, you can explore this fascinating country with amazing cuisine, beautiful scenery and a kaleidoscope of culture you truly should experience.

Vietnam has a population of 92.7 million with about 54 ethnic groups.  It has an area of 127,881 square miles (331,210 square meters) and a coast line of 2,140 miles (3,444 km.)  With the coast line stretching from the north to the south, Vietnam has prime locations for luxury homes and resort projects.  

In July, 2015, Vietnam has changed its real estate laws to allow foreigners to buy real estate in Vietnam which boosted real estate sales over the past 2+ years and this trend continues to be on the rise.

Vietnam has 58 provinces and 5 municipalities which ranked highest cities in Vietnam.  These cities are: Hanoi, Hai Phong, Danang, Hochiminh City and Can Tho.

In early 2017, JLL ranked Hochiminh City and Hanoi in the top 10 of the most dynamic cities in the world.  If Vietnam is the heart of Asia, then Hanoi is its racing pulse. In this cosmopolitan capital city with its old charms, you will find everything from history landmarks to fine dining and shopping.  

While you are exploring Vietnam and connect with business people from around the world, we want you to have enough information to get you around.




Vietnam has tropical warm weather with high humidity.  Vietnam has 2 seasons: dry and rainy season. September is toward the end of the dry season and the temperatures are usually in the 80’s Fahrenheit which is roughly in the high 20’s and low 30’s in Celsius.  The humidity is high so you will feel it is hotter.


Regardless which country you are visiting, first impression is very important so chose your wardrobe accordingly as you may be meeting your next client or business partner. You will be representing your country, your association, your company and the real estate industry as a whole so dress to impress in a business sense.  


Business Attire: Suits, dresses and it is OK to wear sleeveless dresses however, bring a light scarf so you can put on for formal meetings and in case it gets cold in the meeting rooms.  You can take off when you are outside in the heat.

Business Casual: Slacks, nice capri pants w/ nice tops and dresses. No flip flops, no jeans and no shorts unless you have casual attire indicated in your optional tour package.  


Business Attire: Suits, sport jackets, shirts and ties.  

Business Casual: Slacks, khakis, short sleeve shirts and polo shirts. No flip flops, no jeans and no shorts unless you have casual attire indicated in your optional tour package.  


Formal attire or national costumes.  


If you plan to take one of the optional tours, please review the activities involved for each city so you can plan to pack accordingly.

Sun Screen—The sun rays are very potent so please protect yourself with the use of sunscreen along with a hat and/or umbrella.

Mosquito Repellant—Mosquitos carry transmitted diseases, so bring mosquito / insect repellants.




The currency in Vietnam is the Vietnam Dong.  Upon your arrival at the airport, you may want to exchange about US$100 at the airport to pay for the taxi ride to one of the four selected hotels and tips.  Many taxi companies will accept credit card. You will have to check with the driver before you get in the taxi.

Make sure the US dollar bills you bring are new and fresh.  The locals do not like the wrinkled bills and bills that have been written on them.  If the bill is torn, it will not be accepted. The higher the bill you have, the higher the exchange rate.  

You can also do the money exchange at your hotel, local banks or currency exchange booths.  Do not do money exchanges on the street with unauthorized folks.

Although the Vietnam Dong (VND) is stable, do check the exchange rates before you leave your home country so you have a good idea on the exchange rates.  The exchange rate changes daily but you can see the below conversion rate for rough reference.

US$1 = 22,500 VND

US$100 = 2,250,000 VND

Denominations are:  1,000 VND, 2,000 VND, 5,000 VND, 10,000 VND, 20,000 VND, 50,000 VND, 100,000 VND, 200,000 VND and 500,000 VND. There is no coin.


vietnam currency.jpg


Rule of thumb when it comes to food and water while you’re traveling internationally, best is to be safe and avoid raw meats, raw vegetables, tap water and ice.  There will be establishments that are prepared to serve international guests and it is OK to consume raw vegetables and ice at those locations but you need to know these establishments.  Safe bet is to stay away from raw meats, raw vegetables, tab water and ice when you travel internationally.




Download Grab on your smart phone.  Grab is cheaper to get around than taxi.  Taxis are also available as a back up option.   If you take a taxi from the airport, the cost will be roughly US$15 - US$20 depending on traffic.

We will have scheduled shuttles to take you from the 4 allocated hotels to and from the National Convention Center on Thursday, September 6 and Friday, September 7, 2018.  If you stay at hotels besides the 4 assigned hotels, you are on your own with transportation getting to and from the conference daily.

NOTE:  If you stay at the NCC Garden Villas, they will provide buggies (golf carts) to get you from your villa to the National Convention Center or you can also walk there.





”Xin Chào" is "Hello" in Vietnamese.  Regardless of time of day, you can always say “Xin Chào” as a greeting. 


When you address people, you want to address them by Mr. or Ms. and their first name.  It’s because there are about 80% of the Vietnamese population has the same last name of Nguyen and only a handful of other last names.  When you address a person as Mr. or Ms. Nguyen, it can get really confusing.

When the Vietnamese write their names, it’s their last name first, middle name then the first name.  

Here is an example:  Mr. Nguyen Tran Nam

You want to address him has Mr. Nam

Vietnamese National Costume

The Vietnamese national costume is the “Áo Dài” pronounced as “Ao Dzai”. You will see many ladies wearing “Áo Dài”  throughout the conference. You might see a few men in “Áo Dài” as well but it’s often only at a gala or special events that you would see a man in an “Áo Dài”.


 Model:  Nguyen Giang Huong  Áo Dài Designer:  David Minh Duc

Model:  Nguyen Giang Huong

Áo Dài Designer:  David Minh Duc



Pho Ga & Bo.jpg

When it comes to food, the Vietnamese is well known for their “Phở” and most foreigners know it as “Pho” as in photography.  It is a noodle soup that is in a beef or chicken broth. It is served with beans sprout along with basil, spring onions, coriander, other herbs and limes.  You can ask for the vegetables to be cooked.

In the north, “Phở” will be served with garlic in white vinaigrette and chilly sauce.  In the south, it will be served with a brown hoisin sauce and chilly sauce.  “Phở” is the Vietnamese comfort food and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, dinner or late night.

Bánh Mì

Banh Mi.jpg

"Bánh Mì" means "bread" in Vietnamese.  "Bánh Mì" is a toasted baguette sandwich filled with different types of meat and vegetables.  It is quite tasty. "Bánh Mì" is becoming a trend in the U.S., France as well as other metropolitan marketplaces.  David Farley, a BBC reporter, wrote in his article in 2014 that Vietnamese “bánh mì" was the best sandwich he ever had.  The famous Anthony Bourdaine, American chef, author and television personality with "No Reservations" travel show, tasted a "Bánh Mì" in Vietnam and said it is "a symphony in a sandwich."

The Vietnamese food is in general on the lighter side.  It has a French flair due to the French colonization in Vietnam’s history.    

We hope you will have the opportunity to try some of the Vietnamese local signature dishes during your stay in Vietnam.