VIETNAM TRAVEL

 

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PHOTOGRAPHY & VIDEO

Memory cards are pretty cheap in Vietnam, pretty fortunate given the visual feast awaiting even the amateur photographer. Most internet cafes can also bum photos on to a CD or DVD to free up storage space. It's worthwhile bringing the attachment for viewing your files on televisions, as many hotels come equipped with televisions. Colour print film is widely available and prices are pretty reasonable at about US$2.50 for a roll of 36 print film. Slide film can be bought m Hanoi and HCMC, but don't count on it elsewhere.Supplies of black-and-white film are rapidly disappearing, so bring your own. Photo-processing shops are located all over Vietnam and developing costs are about US$4 per roll depending on the print size selected. The quality is generally very good. Processing slide film is best saved for somewhere else. Printing digital shots is pretty cheap and works out at between l000d and 2000d a photo. Cameras are a reasonable price in Vietnam but the selection is limited. All other camera supplies are readily accessible in major towns, but soon dry up in remote areas. The Vietnamese police usually don't care what you photograph, but on occasion they get pernickety. Obviously, don't photograph sensitive sites such as airports and border checkpoints. Don't even think of trying to get a snapshot of Ho Chi Minh in his glass sarcophagus! Photographing anyone, particularly hill-tribe people, demands patience and the utmost respect for local customs. Photograph with discretion and manners. It's always polite to ask first and if the person says no, don't take the photo. If you promise to send a copy of the photo, make sure you do. For endless tips on better travel photography, pick up a copy of Vietnam Travel Guide's Travel Photography.
POST
Every city, town, village and rural subdistrict in Vietnam has some sort of post office (buu dien). Post offices all over the country keep long hours, from about 6.30am to 9pm including weekends and public holidays (even Tet). Vietnam has a pretty reliable post service these days. Gone are the days of your stamps being steamed off and your postcards being delivered to the rubbish bin. International postal rates are similar to those in European countries. Postcards cost from 7000d to 10.000d depending on the destination. Items mailed from anywhere other than large towns and cities might take a month to arrive at their international destination. Airmail service from HCMC and Hanoi takes approximately five to 10 days to get to most Western countries. Express-mail service (EMS), available in the larger cities, is twice as fast as regular airmail and everything is registered. Private couriers such as FedEx, DHL and UPS are reliable for transporting small parcels or documents. Po.stc restante works well in post offices in Hanoi and HCMC. Foreigners must pay a small service charge for each letter received through the poste restante. Receiving even a small package from abroad can cause a headache and large ones will produce a migraine. If the parcel contains books, documents, CDs, DVDs or dangerous goods it's possible that a lengthy inspection will be required, which could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.