Keeping in Touch in Vietnam
Vietnam still has a lot to achieve with regards to Internet accessibility and download speeds, but keeping in touch with friends and family back home is relatively easy and inexpensive. International calls are cheap, Vietnam has a great postal service and the Internet does work, most of the time.
Internet in Vietnam
It is simple enough to get Internet access in Vietnam either through a service provider (dial-up or ADSL), at a post office or an Internet café (found in the touristy areas).
The Vietnamese government is still wary of the free flow of information and certain topics or sites are fire-walled from time to time. But government censorship has eased in recent years and the expat population within Vietnam remains largely unaffected by these restrictions.
Skype is easy to access and use, but video Skype can overload the Internet line, so it is best to stick to voice chat.
Mobile phones in Vietnam
Getting a mobile phone or local SIM card in Vietnam is incredibly easy, and thanks to stiff competition, mobile data is very reasonably priced.
Choosing the correct service provider is important as some only allow prepaid customers to make international calls, whereas others will also allow users to receive international calls. Viettel and Mobifone are popular and quality service providers.
It is also relatively straightforward to set up a mobile phone account, but expats may need a Vietnamese speaking colleague to assist with translation. In order to set up the account, expats will generally need to provide copies of their passport, visa, proof of residence and place of work, as well as a copy of their employment contract.
Local and international phone calls and SMSs are cheap, and there are a multitude of international calling cards available from street vendors that offer discounted rates depending on which country a person is calling.
Postal services in Vietnam
Vietnam has a trustworthy and fairly efficient postal service. Receiving mail at a home address is relatively easy, as is using a work address. Make sure street addresses are written legibly on the package – especially if a building is located down one of Vietnam's infamous city alleyways.
English-language media in Vietnam
Cable and satellite television is available in Vietnam, so expats should still be able to watch many of their favourite channels from home.
It’s also easy for expats to keep informed of both local and international news thanks to a host of English-language print publications, such as The Saigon Times, as well as many online publications, such as Nhan Dan Online.