Our article naming conventions say to use the most common English-language name for a place as the destination guide article name.
Saigon was renamed to Ho Chi Minh City, but it's still widely known as Saigon, and many guides, as well as internal tourism offices, use the name.
I don't think Ho Chi Minh City is the right name to use. --Evan 12:17, 31 Dec 2003 (PST)
Most locals will refer to the city as Sai Gon. Ho Chi Minh City (Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh) is to cumbersome and is easily confused with the person. The airport abbreviation for Ho Chi Minh city when I at the Taipei airport was SGN (Sai Gon). Also bring mosquito repellent and itch creme. You'll need them. -- Minh
I think that's actually two different concepts. It seems to me that Saigon is not just the old name, but it only refers to certain area of expanded Ho Chi Minh City. --126.96.36.199 13:08, 31 May 2010 (EDT)
Standard names: to combine or not to combine syllables?
Sai Gon or Saigon? Da Lat or Dalat? I think we need to come up with a standard for how to spell these places. My preference would be to use the combined named for English ("Hanoi") and then separate the syllables for the Vietnamese ("Hà Nội"). Jpatokal 23:50, 15 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I think there are only 3 places in Vietnam that are commonly in "westernized" spelling: Hanoi, Saigon, Dalat. Even if it comes to famous Nha Trang or Da Nang, the seperated version is common usage. The language that yielded those place names does never combine the syllables if it is not a foreign word. The "western" spelling is derived from a certain form of ignorance to the indigenous culture and dates back to colonial times. Moreover, there is no apparent advantage to reading or understanding if the name is spelled combined. Should we take an error as the basis for a new rule? Let's not have Wikitravel continue this tradition, but promote a more respectful approach to the country's language: Separate the syllables in every English name, add the tone marks in the Vietnamese one. --Ront 06:02, 18 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I'm fine with the suggested policy, although I'd suggest that Danang also should be written together (see eg. Danang's official site). The 'colonial oppression' interpretation is a bit much though — Vietnamese was previously written in Chinese characters, and once free from their own oppressors, the Chinese decided to have romanized Chinese written together ("Beijing"), not apart ("Bei Jing"). Writing Vietnamese in Roman characters, on the other hand, was imposed by the French!
It's not about 'colonial oppression', but our ignorance. That's also the reason why I do not criticise the indeed ingenious work of Alexandre de Rhodes and the like. But they decided not to contract the syllables. Pinyin for Chinese is Pinyin for Chinese and a different topic. And the Vietnamese romanization is already there and decided the other way round. It's not our task to invent a new romanization, but to simplify the existing one. I think leaving out the diacritical marks in Wikitravel-English is simplifying enough. There is nothing bad about the existing system, so otherwise we should use it correctly and not degrade to western slang "corrections". So I still think: Do not combine syllables, not in Hanoi, Saigon, Dalat, Danang or Hochiminh, Rachgia, Ninhbinh. Instead it should be Ha Noi, Sai Gon, Da Lat,.... --Ront 07:18, 18 Oct 2005 (EDT)
I am Vietnamese and since I started surfing the Internet, I've found difficulties with foreign invested name like Saigon, Hanoi, Dalat, Danang... I agree that they are not written in correct Vietnamese format, but historically very familiar with foreigners. Hence, this is an issue of history, and thus because we are talking of travel, we should try to use the most common and recent formats, that's Sai Gon, Ha Noi, Da Lat...
I'm not entirely convinced the current regions make sense. Should "South" and "Mekong Delta" be rolled into one, and should "Central Highlands" be moved into just "Highlands", as eg. Sapa isn't "central" by any definition? Jpatokal 09:28, 31 Jan 2006 (EST)
Hi Jpatokal, I agree with you, though one suggestion I do have: Why not leave "Central Highlands" and add "Northern Highlands" to do justice to Sa Pa and the surroundings? Both regions are unique and very different, their only common aspect being the geological quality of "Highlands". --Ront 10:09, 31 Jan 2006 (EST)
Certainly merging the Delta into South makes sense, but are the "Northern Highlands" much of a region as a travel destination? Other than Sapa and DBP what is there? If we can gather enough info, than we can make it a "Wikitravel ad-hoc region", but in most guidebooks the entire north is rolled into one. And the Central Highlands are definitely a region of their own, culturally and geographically. -- Paul Richter
You can easily spend a month travelling the Northern Highlands, provided you are not only going on an Open-Tour-bus to Sa Pa and DBP. First, there is the area around Bac Ha with its flower H'mong villages. Next, consider Lai Chau, which is not only the former provincial capital but the origin of amazing travel to surrounding areas, e.g. Sin Ho with its unique mountainous scenery (In my opinion this was even more impressing than Sa Pa). Third, Son La is a nice place for a short stopover. Fourth, Mai Chau might be the only opportunity for the hasty to encounter ethnic minorities. So we got a lot here, and: it is definitely as or even more different from the red delta Viet culture as the Central Highlands are from the coastal regions. You cannot do justice to it by having it in the same context as Ha Noi or Ninh Binh. Moreover, a lot of travellers do not go there if they are on a tight itinerary, but almost nobody would miss out on Ha Noi. I consider Wikitravel as being a project of its own and not a clone of Lonely Planet and the like. Even if they do give some inspiration, they shouldn't be something like a standard for us. By the way, the reliable Rough Guide is separating the "Far North" from the lowland-North. -- Ront 05:08, 1 Feb 2006 (EST)
Cities . . . I have found in my travels in South Vietnam, that some cities have been moved or renamed. My first experience with this was when I hired a driver to take me to Song Be. I was stationed there during the war and wanted to see the sites (it's there, but not in the same place). I believe some cities that were to friendly to the Americans, and south Vietnam's army, were literly wiped off the map . . . it would be very helpful to list the changes. In the near future many vets will want to travel back to their old familar cities . . . This would be a great resource and I'm sure many vets will be greatful. Also I think it will help not cause some veterans bad feelings and thoughts about the friends they may have left behind in these cities (both vietnamese and American.)I know I will, and have been, taking tour groups back to Vietnam; I intend on resuming my tour groups soon; And this kind of help would be great.
Please let me know if there are current maps that show the changes.
Thank you very much in advance; From a disabled Vietnam veteran, who wants to help; Both the x-soldier, and the Vietnamese people.
Well, in fact, after Vietnam was reunified in 1975, many Southern regional names, such as provinces and cities were restored to their original names (prior to the birth of South VN government). But there have been many changes also, due to regional divisions. Your issue is a great.. I will write a list of changes of regional names in Vietnam.
Whoever wrote the respect section seems to have a real grudge against much of the country. When I travelled there we found everyone to be really nice and friendly. The fact that we were from Australia who participated in the war never came up at all. The person who wrote the section really seems to think otherwise. I think it should be rewritten.
Cities and OD's
In the process of drawing the Vietnam map I was struck by the lack of a National Park listed in ODs. Surely Cuc Phuong at least should be there as one of the nine? I suggest replacing Vung Tau (which is a town not an OD in any case). Also there are 11 cities listed. We need to cull two and I suggest Da Nang and Can Tho. --Burmesedays 10:38, 28 December 2009 (EST)
just realised that My Son is also missing from the ODs. Suggest Mui Ne goes from the OD's and is replaced with My Son. --Burmesedays 01:59, 29 December 2009 (EST)
In the cities section, the destinations are more than 9. Please limit the number of destinations to 9. - SnappyHip 19:38, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Yes, that is the exact point I made above which emerged when I was drawing the map. Sadly nobody has commented on the proposed changes. I will give it another 24 hours and if no comments are forthcoming, do as proposed.--Burmesedays 22:04, 24 January 2010 (EST)
Pardon my intrusion - the main page states that it is possible to get visa at the Laos/Vietnam border. Is this a reliable information? Can anyone confirm for sure that it's possible?
Alas it's not possible - see the new information on the main page. RedKite 08:52, 29 August 2010 (EDT)
My name is Ken and I am new here. I have information about getting visas, but I don't know how to incorporate it properly into the page. I arrived here from Phnom Penh and, for that starting point at least, the fee for the visa is incorrect in the article. It only cost $45 US, and that was for either a one-day turnaround for a 15-day visa or a two-day wait on a 30-day visa. Can anyone suggest how to put that into the article?
Getting to Vietnam
This is Ken again. When I came from Cambodia to Vietnam, I came by boat Chau Doc on the Mekong delta. How does that information get added into the main page?
Place it in the Get in section :-) Just plunge forward, if its not the correct place, then other Wikitravellers will put it under the right header :-) --globe-trotter 11:13, 30 August 2011 (EDT)
Vietnamese are in general aggressive people
This part is a little disturbing me. Of course it is a good thing to tell people to watch up. But this saying is simply not reflecting the truth. In general Vietnamese are as peaceful as any other asians, so very peaceful, but maybe just in a different way than the nearly 100% Buddhist cultures in Thailand for ex.. But this still does not mean that they are aggressive. As long as you're not yelling at them, I have never noticed a vietnamese to be aggressive to me.
So, as it is, this part of the text is mainly insulting to vietnamese people, and will not give the traveler a better experience nor more safety. But of course, it is, as in Thailand, a good thing to tell the traveler that it is generally a very bad idea to get into fights with the locals. Caucasians may be taller than asians, but if you deal with 5 asians, you still have no chance.
Please plunge forward and edit anything you consider inaccurate or poorly phrased. Ikan Kekek 01:28, 16 February 2012 (EST)
With this article we have a particular problem with internet marketeers continually trying to illicitly
insert external links.
In particular there is aggressive and persistent spamming of Visa on Arrival (VoA) websites - a remarkable number and variety of which seem to bear the top level domain of gov.vn, which should be reserved for government.
However, I have discovered that (although some of these official looking sites have successful commercial relationships with individual employees of Vietnamese immigration services) many sites using the top level domain of gov.vn have only very tenuous links  with vietnamese central government. Quite unbelievably, foreign corporations can pass the low hurdles of proof necessary to register official looking domains: 
Neither Singaporean nationals nor international aviation crew require a visa to visit Vietnam so I would welcome personal anecdotal tales of VoA experiences so that we can add (only) 3 reputable external links. My email address is singapore.alice [at] gmail.com --singaporeAlice 23:28, 1 November 2012 (EDT)
Thanks for pointing that out! I have noticed that for the last couple of days we have here the edit war with gov.vn domain. I have checked the articles you provided and right now I am puzzled if it's a governmental domain or not (it looks like though). Shall we allow just one gov.vn link instead of 3 that the IP address 188.8.131.52 is trying to insert? IBAlex 13:16, 7 November 2012 (EST)
The government domain policing situation is absolutely bizarre. However, I personally have talked to several passengers (and watched them successfully go through Vietnamese immigration procedures at both Hanoi and Da Nang) with their privately obtained VoA letters. This is a useful commercial service. I am not suggesting that we allow the same VoA service to be listed thrice. I am suggesting that we allow 3 different VoA services (with their primary links) to be listed and no more. --singaporeAlice 14:02, 7 November 2012 (EST)