Mail

TRAVEL TIPS

Mail

Main post offices (called buu dien in Vietnamese) are open daily 6:30 am to 8:30 pm; smaller and rural offices open from 7 to 5, and tend to close between 11:30 and 1:30. Mail boxes outside the post offices, but it's best to hand your mail over the counter. Sending a postcard or letter abroad should cost less than 50 cents. The local postal service is generally reliable, but for packages going abroad it's safer to use an international courier service. When mailing packages into and out of Vietnam, be aware that you usually need to show your passport and your parcels will probably be scrutinized at the post office. Note that videotapes, books, DVDs, and compact discs are especially sensitive items to ship or mail to and from Vietnam. It should take about two weeks, sometimes longer, for mail to arrive in the West from Vietnam.

Note that Vietnam does not use postal codes.

Overnight Services

The U.S. Postal Service, DHL, FedEx, and UPS all have express mail services to Vietnam. Unfortunately, the service isn't always that fast: it can take from four to seven days, depending on how long the package sits in customs. DHL, FedEx, and UPS can also ship from Vietnam. Because packages sent via regular mail can take up to three months to reach North America, courier services are a far better option.

Courier Services

DHL. 17 Pham Hung, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 24/3775–3999; www.dhl.com.vn.

DHL. 6 Thang Long St., Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City. 28/3844–6203; www.dhl.com.vn.

FedEx. 14 Dang Tien Dong St., Dong Da District, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 24/824–9054; www.fedex.com.

FedEx. 146 Pasteur, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City. 28/119–055; www.fedex.com.

FedEx. 32 Ba Trieu, Hue, Thua Thien-Hue. 234/388–3738; www.fedex.com.

FedEx. 245 Nguyen Van Linh, Danang, Da Nang. 236/365–3655; www.fedex.com.

UPS. 26 Pham Van Dong, Tu Liem, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 24/514–2888.

UPS. 18A Cong Hoa, Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City. 28/811–2888; www.ups.com.

Postal Rates

Postage is based on weight. On average, a postcard or letter to the United States or Europe costs about $1. Stamps are sold at post office (buu dien) branches, which are generally open daily 8–4:30, and at many hotels and shops. Usually the postal clerk will cancel the stamps on your letter and give it back to you to put into the mail slot. This policy exists in part to eliminate any possibility of stamps being peeled off your letter for resale and your letter being thrown away.

Receiving Mail

Don't be surprised if you receive an already opened parcel—just be grateful it arrived at all. Most parcels are opened as a matter of course, and sometimes the recipient in Vietnam is charged for the "service" of checking the parcel. In lieu of the parcel, you may receive a note providing information on where to collect a particular piece of mail. Sending items such as videos, books, compact discs, and DVDs through the mail is risky. Packages make many stops along the way, and opportunities abound for theft or loss. If these items do arrive, they're sometimes confiscated or checked for subversive material. Such "quarantines" for videos sometimes provide opportunity for replication by unscrupulous postal clerks or customs officials before they're handed over to you. Most letters and postcards will arrive within about two weeks of being mailed from abroad.

Main Branches

Danang Post Office. 155 Nguyen Van Linh, Danang, Da Nang. 236/383–2299.

Dong Hoi Post Office. 1 Tran Hung Dao, Dong Hoi, Quang Binh. 232/384–1233.

Hanoi Main Post Office. Dinh Tien Hoang, Trang Tien, Hanoi, Ha Noi. 24/2210–0705.

Ho Chi Minh City Central Post Office. 2 Cong Xa Paris, Ben Nghi, Ho Chi Minh City, Ho Chi Minh City. 28/3822–1677.

Hoi An Post Office. 10 Tran Hung Dao, Hoi An, Quang Nam. 235/386–2888; hoianpost.com.

Hue Post Office. 8 Hoang Hoa Tham, Hue, Thua Thien-Hue. 234/382–3474.

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