What a pity, you have been missing out on a lot in this part of your life! No worries here are some points to know in advance when you are visiting one of the most beautiful country in Southeast Asia.
The first thing when you think of Vietnam is probably the American War. Vietnamese locals understand the history of that war and have moved on. Visit the museums and/or tunnels if that interests you. Next to that, Vietnam has more things to explore.
Vietnamese people outside of the tourist industry are really hospitable and sweet. If you befriend the locals, they will spend their last few cents on a dinner for you and refuse take anything in return. They are honestly honored to have a meal with you. Friends are easily made in seconds..
Learn some basic Vietnamese words! It will make the locals smile, a simple hello and thank you is fine. Moreover, it is important to smile, smile when you are haggling, arguing or asking back for money.
Vietnam is a safe place to visit, hence you do not have to worry about personal safety. Nevertheless, you should keep things close to you and stick your wallet in your pocket. Make sure not to flaunt your belongings or put them down carelessly where anyone could grab them and take off.
If you are grabbing a taxi, make sure to go for well-known brands such as Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis. In addition to this, try to stick with these two brands if you are arriving for the first time at the international airports.
The country uses the Vietnamese dong as its currency. Keep in mind that the bills look similar to each other, for example 10.000 dong looks a lot like 100.000 dong and that goes the same for 50.000 dong and 500.000 dong.
It is normal for locals in Vietnam to overcharge prices when they can get more money for something. It is just the fluid way how small transactions work in the country and this often happens at tourist attractions. Just simply ask how much something costs and at the same time notice how they will size you up as they are calculating for the price. If you feel that the price is way too high, do not be afraid to negotiate. You can also just walk to another place to buy it and the shop owner will reduce the price as they see you are going away.
A tip: go to places located at small lanes or streets, because the prices over there are more reasonable.
Do not drink from the tap water, but only bottled, boiled or filtered water. The water treatment infrastructure is still underdeveloped in Vietnam. Regarding food, when you are eating food it should be thoroughly cooked and very warm.
To protect yourselves against dust and air pollution, wear a mouth cap when you go a lot on motorbikes. You should also wear goggles or sunglasses as this may affect your eyes.
There is one thing that is not avoidable in Vietnam and that is trash.. in remote or populated regions you will come across large areas that are scattered with beer bottles, plastic bags, bottles and leftover food. Unfortunately, there is still a lack of awareness and consciousness to keep it clean or throw trash away in garbage bins.
The train system has become more modern in Vietnam and is equipped with more facilities. When you are planning to travel by train, order your tickets at us for a hassle-free price. Besides, when traveling by train you are also more able to enjoy the beautiful landscape peacefully.
One of the unique things about Vietnam is that the locals transport a lot on their motorbikes. From furniture to heavy bottles of water.
“They say, whatever you are looking for, you can find here.” said by Michael Caine in The Quiet American.