After reading and hearing many other peoples negative experiences of Vietnam, I decided to share my own.
Before visiting Vietnam, I was worried. I had read so much about people getting scammed, getting robbed, having awful hostels, not getting dropped off at the right location, bad customer service, bad food and the list goes on. Calum was desperate to visit and I wanted to see the war memorials so we decided to head there anyway, but that didn’t stop me from being nervous.
In the weeks we spent in Vietnam, we came across no problems at all.
Yes, we did have sellers trying to encourage us to buy sunglasses and CD’s whilst we sat outside bars in Saigon but a simple and polite ‘no’ seemed to do the trick. One hotel in Hanoi did have a few ants around a mini fridge but after expressing our concern to the family running the little inn, the daughter quickly rushed upstairs to sort it out and put some spray down. We ate street food and local food – loving every bite! We opted for taxi’s instead of group tours to visit the historic sites; more so we could spend as much time as we wanted there. We had a great time and Vietnam is now one of my favourite places in Asia.
Many bloggers have expressed their dislike of Vietnam and I am sure with good reason and when we visited, I anticipated to get scammed and frustrated but it was actually fine. I do encourage travellers not to be put off by others experiences and give Vietnam a chance to show you how incredibly interesting and amazing it is. Everyone has a right to share their own thoughts and opinions and I know that one place and one trip can be completely different to another but this experience taught me to experience a country, city, tour, event or whatever first before making a decision as to whether I like it or not. Travel blogs are an invaluable source for finding out more about destinations around the world but perhaps I rely on them too much at times. Anyways, spiel over – here is how we avoided any problems in Vietnam, using the tips and suggestions from travel bloggers.
We were aware that Vietnam roads were bumpy and busy so decided to cut out any long coach journeys. Some may say that night buses with tourists singing karaoke is a travellers ‘right of passage’ but it turned out to be much safer, convenient and not too much more expensive to catch a flight or train between the major cities and towns of Vietnam.
Again, we have heard many visitors complain about scams from the Vietnamese people. Perhaps we were just lucky but this was never the case for us. Our Halong Bay trip was booked online before we headed to Vietnam and our guesthouse organised our Cu Chi Tunnels trip for us and both went smoothly. Of course we had to haggle for prices in the markets but this was the same across South East Asia.
I have read several bloggers complain about how they have been mistreated by Vietnamese locals whilst travelling through the country. This is so sad as I would hope there is good and grumpy people in every country. During our stay, again we had no issues with the locals and they were generally quite pleasant. Guesthouse owners were always lovely and accommodating as were restaurant and bar owners that we visited. We personally had no problems with the people of Vietnam but I understand this is not the case for everyone.
A friend of mine travelled to Halong Bay a few years before our trip and complained that her boat were unorganised and overbooked. Of course, that is frustrating and it ruined her experience of Halong Bay, which is such a shame as it is such a beautiful place. For our trip, we did a lot of research to ensure this didn’t happen to us and ended up paying more than other trips advertised, to ensure we had a good company. It definitely paid off as our trip was fantastic and we couldn’t have asked for a better tour company. Unfortunately, for tours in Vietnam, you get what you pay for, so we find it’s worth paying more to ensure you have a stress-free, fun time.
We could have just been incredibly lucky or perhaps it was our British accents they warmed to or my weird, one-sided dimpled cheek (that a lady on our Halong bay boat loved to squeeze); who knows. We had a pleasant time in Vietnam and urge all travellers not to write off this beautiful country but do to give it a chance. Inspired? Why not read this perfect backpacking itinerary?