In Thailand, booking through sites like Agoda generally will save you a few dollars. For whatever reason, the price in Vietnam is always cheaper when you show up in person. Plus, you can check out the room and bargain it down a bit, generally. I live by American Express Travelers Checks. I hate paying inflated ATM fees. Only some banks in Vietnam will cash these, however. Consistently, Sacombank is the place to go to.
Instead of Nha Trang, check out Quy Nhon. The people get friendlier, the food tastier, the prices cheaper and the culture more intact.
The Pacific coastline is rocky and rough in the winter. There are some nice beach towns, but the beaches are not the highlights of Vietnam. Tell everyone else to go to Thailand instead. Steven is a roaming traveler, writer and urban planner based out of Asia. I was born and raised over there until I was Last time I was there was in Just booked my tickets to go back in May.
Was curious to find out what all the new things that I need to be aware of when going back to visit. After being gone this many years, everything has changed so much from what I heard. Thank you for your tips and a few giggles here and there from reading it. How was your trip? Great tips regarding trip to Vietnam.
Before going to a new country we must know about these tips. Thanks for reading, Tereza! Do you have any tips when visiting your home country that you can share with us? I agree with your comments. People wearing proper clothes. People sometimes trying to take advantage of the — predictable -confusion with local currency. Preferably beside a local. They have the innate rhythm to negotiate motorbikes across roads. Be safe and enjoy.
Yes, walking beside a local will definitely help you cross the street in Vietnam! Once you live in HCMC you learn the way to do it alone. I loved the detailed first hand experience. At least now I can share this to my friends so they too can be prepared before we travel there. Thanks a lot Steven! I hope we enjoy this country as much as you guys did. Thanks for reading and hope the list helps. Thank you for great detailed information about Vietnam.
I grew up in Vietnam, and will be back there this month after over 10 years living here in the USA. I understand exactly what you talked about and appreciate your input.
You give me an idea that I need to do something to help my country be a better place for tourists. Just when it comes to tourist industry, people think about their income more than their reputation.
Follow your guides in the post, travelers will have so much more fun in their trips to Vietnam. Thank you again Steven! It just takes a tourist a few weeks to catch onto being overcharged, etc. Each country can do more to make tourists more comfortable. Looking forward to my next visit and hope you enjoyed your return home! Your advice, especially about money, taxis and traveling in Vietnam is wise.
I was ridiculed quite a lot because of my weight kgs. An educated local said that I was being stereotyped as a fat bourgeoisie westerner who is corrupt and looking for prostitutes, which is something I have no time for. That said, I think people would be wise to keep their thoughts to themselves at times, especially thoughts involving guests to their country. That said, Vietnam is an interesting country to visit. I admire the Vietnamese for their resilience and achievements. And most Vietnamese are cool.
Just be careful with your money. Thanks for your input and I hope it helps others in your situation heading over in Vietnam. Keep on traveling and sharing any advice! I am very sorry that you were ridiculed while you were in my country. I am Vietnamese and I am ridiculed for my weight too! Just a heads up… Did you know that the operator of a news site has plagiarized your article under a different name?
I mentioned it was ripped off, he said that it was sent to him. Hi, I read this post by chance and it is almost right. I am a Vietnamese and I am really thankful for your post which shows your interest and respect with my country. I hope you will go to Ly Son or Binh Ba island someday where you could find beautiful beaches. As a traveler I think you should enjoy your trip. If you be nice, you will see nice people.
If you easy going you can explore more than you image…. Or you will buy it in Travel agent about 10usd? Everthing have there price. So if any accident happened with you and friends. Dont say it is dangerous. I do not want to be mean even to the meanest person I have ever experienced like YOU. Secondly, compliance with law is necessary, however, having a proper license does not guarantee you from not getting an accident.
Driving motorbike is still dangerous, even for Vietnamese people. You think you are confident because you have google map. Street name signs are too small, often hidden behind trees, traffic lights and electric wires. Thirdly, I believe that foreigners do not mind to pay for service fee if it is reasonable and transparent.
Everybody hates being cheated. Steve was upset because he was lied to by the hotelier, and even more upset that he was not told in advance that he had to sit in a hard seat for 13 hours. At least you should spend one day in Danang before heading to Hue. All above that Steven wrote is, indeed, concluded from his own experiences. There is nothing that could be more right that that.
But yours is too bias and abusive. I was born and raised in Vietnam. My hometown city has beach but it is polluted. Last year, I traveled to the Central of Vietnam. I was impressed by many beautiful islands with clean beaches. I had never got the chance to traveled to South America, or Indonesia. But yeah, Steve, if you and Adam have chance to go back to Vietnam someday, definitely check them out.
Hi, So I just happened to scroll down to the comments and read what you said. I understand that both you and Ha Linh commenter above want to make sure that your country is fairly represented and that people come to visit your fantastic county. I do agree a bit, but feel that you were a bit harsh, but sure people get upset. What I think you missed is the intention och the article and instead focused too much on the negatives. Let me tell you about my experience with Vietnam: It was the worst travel experience of my life.
I hated the trip, and thereby the country. Over the next 7 years I then had no interest whatsoever of returning. Then last year something brough Vietnam to my attention again. I felt that I am a person that is open to different cultures and people, and I realised I wanted to give Vietnam another chance, because I was quite certain I had just had a bad experience.
So with some friends we went to Hanoi and some areas around there, some tourist-y and some definitively local. I had done a bunch of research including stumling upon this post about what to expect and you know what, Vietnam is now my favourity country. I dream of going back, every single day. Even immediately after returning home after the second trip, I just wanted to return.
My point is that during my first trip I made a few mistakes: And when you feel that someone is trying to trick you, it really can taint the whole experience. So when I hear people being interested in Vietnam I make sure to highlight some things to watch out for similar to this list , so that they are prepared and can enjoy all of the amazing things Vietnam has to offer, be it the natural beauty, the food oh the food!
I can get so annoyed when I read about people having bad experiences in Vietnam, and not following the advice here. But at the same time, it is what happend to me. And I just feel sad knowing that those people may never give Vietnam another chance, which is a loss for both them and the country.
Basically, I think the article means well. Hello, read your comment and would like to ask for tips on places to go to on hanoi. We just have two days there so would like to know the best places to go to in such a limited time. PLanning to got Ho Chi Minh. If ever, that will be my first time to travel abroad. I read so many blogs about Vietnam travel tips but your blog is really helpful to me. Especially like the tips 5 and Really helpful list here!
My partner and I are planning a trip to Vietnam in the coming months and this was great to read to know what to expect. I do have one question though. I read somewhere that it used to be common for hotels and accommodations to take your passport and hold it at the desk. As you recommend searching around and bargaining for a hotel room, does this still happen? Is it safe when it does? I was always taught to keep your passport safe….
Actually, I consider the hotel safe the best place for my passport in Vietnam. Usually there are cameras around there and the hotel has little incentive to steal a foreign passport. The least safe place is probably in a bag on your person and the hotel room itself is probably less secure than a hotel front desk. Have a good trip and thanks for reading. Or would you suggest something like prebooking your first night? I would write down the name and address!
Generally, hotels in SE Asia will put you in the worst room if you pre-booked online. But, for just one night it may not be too bad. This will facilitate haggling enormously. Most Viet people will even regard you completely different if you approach them with some bits of their indeed difficult language. The locals everywhere will also find it endearing. Yes, I agree that the younger generation, esp in HCMC are far less aggressive with tourist money than the old generation.
Often, I am not allowed to pay at all. These stories just make me want to travel to this awesome country. We do not have a vietnam embassy here.. Im from Israel so its not that im not used to a little haggling but I still want to have a calm, fun trip.
I do know that for some countries like in south america the more local you go take public transportation, eat at small local restaurants the easier it is to be tourist trap free, but would this apply to Vietnam as well?
Yes, it absolutely applies to Vietnam. Check out cities like Quy Nhon and Da Nang very virtually scam-free easy lifestyles.
Read it before you […]. Hey Steve, Do you have facebook? Whereby I can chat with you in regards Vietnam more easily. Spot on with the taxis! As a rule it should be 28,dong per km and 12,dong service charge.
You know your Vietnamese fact very well! I love your point on how all these petty scams and tricks happen to anyone.
Happened to me when I was in Singapore, China, and a few other countries too. But the way to respond to those negative experiences is refreshing. Hope you come back to Vietnam soon. On a side note… If anyone is looking for simple, hassle-free and reliable visa to Vietnam, check out my site http: Hey, this article was awesome!
I am leaving to Vietnam in January for 4 weeks so this made me a little less nervous and a lot more excited. I will definitely let you know how well my experience goes! Here are 8 most famous things to do in vietnam.
Thanks for the post!! I like that it was broken down!! Keep in touch and let us know if you have specific questions, JJ! Hope you have a great trip. Looking for things to do in Vietnam for 2 weeks? I am willing to be your tour guide with the fee is A HUG: It mean it is FREE percent. I can give you advices about how to buy everything without being cheated, best places to go to save money, how to become a knowing visitor, we can have street food together enjoy fantastic cuisine,discover culture, take selfie check in Roof Coffe or even do volunteering if you wanna.
Because it is free so you can not ask me the time we wander: I hope your messages results in some long friendships! Thanks for your tips. I am Vietnamese, my English is not good. But if any one want to know more Hanoi, Vietnam I can help. Please contact with me via: I went to Peru and travel into most of main cities out there and it was not that bad. Do you have an email or facebook? Good to hear about your trip! Have a good trip!
And if you have any troublbe about language or want to travel any where i will have some idea for you. My home town is Phu Yen Province and, present i want to introduce cutural tradition to everybody, friends in the world. If you need some infomation pls sent email for me: I just stumbled across your blog here, and it is very informative and great tips.
Any advises are welcome. Bargain hard with motorbike taxi. HI there, i am from New Zealand and my husband and i hope to spend days in Vietnam after 2 weeks in China on a work visit in April. We want to see the sights but we also want some rest and relaxation as we will have been travelling extensively in China. Your blog says the beaches are not great and we will be comparing them to the NZ and Aussie beaches so I am sure they truely will not be great. Your tips will be great for us as we have not been to Vietnam before.
April can be pretty hot. Dalat city, in the mountains, is cool year-round if you really need a break from the heat. Phu Quoc has some white sand beaches, but otherwise, Thailand or Philippines is the place to go for beaches. You can also use the pools at 5-star hotels for a small or no! The water in Nha Trang and south of there is perfect in April. Hi steven, Read your article and it really is very informative and helpful. My husband and i will be going to hanoi next week but will be staying there for only two days.
Also, where can we buy inexpensive goods? Thanks for the reply! Whats the difference between the 2 places? And also about the night life, which is better? I just saw and read your blog about vietnam. What can you recommend for my 5 days travel to that country? Ill arrive thru Hanoi Noi-ba Airport. Hi, Is Vietnam safe for a girl to travel alone? I was thinking of spending a couple of days to see the beautiful halong bay.
Violent crime is very rare in Vietnam. Take Uber car instead of a motorbike or motorbike taxi. Take care of your things on the bus. Walk with a backpack, not a purse or sidebag as those are easier to grab.
Hi Steven, We are going to Vietnam first time on September this year. Your article is amazing, very helpful. Would you please let me know where I can find them, or if you have time, can you suggest us some locations, like Ninh Binh… Thanks! You can go to http: Ninh Binh is great! Better than HaLong Bay in my opinion. Mui Ne is great for fresh seafood on roadside stalls. Da Lat if you need a break from the head.
HCMC for vibrant local life and Hanoi for the old style culture. If someone want to travel to Vietnam and Hanoi, let me know. BTW, tks for this!!! I had a great time reading your article. I just returned from 3 weeks in vietnam and you hit it spot on — wish i would have found this article 4 weeks ago!! But if I had read your tips before I left, I would have enjoyed it even more and left with less regrets.
Thanks for the tips! Number 19 — Vitasun Taxis sucks! I had an experience earlier that the taxi driver forcing to get my cash. You were right about what was going on in my country.
Thank you for always loving my country and guiding others so that they will not be cheated by the liar. From there they will find love and return to Vietnam. Great tips and advice! They are the most ideal places to come for swimming. I love Halong Bay, too. Stunning view from seaplane. There are many places to take pictures there. I would like to share some top highlighted places https: Next time you are visiting Nha Trang, lease take the time to review our bar.
Here the basic details:. Since , we have commit ourselves to offers our travelling guests and the expatriate community diverse and fun nightlife events, fantastic cocktails, a tasty selection of fast food. Your post is very informative ,explained everything for me. We both are vegetarian. I think it is a bit harder for me than other travelers.
I was doubtful about going to Vietnam, this helped me to make my decision. Please someone tell me about availability of seasonal fruits and vegetarian food over there. My e-mail Id is nksrk gmail. Thanks for the post. I really enjoyed it and it seems very straightforward and practical. Your info is helpful. We have no idea how travel agent work in Vietnam or else they will rip off your pocket by just application fee plus stamping fee when arrive airport to Vietnam.
There are many way to travel to Vietnam or many beautiful places where you must visit. Travelers can read information here before travelling: In general, I love this country though getting some troubles. As a new travel agent helping a client plan a trip to Vietnam, I must tell you: Me and my family are moving to Vietnam from Toronto for years.
I was just wondering what tips you can give us about long term stays in Ho Chi Minh. Living in District 2, 3 or 7 is good for a family. The city is safe but beware of traffic. Hope u can find a goood beautiful beach on the next time come to Vietnam. I will ne going to Vietnam in december and this really helps! The food looks amazing and theres so much to see Cannot wait! I am Vietnamese and I am available as a guide for you.
If you need me please contact me via facebook https: I will help you wholeheartedly. Hi Steven, All things you said all right. All three are about 6 hours from each other in a triangle. They are all very different and romantic. February is a very pleasant month to visit, Dan! Have a great trip. Its geographic location makes Hanoi either the first or last point of a trip for most travellers visiting Vietnam. Thank you so much for this. It was well written, well structured and perfect for what i needed as i am doing a 4 day stint in Ho chi minh tomorrow for a visa run back to Taiwan and i can honestly say the amount of info i got from this was amazing.
Bravo Sir, from a happy fellow traveller. Wow, thanks for all the kind words, Danny. I may write up some for nearby countries as well- thanks for the motivation. Have a good visa run! Steven — great article. It is very informative. Do you think it is a country for solo travelers? What are your thoughts on Bai Tu Long Bay cruise or any other cruises for a guy travelling alone? Yes, Vietnam is great for solo travelers. Also, the restaurants are very accommodating for solo diners.
There are so many amazing beaches with white sand and turquoise water or crystal clear blue water in Phu Quoc Island small islands off the coast of Phu quoc or Con Dao.
Thanks for your post, though. The most beautiful beach of Vietnam located in Nha Trang. You should visit there instead of Phu Quoc island. Are you mentioning the main beach in Nha Trang city, or another nearby? About the food cuisines, im sure that Thai can not be diverse as Vietnam. I need to update this to include Uber.
I use it on all my trips there now. Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia certainly have better beaches than Vietnam, Malaysia as well. The Pacific is choppy and the water not as clear. Philippines probably beats Thailand for beaches. As for food diversity, there is no real way of knowing, but Thai mixes Indian and Malay influences very well and has a more international food most of it not great.
The night markets in Thailand have hundreds of options of all types in one place. Cambodia has amazing nightlife, friendly locals and so much amazing history.
No place like it. Let me know if you need more specifics! I think Viet Nam is better than you think. Not all Vietnamese people are lieing to you.
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