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This week’s Ask Kate is a question that I get asked with surprising frequency. Two years ago, Nomadic Matt wrote a post called Why I’ll Never Return to Vietnam. It got quite a bit of outcry — many of his readers were in complete agreement; many more disagreed. Here I try to help a reader deciding whether or not she should skip Vietnam on her Southeast Asia trip.
I leave London for 3 months solo backpacking around SE Asia (Singapore start with expat friends, then solo Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam) early Jan (I’ve not planned too much and having read your post about things you did right, I think I have the right attitude about flexibility and going with the flow).
What’s your take on Vietnam? Having read nomadicmatt’s negative post about it I was wary. From a female perspective just wondered if you felt as violated as he did?!
Believe it or not, I get asked this question all the time. That post of Matt’s freaked out a lot of people — particularly the female travelers who write to me.
Now, for the record, Matt is a friend of mine, and I’m not here to rip him a new one. He just didn’t happen to like Vietnam — which is fine!
But considering how far that post of his has spread, I feel sad that people have skipped a wonderful, beautiful, delicious country just because one popular travel blogger didn’t like it.
I love Vietnam.
Vietnam is a fantastic country and if you skipped it, you would be missing out on a lot. The food, in my opinion, is the best in Southeast Asia. The scenery is gorgeous, featuring everything from beaches to mountains to terraced rice paddies. The cities are fun, diverse, and fascinating, and there are so many activities in Vietnam, from getting custom designer sneakers in Hoi An to sailing through Halong Bay or cruising Nha Trang to drinking snake blood in Hanoi.
That said, Vietnam can be difficult. Scams are quite prevalent in Vietnam, though all of the scams I personally witnessed took place within Hanoi. Most of the scamming is in the form of overcharging you or not giving you everything you paid for.
My personal advice? Go to Vietnam — but keep your eyes open. Give Vietnam a chance. And if you really hate it, you can always leave!
What Women Say About Vietnam
To get more opinions, I reached out to my female blogger friends who have been to Vietnam. Most of them had a complicated view of the country as a whole, alternatively enjoying and not enjoying it.
As I read piece after piece, common themes began to emerge. Here they are:
The experience of traveling Vietnam, though difficult at times, is overall a net positive.
Steph from Twenty-Something Travel eloquently described how Vietnam was difficult to travel at times, but ultimately a wonderful, rewarding destination.
And for a different side of Vietnam, Lash from Lash World Tour visited the northwest highlands of Vietnam and its Hmong villages and found that even this ethnically different region of Vietnam was as beautiful and challenging as the rest.
Scams abound — primarily (though not exclusively) in the north. But they’re not bad enough to write off the entire country.
Bethaney from Flashpacker Family had a very rough time in Vietnam the first time around — but on her second visit, she grew to love the country. She also gives tips for Vietnam travelers.
While Lillie from Around the World L had a bad experience when she was groped by her motorbike driver out in the middle of nowhere, she shrugged it off as an isolated incident and loved the rest of the country.
The food is exceptional. While the food of Southeast Asia gets almost universal acclaim, Vietnamese food is on another level.
Jodi from Legal Nomads just settled into Saigon for a three month stay. She’s fascinated by Vietnam so far and in love with the food culture.
Also loving the food? Expat Edna. Here she lists the five best things she ate in Vietnam.
Getting to know the people of Vietnam is the single most rewarding thing you can do.
Aleah of Solitary Wanderer spent awhile in Saigon and enjoyed it thoroughly — it felt like home to her then, and still does now. Her fondest memories are of the people she met.
Kate from 30 Traveler was lucky enough to be invited to a Vietnamese wedding! She described the kindness of the people she met in Vietnam here.
Vietnam is an enormously important country to visit for its cultural and historical context.
According to Lillie from Around the World L, “My month in Vietnam was half wonderful and half super-stressful. It’s important for people to visit Vietnam. It’s a very influential country in world history on many, many levels, and remarkable in many ways.” She explains why in this piece.
As for me, I think my post that sums up Vietnam best is Coming to Terms with the Vietnam War. It was very difficult coming to Vietnam as an American and witness how my country destroyed so many lives in the name of a war that never should have happened.
So should you skip Vietnam?
Only you can make that decision. I hope that these pieces give you some alternative perspectives. But believe me when I say that you would be missing a lot if you chose to skip the country altogether.
137 thoughts on “Ask Kate: Is Vietnam As Bad As Nomadic Matt Says?”
Very well written argument for visiting Vietnam. I’m sure, as with every country, each visitor will have a very unique and different experience. I appreciate you taking the time to find so many posts on both sides of the argument!
I just got back from Vietnam (my 4th time there!) and all I can say is that I still love it. There had been some negative experiences (two women made off with my luggage cart at the airport, but I managed to catch up with them), but as a whole, the 2-week experience was positive because of the people.
We went to Vietnam for the first time this fall and loved it! HCMC was surprisingly modern and livable while Hanoi had a vibrant, chaotic energy that we found exciting. We spent about a week in each place, taking in all the sights and eating everything we could get our hands on. The food is amazing! We were prepared for the worst given the bad things we’d heard, but luckily we didn’t experience any scams or bad behavior. We would go back to Vietnam in a heartbeat!
I hadn’t heard a lot of the negatives. I’m a teacher who might have an offer to teach for 2 years in Saigon. Gives me a bit to think about.
Great response! I feel the same way about Barcelona: I haven’t heard of one person who went there and DIDN’T get robbed but I would still recommend going there none the less. You can’t let a little bit of fear stop you from having an amazing, international experience.
Driftwood and Daydreams
Aryn I haven’t been but I’m really lucky. My friend was very close to be, but I have noticed and the phone has been given back…but even such situations can’t overcome the fun you have in this city! 🙂
There are a lot of pickpockets in Barcelona, but I’ve been five times and never even seen one. If you’ve got your wits about you and don’t leave bags lying around, you’ll be fine.
Your comment on ‘not knowing anyone who hadn’t been robbed while visiting Barcelona,’ caught my attention. I have visited Barcelona 7 times, over the last 2 years. I’ve used all forms of public transportation. Primarily I’ve travelled solo. I’m wandering about the streets, at all hours. I’ve encountered absolutely NO PROBLEMS. Statements of this sort, inflict unnecessary damage, similar to the post by Matt about Vietnam.
How you are treated has a lot to do about how you behave and are perceived. Insensitive disrespectful behaviour on the part of travellers, will damage your experience, no matter where you travel.
Great post. I have been to Vietnam three times, two during our first RTW and once again earlier this year to confirm that it is someplace I want to live! We are on our 2d RTW with Vietnam as the leader in where we will settle down after. It is probably different for me because I travel with a 6 foot 4 inch giant of a husband, so I generally feel safe. The only time we were scammed in Vietnam was with one taxi ride in Hanoi, but I recognized our mistake as soon as we got into a gypsy cab that was not one of the recommended cab companies (something that has happened in many other countries. Taxis are breeding grounds for scams and overcharging). Other than that, we have traveled north to south, and all over the center. We have spent, in total, about 12 weeks in Vietnam, and I love it! Check out my blog from my first trip, where we taught English in Quang Tri Province: http://www.travelblog.org/Asia/Vietnam/North-Central-Coast/Quang-Tri/Dong-Ha/blog-396170.html
Really good post! To be frank, if I wish to go somewhere there is no way that reading something bad about it will stop me from traveling. I always have a need to discover for myself, and Vietnam is very hight on my list! 🙂
I, too, read several online articles which depicted negative experiences of Vietnam. Travelling throughout SE Asia, I also heard discouraging tales which started to make me feel reluctant to go there at all. However, I can safely say that it turned out to be the most interesting and wonderful country I have ever visited. The friendliest people I have ever met on my travels were from Vietnam. Not only that, but Vietnam offers so much, from amazing food, to an astonishingly varied landscape. The scams in Vietnam are no different to those elsewhere in Asia, or indeed anywhere. I am sure everyone, sadly falls prey to something at some point. I hold my hands up to falling for the tuktuk scam in Bangkok, but I don’t look upon Thailand negatively for it. It is such as shame that so many people do not think fondly of their time in Vietnam, as I have nothing but praise for such a fascinating country. As a tourist you will always be vulnerable to certain things, whether that is in Vietnam, or anywhere else in the world.
Great post!!! I totally agree that no trip to South East Asia is complete without a visit to Vietnam. It has so much to offer and has a different feel to it’s neighbours. I’m with you on the food too… love it!!
I think so long as visitors are prepared before hand and go in with the knowledge that they will get ripped off here and there, they’ll be OK. In my opinion the positives outweigh the negatives but it took me two visits to get overcome those negatives. A little help from a local goes a long way!!!
My next plan is to cycle the length of Vietnam!
Very thorough response, Kate! Hopefully your post helps counter balance Matt’s (though it seems like the damage is done from his…).
I’ve heard good and bad about Vietnam, too, but I think the good outweighs the bad for me – I would definitely visit!
Sadly, it was the majority of people I met in Vietnam who made me dislike it. I love travelling to meet new people and talk to locals about their lives. Yet Vietnam left me with a bad impression. I was scammed many times in Thailand and Bali and not once in Vietnam, yet Vietnam felt a much more hostile place. Xe-om drivers would try and drag me onto their bikes, and pinch my arms hard (leaving bruises!) if I tried to walk away. In Ha Noi, taxi drivers followed me down the street shouting abuse at me for not taking their cars. In Ha Long Bay, our boat’s captain hauled up the ladder and started sailing off with us still swimming in the Bay because we bought 20 cent candy from a woman in a row boat. Haggling in Vietnam it was definitely more vicious. I just got the impression they were actively trying to rip me off for being white and there was some personal venom towards me, compared to in Thailand where it’s more of a cheeky “see what you can get away with” kind of pricing.
I met some lovely people in Vietnam (mainly people who had nothing to do with the service industry or markets), but they were vastly outnumbered by encounters of being insulted, assaulted or guilt tripped because they thought I was American and thus I should give them money. It’s SUCH a contrast from the ‘land of smiles’ that is Thailand. But despite all that, I think the scenery and the history outweigh the bad people. Go there for the food and the scenery and to get a better understanding of the atrocities that happened on both sides. There are countries I would recommend you prioritise over Vietnam if you’re limited on time or money, but if you have the resources I would definitely go.
I have lived all over SE Asia and the Vietnamese are the rudest, nastiest people by far. It is s vicious society of thieves and liars. They are immature and irresponsible people who try to cause you grief at every turn.
I will never return there. They have a 5% return rate vs Thailand’s 40% return rate for tourism. I think the numbers speak for themselves.
I disagree, Mike. Painting an entire nation of people with the same brush is never an accurate statement, in my opinion — and Thailand has a different infrastructure catered to returning tourists, especially with Scandinavian tourists.
Watch it! It seems like you are so bad too. If you are better, help them to be better like you.
Thank you Mike. I live here. Immature, rude, nasty, irresponsible is spot on. I hate to say it, I really do. I have made very close friends in Vietnam.
But, as any long-term expat will vouch, you are dead right. Vile country, like nowhere else I have visited.
Confirmed – Long term expat here. I tried to love Vietnam, I really did. It didn’t work out and we’re in the process of breaking up. I’m pretty sure she’s already screwing someone else.
People are definitely not very friendly on the whole, you won’t have a joke or decent conversation with Vietnamese people when you go to a cafe etc, very rare, Of course far less people speak English here than say Thailand, but people will just stare and sometimes scowl at me, if I say hello or smile, just get a cold continued blank stare, and people look away, when Im walking about.
They do seem to think that white people are stupid, here in Saigon anyway, which is bizarre as Vietnam is doing everything possible to be western, almost all advertising depicts white people, there seems to be a bitter resentment.
Many of the south Vietnamese are pretty racist, people have said how they hate the northerners and especially the Chinese, they don’t say it about white people to my face but I can definately see it how people treat me.
I’ve lived in Saigon for over two years and am leaving in a week, I have enjoyed a lot of my time here and do have some good local friends but I feel a foreigner will never be truly welcomed here, perhaps I’m expecting too much, probably disappointed I wasn’t able to connect with people as I wanted, I did start out with a very open and positive mind, but after Beijing and the friendlness and great hospitality of the Chinese during my 7 months there, every time I hear Vietnamese whine about the Chinese my dislike grows stronger
I agree 100%! Vietnam is a sewer of dishonesty with awful food and zero cleanliness. In addition; “the worst of the west” resides here to make matters worse. Out of 20 countries, Vietnam is at the bottom.
II had a unique experience in Vietnam…. I work there for 1 month (30 km from Noi Bai) in Dong Anh. At the center I stayed the people were nice and it was nice however the weather killed me. Everyone takes motorbike, and sometimes I will be traveling 1 hour to get to each class. Everyday the travel is chaos people just drive on wrong side of the road. I would definitely get lost in Vietnam if I did not have teacher taking me to each class. I did not like Vietnam in so aspect because I could not read where I was everything is in Vietnamese. Vietnam is a Buddhist country (some have no religion). Mostly in my opinion their society follows after China. They eat with chopsticks, and they are different than the western culture. I love the Philippines because it is Americanized, I can read where I am, and can communicate to people. Overall though Vietnam is ok but go during the warm months or its miserable
I have to say I am on the side of the dislikers. When I moved here for work, I’d visited several times and I liked it – maybe there is a difference for some people whether you just visit as a tourist or whether you live here.
I am a long term expat here and i have lived in many countries, and while I can say there have been many nice people I have met, and VN people can be very sweet, I just don’t like living here as an expat. Men tend to fare better here with many settling down, but it’s a society/country that just doesn’t do it for me. Of course, visit and make up your own mind, but frankly I can’t wait to leave and I will never return again. I can’t express really how much I hate it here as a resident.
My main gripes are noise, traffic, bad driving, pollution, corruption, disrespect for ppl and the environment, obliviousness of other people/not giving a sh*t about other people and the general ignorance of the local population. Of course, there are people who are exceptions to all of these things, but they are very much in the minority in my opinion.
Vietnam was challenging at times but once I felt I was in the groove of the place that made a big difference. Never felt unsafe, and I did go to some remote places – though I’m bigger than most Vietnamese which may have had something to do with it! The thing I was most hacked off about was almost getting sucked into a scam in HCMC where, long story short, they try to entice you into playing card games and presumably removing you of all your money – solo travellers should be very wary about being approached by seemingly nice people who just happen to have a sister moving to your country… It all snowballs from there. The majority of my experiences though were positive.
Vietnam is AMAZING! Especially if you get the opportunity to do an Easy Ride through the central highlands, without a doubt it’s one of the most amazing and dynamic cultures i’ve ever been to, the food is definitely amazing, the people are friendly and it’s cheap cheap cheap!!!
In the article itself, I tell people they should visit the country. I would never tell someone to skip a place just because I had a bad time.
If anything, Matt, you were too nice. Travellers would do well to skip Vietnam.
Ask anyone who lives here and they will tell you that Vietnam is totally messed up. People are incredibly immature and greedy. It is hard to meet anyone even half honest.
Only 5 per cent of tourists return for a reason. I find the naivety of the posts in this thread excruciating. Yes most countries have pros and cons. Vietnam is not normal.
Hey Crocy/Franceska — masterful effort, but you might want to disguise your IP address if you want to create the illusion of being two different people.
I would purposefully go back to a place I had a bad time just to see if it would be a different experience this time.
Matt also wrote a post about chasing ghosts. Well, the opposite could be true. I wouldn’t stay away from a place that gave me a fright anymore that I would go back seeking the same experiences.
I think this is a great post, and I think it’s important to remember that everyone’s opinions are different. Everyone I know who has visited Vietnam has told me they fell in love with its beauty. People definitely shouldn’t be deterred because one person had a bad experience.
I’m really glad you wrote this post. It shows how much influence one popular travel blogger can have and affect people’s decisions to travel. I always say that to really know what a country is like, you have to go yourself. I hope to go to Vietnam one day and like you, will know to just be aware of the scamming but not write the country off because of it. Great links to other solo female travelers as well! Cheers.
My trip to Vietnam (as a 20-something female traveller) was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Sure, there are scams. Sure, crossing the street involves some serious bravery. Sure, Hanoi can be a little in your face. But I have to say I never felt at all unsafe there, unlike some central American countries I’ve visited.
It’s an incredibly beautiful country with a fascinating, troubling history. And, as Kate said, AWESOME food. The idea that someone could be put off an entire country based on whether one traveller liked it or not is somewhat worrying to me…
I am doing my research and it’s not just that matt’s post which is worrying there seems to be quite a correlation.
I am twenty something and hoping to take two weeks to see some of Vietnam this year and I am concerned about solo travelling as a woman. I travelled round India with my boyfriend at the time which was a mixed bag but what should I be looking out for – how do you get out of a sticky situation on your own?
I have never been to Asia, but Vietnam is definitely at the top of my list- the food and nature look too amazing not to go! I’ve heard SUCH mixed reviews about the country though that I’m not sure how I will like it, but I look forward to finding out.
When it comes to travel it’s always dangerous to take anyone’s opinion of anything.
I loved loved loved Vietnam. Sure I got ripped off once or twice, but I was ripped off to the tune of probably $5. You’re so right about the food Kate – amazing. Although you still need to go to Japan!
Your reader will have a great time. I recommend heading to Vung Tao for a bit. Catch the ferry from Saigon – great beach sans all the people who head to Nha Trang.
I spent almost all of Dec 2011 in Vietnam and enjoyed my time there. If someone’s spending 3 months in SE Asia, they should definitely give it a try!
Yes. Vietnam is totally worth it. I’m not saying that because my family is from there. 100% agreed that the food is on another level. Even the noodles alone will blow your mind. http://gqtrippin.com/asia/vietnam/vietnam-noodles/
I must’ve missed Matt’s original post. I still want to visit Vietnam. I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get there during my time in China, but I went to plenty of other places. Maybe I’ll get there this spring.
I feel like I must have had a totally different experience than a lot of travelers, but I didn’t have a single bad experience in Vietnam. I traveled from the south to the north solo for about three weeks. In that time, I didn’t get scammed or harassed once. I stopped numerous times to ask people for directions, and everyone was lovely. I had younger Vietnamese people stop me to see if they could practice their English on me, which I loved. And I never got a bad reaction when I said I was American or felt threatened.
Sure, salespeople and cab drivers were pushy at sometimes, but I found that to be the same throughout Asia in general. And while I was terrified to cross the street at first, by the time I was on my way out, other travelers were asking how long I’d been there because I’d pretty much walk blindly but confidently in the street and know that I wasn’t going to get mowed down. And I kind of liked when people had an attitude — it felt like a real country, not just a place catering to tourists like so many cities in Thailand and stuff.
One of my favorite memories is stopping at a rest stop on an overnight bus trip and getting to talk with these 3 teenage girls who were keeping a notebook of English phrases they learned from foreigners. If you go with the right attitude, I really think Vietnam is incomparable.
Good to see a well rounded article appear about the country. Most countries have problems and everyone has different experiences which effect their final opinion, but if we all shied away from places because of communal complaints, no-one would travel. Interesting to read opinions on a country I’m excited to visit.
Having spent the most incredible 9 months of my life, traveling, living and teaching in Vietnam I feel very protective over a country that I’ve come to love.
Matt’s post about the country had some incredibly valid points about the scams there, they are certainly more prevalent than in any other SE Asian country. The problem I have is that his article has been been taken out of context on so many other websites.
Vietnam is an amazingly beautiful, versatile and proud nation. Once you scratch the surface a little it will reveal even more of its beauty. The people that I have met there are some of the most genuine, warm and generous people I have ever met.
I have many friends and former students on Facebook, one of which expressed his heartbreak in a status update where he linked to Matt’s article. I feel that its important to point out that, although scams are prevalent, the beauty of this country and its people by far outweighs the negative.
Its a shame that these scams cast a shadow over an otherwise beautiful country. This is something that the authorities and the tourist industry in Vietnam will need to fight hard to address before its tourism is affected for good.
Excellent post, Kate! I’m impressed!
Thanks for including me.
I have to admit that Vietnam is not on my list of places to return to, but I would never tell anyone not to visit. Your personal experiences on any trip can also shape your opinion of a place, and everyone’s experience will be different. So I think it is great that you have written this post and encouraged people to go with their gut.
Just came back from 3 weeks in Vietnam. Constantly felt like I was being scammed, ripped off, lied to. The main reason I went was for the food and the scenery. The food was way below average and sometimes downright awful and disgustingly dirty. You can get much better Vietnamese food in North America, especially in Orange County. My spouse is Vietnamese (first time there) and wholeheartedly agrees. We tried everything from street food to high end and never had a really good meal. The scenery was overrated. I was looking forward to Ha Long Bay but when I stepped into the caves, and realized all the colored light were artificial, I felt deceived. There are better caves in China and even Bermuda. These things combined with the conniving locals made my stay horrible. Couldn’t wait to leave and will never return. Out of the 28 countries I’ve been to, Vietnam is at the bottom of my list.
Great post Kate! I agree with giving a country a second chance no matter what negative review you read, because opinions are subjective after all. I’m more curious about the scams. I want to know more about it in detail if you have the time to tell me. =)
Vietnam is the only SE Asian country I haven’t been, not because of Matt, but I still haven’t met a single person who recommends it. Asked all my colleagues, friends, everyone’s opinion that I trust (similar travelling style), and it’s a unanimous “don’t bother” across the board because of the scams that are so much worse than elsewhere, apparently. I don’t know, may go or not one day, just always seem to have something more interesting on the top of my list. Don’t have enough time to take risks. If I had a year off, it may be “what the heck, let’s give it a try”, but with 2 weeks off, nope I won’t be experimenting.
Glad that so many people like it, though.
Could be just about whose skin is thicker, who can shake off crap more easily, I don’t know.
I agree with Kate. When I was traveling SE Asia, people warned me against Vietnam as well, telling me they hated it and wouldn’t recommend going. But I’m so glad I did! I loved Thailand, Cambodia and Laos for different reasons, but as soon as I hit Vietnam I was ecstatic to be somewhere completely new. The other countries have a lot of similarities when it comes to food and culture, even Thai and Laos language are quite similar, so I found it refreshing to cross the border into the lively, unique, craziness that is Vietnam. From my experience, the unaware traveler is the one who has problems. If you’re smart, you’re sure to have a good time.
Vietnam is the only country in Southeast Asia that I’ve had an overwhelming negative experience in. There were beautiful sights, delicious foods and happy moments, but there was so much discomfort, hostility and frustration counterbalancing it. I would never tell someone not to go (hell, I’ll probably return myself someday), but if someone was trying to cut a country from their itinerary it would probably be the first I’d recommend to go.
I had a great time in Vietnam, despite getting a tad robbed on an overnight bus on the way to Nha Trang. They didn’t take anything I ended up missing but it left a sour taste in my mouth about the country for a few days. However, that did disappear as we got further north and getting to Ha Long is must for a SE Asia trip.
You have to be really resilient over there though and really good at saying “no” and not getting tired of doing so, as you are kind of treated like a walking cash machine 🙂
Love love love this article, Kate! A lot of destinations get a bad rap by way or travel rumor–of course, one country does not fit all, but thank you for taking the time and effort to survey people and get an unbiased view of the country. I’m aching to visit Vietnam and simply can’t wait to try the coffee myself 🙂
I always say, you can’t listen to anything negative people say about a place. You have to experience it yourself. I’m so glad I didn’t listen to certain travelers I’ve met regarding some places they said to skip. I ended up loving them!
I lived in Saigon for three years and never got scammed or ripped off, I took advice and learned to recognise the signs.
I got pick-pocketed once, but in three years that’s not a bad track record and could have happened anywhere.
Out of the service industry, the locals are warm, friendly and very pleasant. Sadly, most travellers don’t get to meet people beyond the service industry (especially in a country where the financial divide is so huge between foreigners and locals). Being there for so long allowed me to meet many locals, students, parents and friends who are all saddened that the few in the service industry take advantage of travellers and give the country a bad reputation.
Interestingly, many of them said that the Vietnamese are a nation with a great emphasis on pride and respect. They take pride in their appearance and the way they act. Therefore they do not have any respect for travellers wearing shabby or revealing clothes, and being actively drunk in the streets, or generally shouting and making a lot of noise. They believed that this is sometimes the reason that those in the tourist industry react badly to travellers.
I LOVED Vietnam too, especially Ho Chi Minh. I found it got a little more stressful as we made our way north, particularly if you’re American. But for the most part, the people were incredibly friendly, the food was amazing, and both the scenery and history was some of the most fascinating I experienced in SE Asia. I also think the war crimes museum in Ho Chi Minh is something EVERYONE should experience.
We are definitely going to Vietnam for at least 3 weeks! Thanks for clearing things up!
People who let travel bloggers — popular or not — make up their minds about a particular destination are about as savvy as undecided voters.
Thanks for a really interesting article. I’m currently in Vietnam, having spent a month travelling from north to south, heading to Cambodia tomorrow. I really enjoyed the north of Vietnam, found it beautiful, vibrant and fun but felt the South tacky and a bit sleazy. Sure it can be hard work being on your guard a bit more than normal, but it’s definitely worth it. I would skip Nha Trang and Dalat if I did it over again, but I’m loving Saigon. As a whole, I think Vietnam is definitely worth visiting.
I went to Vietnam in 2007 and I absolutely loved it. Yes sometimes you get charged more than you should but it is only a few dollars and it is really no different than any other country. I would go back in a heart beat.
I found Vietnam to be a lovely experience. Granted, it was my foray into Southeast Asia, but I never felt like I was treating as a walking ATM or unsafe.
Vietnam is my country. As other Vietnamese people, I love it very much. I still don’t have chance to visit entire my country but what I knew until now is this is the place deserving to live, to enjoy the life.
I do not deny that there are some unexpected behavior from my people here. Especially from those who selling something or serving some services for travelers. I even experienced about it when I was travelling with my colleague – a foreigner. I feel really sorry about that but I think the same problems will also happen at come other countries.
Coming to my country or not, it depends on your decision. If you don’t, wish you a great trip to a great destination, if you come, you are welcome. What I can recommend you here as a local person is you should open your eyes and choose services that are recommended by other travelers for travelling guild line.
Thanks for a wonderful article Kate. People love and hate, it’s normal. What I don’t like about Nomadic Matt’s post is that he let the comments out of hand. Many people just went there and left unfounded accusation. If you get to know Vietnamese people, we are very friendly and helpful. I got many friends around the world who came here and just fell in love. Like one of New Yorker who planned a 1 month trip to Vietnam. It turned out he’s stayed here for almost a year 🙂
At this time I am going to do my breakfast, when having my breakfast coming
yet again to read additional news.
Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading this post
reminds me of my previous room mate! He always kept chatting about this.
I will forward this post to him. Pretty sure he will have a good read.
Many thanks for sharing!
Been in Ho Chi Minh 2 days, been scammed already and since still trying to scam me, food is disappointing but very cheap, small portions. Everyone trying to sell and con you. That to one side it’s a must just to experience the city and the tunnels I loved.
Please try Vietnam and enjoy the ride.
It really depends on your luck to stumble on friendly and open local people. Traveling in the developing countries, you’ve gotta prepare your mind for unexpected things that are bound to occur. As a young vietnamese guy who come from a countryside, mountainous area, staying temporarily in a second biggest city of vietnam, I find people there are extremely rude and unemotional, in order to survive life and make enough money for the sake of their family, they, especially the working class, can do anything despite of the moral values. It delights me that there are a considerable number of positive comments on traveling experiences in vietnam. That means that vietnam tourism is so-so. I hope that you guys will be lucky enough to not face the tough and disagreeable locals
I think, there are bad things and good things everywhere , anycountry you go , but if you are smart flexible , to learn about Vietnam culture and their language , just few words , these people will love you …Foreigners usually get charge more than local people with most of service but they get more attention and get treated better .The best way to learn their culture and guidebook before going there .Young local people always give you good advise how to deal with their people .Other way take a tour from tourist company ,they set up everything for you , so you dont feel like everything you have to deal by yourself .