I’ve just got back from 2 weeks in Vietnam- and I can’t wait to tell you all about it! What a trip! I was looking for a holiday to give me a bit of a culture shock… and boy did I get it!! It is impossible not to fall in love with this country, each city is SO different from the other and so I will separate posts by city. If you are looking to go to Vietnam, feel free to ask me any questions and I will be happy to help!
After a gruelling long journey, I finally arrived in Ho Chi Minh airport- lesson #1 domestic flights are delayed 95% of the time! As soon as you get off the plane, you re greeted by the smell and heat of Vietnam. The people are always smiling, and there’s plenty of taxi drivers in arrivals waiting to rip you off!
Only ever use Vinasun or Mai Linh taxi services in Vietnam. These drivers will always put on the meter, and will always be safer and more trustworthy than other companies. Just to give you an example… Mai Linh taxi cost me about 135,000 VND (plus car park cost) to my hotel which was in District 1. (about a 40 minute drive- but in traffic this can be a lot longer so always plan ahead!) Lots of taxi’s will make their cars and company titles look similar to these 2- so make sure you don’t fall into this trap. Stupidly i did once coming out of Ben Thanh market, and in about 4 minutes i was charged the same as a trip to the airport! I quickly stop this taxi, paid and got out… don’t make the same mistake!
But don’t let everyone’s warning about the rip off’s put you off- Vietnam is super cheap to travel around, and the country has so much to offer.. the people are so friendly and lovely. Always happy to help, and always greet you with a smiling face! Even as a female traveller, I never got sleazy looks and leery smiles- people are respectful and getting on with their busy lives. So stay street smart, keep your belongings safe- but don’t worry Vietnam is a safe place to travel…
Less can be said about road safety in Vietnam!! Remember to pack your sense of humour and sense of adventure because you will need it whilst walking around the towns!! Crossing the road is one heck of an experience, but you get used to it pretty quickly… see the video below:
….Somehow, it all seems to work itself out. Copy the locals, follow them closely when crossing the road and hope for the best! By some miracle you should be able to get to the other side without any issue!
In Vietnam, there are tourist offices everywhere… most tours will pick you up and drop you back to your hotel/hostel so there’s no need to worry! But when travelling around Vietnam you may want to hire a car with a driver, take a train or bus and/or take internal flights. I covered a lot in 2 weeks so often I’d take a car and driver- and otherwise use internal flights. Vietnam is a HUGE country so you need to plan your logistics in advance!
Remember that any place in Vietnam is a prime opportunity for you to brush up on your negotiation skills… never accept the first price you are offered when you are buying anything! Even in shops- even with exchange rates!! Barter, barter, barter… and you will get your money’s worth. You should be paying around 1/2 the price you were originally offered… but remember sometimes you are arguing for about 50p and that money means a lot more to them than it does to you- so play fair!
Food is quite an experience in Vietnam, and even us vegetarians have plenty of variety… but it can be a challenge. For any fellow vegetarian readers just learn the word: ‘ang chai’ which means vegetarian in Vietnamese!
If you are planning a trip to Vietnam, then I am so excited for you!! I cannot put into words what an amazing country this place it… and it has SO MUCH to offer!! Beaches, mountains, boat cruises, floating markets, shopping, eating and thats just the start of it!