Vietnam: You’ll either Love it or Hate it!

Vietnamese Flag

I’ve read a lot of blogs over the past few years since getting into blogging and almost all of them give conflicting reports about Vietnam.  “Vietnam Love it or Hate it” writes one blogger AlexinWonderland, or “Why I’ll never go back to Vietnam” declares another, Nomatic Matt.
So what is it about Vietnam that has everyone so divided?

WELL each to their own…some love the people – others find them rude, crazy traffic and zillions of motorbikes will annoy some travellers – while others don’t even notice!

Dirty streets with locals trying to flog all sorts can be one persons worst nightmare, while others will notice less the dirty streets and more the quirky building that line them or the unique travel items to take home as souvenirs.

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It all lies in your perception.

“If we change the way we look at things, the things we look at will change”.

 

Now I can admit if you’ve had a bad experience or you’ve suffered first hand, rude locals or pickpockets, it can put a serious downer on your trip.  A similar situation occurred while we made our way through Portugal this year on a bike trip.

Janice got her iPhone 6+ stolen from a train station.

We were very angry and upset at first but we didn’t let this experience damage our opinion of the entire trip.  We loved Portugal, minus this one incident and we knew one bad moment could not taint the great memories we’d made along the way.


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Our Vietnam Diary

Our visit to Vietnam like most countries we’ve travelled to, was a great experience and one we will never forget.  The small details maybe, but who could forget climbing into tunnels (lived in by whole families during the war) so small you feel suffocated.

Or the Pho (the best in the world) and Halong Bay with it’s breath-taking scenery as you float on your houseboat into the distance.

I won’t be forgetting those memories any time soon.

Here’s a look through our Vietnam Diary & our Top Ten Tips for making sure you love Vietnam as much as us.


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Halong Bay

Unfortunately these photos don’t do it justice at all due to not having a great camera at the time and not so great weather, but if you’re thinking about visiting Vietnam, make sure you take a trip to Halong Bay.  It’s well worth it!

halong-bay


Vinh Moc Tunnels

Located on the boarder of North and South Vietnam, it was occupied during the Vietnam war by Vietnamese soldiers and locals to protect themselves from American bombings.  A very surreal experience, which can be quite emotional if you’re an emotional wreck like me!

To think that entire families, mostly women and children grew up underground in the smallest spaces possible without natural light or civilisation is heart breaking.

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vietnam-tunnels

The Tunnels run seven kilometres long and consist of three levels.  The first, used for family dwellings (some lived there, their entire lives), the second was used to store weapons and the third and deepest level was used to seek shelter during the bombing.


Food & Drink

Cheap food, cheap drink….you don’t hear any complaints from me!

Having tried and tested a lot of world foods I can’t say that Vietnamese is my all time favourite, But…I can say that the Pho is easily the best I’ve ever tasted!  I do like my noodle soup, Janice can testify to that and I normally have a bowl or two wherever I go (not just in Asia).  So I think I’m a good judge of the Pho!

There’s also many delicious dishes of thin sliced beef, chicken and pork cooked in clay pots. Mmmmmm

vietnamese-food

Don’t get me started on the price of the BEER!  Aside from Cambodia, which I think has to the cheapest beer I’ve even came across at 10p a pint (OMG say all you beer lovers), Vietnam offers great tasting beer at a price that I can appreciate.  The 2016 price for a pint of locally brewed beer would cost you just 72p compared with £3.50 in the UK! Cheap as chips!

Click here to see where I found these results:

vietnamese-beer


Culture

For me it doesn’t matter what city I am in or what country, there will always be an opportunity to witness a new culture, a friendly local or something that will just make you stop and appreciate the moment.

These are priceless moments that remind us “why we travel” ~ not that we need much reminding ~

  Here are a few of those magic moments that allowed us to appreciate Vietnam.

Street Kids

vietnamese-photography

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There’s more reasons than not to visit Vietnam or stick it on your bucket List this year. I won’t list all the things to see and do, because let’s face it, there’s plenty of others who’ve came before me and done all that for you!

We’ll just leave you with a few tips to ensure you leave as a “lover” and not a “hater” of this marvellous country.


10 Top Tips for Travelling to Vietnam:


 

1. Try to avoid travelling with Children. Vietnam is not very Child-friendly, the traffic is too dangerous, the hygiene is limited and it is likely that you will feel very drained travelling Vietnam with a child. A note to remember however is that a lot of travellers do travel with children, even young babies so it’s not impossible just takes a little more pre planning.

2. Don’t dress flashy. Vietnam is a very conservative country. Tight fitting skirts and low cut tops are great for the beach, but not appropriate in Vietnam.

3. Be conservative with iphones, Mac book’s or other flashy gadgets. They are worth a lot on the black market and therefore you become a prime target for pickpockets.

4. Never go out with a lot of cash (no more than 100K VND) unless there is a special reason. Also don’t flash your cash around in hotel lobbies or guest houses. When you can find a private secure location, organised the money you might need to pay for the hotel or the restaurant, avoiding unleashing all your money to the locals.

5. If you have the budget try to use taxi instead of motorbikes. They are twice the price, but much less hassle. Use only Mai Linh or Vinasun taxis.

6. Do some research on prices before you go or ask around to foreigner’s who look like locals. Ignore ‘fixed price” stuff as they are usually 2 to 3 times the real price.

7. Try to keep your cool.  If someone is pestering you to buy something or go somewhere, decline politely and keep walking.  Eventually they will retreat and you can find humour in the situation.

8. Save money by eating local. Sometimes it can be hard on the digestive system to eat the local food everyday, so throw in a few western dishes here and there but eating locally wins every time for us!

9. Remember it’s a different country, with a different culture and they do things differently to home. Appreciate the locals, be polite and try to understand when they offer you help or try selling you products they need to make a living.

10. If you pass through Hoi An make sure you don’t leave without getting some custom made dresses or suits.  Super Cheap and tailored to fit you perfectly!

 

So are you a ‘Lover’ or ‘Hater’ of Vietnam!?

Share your opinion or stories with us.


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Janine & Janice Travelling the World one Heel at a time. Be Inspired and Join the Journey!

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