1 month in Vietnam = a lot of fun and great memories! But we had many problems with the vietnamese that sometimes killed the vibe…
Let start with the main issue: the local population. We had quite a hard time with them, and it seems like we’re not the only ones (almost every traveller agree with us on that point). I’ll try to explain you why, but remember that it comes from our personal experience and that it concern obviously a limited part of the population.
- They’re usually very aggressive towards westerners. I don’t know if there is a reason for that, but people insulting/grabbing you are very common. We never had problems in Asia except in Vietnam where it could happen almost twice a day. The police is very rude, we had people throwing things at us in the street or even people insulting us because we didn’t want to park in the paying area but 20m below.
Gerrit was a giant in Vietnam!
- They’re absolutely not honest: if they get any opportunity to steal something (yes, we’ve been through this) or lie to you in the most extreme way (they don’t believe in Karma like Thai or Burmese), they’ll do it. Bargaining is actually a real pain in this country and keeping it cool can sometimes be very hard.
However, we met some really nice people, really helpful and welcoming, and went through great hostels during our trip!
The Vietnam War
To understand a country like Vietnam, you have to go though their history: the Vietnam War lasted for 19 years and ended with the “victory of communism over capitalism”: the country is one of the few communist countries in the world and we witnessed it every day.
There are flags like this one every 10 meters in HCMC and Hanoi, no kidding
The main touristic attractions are related to the Vietnam War: museums, tunnels, military monuments… everything is pretty much pro-communism but it stays really interesting! Many historical monuments have also been destroyed during the war (Hue, Hoi An): the government is slowly building everything back, but you’ll never thing awesome ruins like Angkor or Ayutthaya nor great temples like Bagan.
Examples of deadly traps used during the Vietnam War
That’s an highway’s entrance / exit…
That’s the real beauty of Vietnam: its landscapes! Ha Long Bay, Phong Nha Caves or even Hoi An beautiful islands.
And to finish, the food: pretty good! A great variety of dishes, and we had the opportunity of tasting exotic food. Dog, pigeons, cobra… let’s not forget the famous Pho Bo, a hot beef soup that you can find anywhere in Vietnam or the spring rolls, made with shrimp, squid, chicken, vegetables or even snake!
To conclude, we had a great time in Vietnam, except when it came to dealing with the population. That really pains us because we love to discover the local culture in the countries we’re going to, but in that case it was better to stay with the tourist most of the time. The nightlife was pretty wild, the landscapes spectacular, the life cheap and it was easy to move around!