Why Vietnam ?
Blessed with an amazing and diversified topography, Vietnam has become an increasingly popular destination with tourists and travelers alike. This country has everything a traveler would ask for, it’s beautiful, it’s rich in history, it has amazing landscapes, the food is delicious, it’s easily accessible and whats’s more? It’s easy on the pocket too! (50 USD = 1 Million Dongs! Not even kidding you!)
Vietnam has been witnessing a sudden splurge in the number of travelers visiting the country, more and more people are visiting (and even settling down in!) this country. The visa process is pretty easy as well and costs somewhere around 50 USD only.
What to Eat?
Food is always given a priority in Vietnam, with most people dining out daily if not multiple times in a day! (Yes!) and I don’t blame them especially when the food is delicious and the prices are so low. Pho is found almost in all restaurants no matter how big or small. I would suggest that one should try and eat with Vietnamese locals in open-air cafés, sitting on those tiny plastic chairs and sharing tables with strangers is quite an experience of its own. Food travelers and food enthusiasts will love these meals both for the food and experience as well as the cheap prices.
Dishes Not to be missed in Vietnam-
- Pho (Phở)
- Banh Mi (Bánh Mì)
- Egg Coffee (Cà Phê Trứng)
- Seafood (Hải Sản)
- Cau Lau (Cao Lầu)
- Nem Nuong Xa
Note: Since most of the dishes have pork in them if you are a vegetarian or don’t eat pork, ask them for a substitute, they will be more than happy to suggest a seafood/vegetarian substitute for most of the dishes.
What/Where do I Shop?
No one can be blamed for splurging in Vietnam, it’s a haven for budget travelers and bargain hunters! The real savings come from shopping at local markets and boutique shops. Fake luxury goods are a problem, but that’s to be expected at such low prices.
What to buy-
- Custom made suits (especially if you are in Hoi An)
- Silk (The best and probably the cheapest in the world!)
- Food items (Snake Wine anyone?!)
- Handmade jewelry (You can even buy pearl jewelry)
- Last but not least, a conical hat!
Where to buy-
- Street Night market
- Quang Ba Flower Night market
- Hang Gai Street
- Bat Trang Pottery Village
In Ho Chi Minh:
- Ben Thanh Market
- Vincom Center
- Saigon Square
- Diamond Plaza
In Mekong Delta:
Cai Rang Floating Market
In Hoi An:
- Night Market
- Silk Village
- The area around Japanese Bridge
- Cloth Market (01 Tran Phu Street)
Where do I go/Popular Cites in Vietnam?
- Hanoi (City)
- Ho Chi Minh (The capital) (City)
- Hue (City)
- Hoi An (City)
- Mekong Delta (Attraction)
- Củ Chi Tunnels (Attraction)
- Sapa (Hill Station)
- Halong Bay (Attraction)
- My Son (Attraction)
- Phu Quoc Island
- Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park (Attraction)
When do I travel?
Keeping the topography in mind, Vietnam is blessed with varying weather condition. The annual average temperature ranges from 22°C to 27°C year-round. There are almost no significant differences in temperature in the southern parts of Vietnam, while the northern regions can be quite cold in the winter.
The best time to visit Vietnam is spring (February to April) and autumn (August to October). The temperatures are more moderate and rainfall is lighter. In spring, March and April have the lowest rainfall across all destinations and temperatures are pleasant, though still cool in the far north.
Will I be safe?
You may have read stories about tourists being duped and stuff being snatched. Well, just like any other place, there’s always going to be a risk of all these unfortunate things happening to you, so I feel one needs to be alert always no matter which country you are visiting. One of the main safety concerns in this country is thieves on motorbikes that grab bags or mobile phones or cameras, right out of your hand! But don’t let that thing stop you from visiting this beautiful country.
I personally found it to be very safe, people are extremely friendly and helpful, not even a single day passed when I was not greeted by a dozen of friendly people. Vietnamese people are very hospitable and love tourists. So don’t be too uptight, enjoy and experience as much as you can, but always do take some precautions.
Here are a few things you can do to ensure that you don’t attract any unwanted trouble-
- Phone – Never pull out and use your mobile phone facing or open to the busy street.
- Camera – Likewise with a camera, you sort of have to use your own discretion of when and when not to be holding your camera out in the open to take photos. Again, try to have your back against a wall or stand to the back of parked motorbikes when you take photos of the open roads to provide a bit of a bunker.
- Wallet – I typically like to keep my wallet in my front right pocket, and then I like to keep some small money in my left pocket. When I buy something small on the streets, I just reach into my left pocket to pay, rather than having to take out my entire wallet. Use whatever system works best for you, but it’s a good idea to have some small money to buy small things, where you don’t have to take out your full wallet.
- Important Documents – Losing your money can be extremely inconvenient but losing your important documents like passport, etc can be even more distressful. Avoid taking out your important documents everywhere, don’t keep them in the same purse where you keep your money. Familiarize yourself with the procedure of getting a temporary passport in advance.
- Touristy areas – The majority of muggings happen in touristy shopping areas, so use extreme caution with your valuables in these areas.
Vietnam is a beautiful country, the local people are friendly, helpful and kind, the food is delicious, don’t let any negative story about this place stop you from getting there.