5 Things You Need to Know Before Visiting Vietnam

Vietnam now attracts more and more foreign tourists from all around the world because of its natural beauty, unique culture, historic sights, and delicious cuisine. It's also a cheap, where as little as 1USD can buy an awesome meal! However, there are of course some downsides to Vietnam tourism, too. And my company, Vietnam Eco Travel, helps visitors dodge them to make the most of this lovely country.

U.S. travel bloggers Steven and Bill of The Hungry Suitcase, agree that there are some issues that need solving. "Thailand and Vietnam have many similar things about tourism," Bill told me, "but why after visiting do half of visitors want to come back Thailand one day, while just 5 percent want to visit Vietnam again? In my opinion, Vietnam is worth visiting - and in fact and the best country in Southeast Asia to explore - but people have had \some uncomfortable experiences here”. Here are five of the more common ones:

Not Bargaining Before Buying Something

Some street vendors here don’t have a fixed price, either for locals or foreigners, and due to their unfamiliarity with local currency, foreigners can end up being overcharges. Vietnamese money is complicated, with a lot of zeros, from the minimum 500VND (Vietnamese dong) up to the maximum, 500.,000, and it's also easy to confuse them since they all have Ho Chi Minh on the front. Some sellers know that, so they can pay lack of chance or forget to pay you or even take money from you when you open your wallet to check your money. Therefore don’t hesitate to bargain over anything before buying it. Also, spend some time to memorize the various denominations of Vietnamese money. And stick to local restaurants which show fixed prices.

Missing the Difference Between “15” and “50”

Another mishap relating to street vendors and money involves the similarity in the sound of 15 (mười lăm) and 50 (năm mươi) . So if you would like to buy, say, a coconut water or get your shoes shined, make sure that the price for it is 15.000 VND and 50.000 VND. Best use your fingers to ask them about the price. You may think that 35,000 VND is a negligible bit of cash (after all, a mere 1.54USD, 1.30 euros, 1.14GBP) but visitors don’t like to be cheated, so this kind of experience can add to a sour taste in their mouths when it comes time to contemplate a return to Vietnam.

Having Breakfast in Your Hotel/Hostel

Many hostels/hotels serve breakfast for free. But Vietnam is a fantastic destination for street food that's both delicious and cheap, such as pho (rice noodle soup), banh mi (Vietnamese sandwich), and bun cha (grilled pork and rice noodles). So don’t make yourself stick to boring hotel breakfasts and have a taste bud party with local foods, with hundreds of mouthwatering dishes. 

But Don't Eat Uncooked or Undercooked Foods

If you're not used to the local microbes, eating street food indiscriminately can be a recipe for upset stomach, diarrhea, heartburn, and the like. So try to eat at restaurants with good online ratings, or at the very least are crowded, with food being cooked fresh all day. You should also always bring some meds for various stomach/GI issues with you. 

Driving Motorbikes Can Be Dangerous

Motorcycles and scooters attract visitors because of they're adventurous and the best allow access to the amazing sites and expriences the country has to offer. But traffic can be crazy (especially in the larger cities), and road accidents are a major cause of tourist deaths. So don't just hop on unless you are a good, experienced driver; otherwise, hire an experience private driver! 

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