In some bars or restaurants if you compare a Vietnamese and English menu you may notice that the second one is more expensive!
I used to show the waitress both menu and ask that I would like to pay a local price.
Most guidebooks alert you to avoid tap water, ice cubes, and unpeeled fruits and vegetables. Even Richard Sterling, in his bragging macho book World Food Vietnam (Lonely Planet, ISBN 186450028X, 2000), warns you against tap water. However, he points out that the ice is usually factory-made from purified water, so that the CDC and most guidebooks are being too alarmist on this account. Vietnam, in fact, has almost-Western standards of hygiene, and few travelers suffer from anything more than an ordinary indigestion. Of course, everything depends upon your own immune system, so if you’re a feeble person, be a little more cautious.
Malaria is a more serious subject. Although risk areas are rural areas only, you shouldn’t facilitate. As the MFI (Malaria Foundation International) makes clear, “each year, 300-500 million people become ill with malaria and several million die.” Vietnam is not Cambodia, in terms of risks, but nevertheless you should be aware of the dangers.
Malaria is spread by mosquitos, so you should follow the two basic prevention guidelines: avoid being bitten and, just in case, follow chemical profylaxis.
If you want to know it all, visit the WHO’s Malaria in Southeast Asia page.
Overall, there’s no better online source of information on the subject than CDC’s (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) page on Health Information for Travelers to Vietnam. Vietnam, however, is a reasonably health-safe country. For the majority of travelers, the only concerns should be traveler’s diarrhea and malaria .
Beware of pickpockets in large cities in Vietnam such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi. Where there are large concentration of people especially with lots of foreign tourists, pickpocket seems inevitable, it has to be said. Places need special attention are the popular open-air markets, bus and train stations, popular tourist destinations where the locals even disguise as tourists and the popular shopping malls in the city.
Do not carry your bags behind your back. It only encourages more pickpockets. Carry them in front of you so that you are aware of what is going on. Ladies should not carry expensive handbags as they can easily be snatched by moving motorcyclists. You can leave your passport, identity card and any important documents at hotel's safe deposit boxes.
Travelling through Vietnam you will notice immediately in the large cities the excessive pollution..Due to the amount of traffic that is most of the time gridlocked the biggest problem is with the literally millions of motorcycles..
Be like the locals and wear a face mask to avoid breathing in the polution..This is noticeably bad if, your like me, have breathing or bronchial problems especially asthma ,whereby these airborne polution particles can trigger an asthma attack.. Be aware of this problem..most markets sell these masks even street vendors..
When travelling through Vietnam I always am very aware of my surroundings.
Unfortuneately Vietnam is not without its dangers and is notorious for its crime against tourists. It seems these days as economies troubles deepen tourist are trageted more and more all the time.
I had a friend in HCMC that had just arrived and as soon as the taxi stopped and she opened the door...She put her bag down and .BAM...it was gone two guys on a motorbike...all her money and passport ...she had been in HCMC..one minute..Am sure it was a scam set up by the Taxi though !!!
Be very aware here when in and around crowded areas. Especially bus and train stations , bars and clubs and the markets also are highly targeted areas. Simple steps to take..
Do not put your bag down without restraining it personally in some way.
Hang your bag around your neck ...not just over your shoulder..so easy to snatch!!
Carry your bag in front of you...not behind as the access is too easy to open!!.
Try not to carry all your money in one place ....have a stash somewhere else on your body.!!
Beware of the friendly "stranger hug".!!
I always carry a stash of a few hundred dollars in travellers cheques. These can be replaced if stolen..Cash cant ...keep them in a different place for emergency only. There is no time limit on them!!
Most is common sense and being AWARE of your surroundings.
When travelling through the tropics here in Asia I always make sure that I carry and use a good reliable Mosquito and Insect repellant. Most of these areas have either Malaria or Dengue Fever or both. so not only wear long sleaved clothing and trousers but make sure especially in the evenings when the "mossies" are most active to be wearing a good covering of repellant. Better to be safe than be sorry as these are very dangerous infections.
I made the observation when travelling in Indo-China that Vietnamese visas cost the most, around x3 the Laos/Cambodian one! And as a Brit I didn't need a visa for Thailand, Malaysia, or Singapore!
Plus, if you cross into VN by bus (from a neighbouring country, eg Cambodia) the crooked officials try to charge 1 USD (!!) for their troubles.
So many travellers (a lot were Westerners) were just paying, but I knew that was unofficial, illegal back-handers they wanted to pocket. They actually had the nerve to get you to wait aside for the payment! However, I acted ignorant to what was going on and just said, "already paid, visa already paid" & kept pointing to my passport stamp. They gave up on me ;-)
I guess there are so many 'customers' flowing in, that processing them for the 1 USD was far easier than dealing with a 'dunce' like me! Perhaps they saw me as a nuisance, holding things up for them :-)
So, I suggest you behave the same way as I did. Don't get confrontational, as they are quite gruff! Act dumb instead ;-)
I mean it. I lived there before...one example is Dong Nai.
The red soil is really red. They are part of a nutrient-rich young lava flow that have made the soil so fertile and plants can really nourish once you see the gardens and plantation there.
Why it is a danger? It is horrible when wet. Like after a rain....or during rainy and wet season. You are in a red ink pot!
For any instance of the red mud that touches you....and especially on clothes, they will leave almost a permanent red stain. I used to walk to school in rainy days when I was young....the mud gets very sticky....like paste or some kind of cement mix. Then when they dry....they become really hard materials that bound your shoes or slippers....and so on. So annoying.
And if you have long enough contact of that red dirt....like you stay there for a while, you'll find yourself to be a red person from the skin out....like the locals do. Hey...at least you'll blend in....hehehe. :O)
If you are cycling through Vietnam, then make sure that you don't get stuck on the highway after dark.
That happend to me once and i was attacked by a gang and only escaped narrowly with some big bruises to follow.
I have heard similar stories from other cyclists, but i would like to add that i have never heard of any danger during daytime hours, so just be sure to finish riding before darkness and you should be just fine.
Riding in the dark is also dangorous because of the traffic, so only cycle during daylight hours.
Hoi An is a very dainty & attractive fishing village with some nice hotels, cool temples, a tranquil beach & river banks too.
And the main reason is: that is THE place for tailoring!! Beware the thread used though! They can prepare your items within 2 days (often 1 day!) but the stitching is NOT impressive. So my suggestion is: give them some more time (marginally), but stipulate that you want quality stitching & decent thread.
After they quote you, offer to pay a bit more! That way they will be happy to use premium grade craftmanship & stitching.
On average, they can make trousers (including material from their extensive stock!!) for 10 USD! Offer 13 & it will be your lucky purchase :-)
There are many hawkers who sell foodstuff.There is one hawker who sell coconut drinks + the fruits and charge us about US3.00 in dong (we paid as not familiar with the currency)Later when we compare with other hawker it is less than US1.00 for two fruits .We knew it is a rip off..It is better to compare prices first with other vendors.....
Crime against the person is not generally a problem in Vietnam - the penalties for harming a foreigner for locals are severe. However, as anywhere else, it pays to take care, especially after dark. Cyclos should never be taken after dark, and care should also be taken when taking a motorcycle taxi at these times.
Theft is unfortunately a bigger and growing problem in Vietnam. Caution should be exercised in urban areas, as drive-by bag, phone or jewelery snatch and grabs are becoming increasingly common.
Begging is problem, especially in downtown Saigon, and visitors can be sure that they will be hassled at some point or other during their stay in Vietnam.
Prostitution is also a growing problem in major towns, and proposals from the back of a motorcycle should be studiously ignored, especially if they offer you a "massage". And a final word of warning - do not carry proscribed drugs and narcotics into, out of or around Vietnam, is punishable by death.
Vietnam was only the second overseas trip for Tracy and I so it would be fair to say we were "travel virgins"! On checking into our Hanoi Hotel at some ungodly hour of the morning, we were asked to surrender our Passport to the staff for the duration of our stay. We did ask why, they just said it was Hotel policy, so we just assumed this was normal. Although we were not extremely happy to do this, having been told on numerous occasions that our Passport is like our lifeline and never to let it out of your sight! We knew we were stuck in Vietnam for a while if we lost it, so were not too happy about this "Hotel policy".
We then discovered at every Hotel we stayed at that the same thing happened. The worst scenario was when we did our overnight Junk cruise on Halong Bay. We handed our passports to our group leader, who then handed them to some other guy, who then handed them to yet another guy - WHO THEN DISAPPEARED!! Tracy and I are like "WTF have we just done!?" Well, needless to say, we did get our passports back each and every time.
So just wanted to warn future travellers to Vietnam that this does appear to be a common practice there. I have not encountered it in any of the other countries I have been to though.
You could try and hand them a photocopy of your passport as opposed to the original and see if they will be happy with that, this could solve the problem, but dont know if they will accept it.
All rooms offer pool of City views with full luxury amenities. As true sense 5- Star hotel, it is...more
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