Before coming going to Vietnam, Raquel and I had a few friends who travelled to there. The prevailing opinion from them was that Vietnam had some beauty landscapes and scenery however the people is its biggest down side as every single one had stories about being ripped off and overcharged. We kept being told to be careful about the Vietnamese…
Add to that a post I once read by an established travel blogger, Nomadic Matt, aptly named “Why I’ll never return to Vietnam”, in which Matt repeats the same things that my friends had warned me about, but from someone who makes a living from travel.
With all these bad reviews, Raquel and I were wondered whether we would leave with the same impression, but we maintained an open, but cautious mind to the and tried to do some research on things we knew we could ripped off with, such as taxi’s from airports etc.
We also made sure that we check out multiple sources when booking hostels in order to know what exactly we were getting at all times, which seemed to work well as every single hotel we stayed at was perfectly fine and delivered what it promised.
When it came to transport options, we did our research and always contacted hostels on how to get to them from airports, bus stops and train stations, which helped from being ripped off when we were trying to deal with transport options, with Hanoi Hostel even providing us with handy document with all the options and costs for each one.
In terms of cost, we found Vietnam cheap, but not as cheap as we thought we would, but considering we were always staying decent hostels and not the holes of the towns and cities, I still think your money goes a while there. Below is just a few of the numbers from the trip:
- Average on meals per day = $13 between two people and two meals each
- Average on accommodation per night = $18 for a double room, with TV, Bathroom, A/C and Breakfast.
Highlights and Low points?
What was our highpoint during our Vietnam trip? I think it’s a toss-up between our Halong Bay and Hoi An, though the whole Halong Bay experience with the awesome scenery and great private beach certainly made for a great tour. Add to that the knowledge we paid a very good price for the quality in comparison to what some of the others paid, we thought it was excellent value for money.
What was the lowpoint of the trip? The Vietnamese. There are a few exceptions to the rule here, such as Candy from Hanoi Hostel, May in Sapa and sweet girls from Jade Hotel, but in general we didn’t find the Vietnam the warmest and most hospitable people we came across. Now, don’t get me wrong, I didn’t want people to come and talk to me all the time and invite to their houses for dinner, it’s just that they didn’t seem to be open at all to tourists. As a tourist, you were there to supply them with money, and if they could get more out of you, they would try.
Another downside, but this might be related to tourism, is the sheer pestering from anyone trying to sell you something. At one point it becomes tiresome to reject something or someone every minute, knowing there is someone waiting to pounce once he’s competitor is done. However, this is not something unique to Vietnam, as I experienced the same thing in Egypt, however it wasn’t as bad for us in Vietnam to have this taint our experience.
Even though the people aren’t the best, there are some amazing landscapes and places to see and we recommend it to anyone considering doing a trip in Asia, however we will also recommend doing your research well in order ensure that you are not always ripped off.