Here are a few tips/observations/thoughts I found helpful while navigating Vietnam. More to be added when sporadic spurts of nostalgia entertains me and I compare it to my current lifestyle.
1. Bargain bargain – even though the prices are cheap, you can still get it for a lower deal. Especially if you’re not a local, they’ll up the price so just beware and it’s okay to walk away. Sometimes I feel I should just give them more out of pity but then they think I’m rich and I become victim to their greed.
2. Driving and walking around is a mission. – there are a few stoplights here and there but for the most part, you gotta be aggressive if you want to go somewhere. There is supposed to be two different sides of the road but no one really follows it. Also, honking is out of concern for other drivers and to warn them rather than anger, so you’ll hear honking consistently if you’re near the road.
3. Toilets don’t usually have have toilet paper, when they do it’s outside before you get in. Or you’ll get a hose to wash down there. So bring wipes or paper when you need to go if you prefer that method of cleanse. AND it’s probably best to learn to squat. (If you’re female.)
4. People like to stare. It’s just curiosity.
5. Don’t hold your phone out in the open unless you have a real tight grip on it. People will come and snatch it.
6. Make vendors make things for you fresh rather than buying the pre-made stuff.
7. Everyone lies. I guess they’re more like fibs but they do it in order for you to do what they want. Don’t listen blindly and do what they say, being forced to do things is quite irritating. Specifically for transportation, they’ll tell you it’ll leave soon but really they’re not because they’re trying to gather a max number of people before they take off.
8. Taxis – only ride the ones from a certain company such as Vinasun or Mailinh, you’ll get a bit of insurance that they’ll be a bit more safe since they’re a part of a larger corporation.
9. Sad as it may be, but the country is still divided and even if you speak Vietnamese, they can tell where you’re from and will treat you differently.
10. I hope Ha Long Bay and the city of Ha Long becomes better because it is definitely not what I expected. It’s dirtier than Da Nang and the city is not maintained. It’s unfortunate because Ha Long Bay is so famous but the place is not a beautiful as it should be and I’m surpised because the amount of tourism is low and the ease for tourists to travel and navigate is basically nonexistent.
I’ll think about adding one for Thailand and Cambodia, but it’s similar.