Although Vietnam is one of the easiest countries travel around in Asia, there’s never any harm in taking precautions. Traveling far away from our own country also means facing things we might’ve taken for granted at home, such as the access to clean water. But what else do we need to think of? Here are travel tips that will ensure you get a more pleasant stay in Vietnam.
1. Drinking and eating out
When you’re on vacation, you probably don’t want to stand in front of a kitchen everyday and cook your own meals. Add to the fact that Vietnam is an incredibly cheap country to eat out in, so you’re bound to have a few meals in a restaurant or food market stall. But if you’re going to eat out, remember that most Vietnamese street food might be unhygienic because of the tools they use and that you can’t trace back the sources of ingredients. As for water, always opt for either filtered or bottled water. It’s not safe to drink from the tap in Vietnam. If you want to make a better impact on the environment, bring your own reusable water bottle and skip the plastic.
2. Annoying mosquitoes and bed bugs
Yes, tropical weather is amazing, but it also comes with a price. And that price is in the form of mosquitoes. Remember to bring a lot of spray if you’re going to be in the countryside, but they also exist in the cities. As for bed bugs, wherever you are, make sure that you check thoroughly under your mattress and bedside tables. If there are any small blood stains on the mattress, you better make sure that it’s not because of bed bugs.
3. Try to avoid getting scammed
Going to markets, there’s no such thing as fixed prices. Instead, you have to become a pro at haggling so you can avoid getting ripped off or scammed. The street vendors might be really friendly to you, but they’re also good at tricking tourists. If you’re going to a food stall that doesn’t have any prices on the menu, kindly ask before you order for the price. Otherwise you might be surprised by the numbers on the bill.
4. Do your research about the weather
The Vietnamese weather is usually great but if you come during the rainy period and want to go to a viewpoint, you might end up disappointed if it’s foggy or cloudy. And when the rain is too heavy, some excursions get cancelled as well, such as the cruises on Halong Bay. Therefore, make sure to do proper research before you start planning your trip to Vietnam.
5. Pollution is bad
With millions of motorbikes and cars, you’re bound to get some bad air. The bigger cities in Vietnam are topping lists in the world as being some of the most polluted ones, which isn’t exactly the list you want to be in.
6. Tet, Vietnamese New Year, might not be as much fun for you as it sounds like
The biggest celebration in the country is during the Vietnamese New Year, which is also called Tet. It usually lasts for about 2 weeks, which is great for the locals, but might be bad for you. This is the time when the locals rest and close their shops, which means that you might miss out on a lot. Cities such as Hanoi becomes empty, everyone’s with their families and friends, and then there are those lost tourists on the streets, looking for a restaurant that might not be closed. If you’re going to celebrate Tet, try to celebrate with locals who might even invite you home to their families and friends.
7. Dress respectfully
You can almost wear whatever you want in the big cities, but they’re more conservative in small towns. If you’re planning on visiting temples, pagodas, or paying your respect to elderly, dress modestly. Don’t wear too revealing clothes, but rather opt for looser, longer garments.
8. Don’t forget to apply for a Vietnam visa
And maybe most importantly, don’t forget to have a valid Vietnam visa before you enter the country! If you forget, the immigration officers can deny you intro to the country. You can get it online by applying for either a Visa on Arrival or an E-Visa. If you prefer, you can also go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate in your country or go to the nearest one.