10 lies I told myself about traveling to Vietnam

Before I started traveling in Vietnam, I had this idea of how my travels there would be like. Some of the things I imagined were true and others… not so much. These are the 10 lies I told myself about how traveling in Vietnam would be like.

1. Vietnam is going to be really cheap

Don’t get me wrong, Vietnam is an incredibly affordable country to travel around in. But when everything is so cheap, you start to get blinded by the prices. Instead of just buying one beer, you buy several, and all of a sudden your bill is way higher than what you intended it to be. I think this is something that’s so easy to do, especially when you just start your journey. You splurge because you can. At home, you can barely afford eating out, and all of a sudden you could buy five main courses for the price of one at home. I spent way more money than I intended to, just because I wasn’t careful with my money.

2. The weather will be great every single day

Yeah, right. In the north, it can get really cold during winter for example, and when it rains in Vietnam, it rains cats and dogs. It would be foolish to expect getting good weather every single day, but I thought it would be a bit better. I did travel during the winter months when it was cold in northern Vietnam, but I was surprised by how freezing it could get. It wasn’t really what I expected when I was thinking of Vietnam, but  the good thing is that you can always escape to the south if you want sunshine and beaches.

3. I’ll be the oldest one traveling there

At the age of 27, I thought I would be one of the oldest ones traveling in Vietnam. It was actually quite a big issue for me before I left because I thought I would be surrounded by youngsters all the time and I wouldn’t find anyone to connect with. But the good thing about traveling to Vietnam is that there’s so much diversity here. You can find people from literally every corner of the world, in all ages. I was surprised by how many “older” backpackers I met while traveling in Vietnam. So if you’re a bit worried about traveling to Southeast Asia after your 20’s, don’t be. There’s so many people who do it. Vietnam is a classic destination that can be enjoyed by all.

4. I’m going to lay on the beach every single day

Yeah, this did not happen. In fact, I barely laid on the beach while I was in Vietnam. Not because there’s not many of them – there’s plenty! – but because there was so many things to do and see that I just didn’t linger on the beach for too long. There are national parks, hikes you can do, cities to explore, etc. But after doing everything I wanted, I made sure to go to the beach and rest. There’s some really nice ones in Vietnam that you should visit such as the ones in Cat Ba.

5. I won’t get food poisoned

Well, I wish this didn’t happen to me, but I did get food poisoned and all my friends as well. The funny thing is that it wasn’t even from street food – it was in a nice restaurant. Unfortunately things like this can’t really be prevented. Just make sure that you bring medicine with you if this would happen and that you always stay dehydrated.

6. I’m going to eat healthy

The Vietnamese food is in general quite healthy, but you can also stuff your face with tons of unhealthy food in Vietnam. You can get food from all corners of the world these days so if you want to eat pizza every day, you can. And good one as well! Besides, who doesn’t want to eat as many banh mi’s while in Vietnam? It’s definitely not the healthiest thing on the menu, but it’s so good.

7. I’m good at haggling so traveling in Vietnam won’t be an issue

If haggling would be a profession, the locals in Vietnam would be professionals in it. They’re so used to tourists now and know that if you don’t pay a specific price, someone else probably will. I thought I was a good haggler but I often found myself just agreeing on a price sooner because the locals just gave up on it so quickly and moved on to the next customer.

8. Traveling around will be tricky

I think traveling in Vietnam has been one of the easiest things I’ve done in my life. There are so many good public transportation options and you can even rent or buy a motorbike if you want to travel cross country. Maps works everywhere, the routes are easy to understand and if you get lost, a local will be happy to help you. Well most of the time anyway. Tourism in Vietnam is so developed now that it’ll be difficult for you to venture outside of the tourist path if you don’t decide to hop on a bike and do it all yourself.

9. Vietnam is going to be unsafe for me as a female solo traveler

Vietnam is one of the safest countries you can travel around in, especially for female solo travelers. Never once was I harassed or felt threatened. I did hear some girls who didn’t feel so comfortable, but most of the girls I met on the road told me that they felt so safe in Vietnam and that they would recommend it to anyone who wants to travel around here alone. Not that I can recommend this, but I even walked home all alone at night in Hanoi and I never felt scared. I can’t say the same about some parts in Europe.

10. One month is enough

I wish I hadn’t taken the E-Visa, which is an electronic visa that gives you a 30 month single entry visa, because one month in Vietnam isn’t enough. You can rush through it, but who wants to do that? Vietnam is such an intriguing country with some of the most stunning places you’ll ever visit in your life. It’s a pleasant country to travel around in with warm locals, good tourism infrastructure and plenty of like minded travelers you can connect with. So if you have time, apply for a Visa on Arrival instead of the E-Visa. This way, you can stay for longer in Vietnam if you wish to do so (and you will).

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