I love traveling. Everyone around me who knows me also knows how much I love to roam around, discover new parts of the world and meet people from different cultures. It’s addicting to travel to new countries, and even though you’ve found a few in the world that you absolutely love, you always tell yourself “I can’t go back because I still have so much to see”. However, as of lately, I’ve been longing to go back to the countries I know I love. Because I know exactly what I can get there and you don’t have to go through the process of not knowing how things work or what there’s to do.
For example, when I left for Central Asia, I was thrilled. It was one of those dream destinations of mine that I’ve really wanted to visit for as long as I can remember. I haven’t prioritized it because 1) I was afraid of going because I thought it would be dangerous, and 2) there were so many other places I had to go to before Central Asia. But then finally this year, I had the opportunity to travel there and I was so happy. But after awhile, I discovered that this wasn’t the easiest region to travel around in. Not because it felt unsafe, but because of the tourism structure that was lacking, to say the least. And because of the food, which is probably top worst cuisines I’ve ever tried. The language barrier was also difficult to overcome at times and the fact that there’s not that many tourists around that could help you.
That’s when I started to daydream about going to Vietnam again. That was one of the countries that always popped up in my mind – why am I not in Vietnam? Although I was enjoying Central Asia because of its stunning nature, I was missing the social aspects of traveling in Southeast Asia, I missed the comfort and I wanted to relax. There weren’t many days when I felt like I was relaxing in Central Asia.
Vietnam is a fantastic destination because you have a bit of everything here. You can lay on the beach if you want to, explore big cities, relax in the smaller towns, meet people from literally all over the world, eat fantastic food and you will always find friends here. You can stay in party hostels if you’d like to, or check in to fancier hotels. You can go hike in the mountains or you can ride your scooter along the mountains. There’s so many options in Vietnam and all of them are great.
I love the fact that Vietnam offers great value for your money as well. Just like Central Asia, it’s cheap, but you can get so much more. If you want to get a massage, you can literally go anywhere you’d like to. It was a bit more challenging to find a good massage parlour in Central Asia and it’s not like they’re popping up everywhere. But that’s the biggest difference – tourism infrastructure is so much more developed in Vietnam. There’s a higher demand in Vietnam, more foreigners and they’ve had more time to delve in to the tourism industry. Some people like the fact that Vietnam has gotten so developed when it comes to tourism, and some people will hate it because they think it’s become “less authentic”. But after traveling in countries that felt, to me, very “authentic” (whatever that means these days), I also realized that a lot of the comfort would be gone. When tourism infrastructure isn’t the best, small things that can become challenging. Just buying a train or bus ticket can turn into one day’s work. There were the smallest things in Central Asia that become a huge ordeal, such as buying a train ticket but having to haggle about the prices first. Or finding a good restaurant which serves vegetarian food – way harder than you expect. Easier to find if you don’t mind getting some meat in your dish, even though you specifically asked for a vegetarian meal.
Traveling is supposed to be challenging, it’s supposed to be difficult and frustrating at times, and you’re supposed to get upset. It happens when traveling in Vietnam too. But when you just want a bit of vacation, a break, it can be nice to be in a country where you can get that too. Vietnam is certainly not perfect, but it sure is great for when you just want a nice vacation.
Before you start traveling in Vietnam, make sure that you get a visa so you can enter the country. There are three types of visas you can apply for: Visa on Arrival, E-Visa or go to the Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate and they will assist you. The most popular option is the Visa on Arrival, since it enables you to apply for it from wherever you are in the world and you get it within a few business days. Easy peasy!