Traveling can be anything but easy. There will be times when you will be met with challenge after challenge. Vietnam is no different. In fact, there’s been many cases where people has said it can be a real challenge to travel in Vietnam. But that’s about to change. The thing is, everyone will have their own opinion about traveling around Vietnam. Some say it’s a piece of cake while others will say it was very difficult. Nonetheless, these are all common challenges to encounter all over Southeast Asia and perhaps even in the rest of the world.
The problem is that if you’re going to travel to Vietnam and already have negative views of it, you might not have a great journey if you’ve already decided that it won’t be good. Therefore, this article will try to address some of the biggest challenges and concerns of traveling in Vietnam. Hopefully, this will make your experience more pleasant and you can get the most out of your time there. Because the truth is, Vietnam is one of the most fascinating and beautiful countries to visit. So take a look at some of the challenges of traveling in Vietnam and how you can try to avoid them.
One of the biggest issues people have when traveling are scams. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to avoid this. You will most likely get scammed once or even a few times. Most of the times, it’s about small money so it’s not even worth getting upset about. But there might also be times when you feel like you’re being completely ripped off and this will of course leave you frustrated and upset. You will most likely experience getting ripped off just because you’re a foreigner. Locals are most likely paying less for the exact same item. But it’s also important to note that locals earn way less than you, as little as 150 USD per month (average salary), so if they can earn a bit extra, they will take that chance. Therefore, think a bit before you start haggling. Do you really need those 50 cents or can the local vendor perhaps benefit more from it? Also, remember that more touristic places will always be more expensive, such as Hoi An or Ho Chi Minh City. If you want to avoid getting scammed, you can:
Do your research
If you’re going to book a tour for example, do your research before you book anything. Ask around and don’t go for the first best thing. If you think something sounds way too expensive, it probably is. So always check around first before you decide on anything.
Understand the exchange rate
When you’re going to exchange your money, you must understand the exchange rate first before accepting. Know exactly what the Vietnamese Dong equates to in your own currency.
Always agree on a fixed price
Luckily, there is Uber and other sorts of ride-hailing companies now that you can use. This way, you’ll always get a fixed price. However, if you want to take a motorbike taxi (xe om), make sure to confirm the price before you get on the motorbike. Otherwise when you arrive to the destination, they can ask you for any ridiculous price.
Is Vietnam safe to travel in?
Yes, yes and yes! Vietnam is a very safe country to travel in, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be aware of your surroundings. There’s been cases where people on motorbikes has tried to snatch tourists phones or purses for example. So always make sure you hold tight to your belongings. This is not common though, but it has happened before so it’s always good to be cautious. When it comes to female solo travelers, Vietnam is very safe and there’s plenty of women who are traveling alone in the country. The locals are used to it as well and don’t really make a fuss about it.
One of the most challenging parts about traveling can be the language barrier. The English level in Vietnam isn’t very high yet, but you will notice that in the cities and tourist areas, it will be easier to find an English speaking person. However, if you go a bit outside, you might struggle a bit. Don’t get worked up on this because it’s not common for the Vietnamese to learn English. You are, after all, in their country so it’s important to respect that the English level might not be as high as you’d wished for. The best thing to do is to take your time, smile, keep a polite tone and use as much body language as possible. You can also use google translate, but you’ll be surprised by how far you can get with body language.
The Vietnamese people can be loud
When you arrive to Vietnam, you’ll instantly notice that the people talk very loudly. This is very common and even if it sounds like they’re arguing, they’re probably just having a discussion. This can be a bit challenging in the beginning, when you think everyone’s being rude and shouting at you, but fact is, that’s just the way they talk. Embrace it and realize that it’s nothing personal and it’s probably not about you. The Vietnamese are known to be warm, welcoming and very friendly towards foreigners and if you’re open to it, you’ll most likely make a few friends on the way.
Should you visit Vietnam?
No doubt about it, you should definitely give Vietnam a chance. There’ll always be challenges wherever you go in the world. It’ll just take different forms. But the challenges in Vietnam are usually small and they can actually make your experience better, if you learn from them. Vietnam is a wonderful country to travel around in, it’s easy, safe and the food is delicious! So if you’re looking for an exotic country to visit this year, make sure it’s Vietnam.
Do note that it’s obligatory for most nationalities to acquire a Vietnam visa before entering the country. There are three options and they all have its pros and cons, so before you decide, make sure to read thoroughly before deciding which visa works best for you. You can either apply for a Visa on Arrival, E-Visa or go to the nearest Vietnamese Embassy or Consulate.