Vietnam splits people’s opinions strongly – it is easy to either love or hate the country on the first sight. We have heard lots of opinions from both extreme ends. While others can’t stand all the chaos, noise and dirtiness, others love Vietnamese culture and laid-back lifestyle.
After hearing all the stories about Vietnam, we were really eager to travel there. We were sure that it would be our kind of travel destination. And our expectations turned out to be right indeed. We fell so much in love with Vietnam on our first visit that we returned there later for three whole months! We listed here the most important reasons why we think that Vietnam is an amazing country and why you should also travel there.
Vietnamese people are very friendly and hospitable. Most of them have a good attitude against foreigners and they are willing to help tourists in all ways. People are very curious about foreigners especially outside the tourist destinations and they like to come to talk and take pictures together. Once when we were sitting on a beach in a remote village, we were soon surrounded by at least 20 broadly smiling people. Everyone wanted to talk with us at the same time and take group pictures.
Once one cafe owner went to fix our motorbike tire while it was raining heavily and we got a flat tire in the middle of mountains. And once we sat down next to some local fellow in a bar and started chatting with him. Eventually the guy ordered a table full of food and drinks and insisted to pay for everything.
Of course, there are unfortunately also people who try to get money out of tourists by scamming or asking for an overprice. Most of the time, you can avoid these situations by bargaining or just by changing the seller. Bargaining is a part of Vietnamese culture anyway and it doesn’t always mean that someone is trying to scam a tourist.
Vietnam is a big country and there are plenty of things to explore from gorgeous mountains and rice paddies in the north to metropolitan cities and paradise beaches in the south. There are lots of beautiful beaches in Vietnam that are not crowded by tourists yet. Besides that, there are also other natural wonders like waterfalls, caves and i.e. the gorgeous rock formations of Halong Bay. Even three months is not enough to see everything so we still have a lot to discover on the next trips!
The cheap price level in Vietnam is naturally one reason why we liked to stay in the country so long. Vietnam is definitely the cheapest country in Southeast Asia. You can easily get a meal for less than one euro and a beer even for twenty cents. Shopping and different services are very affordable as well. For this reason, Vietnam is not only a great holiday destination but it’s also suitable for long stays. Vietnam is a real dream country for digital nomads as you can enjoy amazing conditions with low living costs.
You could also describe the relaxed way of living as chaotic, depending on from which angle you look at. Vietnamese are rarely in a rush and a couple of hours’ siesta is a part of the everyday life. It is not unusual to see a motorcyclist in a full sleep on his bike at the roadside. Vietnamese don’t worry about small things and the things run at their own pace. Once you are in Vietnam, it is easy to get into a holiday mood and forget about rigorous minute schedules.
Many people are shocked about the chaotic traffic with thousands of motorbikes and loud honking. Dirtiness is also part of the landscape. Pollution is definitely a big problem in Vietnam, it cannot be denied. Anyway, after getting over the first shock, we started to feel attracted to the certain chaos and messiness in Vietnam.
When there are not too many rules, many things are also handled in a straight-forward way. If you need to fix your watch or motorbike, you just need to walk into the closest repair shop or marketplace and your problem will be fixed immediately without lining up. When our motorbike engine broke down, there were even five repairmen fixing the bike at the same time and the whole repairing process took only a couple of hours. When the repair shop didn’t have all the necessary parts, one of the guys hopped on a motorbike and went to get them.
Vietnamese food is aromatic, full of herbs and made with fresh ingredients. With one word, it is DELICIOUS! Numerous street kitchens offer authentic food experiences and you could travel Vietnam for months only by trying all the different noodle soup variations. You can read more about Vietnamese food in this article.
What is your opinion, is Vietnam a hit or miss as a travel destination?