Vietnam travel advice

Vietnam travel advice


Tips from our friends in Vietnam

Tips on finding the perfect beach


Kian Rackley, from our supplier Insider Journeys, shares his Vietnam travel advice:
ďNha Trang is the nearest thing Vietnam has to the Costa del Sol in terms of the amount of tourists that go there. But if you are looking for a bit more isolation while youíre there, take a boat cruises out to sea and explore some of the coastline that way, similar to the way you can in Thailand. Itís still the hub of much of Vietnamís fishing industry as well. People still go out in the same boats as they have for 500 years Ė theyíre almost like small bathtubs! People still do fish that way, and all the other boats are colourfully painted and moored up in the harbour around Nha Trang so thatís a lovely thing to see.Ē

Street vendor tips


Vo Thi Bich Ha, from our supplier Haivenu, shares her Vietnam travel advice:
"Learn the different ways to deal with local people. With street vendors, you need to learn how to say no politely and happily Ė but firmly, so that they know that you are not a customer. However, people in rural areas are often very shy and genuine, so you act differently Ė show your appreciation, show your interest in their stories. You will get so much more out of it, and those are the visits that create long-lasting memories. Theyíre very special."

Tips for onward travel


Lesley Schofield, from our supplier All Points East, shares her Vietnam travel advice:
"Vietnam combines fantastically with other countries. Cambodia is just a short hop up the Mekong. And you can then contrast the two countries, which are really quite different. Vietnam is still a communist country so itís got quite a different feel to it. The other place it combines very nicely with is Yunnan Ė thatís a fantastic trip from Hanoi up through the rice terraces into China. The other country is northern Laos. You can go into a very remote border crossing right up in the north of Vietnam. So if you do either the north or the south, and then combine it with a neighbouring country, you actually have far more overland travel and fewer flights than if you try to see all of Vietnam. Itís a bit like Europe as you only travel a very short distance to be in another country with a totally different feel."

Cultural tips


Kian Rackley, from our supplier Insider Journeys, shares his Vietnam travel advice:
"Vietnam is still developing, itís been through a huge amount, and living standards are only starting to rise. There is still desperation, and as a rich westerner youíre always going to be a target, but most of it boils down to common sense. One issue is that typically, travelers go to Thailand first as their introduction to SE Asia and Thailand is very friendly. Itís the national character to be happy and to smile at all costs, whereas that level of hospitality doesnít exist all the time in Vietnam, people are a bit more stoic in terms of their outlook. So people expect the same reception they had in Thailand and that isnít always the case Ė but thatís not to say they are unfriendly."

Vietnam tips from our travelers


Recommendations from those who have been there

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful Vietnam travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.

Have patience, be open minded and willing to accept things that you do not see at home. Also be prepared to sacrifice a little comfort when not staying in hotels. - Christopher Jones

Because the weather throughout Vietnam varies a lot it is difficult to experience optimal weather if traveling from north to south. Just be aware of the weather in the parts you plan to visit. It didn't spoil our trip though. - Jennifer Beer

Travel lightly as you only spend a few nights at each place and lugging lots of luggage would be a pain. Also laundry in the hotels is cheap. - Tracey Whare

Be adventurous when eating in Vietnam and don't stick to the 'tourist' restaurants. Although we avoided the pavement pho cafes we found places where the locals eat which were unbelievably cheap, the food and atmosphere was great and we suffered no ill effects! - Karen Ritchie

Do not go during the Tet vacations as so many of the museums and restaurants were closed and the temples were very very busy!!! - Reni McPhail

Take some time on your own to step out of the guided days. Learn a few phrases to use when bargaining (oy choy oy!) - Val Bodington

Be friendly!! Some people seem to be wary of encountering the very people they've come to meet. Talk to them, say please and thank you, and SMILE! - Sandy Snyder

Photo credits: [Beach: VanLap Hoŗng] [Cambodia: Staffan Scherz] [Kayaking: reibai] [Train: Santi Llobet]
Written by Vicki Brown
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