10 Important Tips for Traveling in Vietnam

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Are you a first-time traveler to the country of Vietnam? I recently encountered a question asking, “What are some great tips for someone traveling to Vietnam for the first time?” Here are the top-voted suggestions. 

1. Arrange Your Rides Through Your Hotel

One user suggested, “Research how much it should cost to get from the airport to your hotel. Then, ask your hotel to arrange the pickup if their price is reasonable. After a 25 to 35-hour trip, it is nice to walk outside the airport doors and see a guy with your name on a card waiting for you.”

“I don't know what it costs to ride from Noi Bai to the Old Quarter because my hotel refused to charge me. However, it was my fifth visit there, so don't expect that.”

2. Don’t Make Eye Contact With Street Vendors

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“You can easily spot the people trying to sell you something. Don't make eye contact. Keep moving, say ‘Thanks, but no.' just once, a little wave of the hand, keep moving. They don't take it personally. It's just business.,” one said.

“The cyclo drivers in Hanoi love to make goofy bird-like noises to try to get you to make eye contact.” Don't fall for that. Shoe shine guys like to hound you, even when wearing canvas tennis shoes. Those guys can be very persistent.”

“On my last trip, one of them grabbed me by the arm, and I had to explain that that was inappropriate and could be dangerous. Physical contact is the start of pickpocket work.”

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3. Hotel Staff Are Your Greatest Allies

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“The people at your hotel can be a tremendous asset to you and want to help you. If this is not the case, you are staying at the wrong place, and your online reviews should reflect that. Sometimes my caretaker would insist on buying me what I needed to avoid tourist fees,” confessed one.

“I hate to use her time like that, but she was always insistent on helping me. As a result, I always got an excellent exchange rate at my homestay. Also, every little hotel in Vietnam serves as a travel agency. So I have never been led wrong when booking through my hotel.”

4. Study Different Vietnamese Food Names

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“My first-time travel tip is to study Vietnamese food names to know what those little sidewalk restaurants serve. Try different things. Make sure that you try Bun Rieu and Banh Cuon. The best food in Vietnam is served on the sidewalk and costs about $2 in Hanoi. Other places are less expensive than that,” another informed. 

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5. Don’t Be Afraid of Talking to People

Tips for traveling to Vietnam
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Someone encouraged, “Don't be afraid of talking to people. Several times I have had people approach me out of the blue and ended up being invited into their homes and going with them to exciting places. Kids and university students who approach you and ask to talk likely want to practice their English with a native speaker.”

“I have seen very few scam attempts in Vietnam, and those were amateurish. Don't let anyone put a carrying pole (with equally-weighted baskets on each end) on your shoulder. That's always a simple scam.”

“Talk to people. Joke with them. Meet locals. There are tourist sites, and the food is excellent, but the jewel of Vietnam is the Vietnamese people. I haven't been everywhere but have been to a few countries in my 63 years. The Vietnamese are the sweetest and friendliest people I have ever encountered”

6. Take Your Time in Each Location

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“Don't rush from place to place. Instead, spend time in each location and catch a glimpse of local life. Eat breakfast with the market ladies. Wander down alleyways. Look for local events. Facebook is good for it. Be polite and clean. Respect their country!” exclaimed one.

“Many people will give you a thousand places to visit, but don't overbook yourself. Each location has different sights to see and experiences to have. So don't limit yourself by rushing,” a second concurred. 

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7. Install Grab on Your Phone

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“Install the Grab app on your phone. Then, you can get reputable taxis and food services without the risk of finding them yourself,” shared one. “My best travel tip for women is downloading Grab. It is a great resource when you're traveling as a young woman because often, the local taxis aren't safe,” a second added. 

Finally, a third warned, “Be careful around the taxis outside the airport. They may look like reputable companies, but some cars are painted with the same colors and slightly different names that are very similar to their counterparts.”

8. Be Cautious When Purchasing Alcoholic Beverages

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“Be very careful when buying alcohol, especially from tourist attractions. Sometimes, they might have the brand name label but are filled with something else and resealed. It's a common scam and not one to be taken lightly,” suggested one. 

“Stick mainly to alcoholic beverages from reputable bars instead of markets or other tourist attractions. They're not always as marked,” another confirmed. 

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9. Conceal Your Valuables

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“Keep your valuables to yourself. Here’s a travel tip, regardless of country. It's essential to keep any cash or jewelry concealed in public to keep yourself safe. You are much less likely to become a target if it appears you have nothing of value,” explained one. 

“Investing in a small travel wallet that's easily concealable to keep your items and yourself safe from anyone looking for easy money is worthwhile,” another agreed.

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10. Pay Attention to How Much You Spend

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One user admitted, “You will frequently pay more at markets- so know this rule. Please take what you would pay in the USA and divide it by five to get a fair price. For instance, a bowl of pho costs between $10-$15 for me at home, so $2-2.5 is a reasonable price in the cities, and it can be even cheaper away from tourist areas, too!”

“Do not bargain shop despite the advice that you are supposed to do so. Instead, set a price for what you feel the item is worth and stick with that. If they don't budge, then walk away. Chances are they will chase you and then accept. If they do not, then you did go a little low.”

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“Raise it by one dollar next time and test that out. Boom, you can determine a fair price for anything using this method. And whatever you want to buy, I guarantee you can find that same thing being sold by multiple people. Therefore you have a lot of power in the buyer-seller dynamic. You can always refuse and try elsewhere,” a final commenter informed.

We hope you enjoyed this Reddit picks list of essential tips for first-time travelers to Vietnam. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of The Impulse Traveler.

The Impulse Traveler
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