Visiting any new country or culture requires a bit of research beforehand if you want everything to go smoothly, and being a smart traveler Vietnam will undoubtedly require a bit of research and understanding if you want your trip to go smoothly. So here are some important things to keep in mind if you’re looking for Vietnam travel tips.
Understanding of Vietnamese Food
Understanding a bit about the cuisine of a particular place will help you manage your day to day life, and it’s just as important to know what to eat as it is to know where to eat. If you just show up in a country with no expectations of what the food will be like or what’s available, you’re going to have a difficult time ordering things pretty much anywhere you go. Yes, you can always point to things that look good when you see them served, but it’s a far better idea to know a bit about them beforehand.
Like many countries in South and Southeast Asia, street food is an important part of dining out in Vietnam. There are those tourists who are quite wary of anything not served in a proper restaurant, but you really shouldn’t be like that unless you want to miss out on some of the best cuisine that Vietnam has on offer. Yeah, there are some basic things that you should follow if you want to avoid being sick like checking to make sure everything seems fresh and soups are being boiled – but it would be a pretty big mistake to avoid street foods altogether just because you’re paranoid about falling sick. Vietnam also has a great selection of local beers from place to place, so if you drink then you really shouldn’t miss out on trying these. Not only will you be trying something new and supporting the local economy, but they’re usually cheaper than larger brands.
Understand Things and Not Get Ripped Off
Unfortunately, Vietnam has a reputation for being a bit inhospitable to western tourists – routinely ripping them off and being rude in general. There are a number of reasons for this which are both historical and cultural – Vietnam has periodically been invaded by China, then spent centuries under French colonialism, and finally was subjected to a war which involved America trying to defend global capitalism. In other words, Vietnam has been attacked and colonised by outsiders for centuries, which is definitely a factor in how they treat tourists. There’s a good chance that if you go around flashing a lot of cash or large notes, the locals will try to short you. If you’re dealing with people in tourist areas, it’s pretty common to be taken advantage of in those places – so if you want a great experience it’s best to go off the beaten path and be firm about things.
What to Buy in Vietnam
Some people just need to bring back souvenirs from wherever they travel to, and of course Vietnam is no exception to this. It’s a good idea to do your homework on things that you might be interested in buying, and this will help you figure out questions like “how much money should I take to Vietnam?” Bargaining is common practice, and it’s essential to learn how to do this if you don’t want to get overcharged for everything. Generally, it’s better to get souvenirs outside of tourist areas or near the hotel you stay in Vietnam because the locals won’t try to rip you off. There are a lot of different things that you could bring back, everything from traditional clothing to ceramic ware.
Visa Requirements for Vietnam
To enter Vietnam, you’ll need a valid visa and a passport which is valid for at least six months beyond your stay in the country. Unlike many other countries in Southeast Asia, there’s not really any facilities for visa on arrival without the pre-approval documents and you could be turned away if you ignore any of this. Because of that, you really need to pay attention to these requirements unless your objective of going to Vietnam is being deported on the first day.
“So shut up, live, travel, adventure, bless and don’t be sorry”
― Jack Kerouac,
Other Information About Vietnam
It’s always good to know what you should pack when visiting a country, so you should think about what to pack for Vietnam – if you go in the summer it will be hot and humid, but the north can get a bit chilly in winter. The one thing that you can probably count on is encountering rain at some point, so do plan for that. There’s no best time as to when to travel to Vietnam, but it’s a good idea to do some research about the weather in the season that you’re going. Basically you should go for natural fabrics and dress appropriately for the time of year, so that will generally entail cotton clothing that’s also comfortable for warm and humid weather. You can always get an umbrella or a poncho locally, but keep in mind that it’s generally unacceptable to wear shorts anywhere outside of a beach.
Traditions in Vietnam
It’s important to understand the culture and traditions of any place that you travel, and Vietnam is no exception to this. Do some research before you go about the traditions and the dos and don’ts of etiquette. It will help you have a better experience and potentially save you some misunderstandings. Some basic etiquette involves showing respect for elders, passing things using both hands and not over someone’s head, not touching or showing public affection for members of the opposite gender, and pointing with your hand rather than your finger.
Driving in Vietnam
Like many Asian countries, the traffic in Vietnam is jam-packed, constant honking, and drivers are borderline homicidal. That shouldn’t stop you from crossing the road or renting a bike to travel around, but take it with a grain of salt. Traffic is on the the right hand side of the road, and people normally honk to warn whoever’s in the way to move.