Largest city: Ho Chi Minh City
Population: 87,840,000 (2011 census)
Time zone: IST (UTC+07)
Currency: đồng (₫)(VND)
Vietnam is a country under construction. They have come a long way but still has a long way to go.
In our opinion Vietnam is the place to go if you like to see cultural differences and what I use to call “ancient living”. People here still lives like they used to many years ago, with little or no money. Many houses are in bad shape (according to normal western standard ) and many people have no functional toilet but a hole in the ground with four walls around it outside the house.
The religion is Buddhism and it is shows. Most houses has a mini tempel in their front yard with incense where they pay their respect and you can also see this at most sights and touristatrractions.
The landscape is very luscious in the central and northern parts with valleys and mountains. Ricepaddies and ricefields are common here and so is the small villages with hardworking men, women and children that tries to survive on farming, fishing or by selling fruit or other things to passing tourists.
In northern and central Vietnam you’ll find the climate quite cool. In december it’s about 20-25 degrees warm. In the southern parts you’ll have a temperature at about 25-30 degrees warm.
The country has made everything they have into a touristattraction. It is very hard to get around without ending up sitting in a minivan with 20 tourists and an overexcited guide. Try to get around on your own as much as possible and don’t be afriad of saying no to the tourguides that tries to sell you tickets. A scooter or a motorcycle is the ultimate way of exploring this country.
And it’s quite cheap to.
Vietnam has a reputation of being cheap. And it is quite cheap. You’ll get a pretty decent hotelroom with twin or double bed from somewhere between 10-15 USD. We never paid more than 20 USD during our two week expedition. A meal with classic fried noodles and chicken cost about 35.000-65.000 VND (around 3 USD) depending on if your in a city or in a smaller village.
Vietnamese people will always be able to bargain with you and the prices are next to always set too high. Name a price and see how low you can go. This do not apply on restaurants and supermarkets though.
Everything costs here, wether you’re parking your scooter (usually 10.000 VND) or entering a national park. Or like Halong city that charges 80.000 VND just to enter the city.
Vietnamese people are very friendly and helpfull. I,n the igger cities they might be a bit fed up with tourists, but most of the people try to make contact or just say hello. And if they don’t understand english then signing will do.
They are very curious of you and they love to help you out with almost anything. like in smaller villages where they’re not used to that many tourist. In the smaller villages they might look like you wideeyed like you are an alien in white, but they are just curious and wondering if you’ll buy something so that they can look at you and maybe have a chat. But there will always be the ones that only wants to help you for the money so always ask if it will cost you any money before you make a deal.
- To read more about our adventures. Click here!
- Read our article about SlowFood!
- Read our Travel blog article about Halong Bay!
- What to do in Vietnam? Find activities!