Vietnam presents some problems for travelers not used to a different culture and struggling to make its way into the modern world. Sanitary conditions are not the best. Garbage is often piled alongside the roads in great heaps. People, especially men, relieve themselves on the streets or the nearest Hanoi tree, and parents drop the pants of children when the need arises. Raw meat for sale is placed under the sun on the sidewalks. People have their own tastes in food so be prepared for something different. Chicken faces and feet are a real treat. There is NO potable water in Viet Nam. Vietnamese boil all their water or buy bottled water. This is one reason they drink so much tea and beer. Children of all ages, especially those in villages, are often working as soon as they can walk, something you may find upsetting. Everyone helps out the family, even disabled children. It is not unusual to see crippled children laying on the streets or sidewalks with a begging basket. When it rains it pours. Viet Nam is noted for its monsoon rains and a perfectly dry street can be filled with feet of water within minutes. In the country, hillsides constantly wash over roads. Machinery is unreliable and it is easy to become stranded. Few of the hotels in the Old Quarter of Hanoi, the most interesting place to stay, have elevators. They only have a gallon or two of hot water in each room so warm showers can be short and a soak in a hot tub means about an inch of water. Motorbikes drive everywhere, even on the sidewalks. There may be traffic laws but no one follows them. People drive the wrong way on one way streets, they drive on the wrong side of the road they either stop or drive through traffic light depending upon how they feel. There is practically no crime in Viet Nam except for pickpockets. They are everywhere. Vietnamese have no sense of personal space and are very loving but if you do not know the person, do not let them get within arm's reach or risk having your pockets picked. Single men are especially venerable since overly friendly women will get close to offer special services, grab you between the legs with one hand as a distraction, while taking your money with the other. (They are lovely, however, and often difficult to resist) Learn to barter. There are few set prices in Vietnam and venders will charge you based upon your appearance. Never pay what is asked. Counter their offer by half then work to reach an agreement somewhere between the two prices. If they say 100 you counter with 50 and you will usually agree at 75. With these few things in mind head to Viet Nam and enjoy yourself.

Raw meat is piled on the sidewalk 

Meat on the street

Difficult weather 

Why do I tell you all of this? Because, unlike many businesses who just want to sell you a trip at any cost, I want you to be aware of both the good and the bad so you can decide on a trip to Viet Nam with an open mind. A good attitude and a little knowledge results in a good trip and an exciting adventure.

Disabled girl begging in the road

Unusual food 

Many kids have no childhood 

Vehicles break down 

Two honest people who can help with your trip in Vietnam.

Northern part of Vietnam and Hanoi:

Vu Quang Truong

Tel: (84) 0984-947-137 - E-mail: - Address: Asialink Viet Nam Holidays - No 2A, Lane 2, Hang Chuoi St. Ha Noi, Viet Nam 

Nguyen My Linh


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