8 reasons why you should visit Vietnam – even though you were told not to

by Kevin Bascao - 2:57 AM

Why Vietnam? Is it even a good place to go to?

These are some of the questions I received when people learned about my visit in Vietnam. If you’re planning to visit this country soon, there’s a big chance that you will end up having second thoughts because of the things you hear from people who previously traveled there. Many of them swore not to go back. I’ve heard those horrible stories but I decided to still give it a try.
And maybe you should too. Here are some of the reasons why:

1. For the love of food

Travel is not complete if you don’t try eating authentic dishes in every country you visit. Vietnam has a lot to offer with its world famous cuisine. It is a country filled with extremely delicious food that every traveler must try.
I instantly fell in love with Vietnam’s Mì xào bò (Fried noodles with beef) and Phở! I noticed that one common ingredient they put in most of their food is vegetables, which I liked since I’m a veggie lover.

2. Be an instant millionaire

Most of us wants to be a millionaire. Here in Vietnam, you can be; without doing so much effort. With just around 2,275 Philippine peso or roughly around 43 U.S. dollars, you already got yourself 1,000,000 when you exchange your money to Vietnamese dong.
It’s like a dream come true. At least, I was a millionaire even just for 4 days.

3. It’s a paradise for coffee lovers

Did you know that Vietnam is a big hit in the Coffee industry? Yes, they are. After Brazil, they take the second place on the list of countries with largest coffee production in the world. Coffee is Vietnam’s top source of income. Not only they produce plenty but also good quality coffee.
No wonder, I left the country having gastritis due to excessive caffeine intake. No joke!

4. Great places to visit and explore

Contrary to what some people are saying about the absence of interesting places in Vietnam, it’s totally the other way around. In fact, I felt like I should have stayed longer to see more beautiful places. 4 days was not enough for me. I still missed going to some famous and beautiful spots.
From historical structures to natural wonders to modern attractions, Vietnam has them all for you. If that wasn’t convincing enough, let these photos speak for themselves.

5. Transportation is easy. And cheap!

Motorcycle is the primary mode of land transportation. Though I do not really recommend taking it because it could be too risky and unsafe. Thank God, Grab mobile app is working in this country! I used it because I thought it’s the best way to travel around the city. It is safer and surprisingly cheap! Since fare is fixed, you need not to worry about being overcharged by drivers. Of course, fares would depend on the distance of travel.

My transportation expenses via Grab ranged from 25,000 VND to 33,000 VND. That’s around 57 to 75 PHP or 1 to 1.5 USD. These are already inclusive of fare surge (due to high demand). Unbelievable!

Also, I don’t remember being stuck in traffic even in the busiest areas of Ho Chi Minh city.

6. It is a diverse country

When in Ho Chi Minh, I stayed in one of the hostels located along Bui Vien. It’s a famous, yet controversial street due to the existence of extreme forms of entertainment hidden in the establishments of this touristy area. It’s somehow similar to Khaosan road of Thailand. It can be considered as Ho Chi Minh’s very own red-light district.

While it’s true that you will meet a lot of young and energetic people (mostly foreigners) in Ho Chi Minh, places in Central Vietnam such as Da Nang, on the other hand are different. It offers a more traditional vibe to its visitors. It is a better option for people who prefers a more peaceful and quiet place.
I definitely loved both Ho Chi Minh and Da Nang but if I will have to choose between the two, I would say I am more of a “Da Nang person”. It’s always nice to experience both faces of a country, though. You get to discover how diverse a country could get. It’s fascinating to see how one place could be different from the others or even from rest of the country.
Ho Chi Minh

Central Vietnam

7. It will make you more street-smart

Scams are legit. Take that from someone who just got back from Vietnam. This is why you should be vigilant and careful especially if you are a foreign tourist visiting the country for the first time. Most scammers can be found in the city. Some of them are in the market, some are drivers and some are just random guys walking on the streets. Maybe I was just fortunate to have just encountered few of them.
Having prior knowledge about what to expect in this country helps! In general, not just Vietnam, it is ideal to always be street-smart in traveling to unfamiliar places. Take care and more importantly, enjoy.

8. Not all people are the same

In Da Nang, I rented a private car service going to Hoi an for the sake of convenience. When I got off the car, the driver asked for the full payment before I even start my tour. I gave it anyway. Not half, but full payment. What happened next?
Gladly, the driver waited somewhere until I finished the walking tour on the ancient town.
I mean, he could run and take the money with him. He had the chance to do that. However, he chose to wait for 2 hours. On my way back to the hotel, he asked if I wanted to go to the market and buy something, which I did. Again, he could have left me at the market but he was too good to do that I guess.
Scammers are real, but there are far better people in Vietnam. I would like to believe that there are more good people than bad people in this country.

Many people including bloggers will give you reasons to exclude this country on your places-to-see list. It’s discouraging.
At the end of the day, we all have unique experiences. I respect the opinions of my fellow travelers, knowing that they had terrible experiences. Tourists, myself included, met scammers and some of us fell for their sneaky tricks. This is sad. But still, I hope these practices and attitude of some Vietnamese people will not completely hinder us from seeing and exploring a country as amazing as Vietnam.
Make the most out of the feedback and tips you get by learning from it. Consider them as warning and a tool to keep you safe during travels. But never let them kill your curiosity and passion to go to places.

Would you go to Vietnam? Share your thoughts!

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