Are you thinking about visiting Vietnam for the first time? Keep reading for my 8 tips to avoid the most common mistakes and have the perfect, hassle-free, trip to Vietnam
CHOOSE YOUR ACCOMMODATION WISELY
When on a tight schedule, you don’t want to lose all your time moving from one place to another. Moreover, in Vietnam, you can find places to stay both for just a few bucks a night or super expensive. If you decide on the first option, be sure the room has at least running water and good hygienic conditions.
HIRE A LOCAL GUIDE
and you’ll have lots of insight into Vietnam and its people. Traveling to me is not just going to a place to take nice pics: it means meeting locals, learning from them, and understanding their culture. That is why, when I travel, especially in Asia, I love to have a local private guide, I can “harass” with 1,000 questions! During my trip to Vietnam, I had a different guide in every place I visited, and it was a blessing.
BE CAREFUL WITH STREET FOOD
As exotic and fun as it seems, street food can be the end of your glorious plans. One single dish is enough to cause you a food poisoning you’ll be battling with for the rest of your holidays. So, if you’re not 100% sure, try to avoid it.
NEVER, EVER, DRINK TAP WATER
And avoid ice if not sure of the origin. Like almost everywhere in Asia, tap water is not safe to consume unless you want a Delhi belly (or Traveler’s diarrhea). Most middle to high-range hotels provide free bottled water to guests, so it won’t be a problem using it also when brushing your teeth. Be careful with fruits and vegetables washed with tap water.
PLAN, PLAN, PLAN
Planning will not ruin your trip’s adventurous side: it’s only going to avoid you spend it trying to solve problems. Book your hotels in advance, decide beforehand what you will explore, and contact tour guides before starting your trip. In this way, you’ll focus on your vacation and enjoy it 100%.
BE CAREFUL WITH NUMBERS
When asking for a price, be sure you correctly hear it since the difference between fifty and fifteen or ninety and nineteen is not always there. Also, be aware that the Dong (the Vietnamese currency) goes by thousands, but they would usually say only the first numbers, for instance, ten stands for ten thousand.
PACK MOSQUITO REPELLENT
Especially if you plan a trip to the rice fields. Mosquitos are critical in SE Asia since they can carry serious illnesses such as Dengue (no vaccine exists for it and can be deadly). Be sure you get a repellent containing a fair amount of Deet and use it throughout the day. Long-sleeve shirts and long pants are also a good idea, especially at dusk and night.
CHECK THE WEATHER
Vietnam has an extremely varied climate depending on the area you visit (north-south, coast-interior) and the time of the year. For instance, don’t expect to go to Hanoi in mid-January wearing shorts and enjoy tropical weather. Usually, October-November and April-May are the most homogeneous months of climate-wise in Vietnam.
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