Visiting Vietnam for the First Time: The Wary Backpacker Edition

Mar 13, 2019 | Escape, Vietnam

Backpacking across Asia will bring some problems – it would be better to educate yourself before having your visa stamped.

Vietnam is a gloriously beautiful place, like many other countries in the region, but to those who are coming to this country for the first time, it is important to be realistic about your trip, and to be prepared about some of the ‘eventualities’ that other backpackers have experienced.

This guide is not meant to dampen your traveling spirit, but to prepare you and increase your vigilance while you are in this country.

1. Take Your Visa Requirements Seriously – If you don’t print out or fill out the required forms when you fly in from wherever country you are from, you may be turned away by immigration.

Immigration will not be kind to you – the personnel has strict functions, and as you may know, Vietnam doesn’t have the friendliest relationship with the West, historically. Read the requirements, check your papers, and prepare everything beforehand.

2. Stand Your Ground With Locals – While in Vietnam, you will come across locals who will try to lie and cheat you. Why? Because they can. The phenomenon is universal, and we must not peg Vietnam as the sole country where this happens to tourists.

Hanoi Vietnam | Robin Hickmott

Hanoi Vietnam | Robin Hickmott

There are unsavory locals in other countries, too. So learn to haggle, stand your ground, and learn to walk away. Your experiences with Vietnamese locals will be mixed, guaranteed. Hopefully, you will experience more good than bad.

3. Don’t Get Duped By Local Tour Operators – Online reviews are extremely helpful when booking local tours in Vietnam. In trying to save money, some international backpackers end up with the wrong crowd.

And by the wrong crowd we mean local tourist operators who overbook way past their capacity to accommodate and end up ruining everyone’s stay. We’re talking about tour operators who force tourists to share beds. Yes, that can happen to anyone who is unfortunate enough to book a bad tour.

4. Learn to Speak and Read Some Vietnamese – Unlike Thailand, which has always had a bustling tourist industry, it is only in recent years that Vietnam has become host to so many international tourists. In short, you may not encounter people who speak English fluently, and menus will most definitely be in Vietnamese, and the Latin-based alphabet.

The Evolution of Ice Cream in Asia

Ice cream has had a long and fulfilling journey in Asia from its origin story to its present-day impact, surpassing nations in the West.

Learn Korean Culture thru Funny Comics by the ‘Korean Friends’

“Korean Friends” is sharp, funny, and unapologetic – three things that you genuinely need to put into art when introducing your culture to the world.

World’s First: Japan Firm Develops Second Skin Spray-on Facemask

A Japanese cosmetics company Wednesday unveiled what it said was the world’s first spray-on skin, a moisturising facemask made of fibres one-100th the thickness of a human hair.

This Young Man is Revolutionizing the Way We Clean Beaches Around the World

Arjun Sharma touches base on his journey discovering Clean My Beach and the hopes and determination he desires to share with the world in an effort to fight environmental havoc

DJ and Fashion Icon: Peggy Gou is Taking Over

While the rest of the world is tripping over k-pop, Peggy Gou, a Korean DJ, producer, and fashion icon is taking center stage

Stephen Chow Confirms News Of Upcoming “Kung Fu Hustle 2” Movie

Stephen Chow, the star and director of the hit cult-classic martial arts movie “Kung Fu Hustle” has all but confirmed that a sequel of some sort is now underway and the fans couldn’t be more excited for this news.

United Nations and the Asia-Pacific

A look into the United Nations, achievements and challenges in the Asia-Pacific

The Fight Against “Fake News” In Asia

As it has been with the rest of the world, regional Governments in Asia are hard at work in bringing down and preventing the spread of fake news in their respective constituencies.

Thanaka: Myanmar’s Best Beauty Secret

Take a look into this ancient all-natural mysterious beauty gem

Profile of Myanmar: Foundation of Strength and Culture

Myanmar, a spiritual nation that stands with a full heart and a courageous spirit

Asia: Innovative Ways to a Greener Planet

Save the world and forever cut plastic out of your life with these innovative measures

Frenchman May Face Firing Squad for Smuggling Drugs into Bali

Two Thai women and a Frenchman could face the death penalty after they were caught smuggling drugs into Bali, the Indonesian holiday island’s customs agency said Monday.

A Recap of What Happened in Japan’s Devastating Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disaster

Referred to as the “triple disaster”, Pope Francis will meet in Japan with victims of the enormous earthquake and tsunami of 2011 that triggered the Fukushima nuclear meltdown

6 Thailand’s Fashion Designers to Note

Take a look at Thailand’s thrilling and rich fashion scene and designers

Surveillance Giants Google, Facebook Business Model ‘Threat to Human Rights’

The data-collection business model fueling Facebook and Google represents a threat to human rights around the world, Amnesty International said in a report Wednesday.