Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   Asia (
-   -   VIETNAM (

John Feb 14th, 2002 11:25 AM

Has anyone been to VN lately? how are the people? Is it full of beggars or can one enjoy the sites without being accosted? How about cost of travel and things like food and lodging?<BR><BR>thanks

Al Feb 14th, 2002 06:41 PM

My wife and I were in VN for almost four weeks last Nov/Dec. People were very friendly, helpful, curious, and anxious to try their English. We encountered almost no beggars. Those we saw were not pushy. Travel and food costs are very reasonable. So is lodging. You get what you pay for; we were on a pre-organized independent itinerary and our quarters ranged from the ordinary to the palatial. All were spotless clean, with good breakfasts and excellent service. We found restaurants came in all price ranges. Those mentioned in guide books turned out to be quite good. We tried the native dishes consistently and were pleasantly surprised. Much milder (to our tastes) than Thai. Excellent French bread. Lots of chicken, pork, vegetables, fish; very little beef. Lots of noodles at all meals, including breakfast.

mike Feb 18th, 2002 12:22 PM

without being accosted? come on people, try and understand their situation instead of simply being arrogant and ignoring the context in which they live. you'll love vietnam. and if some child who hasn't eaten in 2 days asks you for a dollar, buy him some food. don't be annoyed because the "poor beggar kid upset your glorious vacation"

MaryEllen Feb 20th, 2002 04:06 PM

I just returned from a 10-day Intrepid tour from Hanoi to Saigon and I LOVED Vietnam and definitely the people are so nice and many speak English. It is so inexpensive. I liked Saigon better than Hanoi as it is much more Westernized and has a vibrancy Hanoi does not possess. The motor bike tours were wild!

John G Feb 20th, 2002 08:54 PM

If your first concern about Vietnam is beggars and being hassled, then maybe it isn't the place for you. Stick to places like Dollywood, Disney World, or Branson. Here, people will smile at you while they price-gouge and steal from you: "That'll be $9.50 for the hot dog, sir." :)

Alan Mar 2nd, 2002 03:45 PM

John, Vietnam is full of "beggars", naturally, since the average annual income there is what you would normally spend on a day's sightseeing.... if you want to escapre from people asking those who have too much (you) to share with those who have too little (them) then you are going to have to choose countries which are richer than where you're coming from.. and I bet there are not too many of those! Let's face it, I've encountered beggars in New York, Rome, Paris.. you name it. What is remarkable about the beggars in Vietnam is how they have retained their dignity... even when you turn them down (and you will have to, eventually, as there are so many) they will still smile at you, and mean it. They are a wonderful people who have had to put up with invaders from the very earliest days of their history, but their sprirt remains strong and optimistic, and there is no shame attached to their begging. And they don't want to make you feel ashamed or uncomfortable to visit their sites of interest. So go and enjoy yourself, and, occasionally at least, spread a little of your wealth around! Food and lodging is so cheap there that you can afford to do that... jusr remember to buy your food from local stalls and not from the swank restaurants, your postcards from the local street-urchins and not from the hotel, and give your loose change to one of the beggars, not to a box left strategically placed near the check-in counter at the airport.

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 04:33 AM.