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Vietnam for the first time visitor to Asia

Vietnam for the first time visitor to Asia

Old Jan 4th, 2002, 08:16 PM
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Vietnam for the first time visitor to Asia

I am interested in travelling to Vietnam in the summer of this year. I would love to read about your experiences and hints, plus the "must-sees". I would be there for about two weeks, one week in Hanoi, one in Ho Chi Minh city, and travelling around.
I'd appreciate any tips and advice; I've travelled in Europe, South America, North Africa, and Israel, but this will be a first to Asia.
Thanks for your help!
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 04:16 AM
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Very interesting but the beggers and touts will drive you crazy. How many times can a person say no. You will be tested. They follow you everywhere and will not take no for an answer. Don't let the PC crew on this board tell you otherwise. It is 100 times worse than anyplace else in the USA or world (except for India).
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 07:59 AM
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Rosa, we were in Vietnam Nov. 2000. It too was out first trip to Asia and we had a WONDERFUL time. I think Bob must have an extremely low tolerence for solicitation or he harbors a resentment to Vietnam. In two weeks we saw only one beggar.

The cyclo operators in Hue can be irritating but a simple solution for us was to walk on the side of the road that is against traffic.

The groups of tribal women in Sapa will surround you offering to sell cheap jewelry but they are delightful people and we had a blast bargaining and talking with them. Sapa hint: The young women speak surprisingly good english. Pay one of them to give you a brief tour of the town.

Highlights of our trip:
Hanoi: A beautiful, peaceful city
Sapa: Great adventure, spectacular scenery, fascinating people.
The trip to the Perfume Pagoda: Stunning scenery similar to Halong Bay but takes less time.
Hue: The citidel and the tombs and temples along the river; the river trip and a ride on the back of a moped.
Hoe An: We stayed at the beautiful Furama at nearby China Beach.

A day or two in Siagon is plenty.

Old Jan 5th, 2002, 08:20 AM
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My wife and I returned in December from three weeks in VN. Bob is entitled to his views, however off the mark. If you would like more info, write us directly for a review of our trip.
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 09:41 AM
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Thanks for your responses! Some of my most interesting travel experiences have involved bargaining and discussion, so the idea of "touts" doesn't bother me. Dean, thanks for your very helpful insights. Art, I'll be contacting you!
Thanks to anyone else who has time to add their experiences. I have done a search on the site, but I am eager to hear more.
Happy travels!
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 02:12 PM
Mary Anne Cook
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My first trip was last year to Thailand and Vietnam. I enjoyed it so much will leave in 2 weeks for a month there again-this time adding Laos to the trip. My favorite big city was Hanoi-so beautiful with its lakes and French architecture. It is a different culture,but I made friends especially with young people in Vietnam who I have had emails from all year who will be so happy to welcome me again. They want to practice their English and hear about America. The places mentioned above are all wonderful places,but I especially enjoyed the Mekong Delta- Cantho sitting by the river and the floating market there is like nothing I had ever seen.
Old Jan 5th, 2002, 04:16 PM
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The political correct viewpoint of the posters on this country are downright silly! Call them salespeople, touts, beggers, or whatever- the number of people who come up to you in Vietnam and bother tourists is incredible. You are not safe anywhere, including your hotel!
Old Jan 6th, 2002, 10:23 PM
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Just came from two weeks in Vietnam.
Beware a popular tourist scam in Hoi An.
Hoi An is touted as the place in Vietnam to have clothes tailored. You will probably be shown some silk worms eating leaves in a basket. Then they will show you silk cocoons. Next you will be shown cocoons being spun into thread. Then you'll see someone on a loom making silk fabric. Finally, you will be shown into a showroom full of bolts of beautiful "silk". Beware, most of the bolts are not silk. You will be measured for garments and the whole time the staff will swear up and down that your chosen fabric is silk. They lie. It is usually acrylic. Try this test. Slik burns when touched with a match. Acrylic and acetate will melt. See silk test on geocities.com If you want to see this scam masterfully performed visit THANG LOI, 92 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An, Vietnam
Old Jan 9th, 2002, 06:17 PM
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I enjoyed Vietnam, and may perhaps return someday, but I didn't love it the way I love Thailand, which is usually my recommendation for 1st timers. I've been to India & Nepal twice, and though the 'hassle' factor with touts, etc. can be quite high, I was quite surprised to find the situation even worse in Hanoi. Even simply crossing the streets in the old quarter was beyond frustrating, and I am resilient and strong! Perhaps because I was feeling vulnerable about other things in my life at that time, but I just wasn't in the mood. So, I went back to Thailand. I've heard Saigon is even more intensified than Hanoi, yet that is heresay. I will note, however, that the overnight boat trip out to halong bay was magnificent; a highlight out of my 15 years of solo travel. Then again, what I went through to get the tickets, and the jillions I said no to............!

Vietnam is beautiful, but I've got a super soft spot for Thailand. It's the people. They are incredibly warm, calm, gracious, compassionate, etc. etc. I can't wait to go back.

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