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“Ten Tips to Survive Vietnam's Traffic”
Review of Vietnam

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Hanoi, Vietnam
Level 1 Contributor
1 review
7 helpful votes
“Ten Tips to Survive Vietnam's Traffic”
Reviewed June 17, 2011

DON’T spend hours waiting to cross the street on foot: that constant tide of traffic won’t stop until late at night, so

DO as the Vietnamese do: take the plunge and inch slowly across. Observe the Miracle of the Red Sea, as the traffic parts like magic, flowing smoothly in front of you or behind, meeting up again on the other side.

DON’T make any sudden or unpredictable movements: freeze if you have to, but never lunge forward or backward towards the safety of the sidewalk. In fact, you can do just about anything, but do it with conviction!

DON’T forget, if you’re riding or driving, to look where you’re going – all the time: if you hit anything in front of you, then it’s your fault.

DO give way to any vehicle bigger and noisier than yours. Trucks and buses are particularly dangerous: often old, sometimes unsafe and usually all over the road.

DO watch out for unfamiliar obstacles: water buffaloes, rocks of various sizes, broken-down trucks…, people sitting in the road, missing bridges, girls in ao dai cycling five abreast, slow-moving mountains of farm produce, dog fights, impromptu football matches, piles of building materials – and almost no light on anything at night..

DON’T hesitate to take evasive action – even if this sometimes means leaving the tarmac or coming to a dead stop.

DO try to avoid getting involved in one of the all-too-frequent minor accidents that plague Vietnam’s roads (and the major ones as well, of course), but if you are unlucky,

DON’T lose your cool, in spite of the interference of the large and vocal crowd that may gather: try to settle things amicably and swiftly. Sometimes, paying a reasonable amount of money will save you a lot of hassle.

DO remember that the only rule is: you’re not allowed to bump into anybody… irrespective of what they did or should have done, or of what the road signs or traffic lights were telling them to do. Some people still seem to think that anything red means forward, comrade

Helpful?
7 Thank Evivatours
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kenilworth, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
68 reviews
126 helpful votes
“Enjoy Vietnam, Its people, scenery and food. It's a wonderful Country!”
Reviewed June 9, 2011

JBR 14/511 - 29/5/11 - Hanoi - Halong Bay - Hoi An - Ho Chi Minh

Flew from Birmingham to Paris and then onwards to Hanoi with Air France - Codeshare with Vietnam Airlines. Arrived Hanoi early morning. Arranged pick up from airport with the Hotel. Stayed at the Moevenpick Hotel for 2 nights. Moevenpick Hotel was very nice - early check in was no problem - rooms bright and airy. Short taxi ride from the centre about 30,000VND. First stop was Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. The queue was long but it only took approximately 10 minutes - quite a surreal experience - he actually looks like he is asleep. Went from there to get tickets for water puppet show the following evening - first class tickets cost 100,000VND. Took a taxi to the infamous Hanoi Hilton (Hoa Lo Prison) had a look around - its quite small so only there for about 45minutes. Walked back to the hotel about 5 minutes away and stopped to sample some fresh beer on the way. The fresh beer is excellent and was approx 5,000VND a glass! Evening meal was at Quan An Ngon - only 5 minutes walk from the hotel - meal was excellent would highly recommend. Back to hotel for early night.
Day 2 - started with a walk around the old quarter - this took all morning with a bowl of Pho at one of the many street stalls. Spent a lazy afternoon drinking coffee and watching the amazing traffic. Evening was at the Water puppet show which was quite amusing and a meal in the old quarter before heading back to the hotel. At no time during our visit to Hanoi were we approached by people trying to scam us, in fact it is one of the safest cities i have visited.
Day 3 - Early morning start for a drive to Halong Bay - approx 3.5 hours - we stopped on the way at a factory where disabled people made handicraft products - interesting but did not buy anything this time. Arrive in Halong Bay and boarded Violet Cruise. Wow the boat was fantastic - we had the Dragon Suite which included a four poster bed a jacuzzi bath, walk in shower and a balcony. This was not a cheap cruise but the service and food was second to none. Their were only 6 guests on the boat and a total of about 15 staff! The views over Halong Bay are stunning and it is a must do trip when in Vietnam. We visited some small caves and the floating fishing village as well as enjoyed Tai Chi on the deck the following morning.
Day 4 - Left Halong Bay around lunch time for a drive to Hanoi airport in order to catch the flight to Danang (Hoi An). Drive took about 4 hours with customary comfort stop on the way - saw some lovely countryside on the way as well. Early evening flight to Danang and then Hotel arranged pick up from airport and transfer to The Hoi An Pacific Hotel where we were staying for 9 nights.
Days 5 - 12 - The Hoi An Pacific Hotel is a four star rated hotel and it thouroughly deseves this rating - we stayed in a pool villa room which was really nice and very big for a hotel room. The staff at the hotel are really friendly and always attentive - it was like a home from home. The location is halfway bewtween the town and the beach and a taxi costs about 20,000VND to either. The hotel does opearte a free shuttle bus at set times as well. Hoi An is a wonderful town - it really does have to be seen to be enjoyed. We had a wondeful amazing time in Hoi An - the people are terrific and although you get hassle from some of the street sellers it can be quite good fun as well. The beach in Hoi An is better than i expected as well. We did the Heaven & Earth Bicycle Tour on one morning and this was brilliant - we ventured deep into the countryside and saw bamboo boats, bricks, mother of pearl boxes etc being made - cycling across the floating bridge was interesting! We also did a trip to My Son and a lunch time cruise with cooking lesson through Cinnamon Cruises - this was brilliant as well, in fact we were the only 2 people on the tour!
We ate at many restaurants in Hoi An and the restaurants opposite the hotel and every single meal was lovely, brilliant value and could not be faulted. When our stay in Hoi An was over we were both very sad to leave and we made very many good friends with the hotel staff and the local people in the bars/restaurants across from the hotel.
Day 13 - Transfer to airport for short flight to Ho Chi Minh - picked up from airport by the Hotel which was included in the room price - we booked a Colonial Suite at the Majestic Hotel Saigon for 2 nights. This hotel is in the French Colonial style and was exquisite - again the service could not be faulted. we visited many different attractions whilst in HCMC most notably Ben Than Market (if you have been to Asian markets before then you will know that you get hassled but its all light hearted)We had a day trip out thorough Saigon River Express which took us to the Cu Chi Tunnels by riverboat. The tunnels are fascinating and our guide was very knowledgeable. We fired an AK47 before venturing down the tunnels and then the riverboat back to HCMC.
On the final day we did our own walking tour around HCMC taking in the war remnants museum, reunification palace, notre dame etc.
In summary - Vietnam is the most wonderful place that I have ever been lucky enough to visit. The people are warm welcoming and really friendly they are genuinely interested in your lives as we were in theirs. We bought loads of gifts including the obligatory T - Shirts. I was a little bit apprehensive before going to Vietnam after reading all the scaremongering on the Vietnam forums but as far as we were concerned as long as you use commonsense then you should encounter no problems. Every single taxi ride that we took the driver put the meter on without being asked. For those of you who have not been to Vietnam and are apprehensive then don't be it is wonderful and for those people that have been more than once I can see why. I am in love with this country and its people.We will return for certain next year. It's a fantastic in the world..

Helpful?
5 Thank pje39
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hanoi, Vietnam
1 review
1 helpful vote
“Bargan Tips when traveling to Vietnam”
Reviewed May 23, 2011

Bargain Tips – Don’t let local sellers discriminate you.

"Bargain before buying, otherwise you will be like a skin less chicken" – It’s the slogan of any experienced foreigners when travelling to Vietnam. Bargaining is an art and bargainer is an artist truthfully. When you are in a country where there are two price rates, one for local people and one for foreigners, especially people having dollars in cash. Sellers there always try to take advantage of foreigners whom they assume to be rich and have a lot of money. When you go to markets and souvenir stands, the prices they tell you are never true. The true prices are usually half or one third of what you are told. There are many sellers who can speak nice English. They will tell you that you are the first customer of their store today and they will give you the item at their buying price for some luck. Don't ever believe them. The "buying" price they tell you is always many times more than the real value of the product. Don’t be worried and mess things up because you just spend some money to receive lessons. And there are some rules for you in practicing bargain.

#1: Where to bargain: local market of course. You will not have to bargain in big shop and supermarkets. However, local market is a different place and it is considered as a battle for you. Even in fixed price shop, you still can get some discount just because you are a well-trained bargainer.

#2: Be smiled: your smile will pave your way and seller has no way getting angry with you.

#3: Always bargain in native currency. Conventional wisdom says anyone who has dollars can afford to spend them.

#4: 1/3 and 1/2 formula that means the real price of product maybe stands at only 1/2 and 1/3, even 1/4 of the number sellers tell you.

#5: Negotiate couples of times and increase the price gradually after each time.

This example can show you how bargain system works:

You extremely stick your eyes on a silk scarf, you ask how much and the dialogue will be like:

You: How much is it?

Seller: $20

You: Oh how expensive! $10 ok?

Seller: no way. It’s real silk and this price cannot be only 10. 18 ok?

You: the color is not so good. 12 ok?

Seller: the last price 16 ok?

You: NO, only 12

And then you pretend to go to other shop. You will see them call you back.

Seller: Come on, come back here $13, I will sell. You are so mean.

You: No, $12.

Seller: Alright. $12.

The end. You can hear them talking something in local language; it’s obviously about you but don’t worried, you are totally make a great bargain and make them scare.

Good luck next time.

Have a good trip with our advice!!!

Helpful?
1 Thank EvivaVietnam
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elanora, Australia
Level 6 Contributor
112 reviews
97 helpful votes
“Above and Beyond - Touring Vietnam”
Reviewed April 22, 2011

“Above and Beyond” –
More Fun Travel Company Vietnam
Having traveled to most parts of our world for 30 odd years we decided to make our first visit to Vietnam. Having arrived at a draft itinerary we sourced price estimates from four well known Australian tour companies, which were all fairly similar.
In order to make sure our itinerary was sensible we also contacted 3 Vietnam based tour companies basically to compare the program we had planned, with what they offered. Two of the three responded and we were particularly impressed by one response which was very detailed and impressive to say the least - More Fun Travel in Hanoi.
We took up their free of charge offer to look at our basic itinerary and submit their suggestions, etc, to ensure we got the most out of our trip. For interest sake we also requested a quotation for them to organize our tour from Vietnam – previously we have avoided using overseas based tour companies for obvious reasons, particularly throughout Asia!
Frankly their cost was so attractive I contacted the Vietnamese Government to verify the company’s credentials, which came up 100%, and fully registered, unlike so many others, and much more reasonable than Oz company prices.
Long story short, we have just returned from one of the best (19 day), touring holidays we have ever enjoyed – just my Wife and I alone, in our spotless, private (late-model) air conditioned vehicle, pre arranged visas, an English speaking guide, and driver , superb pre-tour organization, professional , knowledgeable and courteous guides, pick-up and drop-off at arrival and departure points, wonderful superior hotel accommodation, internal airfares, entry fees (everywhere required), breakfasts and many lunches, best cruising junk Ha-Long Ba, and so much more.
The lady that runs this company” More Fun Travel”, Ms Gnoc, has based her growing small business on providing the best possible customer service, which she frankly exceeds in every department – as an example we discovered, at 2pm in Hoi Ann, that we had left our camera in our hotel in Saigon (480km south), and being in Asia we figured we would never see it again. However, after advising our guide, and asking his advice on buying a new camera locally, he requested we delay that plan and at 11am the next morning, whilst touring in Hoi An Old Town on foot, a courier on motor cycle found us, with our guide, in the street and handed our camera to us safe and sound. Even a major itinerary change 7 days from departure was organized without any problem, or cost.
At the end of our tour, after enjoying such a completely wonderful experience, we asked to meet Ms Ngoc personally before we left Hanoi and had a lovely chat with her over coffee. We enjoyed listening to her many questions of how we thought she could improve her service even further.
She is a delightful and special Lady striving to provide visitors the best possible service and a genuine overview of Vietnam, at an amazingly reasonable cost.
Our private tour to Vietnam can only be described as absolutely first class in every single aspect.
Feel free to contact us through Trip Adviser for further details. Her web-site is also good to look at.

Helpful?
7 Thank Jimkirk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Phnom Penh
1 review
1 helpful vote
“Travel blog about Vietnam”
Reviewed March 28, 2011

On my recent trip to Vietnam we went to Ho Chi Minh City, Cat tien national park and Mui ne. When I saw Ho Chi Minh City for the first time I thought that Ho Chi Minh City was far more advanced than Phnom Penh the city that I live in. The streets were far cleaner than Phnom Penh and the hotel we went to was more superior to any other hotel in Phnom Penh. In Vietnam the traffic was busier than the traffic in Vietnam. For dinner we went to a Japanese hot pot restaurant called Kichi Kichi which was a same kind of restaurant and the food was better but not the service. When we went to Ben Thanh market the market was wider than any market in Phnom Penh but I didn’t like the smell of dead fishes and the seller killing live fishes. But overall I would like to come back to Ho Chi Minh City.
When I entered Cat tien national park I thought that Cat tien national park was greener than anywhere in Phnom Penh. In Cat tien national park we went trekking to see trees. I liked the trekking part but I didn’t like that we only saw trees. Later at the night we went on a night truck ride to see deer. I liked to see deer than to see trees. After the night truck ride we slept in tents which I thought was very nice. I would definitely recommend tourists to visit Cat tien national park. After the sleep in the tent we went to the primate center to see gibbons which I enjoyed looking and I would recommend tourists to come and see gibbons.
When our red bus entered Mui ne, a town in Vietnam, it didn’t look as advanced as Ho Chi Minh City but it still was an advanced city. The hotel we stayed in was called the beach resort and it was kind of nice. At the night we had a grand dinner then we walked on the golden sandy beach. We also went sand surfing in Mui ne which was like to stay in Mui ne longer to see how wonderful Mui ne was.
In conclusion I really enjoyed the trip to Vietnam and the time in Ho Chi Minh City and the Japanese food in Kichi Kichi. Also I enjoyed my time in Cat tien national park trekking to see trees, deer and sleeping in tents. In Mui ne the hotel we stayed in, which was called the beach, was nice. In the sand surfing area you could ride horses and ostriches. Overall I enjoyed my time in Vietnam.

Helpful?
1 Thank SKCPhnomPenh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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