Vietnam is a beautiful country. From the watery delta of the Mekong with its breathtaking shades of green, speckled by the bright color of flowers and fruit, To the jagged tranquility of Halong Bay and it’s amazing rugged sights. The country is filled with history. There are Ancient Cham ruins to explore, and beautiful Buddhist temples to visit. White choral sand beaches, and misty mountain top get aways. There is a lot to see and do. After this introduction, I will be pasting information provided by other sources because there are people out there who have done a much better job than I can to inform you of specific areas. I will add my impressions where I feel needed.
Back to the culture shock…. When you first start touring Vietnam, you might get the impression that it is a dirty place. In the past it was so, but they have become much better over time. The main reason it may look messy here to many it that there is always construction and building improvements
everywhere. There are also houses built against all of the roads as the people here can open some king of business and try to make a living. The combination of demolition waste, building materials, home built structures and businesses, along with the street side industries can look a little messy. Try to ignore and look beyond and you will see the natural beauty of this country, or better yet…. Look at all the activity as part of the charm as I do. So now you have decided that Vietnam might be the place for an exotic holiday different from any you have taken before. Tou may have a few questions such as:
Is it Safe?
Vietnam is one of the safest countries in the world to travel. The government has asked that the foreigner be treated well and what the government here wants, it usually gets. The people in their ever industrious ways have learned
that is easy to make money from a tourist by providing a good service, so you will find no lack of friendly people willing to help you. Like any other place, there is petty crime. Snatch and Grabs, pick pockets, and other minor scams to get at your money. Actual muggings are rare unless you are silly enough to walk down the quiet streets in a foreign and poor country drunk at 3am. Just use common sense and do not draw extra attention to yourself with bulging fanny packs and the like, and you will be fine. I myself was a victim of laydyboy pick pockets. ( see blog (see post A sucker born every minute). So do not worry about walking around tightly grasping your packs and wallets. Generally you will be fine.
Will I get sick? What should I take?
Before you come here, you should consult with your local travel inoculation centre. The recommended shots are typhoid, Japanese Esephalitis, yellow fever and Hepatitis a and b.
You really do not need to worry about malaria unless you are going to spend time deep inland, and there is nothing you can take to
prevent dengue fever. But what about the local bugs?
Our bodies have a bit of trouble adapting to the bacteria that is in the water here. It is generally best to avoid consuming even small amounts of the local water. A person can do this by always keeping a golden rule. “If it is boiled, or if I can peel it, it is safe to eat”. If you keep this rule in mind, you should never get sick from the food. People are sometimes concerned about the condition of the food. They see it sitting in the sun in open air markets. All of the food is fresh and will be sold in the morning. By noon it is all gone and does not sit there for the next day. I have not seen people suffer from food
poisoning, even though it may look like it can happen. It is also a good idea to always check the ice in your drink. If it is round or has rounded edges, it was made with purified water and is safe. Most restaurants now serve this kind of ice as they are as much on a clean water kick as us. If the ice in your drink looks jagged as if broken off a block, be very wary. Ask if you can about the source of the water. If you cannot determine it is safe, do not drink it. The water here can sometimes cause some very bad bouts of diarrhea. It is a good idea to bring some Imodium or other such anti-Diarrhea product just to be safe.
Tomorrow I will start to write about specific destinations and what there is to see. And do.