Tonight I ran into a person in his 20’s that told me he hated this country and could not wait until he was scheduled to leave for Thailand. His entire say in NhaTrang was in a single bar and a single restaurant until he can leave. This is one of the worst case scenarios I have encountered, but I have seen this before.
I have commented in the past that this country is a culture shock! Life here is so different from your home that is awash with confusion and frustration. Most people who travel here end up stuck in a small area where most tourists go. That is OK… You will get a flavor for this country, but you will also be in the middle of where all the petty criminals and shysters will be trying to get at your tourist dollar. If you can escape that tiny tourist world and spend a little time in the real Vietnam, you will discover a country of happiness, and acceptance. I can understand this young man. I was exactly the same way 12 years ago. I had a horrendous time here dealing with the shock of being in a country that did not have a luxury of things we take for granted. I would have liked to spend a little time talking to him and explaining where he went wrong and how he could discover the joys of this country, but alas, he was a true backpacker and the bar scene with other foreigners was what he seemed interested in. One has to wonder…. Why is he here? If you want bars, booming techno nightlife, and expensive drinks….. Just stay home. Travel to Vietnam is about discovery and adventure to a place that is totally unlike anything at home. Enjoy it and try to not get locked in the small square block area where all the tourists (and many expats) are trapped.