Girl travels,

Vietnam

4:38 AM UrbanModish 0 Comments


Vietnam is both exotic and compelling with staggering natural beauty and cultural complexities. It’s gives an overflowing plate of sensory experiences – from the soul filling view over a surreal seascape of limestone mountains in Halong Bay. The breathtaking and inspiring boat ride that gave a glimpse of some beautiful caves in Ninh Binh. The tsunami of motorbikes in Saigon. The simple and visually laid back life of locals in Can Tho.

Vietnamese cuisine just blows your mind and palate away! Every dish looks so simple, but a mouthful is an explosion of flavors. Juicy tender and succulent meat with fresh crunchy herbs and sauce makes you stop and relish every morsel.

The people are extremely nice, warm and very welcoming. Soft spoken and excessively slow to anger and very courteous. It took me 2-3 days to realize that almost the whole of Vietnam is filled with extremely polite people.

Things to note in Vietnam: Download grab aka Vietnam’s own Uber (they have bikes as well). If you are taking Vietnam sim with an option to call, download BE. Sim cards can be taken either at the airport or you can find cheaper options in the city. Money can be exchanged at Jewelry stores, ensure you have new currency, else the value will be low.

In Saigon, go to Ha Tam (everyone knows and will guide you appropriately), I found they give better rates as compared to Jewelry stores. I’m not aware if there are Ha Tam’s elsewhere (do check).

If you can ride a two wheeler, you are in luck. You won’t spend much on cabs. Cabs companies like Ma linh (green color), airport taxi (white with pink lines) all work on meter system. However, you can also bargain on the rate. What I did was check the rate on Grab and bargain.

In Saigon, you can easily travel around using the local bus. I wasn’t able to find local bus elsewhere.

Travel in and around Vietnam via train, and FUTA bus for budget travels. Futa bus is super comfortable. Trains are clean. I got an upgrade to the Laman express, and it was super comfortable and clean.

Be wary of the currency, as they are all of higher denominations and almost look similar. Take your time to count, the locals are very calm about it and won’t rush you.

I’ll list down basic costs of items so you can understand the currency better (it helped me).

1.5 ltr water – 10,000 dongs
(In hue, they tried to sell this at 20k and above, but I stood my ground and bought chilled water for 10k – mentally pats my back)
Aerated drinks – 250ml (I downed so many) will cost you around 6,000 dongs.
Milk in small packets – 7000 dongs

When they say 10, 15 or 20 – they mean 10,000, 20,000 etc.
The lowest currency I saw was 500, and no one wanted it (lol)
The highest was 500,000 dongs.

I was told to be careful of my phone, wallet and chain from Nha Trang to Saigon. But I didn’t have one incident of snatching or an attempt either. But since I was told to be careful by the locals, I was on alert.

Crossing the street might be stressful if you aren’t used to a stampeded of vehicles coming out of nowhere. But since we (me and my mom) were used to the same, back in India, it wasn’t all that scary. Just be observant and most often they will slide past you.

Now let’s move past and head to the places I visited in Vietnam. I went for a total of 14 days and traveled from North to South. I started off with Hanoi, as I wasn’t keen on spending more time there (but that changed once I saw the market, oh well).

Click here for Hanoi, Halong Bay and Ninh Binh


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