Vietnam is a very common destination for travelers because of its beauty. Although being well-known as a friendly country, Vietnam still has bad things which can harm your trip. Some foreigners do not want to return to Vietnam because they had bad experience. 10 bad things about Vietnam that I listed below may sound really negative, but don’t let it stop you to visit, or come back to my country. In order to help you still be in love with Vietnam, and avoid bad situations, I am here to provide best tips for you all.
1. Airport – stolen checked luggage
So… You just arrive in this lovely country, and you figure out that your checked luggage were opened and something was stolen? You will feel really mad that time. I know. Don’t be so surprised and shocked because it’s quite common in Vietnamese airport.
I, as a local, still suffered from the same situation. I was once back from Japan to Vietnam, and one of my luggage was clearly opened at that time. Fortunately, nothing was stolen. I was well-prepared, so I just put clothes and some candies in my checked luggage 😉
This situation was once too popular, and I could read about it everywhere in the newspaper. The airport officers are trying to prevent it, but still, we should take care of ourselves first, right 🙂 ?
Having your things stolen in checked luggage will definitely ruin your trip! So what is my tip for you?
Never! Never put any valuable things in your checked bags. You may be confident that you have a locker, but they still can somehow open it (as in my case), and your things will be gone. You can complain about it with the airport service, but they will pay back very low rate per kilogram. Per kilogram? Can you imagine that? I bet that everything in your luggage is much more valuable than that, so the compensation is nothing!
You can try wrapping your luggage to protect it, but if there’s something wrong with your luggage, you will need to open it again and again, and it takes time.
So just put whatever valuable to your handbag, and you will have a good trip 😉 !
This situation is quite common for travelers, isn’t it? You visit a different country, you look different, and you are charged higher compared to locals. I heard many cases that foreigners are overcharged, but to be honest, you’re not the only one. Even Vietnamese people are still overcharged
Recently, I heard from my friend that her Japanese friends paid 200 000 VND for a Bánh xèo, which is Vietnamese “sizzling cake”, and it’s unacceptable price. I feel sad that foreigners will have bad idea about Vietnam because of this overpayment.
One Bánh xèo for 200 000 VND ? Nah~ You shouldn’t eat there!
Again, this situation is very comment in Vietnam, and it happens to both foreigners and locals. So take some tips below to avoid this!
If you want to get ripped off, you can enter a restaurant with no price sign! Don’t do that, especially when you are a visitor. Even some restaurants have menu, they may charge your sit… Sounds terrible, right?
You need to ask clearly about the price before you order anything. It’s the same with eating street food, remember to ask the price before buying it! If you feel that you are paying higher than locals, leave that place and go to other places. There are plenty of restaurants to choose 🙂
3. Taxi scams
Almost the same with overpayment, taxi scam is common in Vietnam and it happens to everyone. The taxi driver will try to drive you around and around to charge more money. As foreigners, some will just pay for it without knowing that they are scammed.
Check Google map/ or Maps.me to calculate the distance of your final destination. Then you can multiply the distance with the money per kilometer. You should ask the taxi driver first about how much you need to pay before starting to go. Also, you should choose taxi companies which have good reputation such as Mai Linh, Vinasun.
I usually use this taxi brand
You can get robbed everywhere in Vietnam. The most popular cases are robbing your phones/ bags.
May be you are riding your bike/ motorcycle, or walking on the street with your phone/ bag. After 1 second, it’s gone. What you can only see is 2 guys on a motorbike with really fast speed, and you could not see their faces. What you can do that time is saying goodbye to your things 🙁
I once saw a foreigner has her phone robbed. She cried a lot, but nothing can be done in that case… I also read on newspaper that some foreigners have their bags robbed with all the necessary documents, so they had hard time.
It sounds scary, but you have ways to prevent this!
Don’t hear your phone when you are on the street. If you need to listen to your phone call, you should choose a corner and listen to it. Be careful when using your phone on the street as well.
With your bag, I suggest to use a cross-body bag. The robbers may have skills to take other bags really fast. Be careful, and put your necessary things in the accommodation if you don’t need to bring outside.
5. Pick pocket
Pick pocket can happen everywhere, anytime. My father got pick pocket twice when we went to a festival together. It happens a lot in crowded places.
Take care of your own things. I always put money on my first pocket, not in the back. Therefore, I can check it time to time to make sure it is still there.
6. Hygiene food safety
Vietnamese food is amazing! There are so many food for you to choose, but food safety is a big problem in Vietnam. Street food is really delicious, but lots of the time it is not clean and healthy. The sellers may not prepare them carefully, or because of the climate, food may have some problem. I didn’t really realize how unsafe it is until I came back Vietnam after staying in Japan. I had stomach ache and felt bad after eating.
How to avoid that?
To be honest, it’s really hard to avoid this situation 🙁 Hygiene food safety has become one of the most concern in Vietnam, and Vietnamese government is trying to improve it.
For me, I usually go to some favorite one, so I know where to avoid, and where to go. However, as a foreigner, you can also read the review about restaurants. You can choose to eat in a restaurant where looks clean, and has many visitors. Don’t eat in where there’s no one inside.
Anyway, just buy some medicine in case you have diarrhea or problem with your stomach!
7. Traffic accidents
According to Traffic police department, in 2016, there were more than 21 000 traffic accidents and almost 9000 people died. So there are around 24.5 people died per day because of traffic accidents in Vietnam. This number doesn’t include injured people. I do not want to scare you with those numbers, but must admit that traffic accidents happen regularly in Vietnam.
I also had some traffic accidents every year when I was in Vietnam, and it took me at least one week for healing. Fortunately they were not that bad, so I can still sit here and write some advice 🙂
Traffic accidents can happen with any way. You can get hit when you cross the street, or when you are riding, or in a car, even in your house. I hope some of my tips can help you have safe travels!
- Using public transportation such as bus: I know that public transportation in Vietnam can terrify foreigners, but I feel much safer when I’m on the bus. It’s safer when you are in a bigger vehicle. Think positively, you are protected by a big box :D. So maybe accident can happen with some motorbikes, you can be still safe.
- Using taxi: I also feel it’s safe when using taxi. However, I’m not that rich to use taxi all the time, so I use bus instead.
- Walking: It may be dangerous. I know one was killed when walking on the street :o. However, in Vietnam, there are cases that people are died when they are in their home, just because a truck hit and crash their home… so I still consider walking is a safe way 🙂
8. Bad service – bad manners
Many people complain about bad service in Vietnamese restaurants. It’s true. I think one part of the reason is because it’s really crowded. But the employees cannot use those excuse to serve badly. Also, not many Vietnamese can speak English, so it may be difficult to communicate.
You should learn body language or learn some basic Vietnamese to use to order food or service. The best way is to have Vietnamese friends, so they can show you good places to eat! I suggest you to try Couch surfing , or even if you just walk around, maybe some Vietnamese will want to say hello and talk to you.
9. Short returned money
Some people are shocked when some places in Vietnam return candies instead of money. They feel cheated and scammed.
It’s very common recently, even with locals, so please don’t hate Vietnam because of that. You can still eat some candies and be happy, right? They may return not enough money to foreigners, but you can ask again if there’s a mistake.
10. Crossing streets
And yes, be careful when you cross the street!
I’m sure it’s an interesting experience for non – Vietnamese! There are not many road markers in Ho Chi Minh city, so you can cross freely whenever you need! It sounds like suicide mission, but you can do that 🙂
I just go in the middle of the street, facing lots of motorcycles, buses, cars, etc. I wait a bit and continue, and wait and continue, and keep doing that while watching all the vehicles.
If you still love Vietnam after reading this article, check this out:
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