Vietnam and My Expectations

Soon after I got there I was telling myself that I really love this place. It’s the loveliest place that I have visited in Asia, after Japan and Taiwan. To me the people of the country are a huge factor in whether I like the place or not. This is followed by the weather, the sights and then the food.

1. I expected the people of Vietnam to be hardened by the war. Instead the young people I met (they were mostly below 30) were so gentle and friendly.  I guess I have to keep in mind that a whole generation was wiped out by the war. It makes me wonder what the younger generation is taught in schools about Vietnam’s history.

2. There was no serious touting. Once you shook your head, they didn’t aggressively pursue you.

3. I also wondered if it was safe to walk the streets and was worried about pickpockets. When I reached there and walked the streets, I felt completely safe. It felt loads more safer than KL in Malaysia or Bangkok in Thailand. I hardly held on to my bag, unlike the vice like grip I had in KL or Bangkok.

4. I thought it would be impossible to cross the streets, but in fact the cars and bikes don’t go that fast (probably not more than 40 km/h) and if you do cross at the zebra crossing they will stop or at least slow down for you.  So that was another preconceived notion of mine out the water.  There is a lot of honking though just like what I experienced in Kerala.  I think the honking in Kerala was a lot worse because cars there go at break-neck speed. Here it’s more sane although it’s still a little worrying to see little infants cradled on bikes.

photo by bookjunkie

5. The vendors willingly allowed tourists to take photos, even when they did not buy anything.  Try this somewhere else and you’d probably get scolded.

photo by bookjunkie

6. This little girl was so excited about the performance on the street that she started dancing for us. What a cutie! The children here will definitely win your hearts over.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

7. I also didn’t expect the streets to be this clean.  I saw water being sprayed on the streets and street sweepers busily clearing the leaves as well.

photo by bookjunkie

photo by bookjunkie

8. There were also several food chains that we could find back home that had set up shop in fast growing Ho Chi Minh.

photo by bookjunkie

9. I was warned about the pollution, but I didn’t feel the effects of it until I spent 3 days here.  The downers were definitely the pollution and scorching heat. My eyes could not take the sun’s glare and it felt even hotter than Singapore. The smoke and dust from the millions of bikes made me sneeze quite a bit. You tend to need more showers are you feel quite grimy after a walk outside.  No wonder all the locals on their motor bikes wore cloth masks.

photo by bookjunkie

I guess I would need to visit Hanoi as well to get a fuller view of this beautiful country. I hear that it’s nice and cool in the North with even more of the beautiful French architecture.

About bookjunkie

Blogging about life in Singapore & recently cancer too.
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16 Responses to Vietnam and My Expectations

  1. miss ene says:

    In my humble opinion, if you enjoyed HCM city, you’d love Hanoi 10x more 🙂

  2. kirsten says:

    I’m in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Oh my GOD don’t even talk to me about honking. My head is still throbbing.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Gosh it must be pretty bad out there. Vietnam traffic and honking was light compared to Kerala, but I have never been to Bangladesh so I’m guessing it must be similar to India?

  3. I love all of these posts! It really brings me back to the trip I took myself to Vietnam many years ago. It is truly a beautiful place. And I can’t speak for it since I only stayed in HCM City but part of the group I went with traveled to Hanoi for a couple days and LOVED it!! My favorite memory in Vietnam is having to cross the street in a group and stop/go to let the cars go by because they don’t stop! That doesn’t happen here in the United States. Thanks for posting! Keep it up!

    • bookjunkie says:

      I guess I had a better experience with crossing the roads because the cars kinda slowed down for me. Perhaps the traffic was not as bad because of the Tet festival. I am so glad the posts brought back good memories for you.

  4. Awesome blog! I’m glad you loved Vietnam. I fell in love with the country too. The people are warm and friendly and Vietnamese coffee is just one of the best! I really like the picture of the little Vietnamese girl 🙂 She’s so adorable!

    I really want to go back to Vietnam.

    • bookjunkie says:

      Me too. Sometimes when I am on holiday I have a bad experience and don’t want to return but in this case I definitely do…its a lovely country with the nicest people. I am so happy to see how fast they are progressing and yet have not lost their country charms.

      The children are sooo cute! Especially in their traditional wear.

  5. Crystal says:

    How beautiful! I’ve wanted to go to Vietnam for years. Your posts are only intensifying my longing.

    Do you think you’d feel safe as a woman alone? I’m dying to do some solo travel before I’m pregnant again (once the ankle heals, obviously).

  6. Bryan Norman says:

    You must really really like Vietnam. I’ve been there a few times, it’s quite a decent place for fun in the sun, great food, people-watching, culture and eco-stuff, sure.

    My guess is that you haven’t been to Malaysia yet, however. Or if you have, you likely didn’t go to the right places.

    Your blog is a great read. But I’m curious, how come the fascination with Vietnam and not Malaysia? I mean, Malaysia is a lot more accessible for a start…

    Curiously yours,


    • bookjunkie says:

      I absolutely love Malaysia….it was the best holidays I had with my dad just driving in the car from JB to Penang with stops along the way. It’s a pity I didn’t have a digital camera then.

  7. Bryan Norman says:

    Well, it’s good to see that you’re not missing out then 🙂

    We did that road trip a few years back. Malaysia food is so consistently delicious, we seemed to pull over to stretch our legs a lot more frequently than necessary.

    Swing by the other coast too some day, if you haven’t already. The raw wilderness there is awe-inspiring.


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