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Travel to Vietnam? The truth is way too far from the description

Travel to Vietnam? The truth is way too far from the description

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Whenever mentioning about the tourism, I often hear about the nice words to promote the beautiful image of each destination. But it’s enough! I don’t think we should invent such these things anymore. I prefer the truth. No more rhetoric, only truth.

Sometimes, I read about some restaurants or some coffee shops and I desire to visit these places even though only for once. Because the description was too nice, the pictures were too beautiful, and everything seems to be perfect. But when I really experiment it, I must say that most of the times I was disappointed. It happens also in tourism. I’m now writing down one of my experience which I dare to call a warning for everybody.

Nowadays it such easy to find out information on internet about anything in this big world. I wanted to travel to Indochina and visit some places like Cambodia, Myanmar, Laos, and of course Vietnam is on the list also. It’s not too hard to make a plan. But what about a backup plan when your real plan goes wrong? Well, that is the problem. As I said, I’ve read a lot, asked a lot. Travel to Vietnam is the first place that I would put my feet on. Reading all the good sides and the bad sides of this country, I believed that I could enjoy my trip. I braced myself for the worst things which could happen (robbing, price cheating, food poison, etc.).

travel to vietnam the truth is way too far from the description 1Hoan Kiem Lake

The first place I visit is Hanoi. It’s the capital of Vietnam, situated in the Northern. The city is crowded from day to night everywhere. If you take photos, their 50% will be the local people. But the funny thing is I love that 50%. I walked around the Hoan Kiem Lake in the early morning and many old Vietnamese people also woke up early before me to enjoy their day. They enjoy the old age in their own way. Grandpas and grandmas gathered together and did light exercise while chatting with each other. Some old man chose to take advantage of the quiet streets to ride a bike and inhale the morning fresh air. Why didn’t any advertisement tell me about this image? It was such beautiful to admire.

When my stomach yelled at me that he was hungry, I knew it was time for my breakfast. Of course I would want to try “phở” (noodle). This is the must-try food in Hanoi as I know. But my breakfast didn’t happen that easy. I should have been starving or been overloaded. Thank God I was fine! I walked in the old quarter area to see if I could find out the famous “phở” addresses that I had searched on internet. But I failed. Because there are so many options for me. I saw many small, medium and big restaurants anywhere I go. They were all smelled great. I can’t name all of the food they sell because they were all in Vietnamese. But beside of “phở”, there were rice noodle with crab soup eating with beef, green onions, tomato, you can add their special chili and eat with some vegetable additional; sticky rice with random topping that you can chose, basically they have stewed pork, egg, “chả” (steamed minced pork), pate, chicken, etc. I have found one great sticky rice dish that they eat with green bean puree, deep fried onion and sugar. It might sounds a bit weird, trust me, at first I didn’t want to try it, but after tasting, I love it. I also tried thin steamed rice cakes with fish sauce. I didn’t know how to eat that dish but some friendly stranger Vietnamese helped me. That was a whole new experience that no newspaper told me.

travel to vietnam the truth is way too far from the description 2Street Vendor

On Hanoi’s streets there are so many street vendors. And as I imaged, they would surround us and force us to buy their stuffs with super high price. Sounds like an attack for me. Well, the reality is way too different with what I thought. Yes they were selling items, so they did ask us if we want to buy something. But they just offered, once, and if you say no, then it will be no to them. No more forcing nor insisting. I was surprised. You could get dizzy watching what they were selling. I bought a decoration with small Vietnamese traditional hats. It’s small, easy to carry, meaningful and cute.

For some surrounding trips, I used the help of a travel agency for transfer and I thought I would need a tour guide. I put their link here in case you want some suggestion: bestpricevn.com. At my point, they offer good price with good services. And I see they also help with visa if you need one. Well, back to my journey. I visit some places in the north of Vietnam, you might know well about some famous destinations like Sapa, Halong Bay (basically 2 nights on cruise in Halong bay is enough for tourism), and so I won’t talk about it. I was most impressed with the trip to Bat Trang. It’s a ceramic town which produce ceramic products. Maybe all you hear about Bat Trang is just that much. Nothing else. And sounds a little bit boring. But you have to go yourself to know that there is nothing like the “boring advertisement”. You can see handmade ceramic products everywhere you go with so many kinds and many colors. The special thing that I did is joining a real process of making ceramic. I still remember in a big yard, there are many turntables for people to form the product. Anyone can make it. Kid, teenage, adult. It was so much fun to put my hand dirty and make some cup or bowl but it was super hard, really really harder than I thought. But I had so much fun, and that was an experience that everyone should try at least once.

travel to vietnam the truth is way too far from the description 3Halong Bay

And you would be quite surprised when coming to the mountainous areas. Yes, because of their beauty, that is for sure. But another surprise is the people. You barely don’t need a tour guide. Almost everybody can speak English, and they are always willing to walk with you, talk to you, tell you stories, not to sell things. I thought people would only follow me for some benefits (which I don’t have too much to offer). But no, the truth is different, and I experimented the truth.

And that’s not all, I haven’t mentioned about the beaches, the center, and the South’s life yet. There are still too many things that I haven’t experimented and I want to. I guess I don’t have to do a tour even though I had researched a lot but I will have to enjoy some days on cruise on Mekong River. I would have chance to join the daily life of fisherman, sellers, children and moreover I could practice the work of a real fisherman. How great is that!

travel to vietnam the truth is way too far from the description 4Mekong River

That’s how my backup plan beat my first plan. Because I want to stay in Vietnam for longer, I want to get to know more about this country. There are so many things that are way too different from what I read. I want to know it myself. It’s not a trip anymore. This is a new part of my life.

My warning is, sometimes we don’t need to brace ourselves too much, just enjoy life and travel with all our heart. Our big world is still an unknown number for us to find out. Don’t just read, let’s stand up and go, then you can write your own stories, just like me now.

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