Trip Information

I love Vietnam
I love Vietnam (24)
Trip Date:2019-07-15 - 2019-08-15
# Photos:51 [View]
Countries visited:Vietnam
Twenty years is a long time, but CAN THO stills feels like home away from home to us. So that's where we spent the first week of our trip, mainly meeting people we know, hanging out together, telling the stories of life and making plans.

Then we went to the really touristy bit, visiting HOI AN and HUE. Yes, these places are very touristy and the change from 20 years ago is enormous, but we still liked them. Just going with the flow and taking in the sights.

Another really touristy place is NINH BINH, further up north on the way to Hanoi. This is a place we hadn't been before. Ha Long Bay on land, but also a bit Disneyland.

Finally it was up to HANOI, which has always been a city we loved. Again here, we were travelling in different time zones, now and 20 years ago, forever comparing. But Hanoi is still great, even though there are many more motorbikes and tourists now.

The final week of our trip was spent all the way up north in HA GIANG PROVINCE, a province that was almost impossible to visit 20 years ago. Now it's pretty accessible and again, you won't be the only western tourists, but it is still much less visited than Sapa and surroundings. We went with a driver and guide and absolutely enjoyed it.

Compared to twenty years ago, even to ten years ago, Vietnam has changed a lot. The cities have gotten much bigger, much more crowded, and overall the living standard has improved tremendously. Also it is much, much easier to travel around.

Much to our surprise, the general attitude of the Vietnamese towards tourists has changed. They are much more relaxed now. The change is so big that we assumed there must have been some kind of government campaign on how to deal with foreign tourists. THis turned out to be true, we even found a few posters with things like "10 rules on how to deal with tourists", which included things like "don't force them into buying somehting they don't want" and "don't follow them around everywhere". Anyway, the campaign has really worked and it shows. Do we miss the hard bargains and the in-your-face confrontations? Nope!

At the same time, the Vietnamese people are strong and active as ever. They are a high-energy people and great to interact with. The landscapes and the sights are superb, the food is terrific (best in the world for me), but the people are the main reason why we love Vietnam so much.

We'll be back, but we won't wait another 10 years.