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general help in Vietnam... much appreciated

  • travelr

    Joined Travelfish
    31st January, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Hello all,

    Just arrived in Vietnam and had a truly terrible- and frightening- experience just getting to the Old Quarter from the airport in Hanoi. Been traveling around SE Asia for over 6 weeks but never had such a bad feeling about a place as I do this city- and I hate making such quick judgements, I know I should give it a chance (this only happened an hour ago so bear with me).

    Anyway, I noticed lots of posts about people being frustrated with the rip offs they encounter throughout Vietnam. Yet they say they still had a great time and found places to escape it- where are they?!

    Basically, if anyone can suggest some places in Vietnam (preferably towards the north) where there aren't a million people hassling you, I'd really appreciate it. I know they are out there but am wondering where the more accesible ones may be.

    THANK YOU!

    #1 Posted: 31/1/2009 - 18:33

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  • chrispyrolls

    Click here to learn more about chrispyrolls
    Joined Travelfish
    2nd November, 2006
    Location United Kingdom
    Posts: 198
    Total reviews: 4

    Hi,

    Whilst there are post on here about rip offs in Vietnam, I have only experience people trying to sell me things. When this has happened, and it's something I don't want to buy, my approach is to refuse with a smile. If they persist just keep refusing and keep smiling... they give up and move on to someone else!

    I have always arranged for the place I am staying at to pick me up at airports, true you pay a little extra (couple of $) but you know you are going to be taken to the right place. I suspect that you had a bit of trouble getting transport to the OQ, and perhaps being taken to a hotel you didn't ask to be take? There are plenty of reports of this, even hotels post this on their sites ...

    Keep smiling and enjoy Vietnam, there is more to it than the rip off merchants, so hang in there

    chris

    #2 Posted: 31/1/2009 - 18:52

  • travelr

    Joined Travelfish
    31st January, 2009
    Posts: 3

    Posted from within Vietnam.

    Thanks Chris! Yup, you're basically right, involved a confrontation and even some physical aggression. Scary. Any suggestions about places to check out where we can maybe escape the tourist traps and make the most of our time in Vietnam? Feel free to email me at gaelen.engler@gmail.com if you'd prefer, I'd love any suggestions. Been spending the past month and a half trying to "get off the beaten track" as they say, and have managed to do so thanks to the help of fellow travelers. Thank you!!

    #3 Posted: 31/1/2009 - 21:48

  • BigRoss

    Joined Travelfish
    17th February, 2007
    Posts: 19
    Total reviews: 13

    The best way to "get off the beaten track" is to cross the border into Laos! Laos is about 2/3 the area of Vietnam, but has only 6.5 million people, versus the 85 million of VN! You'll find a lot more space!
    Earlier this year I returned to southern Vietnam after a break of quite a few years. I was horrified by the thoughtless, mindless industrialisation that has taken place with no motivation other than profit.
    If you want to stay in Vietnam, and in the north, try going to one of the travel cafes and organising a jeep tour to Dien Bien Phu and points north, then coming back via Sa Pa and the Red River valley. It's very scenic, and outside Sa Pa, you won't experience any of the problems you mention.

    #4 Posted: 1/2/2009 - 19:05

  • BigRoss

    Joined Travelfish
    17th February, 2007
    Posts: 19
    Total reviews: 13

    The best way to "get off the beaten track" is to cross the border into Laos! Laos is about 2/3 the area of Vietnam, but has only 6.5 million people, versus the 85 million of VN! You'll find a lot more space!
    Earlier this year I returned to southern Vietnam after a break of quite a few years. I was horrified by the thoughtless, mindless industrialisation that has taken place with no motivation other than profit.
    If you want to stay in Vietnam, and in the north, try going to one of the travel cafes and organising a jeep tour to Dien Bien Phu and points north, then coming back via Sa Pa and the Red River valley. It's very scenic, and outside Sa Pa, you won't experience any of the problems you mention.

    #5 Posted: 1/2/2009 - 19:06

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