My wife and I are planning a trip to Thailand in April/May for approx 21-25 days. we are 40 and 50 healthy, somewhat experienced travellers who like a bit of adventure.
Given some of the turmoil in Thailand I was wondering if Viet Nam might be a better bet?
Any advice , reccommendations would be appreciated.
#1 jakethedog has been a member since 22/11/2008. Posts: 20
You don't say if this is your first time in SEA or not?
Vietnam is certainly worth seeing, but totally different from Thailand. One is quite developed and modern and then Vietnam is still developing with a few problems, but for a tourist, it's very nice. I've only been to VN once, but I enjoyed myself so much, I'm going back again soon and also to Thailand for the first time. Vietnam doesn't have the wonderful beaches that Thai has, but it has very interesting cities and very friendly people. It also has thieves and hawkers in abundance, but this is not really a problem for tourists who are aware of the problems. I was amazed at the high quality of hotels and restaurants there, and made many friends among the Vietnamese. In both Saigon and Hanoi , student guides will give you multiple free tours for the English practice. My favorites include the resort of Hoi An/Central Coast, Hanoi City and Sapa Town in the NW Highlands. Saigon is just another big, dirty city but also with a few unique features. I spent 3.5 weeks in the country.
#2 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113
Vietnam is also quite a bit cheaper than Thai. The most I'm spending for a nice 3* hotel is $30. Vietnam Airlines is excellent and the best way to travel inside the country. Souvenir shopping is the best I've ever experienced any place in the world. The food is wonderful, safe, but quite a bit less spicy than Thai food. You can eat very well in the cities with an international selection (Mexican to French), but even the small towns have great restaurants. The best Indian food I've ever had was in Hoi An - the town that forbids cars in the central area.
#3 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113
I almost forgot this online travel guide to Vietnam - it's very good with excellent maps and tips. I don't believe the accommodation sections are up to date:
#4 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113
Thanks Daawgon...it is our first time to SE asia.... we have toured through europe, mexico and some islands to get away from the cold here in Canada.
I am just a bit concerned that things may escalate in thailand before our trip so i am looking for info to help me with plan B should I need it.
#5 jakethedog has been a member since 22/11/2008. Posts: 20
I only spent 1 month in Vietnam and found it not really to be a place i myself would feel like staying a long time Thailand for me is far better and far safer
my girlfriends friend was robbed buy a local with a needle pointed at her very weird but true i was 20 meters away she shouted and i ran over lucky for me he ran away but there was something about vietnam a dark side more so even then Cambodia
Maybe it was just me but i would return to Hanoi very nice city and great food
A bit late in replying, but maybe someone else considering between vietnam and thailand.
We have spent a decent amount of time in both places and saw things quite differently than those experiences of Daawgon. We found the Vietnamese to be the least friendly, best rippoff artists that we had ever encountered in all of our travels. True prices are cheaper than Thailands. But as a backpacker trying to buy as the locals do, expect the vendors to try every trick in the book to cheat you. Not just charging you more, but not wanting to give change or so many other tricks they use.
Thailand is much less rough around the edges for a first time visitor to the region.
Even cambodia, which is a lil more rough than vietnam, we would still choose, just because we found the cambodian people to be sooo much more friendly than the vietnamese. Spending a month around the frowning vietnamese is way too long.
#8 thebestman36 has been a member since 8/10/2007. Posts: 2
Like 'thebestman36', I've also spent much time in both nations.
As a 'newbie' to SE Asia, I definetely recommend you choose Thailand.
That said, I love Vietnam. And, I've learnt to deal with the 'issues' that 'thebestman36' writes about. But, until you've had a 'taste' of SE Asia, you'll be ripped off, and feel disenchanted by Vietnam.
Once you've 'tasted' Thailand, you'll be better placed for Vietnam.
My 1st visit (wife & I are both retired) was a week in Bangkok, then hired a car (Avis) and followed the Lonely Planet's 'Road Less Travelled' around the north (west to east). Not booking accommodation just wasn't an issue: we had a car to go to other hotels, even check out options.
Living on the Gold Coast (Australia), beaches are no big deal (even Thai beaches). An issue for us is that Phuket (etc) is so full of westerners that why bother (& also a potential terrorist target). Thus, we had a ball (and a real awakening) by traveling north and across to Isan.
ps. an elephant ride/swim at Pai was 'out of this world'. But this was merely one of so many highlights of that trip.
some friends went to vietnam and sai the food was poor, bland the people not friendly and culturally disappointing.
thailand by a mile
#10 travelrock has been a member since 19/4/2008. Posts: 209