Dont get me wrong loved Vietnam and certainly parts of Hanoi (Hanoi backpackers hostel but i found the vietnamese people very rude, far too busy and too many beeping there motorbike horns!! The reason that really got me disliking the place was i saw plenty of pickpockets right infront of my eyes (the vietnamese women (not all of course) grabbing mens wallets and doing one on a motorbike) just to tell you BOYS especially KEEP AN EYE ON YOUR BELONGINGS!!!!!!!!! all in all Vietnam (south) fabulous place and i loved Ha long Bay....................
I travelled alone but glad that when i was in Hanoi i was with a group of people.
Vietnam gets a lot of mixed reviews. There is no denying that cultural the Vietnamese are a tough people and can be difficult at times. I have a lot of Vietnamese neighbors here in Muk, and they all (without exception) have told me they do not like Vietnam and find the Vietnamese to be difficult in contrast with the Thais. I think this is the reason Vietnam has a low return rate for tourists. An English friend of mine came back so incensed he said to me "the problem with you yanks is you didn't kill enough of them." But frankly, I think the place is just culturally not as soft as Laod or Thailand, and that is kind of what people have in mind when they think of SEA. I've met a lot of Vietnamese and I admire them as hard workers and generally honest people. At least the ones I have come into contact with.
#2 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Hey look, I can't make a truly objective comment as I live here and so I probably experience the city in a very different way to a backpacker or holiday-maker. But when I go to get my bike fixed and get directions from one shop (that can't help) to another (who hopefully can) and then he's not there so the neighbour calls him and he comes and fixes my chain whilst wearing his Sunday best, then that afternoon I go to the market and get smiles and welcoming chit chat from the market ladies, then I go to my local pho chua place for dinner and on the way get greeted by half a dozen locals who I see every day. That's when you really can't fault the people here. Personally I had worse experiences with the people in Bangkok and Phnom Penh, but everyone's experiences are different.
And a question on one of the specific complaints: 'too busy'?? I'm not really sure what you mean by this?
I haven't been to Vietnam (though I promised Do Sao Mai I would go) so my commentary comes mostly from Vietnamese people themselves and from the simple observation that Vietnam has a low return rate for tourists. So I suspect there is something to the general observation about Vietnamese being pretty tough and aggressive. But as with many things of this nature, each of us navigates the world differently and the Vietnamese from Vietnam proper (vice second and third generations ones living in Thailand) I have always found to be hard working and honest.
#4 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
When all you see of Hanoi is Ma May Street or Hoan Kiem Lake, it's sure to be a downer. I suspect the OP did little if any research before coming to Vietnam. If you came to New York City, and the only places you went were Times Square and the subways, you'd think the United States was the worst place in the world. Get out and meet the people who have never seen a foreigner - get off the Tourist Trail and stop taking guided tours.
Personally, I find Americans rather annoying, and yes, I'm one of them!
#5 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113
"Personally, I find Americans rather annoying, and yes, I'm one of them!"
Really? In the expat community I find most of them pretty cool. I actually find the English tend to complain a lot more about living in Thailand. The Aussies and Americans I find strangely similar. But I caution, sample size is small.
#6 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
hey everyones replied i was being some sort of *****!! so sorry if i offended you in anyway - as being "too busy" i think you can understand where im coming from (crazy busy city) yes like most places but crazier than Bangkok and Places in morocco iv been too! I wrote this just to warn other travellers about what i saw that went on there (people being robbed in the street) - I took No guided tours, saw most of Vietnam which i thought was Beautiful infact, Travellers just have to be aware sometimes "**** goes on"-and thats in majority of cities round the world.
Didn't offend me. Almost always when someone here is critical of a place, someone will respond with the problem is with the person making the criticism - which may or may not be valid. Some places do suck.
#8 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
Didn't offend me either - I get it. I just wanted to give an alternative perspective to balance things out a bit. And I agree with daawgon's comments - I'd use Oxford Street as a comparison in the UK (noisy, busy, rude, theft risk etc.). Glad you enjoyed your trip overall though!
First, to the OP, if you write that anyplace "is annoying!!" in your headline, you're obviously going to rub some people the wrong way. Many live in Hanoi and love the city. I mean, just the way it comes off... "hanoi is annoying!!"... it sounds like you're whining about a 5th grade classmate or something. Something like, "Beware Hanoi pick pockets", might have been less offensive.
Just to balance things out further, I spent two weeks in the Hanoi area a few years ago and loved the city. Busy, yes, but there are some charming, relaxed neighborhoods mixed in too. For culture and food Hanoi is among Asia's best.
I didn't see anyone getting robbed in the street. It's unfortunate the OP saw that, and apparently more than once, but I don't think it's more common in Hanoi than other cities? I live in Bangkok and saw the immediate aftermath of a pickpocket on a river boat pier recently. I've known people who've been pick-pocketed in Delhi, Dublin, London, and New York. It happens everywhere.
Vietnamese people get a lot of bad press on this and other travel websites. Yes, some can be a bit pushy at times (similar to the Chinese in that regard), but my experience after almost 3 months in Vietnam and having known many Vietnamese immigrants in the US is that they're usually genuine, kind-hearted people who will bend over backwards to help someone in need. Just my two cents.
DLuek does raise an interesting point here. When I read about Mukdahan where I live on Lonely planet it is so annoying to hear the place described as sleepy and uninteresting and not much for a tourist to do. There's lots to do here, it's just that the guy who wrote the article copied it from the guy the previous year and so on. And yeah, 20 years ago Mukdahan was slower and sleepy, but the city has changed now. It's got a lot of quality nightlife, something that isn't mentioned at all. It's got a place where you can ride ATVs cross country, tennis courts with an active tennis club, a soccer stadium with a professional team if you want to catch a game, periodic Muay Thai matches... The best riverside restaraunts weren't even mentioned and an old one that is long closed (closed five years ago) is still listed! So I can see for people who live in Hanoi and like it, that title would be a bit annoying.
#12 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I am more of a HCMC fan but Hanoi was friendly the two times I visited. The traffic is the same as most cities in SE Asia -- beeping is a way of life. I did not encounter aggressive, rude people -- at least in my travels. I live in NYC. Aggressive and rude is a way of life.
#13 NYTim has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 106
It's all about perception, I suppose.We spent almost a week in Hanoi and everyday we were subjected to the most horrible smog,breathing left you feeling as if you'd smoked 100 cigarettes.I don't know if this is the norm but it certainly tainted our view of the place.
#14 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
I think part of the problem of only 5% of Vietnam travellers returning is not knowing where to go. A lot folk complain about being hassled but they tend to be (almost always) in touristy areas. Half the fun is exploring and getting away from the holiday rat race, just people dont seem to realise that.
"Half the fun is exploring and getting away from the holiday rat race, just people dont seem to realise that."
That's because for a lot, dare I say the majority, of people that is not half the fun. The cultural tourist likes this sort of tourist activity. Most tourists are not cultural tourists. Sex tourists and beach tourists are not looking to explore out of the way places.
Also, that would not explain why Thailand has such a high rate of return. The same rules would hold true for Thailand - people going to the well worn spots.
I suspect the problem is with the character of Vietnamese culture. That's what most reporting indicates.
#16 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I suspect the problem is with the character of Vietnamese culture. That's what most reporting indicates.
Wow what claptrap. I am going to Vietnam for my third visit. I have found the locals to be hard working and friendly. One reason for the non returns is size of the country. Stay a month and you can see most things Thalland is bigger so it takes more time.
#17 NYTim has been a member since 11/9/2009. Posts: 106
Tim, most tourists who come to Thailand do not travel around the country. The majority spend their time in Phuket, the Islands, Bangkok and Pattaya. There was an article here on the subject a while back:
I also emphasize again that I live in a city with a large Vietnamese population, ALL of my immediate neighbors are ethnic Vietnames and all speak the language. All have returned to Vietnam to visit relatives and all of them tell me that the Vietnamese are culturally more aggressive than Thais in their behavior and demeanor. So maybe it's "clap-trap", but it's clap trap my neighbors all subscribe to. I've also heard this from expats here who have visited Vietnam as well as seen a lot of posts on travelfish which complain about touts being more aggressive than Thailand as well as taxi drivers running more aggressive scams than Thailand.
#18 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
The guide books say the further north you go in Vietnam;the meaner the people get. I found Danang the friendliest city.Why? Could it be the lack of tourists. Also the government actively encourage the people to rip-off tourists as I was told by a hotel manager. They say we can't afford to pay you more so supplement your income by ripping off the 'rich' capitalist Westerners.
I'm in Thailand now, wow it's really nice to find how honest the Thais are after the constant dishonesty and rip-offs of the Khmer. Vietnam is even harder work, kind of wearing day after day to ask the price of everything in advance or get stiffed.
#19 sayadian has been a member since 15/1/2008. Posts: 1,557
Is that not why we travel?? To see other places, things and experience the good, the bad and the ugly of every destination. I found them to be quite friendly if not a little too pushy with sales, but they are in a different position to us judgmental westerners that can afford to spend a fair bit of disposable income to visit. As I've said in the past on here (or TA) if you have traveled and have not been ripped off or duped then you have not experienced 'travel' Live-Learn and appreciate what you have.
If you leave a country and you are still alive and not injured, then when you get home, have a beer, talk S*$t with your friends and laugh about it. Otherwise get out your iPads and google different countries from the safety of your lounge chair.
As an Aussie, I find some Aussies rude and too busy, hence why we go to Asia. I've also experienced rude Americans and violent New Zealanders.
#20 Benno has been a member since 18/1/2012. Posts: 36
Is that not why we travel?? To see other places, things and experience the good, the bad and the ugly of every destination.
Benno - that's why you travel. Everyone has different motivations for travelling to different destinations.
"I found them to be quite friendly if not a little too pushy with sales, but they are in a different position to us judgmental westerners that can afford to spend a fair bit of disposable income to visit."
Don't worry, they are going to be every bit as judgemental as the westerners are. That's a human trait, not a western one.
"As I've said in the past on here (or TA) if you have traveled and have not been ripped off or duped then you have not experienced 'travel' Live-Learn and appreciate what you have."
As I've said in the past, if you have traveled and not been shot and lived like an animal, then you haven't traveled. Dude, going on vacation is not a survival exercise for most people. People go on vacation to have fun. And no, travelling isn't a special, different experience. It's another word for being a tourist.
"If you leave a country and you are still alive and not injured, then when you get home, have a beer, talk S*$t with your friends and laugh about it."
You are not gaining cachet or street cred by having taken a bus through Vietnam. Maybe if you fight in the Korengal or Mogadischu. If we were talking Vietnam in 1970 it might be different.
The point the OP and some other posters made was for at least some people going to Vietnam was not a positive experience and they found other destinations more desireable. That is clearly true for some, not others. When you've only got a few weeks vacation time, that can be an important element in making a decision about where to go. Not everyone is looking to get ripped off or hassled as part of their vacation experience.
#21 MADMAC has been a member since 6/6/2009. Posts: 6,957
I do think that the Vietnamese have quite a bit to learn from the Thai culture and how they treat their guests. Let's face it, the infrastructure in Thailand is much better as is the standard of living for the average Thai. As everyone is a little different, and everyone prepares for international travel a little differently, the problem is not going to decrease any time soon. I do think the Viet government is considerably more corrupt than the Thai, and the opportunity for more shady activity in the tourist industry is ripe for the taking.
Those who do their homework, and therefore know a little more about Vietnam before they travel, are normally the ones that can avoid many of it's pitfalls. I think that if Hanoi were to change too drastically, and become too much like someplace else, then it would lose much of it's charm and it's appeal would diminish. I'm a little pessimistic about the future of travel in Hanoi because the government doesn't have a clue - they really think we want a sterile place to come on vacation (they think we want bigger and more luxurious places to stay and play).
#22 daawgon has been a member since 17/4/2007. Posts: 1,113