Traveling throughout Vietnam is rewarding, but at times challenging.
You feel like locals are trying to sell you something all the time: guided tours, transit, tailored clothing, boat rides, etc… It’s hard to access objective (no strings attached) advice.
In certain areas, selling tactics are charmless and you might feel slightly harassed. More often than we’d like to admit, we felt like we were being taken advantage of. You really need to armor yourself with knowing what things cost before engaging in a sale. The price you get is the price you negotiate for.
There are one-month and three-month visas available. You can choose between a single-entry, or a multiple-entry (more expensive) visa.
Unless you’re arriving at certain international airports, you must obtain your visa before arrival. We arrived in Vietnam in Dong Hoi Airport. We had to secure our visa before arrival, because Dong Hoi doesn’t process visa on arrival.
Only drink sealed, bottled water. However, if you can find filtered water, opt for that. Some tour operators and guesthouses offer filtered water for a small fee.
Brush your teeth with bottled water.
When you order iced drinks (cocktails, iced teas, iced coffees, etc…), make sure the ice was made with filtered water. If there’s a whole through the ice cube (shaped more like a cylinder), then it has been purified.
Only eat fruits which can be peeled (mango, pineapple, coconut etc…)
When eating street food, go to the stalls where locals are eating, and where there is a high turnover of food.
Wipe down your eating utensils with an antibacterial disinfection disposable tissue.
Stray and Guard Dogs
There are a lot of stray dogs and guard dogs in rural Vietnam. Most dogs wander about freely, though some are chained to the entrance of a property. Most don’t pay attention to you. But, if you venture off-path, you will likely encounter more aggressive dogs, protecting their property.
Locals informed us that it’s a good idea to carry a stick, especially if you’re walking alone in rural areas.
It’s also advisable to never run away. That will trigger the dog’s instinct to chase. Simply, back away slowly.