23 Nov 2017
I read and read about the world tourist traps and terror attacks before taking my 2 teen kids to Viet Nam twice this year, 2017, for a find-your-root adventure and extremely affordable, quality dental implants and services. Long story short, my kids love the trips and will come back in a heart beat, especially the son – my daughter just doesn’t like the heat wave in Ha Noi and the tours walking, due to a weak heart and sore back.
Somehow we missed the tourist traps except the airport $10 dollars SIM card ripoff, and a young photographer who took my $7 but didn’t email the photos as promised. I would definitely threaten calling the police if a taxi or a hospital tried to rip me off, but none of that happened, plus we had travel medical insurance anyway.
Read on for the long story but be informed that I’m not making a blanket statement one way or another.
We traveled all over the country by land and air for cheap, including Phu Quoc island, but also treated ourselves with 5-star restaurants and hotels in the last travel week to impress lady daughter.
With few exceptions we only took Grab/UBER taxi and motorbikes taxi. My daughter and her cousin even hailed cabs by themselves against my wish without any problems, and they don’t speak Vietnamese either.
Interestingly my kids actually prefer hole-in-the-wall food over the upscale restaurants. Yes, my daughter got food poison twice, and both times after eating at nice restaurants – funny, they said. Thanks to travel tips she took an antibiotic tablet that stopped the diarrhea dead in its track every time.
We ventured away from tourist districts, met the poorest street vendors who told us to safely keep phones in pockets, and had the best street/restaurant food and mom-and-pop hotel services ever.
How did a dad with 2 teen kids have such a positive experience traveling in Viet Nam for the very first time? Probably diligence with some luck – from the airport, or anywhere, we ONLY took taxi in the official lanes, or ordered Grab/UBER, and ignored tricycle ride offers. We only booked tours from the hotels or on sites. On Phu Quoc island we did hire a 5 hour taxi tour for cheap, and didn’t get scammed either.
We met Caucasian backpackers who traveled and stayed at places we wouldn’t dare going. We made wonderful friends while traveling there in Viet Nam. My siblings and their kids have been travelling Viet Nam for years without any issues.
So what goes? Certain tourist profiles do unfortunately attract traps, anywhere you travel, more or less. No place is perfectly safe for traveling, Viet Nam included, where the gap between the rich and the poor is unimaginable. I don’t know if tourist traps are improved and/or invented in VN, but our family bravely traveled there for cheap, ate great food, and met good hearted people. Traffic is hopelessly insane in Sài Gòn and Hà Nội, but NO worry about mass shooting or terrorist attacks either.
Again, it’s just my personal VN travel experience, and yours may be different.