bad vietnam backpack trip


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cosycatus

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Jun 9, 2004
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#1
it was planned to be a 16 day trip from south to north vietnam, but it got so bad that i cut it down to 10 days and flew back at a premium.

Just to share with u all my experience, least u all want to visit vietnam.

Ho Chin Min:
Capital of Vietnam, where americans were suitated for the war.
Very messy place. It looked like singapore in the 70s.

What to see there: NOTHING. Seriously, the place looked like some parts of malaysia, except for some figures of Ho chin Min here and there.

Tried to go to some of the local markets to take in the sights and sounds.
Asked for the price of a pineapple and was quoted US$3. The problem is, the moment u talk in English, u are a carrot up for chopping.

Mekon Delta tour: Forget it. I paid US$18 for a 2 day 1 night tour. Found out fellow travellers paid only US$13.
By a small power boat that constantly rattle you, we sail down a river that is well...something u see in Singapore along Kranji river on a very rainy day. The floating market turns out to be a few miserable boat that trades in vegetables. Seemed that most of the trading had gone inland. There might actually be more small boats trying to peddle coco-cola to you than there are boats that are going about their aforementioned business.

After that we were promised a exotic asian fruit feast consisting of bananas and rambutans. Hardly exotic.

Went to hotel and we ALL discovered that Dinner is NOT included. Swell. Went to the nearby resturant for a culinary experience and not surprisingly, discovered that a dish of fried rice in vietnam cost the same as in singapore.

After this disappointing mekong trip and our expectation WAY lowered, we went to explore the city.
War remanat musemum. Admission is SGD$3. You get to see some war machines on display and a small room of pictures. Yawns, but admittedly, some of the war pics are good.

Reunification palace: $3. Forget it. Dun go. Nothing but rooms of tables and chairs. DOUBLE yawns.

in short HCM sucks...

stay tuned for my adventure in HUE
 

dRebelXT

New Member
May 14, 2005
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#2
lidat right? Have you been to their countryside?
I was told their countryside scenery is green and serene and nice to
slow down from busy rat race of the city.
 

htthach

New Member
Feb 26, 2006
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dover
#3
to correct Ho Chi Minh City is not capital, it's a city only and now booming commercial center, so if u looking for romantic or antique scene=> not the right place

Hope you'll like Hue, it's the place for the old empire (before it move to Hanoi). If u in Hue, look for Hoi An also near there ( i believe canon has a nice photo book of Hoi An ).

If u go to the north for Hanoi, go to Sapa, not sure this is the right season but when the season is right, sapa is real nice.
 

pai

New Member
Nov 24, 2004
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Lala Land
www.flickr.com
#4
sorry to hear that you had a bad experience.

i was in vietnam about a year ago, and felt the same way about HCM. the endless motorcycles were driving me crazy, and the weather then was crazy hot. i was miserable.

but when i got to hanoi, things became less hectic and i started to enjoy myself more. halong bay was really touristy, but beautiful nonetheless. had a great time kayaking around the limestone caves.

actually one of the best things about vietnam for me was the food. different varieties of noodles, cheap and good.

but i guess as time goes by and the country becomes more and more developed and touristy, all this will start to disappear.
 

Canonised

Senior Member
Aug 27, 2003
2,998
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#5
Firstly, 16 days are definately too long for HCM alone.
Secondly, Hanoi is a much better place than HCM.
Maybe you should stay 3 days in Hanoi, 2 days in Halong, 2 days in Hue, 2 days in Hoi Ann, 2 days in HCM, etc then back to Sin....:think:
 

cosycatus

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2004
1,132
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#6
Okay guys..here's part 2.

I spend 3 days in HCM.
NExt, i went up to HUE.

HUE is well, nicer, BUT nothing special. YOu finally find some tress being planted along the streets. The perfume river is just a river that cuts thru the city. Like a very much toned down version of shanghai bund.

DMZ: demiliatarized zone. Okay. US$7 for the trip is okay. They seat u in a bus for 3 hours and bring u to a bridge that signifies DMZ. Looks like any other concrete bridge u can find anywhere. Next, u are made to move thru the tunnels that the viet cong uses. Okay.

River cruise to the tombs: US$2. PLEASE dun go on this one. There is another USD$10 that brings u to the tombs of old vietnames kings by bus. We took the $2 one cos it seemed cheaper. They dun tell u the hidden cost though. They will bank at a location near to the tombs and u have to pay to take a motor rides to the tombs. Cost anything like 3-5 dollar for each motor bike trip.
We refuse to pay for the bikes and walk instead to discover that for 1 of the tomb, it's only 500 meters down the ROAD!

The tombs : 3 of them. Forget the names, but u can find it in lonely planet. Cost an exhorbitant $5.5 to go into each. Forget it. They are UNESCO world heritage sites, but the $$ to maintain them obviously went somewhere. Nothing interesting frankly. One AngKor Wat visit and u can see things 1000 times better.

On the way, they drop u at some temple which charge u $3 for admission. Didn't go in, but from what i can see outside, the temple on Kusu island seem far better.

Hue is better, i crossed the river to the residential areas and interact with the locals in the market. I would say that vietnamess people are really nice.

It's just the tourism operators that's giving pple a sucky feeling about the place.
 

#7
it was planned to be a 16 day trip from south to north vietnam, but it got so bad that i cut it down to 10 days and flew back at a premium.

Just to share with u all my experience, least u all want to visit vietnam.

Ho Chin Min:
Capital of Vietnam, where americans were suitated for the war.
Very messy place. It looked like singapore in the 70s.

What to see there: NOTHING. Seriously, the place looked like some parts of malaysia, except for some figures of Ho chin Min here and there.

Tried to go to some of the local markets to take in the sights and sounds.
Asked for the price of a pineapple and was quoted US$3. The problem is, the moment u talk in English, u are a carrot up for chopping.

Mekon Delta tour: Forget it. I paid US$18 for a 2 day 1 night tour. Found out fellow travellers paid only US$13.
By a small power boat that constantly rattle you, we sail down a river that is well...something u see in Singapore along Kranji river on a very rainy day. The floating market turns out to be a few miserable boat that trades in vegetables. Seemed that most of the trading had gone inland. There might actually be more small boats trying to peddle coco-cola to you than there are boats that are going about their aforementioned business.

After that we were promised a exotic asian fruit feast consisting of bananas and rambutans. Hardly exotic.

Went to hotel and we ALL discovered that Dinner is NOT included. Swell. Went to the nearby resturant for a culinary experience and not surprisingly, discovered that a dish of fried rice in vietnam cost the same as in singapore.

After this disappointing mekong trip and our expectation WAY lowered, we went to explore the city.
War remanat musemum. Admission is SGD$3. You get to see some war machines on display and a small room of pictures. Yawns, but admittedly, some of the war pics are good.

Reunification palace: $3. Forget it. Dun go. Nothing but rooms of tables and chairs. DOUBLE yawns.

in short HCM sucks...

stay tuned for my adventure in HUE
haha, I had the same experience in HCMC. Actually, it was worse for me, as I got diarrea from breathing in too much exhaust fume from the thousands of motorcycles in the streets. but traveling is to experience, you can't expect great scenes all the time. HCMC does have some nice things, though, at least the food at the roadside stalls are good :) take it easy, mate.
 

CT 3833

New Member
Sep 23, 2006
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#8
I took a tour recently as well. Can't expect much from a underdeveloped country. Once there, try to experience their local lifestyle and food.
Things are not all expensive if one know to bargain. I paid for tiger beer ranging from S$1.4 to abt S$2.0 depending on the place. Fruits are generally 30%-50% cheaper and fresher than that of SGP. Must go to the right place.

Uploaded a few shots just to share.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/93783024@N00/sets/72157594451517697/
 

cosycatus

Senior Member
Jun 9, 2004
1,132
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36
#9
I took a tour recently as well. Can't expect much from a underdeveloped country. Once there, try to experience their local lifestyle and food.
Things are not all expensive if one know to bargain. I paid for tiger beer ranging from S$1.4 to abt S$2.0 depending on the place. Fruits are generally 30%-50% cheaper and fresher than that of SGP. Must go to the right place.

Uploaded a few shots just to share.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/93783024@N00/sets/72157594451517697/
u are overcharged liao! haha..tiger beer goes for $0.9-$1 at local prices...at one point in time, i just take the beer and thrust 10 000 dong into the hand of the auntie without saying anything. they assumed i'm a local
 

Nikonnew

New Member
May 31, 2005
370
0
0
#11
it was planned to be a 16 day trip from south to north vietnam, but it got so bad that i cut it down to 10 days and flew back at a premium.

Just to share with u all my experience, least u all want to visit vietnam.

Ho Chin Min:
Capital of Vietnam, where americans were suitated for the war.
Very messy place. It looked like singapore in the 70s.

What to see there: NOTHING. Seriously, the place looked like some parts of malaysia, except for some figures of Ho chin Min here and there.

Tried to go to some of the local markets to take in the sights and sounds.
Asked for the price of a pineapple and was quoted US$3. The problem is, the moment u talk in English, u are a carrot up for chopping.

Mekon Delta tour: Forget it. I paid US$18 for a 2 day 1 night tour. Found out fellow travellers paid only US$13.
By a small power boat that constantly rattle you, we sail down a river that is well...something u see in Singapore along Kranji river on a very rainy day. The floating market turns out to be a few miserable boat that trades in vegetables. Seemed that most of the trading had gone inland. There might actually be more small boats trying to peddle coco-cola to you than there are boats that are going about their aforementioned business.

After that we were promised a exotic asian fruit feast consisting of bananas and rambutans. Hardly exotic.

Went to hotel and we ALL discovered that Dinner is NOT included. Swell. Went to the nearby resturant for a culinary experience and not surprisingly, discovered that a dish of fried rice in vietnam cost the same as in singapore.

After this disappointing mekong trip and our expectation WAY lowered, we went to explore the city.
War remanat musemum. Admission is SGD$3. You get to see some war machines on display and a small room of pictures. Yawns, but admittedly, some of the war pics are good.

Reunification palace: $3. Forget it. Dun go. Nothing but rooms of tables and chairs. DOUBLE yawns.

in short HCM sucks...

stay tuned for my adventure in HUE

Well it sounds interesting enough for me. I have been to HCM once and yes I agree that the place is very normal, but to be in a place that I read so much in War Books and see so much in War movie, I was just trilled to be stepping on board there and smelling the air, I know it sound corny but that's exactly how I felt.

Maybe it is just not your cup of tea
 

sojourner

New Member
Feb 14, 2003
168
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sg
#12
Vietnam has come a long way since the fall of South Vietnam in 1975. Certainly not the dizzy economic heights of Taiwan, HK, Singapore and Korea, but it is emerging into a top 20 tourist destination in the world.

See below wonderful pics of a professional photographer friend from Saigon (which is the affectionate name for Ho Chi Minh City).

http://www.flickr.com/photos/images_of_vietnam/
 

Ah_Seng

New Member
Apr 8, 2003
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Land of the woods........
#13
That's the reason why i went straight to Can Tho after landing in HCM....the city is not exactly my cup of tea. But try not to let the bad experience in HCM stop you from visiting Vietnam again.....try the north.....you might like it........;)

I love Vietnam !!!
 

bahibo

New Member
Aug 6, 2006
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#14
Hue and Hanoi is a better place if u want to see some nice scences. HCM is for when u wanna go for street photography ,see the street life ,observe the way people in different countries live. The north have much nicer place that may be u can enjoy in better tour or backpack trip

Anyway,may be do research before choose a tour,buy a lonely planet book or borrow it or read online, whatever, it will make ur trip much happier. And don't expect things that not there , next time check what u like and is that place got it ?
 

r32

New Member
Dec 31, 2002
1,021
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Singapore
#16
You probably had certain expectations of the place before the trip and your discontent stems from those expectations not being met.

The country's the way it is, whether or not you're there. Even in Singapore we all know that there's the local price, and then there's the tourist's price.
 

Deadpoet

Senior Member
Oct 18, 2004
4,619
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#17
HCM sucks. I was in Saigon as a kid in the late 60s, hated it. I was there recently, still hated it. Nothing of interest to do.

The most recent trip, Hanoi and Halong Bay, not bad. Had high expectation of Ha Long Bay, was slightly dissapointed, but still not bad. Hanoi, had absolutely no expectation and enjoyed the 3 days there.
 

Yezrah

New Member
Jan 18, 2004
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Sembawang
heaveartma.spaces.live.com
#18
There is always a good reason why tours to some countries are more expensive and some are cheaper. Basically, knowing what you want from the country you're visiting is important. Once the objective is met, then no regrets after that. If it is just a sightseeing tour, I doubt there is much to see any where..........what we want to see, we probably seen everything on tv...........the world is so small now.....almost everywhere is a yawn. If you're a frequent traveller, you've probably went through a variety of experiences already. Hence, nothing is new even if travelling to a new country.
 

swampthing

New Member
Feb 26, 2003
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Visit site
#19
I have to agree. Nothing much in HCM. Hue and Hanoi are much more interesting and intriguing. Too bad there's not much of Hue left...
 

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